Definition by Number

Math is my least favorite subject. I have despised it since at least the second grade, when the teacher stopped letting us count with our fingers.

Confession time: I still use my fingers to count.

Now, as a junior in high school, I am faced with equations and problems that I am barely able to punch into my hundred dollar calculator, let alone count out on my fingers.

Tell me again, sir, when in the future am I going to use the formula of how to find the hypotenuse right slope of a parallel angle? Never, you say? Well allow me to continue writing it on the back of my hand, that way I never forget it.

Yes, I may be a bit biased against numbers because I am a writer. I didn’t mean to offend you math wizards of the world, I greatly appreciate your work, and also need your help with my homework tonight.


In this day and age, numbers are important, no argument there. Numbers help us know how much money we can spend on new shoes, how far we can drive before our car breaks down, and what channel “Dancing with the Stars” is on.

However, numbers have come to define who we are.

Things like our FICO credit score, the weight on the scale, the amount of cash in our bank accounts, even how many years we’ve been alive, are all numbers that people worry about every day.

Worrying about our definition by number starts young too.. When it comes to college, (also known as the most important decision of the teenage years) where we end up getting a degree can depend on nearly a single number.

This fact is extremely stressful for most, and kids my age have nightmares about test day.

I think it’s time that we looked at the bigger picture, instead of the little numbers here and there. Who cares how much you weigh? Are you going to let those numbers define you? How about your age? Is that number particularly relevant to who you are as a person?

I hope that in the future, we learn to understand that there is an infinite amount of numbers. An infinite amount of combinations. An infinite amount of possibilities. There will never be a single number that is able to define who you are.

It doesn’t take a math genius to know this. But it does take one to calculate the measurement of the polynomial trigonometric function to find the missing variable. Have fun with that mouthful, kids.

Yours truly,

Maddie Rheinheimer


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