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  • Writer's pictureJenifer Brown

#30 The Adventure to Great Soap & How to Find It: I swore math off & it took over my life

Kids say the darndest things, some things so funny they win money on TV. Yours truly? She says things and they become daily life.


"I hate math!" I verbally exploded with tears streaming down my face. I was maybe 9 at the time, struggling with long multiplication. My Dad was at the stove cooking in the house I grew up in (Blog Entry#1). My Dad had worked all day and I'm sure my belly aching was the last thing he wanted to hear. (Sorry Dad!)


"You gotta get through it, just do it." my dad said in a worn tone. "Don't look at the numbers all at once, take it in small parts, you're making it harder than it needs to be" I cried and belly-ached some more. Dad went back to his pot on the stove.


" I am NEVER getting a job that requires math!" I howled. My dad didn't say anything. I stared down at the page overwhelmed in trying to remember what the teacher said hours before. 490x998=......My mind wasn't having it! "I'm serious, NO MATH!". My dad turned around and said, "I'm sure you're serious, but life doesn't work like that, dinners ready." I closed and slid my book aside.


Over the years, math continued to be a struggle. It was the bane of my school experience. Teachers weren't a great help often saying " I can't help you if you don't understand the basics, brushing me off" I always felt helpless, but never gave up. I eked out D's on testing days. They say that all it takes is the right teacher to reach struggling kids sometimes. It was never a teacher who helped me see I could learn math, it was a boss. In 2009, the Lord only knew what the Pharmacy manager saw in me to give me a pharmacy job, but Pharmacist Bob in his infinite patience helped me. He was able to show me different ways of approaching the same math problems and remembering the formulas. I had to learn to do "pharmacy math" if I wanted to keep the job long-term and advance in it. I did, so away we went. 3 days a week when I worked with him, in our downtime, we were cracking open a math book my now father-in-law loaned me. We went on like this for months. I was asked about becoming a certified pharmacy technician (that's a state test with lots of math, laws, and drug knowledge questions). Bob was pushing me hard to become certified. I could take the certification anywhere; it would open up career opportunities. Passing The certification exam eventually made it possible for me to work at Tidewell Hospice.


As you may or may not know, 3 years into working at Tidewell (still doing pharmacy math sometimes) I began to study soap.... que MORE MATH!


When I began studying soap making, that old "I hate math" feeling surfaced again like an acquaintance we are never excited to see. Nonetheless, soap making fascinated me & I knew I could do it with time.


The funny thing is, when Mike and I are working on soap math, I treat it like it's a pharmacy situation. I am not sure why, but my brain makes it work. It's interesting to me that I stopped seeing math as an enemy as an adult, and I just work through it. I am not ready to tackle the likes of NASA, but boy-We can sure make some soap.










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1 Comment


whitekatj
May 30

I love that you battled through any obstacle to get to where you wanted to be. You are very inspirational. Maybe someday you can help other kids that “hate math”.

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