Holidays

Order of Operations: STEM Holiday Edition

The Order of Operations is an unforgettable tool used in mathematics. Some remember it as “PEMDAS”, others as “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally”; the mnemonics go on and on, but it all stands for the standard order in which to solve any equation – 1. Parentheses 2. Exponents 3. Multiplication 4. Division 5. Addition 6. Subtraction ✔️

Here’s a holiday giving list of ideas for you; inspired by none other than, Dear Aunt Sally.

P – Pay It Up. Whether it’s a little or a lot, helping someone with their finances is a gift. There are many ways to give a monetary gift. Try leaving a bigger tip than necessary for your waiter/waitress. Maybe anonymously pay for someone’s item on layaway. Pay for coffee for the next person in line. Anything is something. Don’t have the money to pay? Try just paying attention to someone you don’t usually.

🎁 Parenthetically (i.e. insert ) a bit of unexpected disbursement into the life of someone else!

E- Exercise. Are you an athlete? Is running or walking a favorite activity of yours? There are multiple races coming up in December! Search for races in your area that are for a good cause and take your place at the starting line. If you’re not up for that challenge, you can also exercise your hospitality. Invite company over for the holidays and take in someone who normally would not have a place to go or a family or group of friends to enjoy.

🎁 Exponentially increase the impact of your actions by choosing how and what to exercise!

M- Make Something. Get in that kitchen and do some baking, then hand the goodies out at work. Put a smile on your coworkers’ faces. Terrible baker? –make a craft, a handmade gift made with a lot of love may be just what someone needs. You may not feel like making anything at all, which is just fine. It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day. Try a smile or a hug or leaving a nice note for someone to find.

🎁 Multiply the joy this season by creating moments of happiness!

D- Donate. This is one of the most popular things to do this season. Donate blood to the Red Cross. Donate time to a soup kitchen. Donate food, clothes or toiletries to a food or coat drive. Toys are a big hit this time of year. Choose a child from an Angel Tree to buy toys for, or give to Toys for Tots if you prefer.

🎁 Divide what you have amongst those who have not!

A- Animals Need Love Too. Just like you can donate to human causes, you can donate to animal shelters as well. Find out what your local animal shelter may need. If you can’t give a thing, then give your time to help the shelter function well. Do you know how awesome it is to get a puppy or kitten as a gift? Maybe you can make an animal happy and a loved one happy simultaneously this year by adopting a pet. Just remember, you do not have to limit your giving to two-legged friends.

🎁 Add a new group of beneficiaries to your holiday giving

S- Sharing is Caring. This pretty much sums up the idea behind this article and the holiday season in general. Some of you may feel the need to spread the good news or good vibes. Some may want to share a story or a just share a moment with another person. Some of you may decide to save a life by sharing something of yourself. Whatever it is you share, do it from a good place and see how fulfilling it can be.

🎁 Subtract the hate and share the Love!

Hopefully, these operations have helped order your steps in giving back during this season. I encourage you to give new meaning to “PEMDAS” and selflessly represent STEM in your own community.


This piece comes to us from one of our talented content contributors, Cynthia Sharpe. Her bio is below and if you would like to work with us you can email us here!

Cynthia M. Sharpe, is a May 2015 graduate of NC State University. Cynthia graduated with a B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing and currently aspires to pursue an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. “As I let my own light shine, I unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” -Cynthia M. Sharpe, inspired by Marianne Williamson

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Cynthia Sharpe

cmsharpe@ncsu.edu