Algebra sessions eliminate anxiety

By Yesenia Melara, Social Media Editor

Through community, fun activities, college skills, math key concepts and support, the Math Jam program has helped students feel at ease and confident prior to their upcoming math courses.

Since fall 2016, 64 percent of students who have enrolled in a Math Jam session have successfully gotten a C or better in their math class. And out of those students who also completed Math Jam, 82 percent fully completed their semester math course.

Math Jam Program Coordinator Kelly Ramos said many students who have joined the program tend to feel anxious and are intimidated to take their upcoming math courses.

“We’ve noticed that students who are majoring in engineering or other majors that require math tend to feel discouraged because of the mechanics of math. When this happens, they stop pursuing their majors and end up looking for something else,” Ramos said.

To ease the troubles that students might have, Math Jam offers a session dedicated to resources and skills that students can utilize.

Ramos said, “We let them know about all the services of which they can benefit from, such as financial aid, Food Pantry, counseling services and tutoring services. We also teach them how to take notes for their math class and how to read a math text book as they are very different from a regular book.”

Students who join Math Jam also get to know their classmates and professors in a more relaxed and fun environment, Ramos said.

Adjunct math professor Glen Scott, who taught Math 118 during the last Math Jam session, said that getting to know students in an environment that is different than a regular class session is a fun and interesting experience.

“It’s a big commitment for these students to take their time to participate in Math Jam. But the reward is tremendous as they get ahead of those students who don’t participate in Math Jam,” Scott said.

Engineering major Rigel Luna, who participated in Math Jam said that he is glad he was able to have the opportunity to interact with other students who share the same insecurities in math courses.

Because students get to know their classmates during Math Jam, Ramos said she has noticed that students are excited to stick together during their regular math courses.

“They know each other, so they know the struggle and understand that each one of them is not alone,” Ramos said.

According to research by professors from the University of Spain, six out of 10 university students have math anxiety.

Tension, confusion or mental block can all be symptoms of the disorder.

Researchers have found that this anxiety is not driven by a lack of confidence or motivation.

Joining with other students tackling this fear is a benefit for all students involved, and through Math Jam, students who struggle with math will have the chance to gain confidence in the subject.