[Mindful Mondays #7] Turning a Challenge into a Passion with Ivana, a Mathematics Specialist

Hello my lovely friends, I hope you’ve all had a good week 🙂 This week’s guest is the fabulous Ivana, a Mathematics Specialist from New York City! I first came across Ivana’s Instagram a few months ago, and her passion for the subject is so refreshing. As someone who sometimes dislikes Maths (I have always struggled with it) I thought it would be interesting to approach  Ivana to see if she had always been this passionate about Maths…

Hi, I’m Ivana and I am obsessed with mathematics. There is absolutely nothing more beautiful or #FLAWLESS in the entire world (except maybe Beyoncé). Most people associate “math” with just “numbers,” but it is so much more than that. It’s about quantity, space, structure, logic, reasoning, and…a bunch of other cool stuff. The definition of mathematics is so undefined, you’d think someone divided it by zero (sorry). Human minds developed (and are still developing) this collection of abstract ideas to model patterns in the world around us…which is why it drives me crazy when people say math isn’t relevant in the real world!

I didn’t always revel in the marvels of math the way I do now. As a teenager, I hated math. I thought it was boring. I thought it was hard. I thought I wasn’t good at it. I failed math along with the state assessment my sophomore year of high school. I retook the class and the assessment in summer school, and somehow worked my way up to AP Calc my senior year. Still traumatized by the first academic failure in my life, I had no confidence in my mathematical abilities regardless of the fact that I was taking a college-level math class in high school.
Every teacher should be as encouraging, interesting, and caring as my AP Calc teacher. To this day, I am so grateful for the impact he had on my life. He always told me I would get a 5 on the AP exam and every time he did, I felt uncomfortable because I didn’t know where that idea was even coming from. I went into the AP exam expecting a 2 at best, but when I got my results, I was shocked to see that my teacher was right.
Earning a 5 on the AP Calc exam, I went into college with 8 calc credits, taking care of my math requirements for college graduation. As an undecided major for the next 3 semesters, I took various core classes to try and figure out what I wanted to major in. Numerous literature, psychology, sociology, history, theology, and language classes later, I realized that I was missing something…mathematics. It was then that I knew I wanted to major in math even though I didn’t have a clear-cut career path in mind. I told myself I’d figure that out later. Cut to present day, I currently work as a Mathematics Specialist at a non-profit education organization.The moral of the story here is that failure breeds success. And oftentimes, that success turns into passion. I’ve found that we tend to like things we are good at, and we are good at things that we like. I may not have even been aware of it in high school, but I worked extremely hard to overcome my failure. All those hours of studying and practicing led to me developing a strong interest in math and an appreciation of its beautiful perfection. So if you’re in school and still not sure about what you want to do in life, that’s okay. As long as you follow your passion, everything will fall into place. Passion isn’t something you can fake to employers. And if you’re going to spend 40 /168 hours a week (roughly 24% of your adult life) at work, you’d better make sure you get enjoyment out of it.

 I can’t even say how happy I was after I’d read this post, because I had (wrongly!) assumed that to be so passionate about Maths, Ivana must have always been really good at it! But to hear that Maths is a challenge that Ivana has now turned into a passion is super inspiring to me. Imagine the things that we could do if everyone approached their greatest challenge or stumbling block with the same determination? It could genuinely change our lives as we know them!
Thanks again Ivana for the inspiration! 🙂 Join me next week when Dr Thomai Dion, a pharmacist come author/entrepreneur from Rhode Island shares her passion for science, creativity and writing – you don’t want to miss it!
Are you enjoying Mindful Mondays? Is there anyone that inspires you that you’d like me to feature on the blog? Let me know! Find me on Twitter here or comment below.


Want to know more about Ivana?

Find Ivana on Instgram

Find Ivana on Twitter


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