Emma Lord
March 23, 2015 12:06 pm

When you look back on all your time spent in math classes in your human life, you can probably remember a lot of the questions teachers asked you over the years, or at least the general nature of them. Most of them were equation or theorem based, and every now and then you were just plain stumped. Still, I’m guessing none of those questions were quite as disarming as when these girls were asked to describe what it feels like to do math, simply because we don’t often think about how the process of math makes us “feel.”

The video focuses on women of all ages describing the sensation, and their words are both poignant and empowering. Math is so often the subject we most complain about that we don’t always consider the rush that comes with finding a solution, or give ourselves enough props where props are due for overcoming it.

“It’s like a controlled energy,” says one of the girls. Without consulting each other, others go on to describe how solving a problem is like being in a void, or in a tunnel, and grappling for a logical way out. And when they finally find it?

“There’s a feeling of oneness.”

“I feel powerful.”

“It’s like in Ratatouille … he eats the cheese with the grapes, and then the magic happens, the fireworks go off.”

What’s especially inspiring about this video, though, is when the women share how they initially felt about math. All of them at some point in their lives felt discouraged, or believed that they were just “bad” at the subject, but all of them persevered despite the struggle they experienced.

They go on to say that their ability to think analytically sometimes comes with the risk of being put in a “box” — as if have to either choose math and science, and then sacrifice their creative energies — and then talk about how they channel their passion for both of them in such a way that they can make a perfect balance between the two.

This video serves as a much-needed reminder that we are all much more capable than we sometimes let ourselves believe we are, and that hard work really does pay off. Watch it for yourself here:

(Images from here.)