Emily Colby: College Hero

Today we’re celebrating a college hero who found success by changing her attitude toward math. Here’s how she describes her journey:

Growing up, my stomach used to churn anytime I was asked to solve a math equation in school. I spent years at battle with the anxiety I associated with math. It got to a hopeless point where I felt there was something inherent in me that kept me from keeping up in math class. It was not until I began taking college math that something changed.

In collaboration with my math professor, Richard Hough, I started using Khan Academy. I decided to go into math with a new attitude, one that was kind and eager to learn. I found that when I put aside my disparaging thoughts and just got down to business, my ability to understand what was going on increased immensely!


The way KA uses methods of positive reinforcement to teach concepts was a huge factor in my change of attitude toward math. Small things like getting a smiley face for getting a problem right help me to keep going. Prof. Hough recommends exercises based on what we are learning in class at the moment. I like to use them to get a leg up on what’s going on in class before we’ve formally gone over a new topic. I also find KA to be a helpful study tool for brushing up before an exam. Now I am proud to say I am enjoying math!

Congratulations, Emily, and keep up the good work!