Alexandra Sible, PharmD
What is your job and for whom do you work?
I am a pharmacist. I work for the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy, where I split my time between teaching pharmacy students and working in the Internal Medicine department at University of New Mexico Hospital.
What math skills are most helpful to you in your work?
I do some form of math every single day! Most commonly, I perform calculations in order to determine appropriate medication dosages. I also teach these same calculations to our students. Most of the math I do uses simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and algebra.
What has helped you be successful in math?
Practice! When I was in high school and college, I did a lot of extra practice problems in my algebra and calculus classes. Repetition was the key. Problems that used to seem confusing or frustrating are now second nature for me to solve, because I do math a lot.
Remember that if you don’t get it right away, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to learn – it’s a skill that takes practice. Be persistent, but, if you get stuck, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes you just need to have someone explain something from a different perspective in order for it to click.
What advice do you have for parents about math?
When I was growing up, both of my parents always said they were bad at math. I grew up thinking math was “too hard” and that I was destined to be bad at it as well. I lacked confidence in my high school & college math classes. I spent so much time worrying and stressing! Looking back, I shouldn’t have – I could learn how to do math and I did well in my classes, and now I do math with confidence every day. So, my advice is to not talk badly about your own fears about math or to tell your kids that math is too hard. Math requires practice & persistence to get good at it – but it’s not impossible!