For 384 days, I did absolutely no math. That is to say, 0% of my time was spent doing math. In a graph of the time I spent doing math, where the y-axis represents time and the x-axis represents the amount of math I did, every point on the graph would rest lazily and happily on the x axis.

What sort of person spends a year relying entirely on their phone’s calculator app? A person that hates math. A person who, like me, took one math class in their first semester of high school and then blissfully bid their evil foe good riddance until the spring of sophomore year.

This person, however, was rudely torn from her math-less daydreams come the spring semester of her sophomore year, when she found herself in the dreaded math and science building once again, taking out her computer stylus (I probably shouldn’t advertise that I still have my stylus. Please don’t steal it! Please!) and begrudgingly opening Desmos.

Math and I have been off and on for as long as I can remember. I liked math in fifth grade, but it was the cause of many tears all throughout sixth. These tears kept up for most of seventh grade, but there were brief modules where I suddenly enjoyed calculations and graphing all over again. I don’t remember anything about eighth grade math – quarantine is a blank – and I didn’t like it all that much in ninth.

So, suffice it to say, my year-long math vacation was wonderful. I didn’t miss logarithms, piecewise functions, or domain restrictions one bit.

I promise that this article isn’t just a rant about math, however tempting that may be. Because, actually, I love math! No, really! It’s so much fun and very useful. I’m serious! I love math!

I love math because I almost failed my last math test.

Unsurprisingly, a year away from math meant that I forgot just about all the math I had learned throughout my entire life. The majority of my classmates are freshmen who like math enough to take it both semesters; their math vacations lasted only as long as winter break, about two weeks. They remember so much more math than I do, but I’m usually too embarrassed to ask them for help.

I knew that this was a problem, so before our first test, I poured my soul into studying. I knew the study guide like the back of my hand!

Study guide aside, I did awful.

To be fair, it was a really hard test. Everyone in my class agreed, even the math-lovers. I thought this meant we had all received an equally low grade, but no, it turns out that a math-lover’s “ohmygod I definitely just failed that!” actually means that they got an A-.

This felt unfair. I studied so hard, and I know that some of them hadn’t even studied at all. Why did *I *do bad on the test? Why do they get to just go about life being good at math? What makes us so different?

I realized that the difference is that they love math. They say “this is fun!” when graphing a piecewise function. Seriously, I’ve heard people say that. These people are math enthusiasts. They want careers in math – they want to surround themselves with it.

I definitely do not love math. I’ll stick to my English electives and humanities classes, thank you very much. But maybe it’s that sort of thinking that’s destroying my grade. Maybe studying wasn’t enough: I actually needed to *like *what I was trying to memorize.

So, the next day, I said *I love math *to myself while walking to class. *I love math *while I sat in my seat. *I love math *while I squared roots and found x-intercepts. A week later, *I love math *while setting up a test divider. *I love math *while my teacher passed out the quizzes, gave us half the period to finish them.

(You know it, I know it – I don’t love math. But I’ve said it so many times by now that It’s like a mantra. *I love math I love math I love math I love math. *Of course I don’t believe myself, but I don’t think I have to for my catchphrase to work.)

And – believe it or not – I got an A+ on that quiz! I was expecting a positive result, or at least hoping for one, but an A+ was more than I could have ever imagined.

Maybe I just understood the new module more, or maybe this quiz was much easier than our last test. Maybe I’ve finally acclimated now that I’ve been in math class for a little over a month. Or, maybe, telling yourself *I love math *actually works, whether you like math or not.

So, fellow math-haters: repeat after me! I love math!