At the worst, some people think both: That they are bad but it doesn't matter because the content was pointless anyway. These ideas and justifications get passed down to the values of their children, sadly half closing a door for no good reason.
Will everyone's career use parabolas? Heck no. I haven't used a parabola in ages and I'm in mathematics.
The point, though, is that math runs on a fuel of pure deductive reasoning with a healthy seasoning of creative intuition to discover new and exciting ideas to bring into the field. I think it's safe to say we could all be better at thinking.
High brow ivory tower idealism aside, look around you for math.
Math made your car, your clothes, your gadgets, the timing of the stoplights, the godlike powers of Google, the cosmically huge logistics involved in transportation and manufacturing, radio, TV, climate control, flight...you get the picture.
There's no evil conspiracy behind the not shabby pay scientists, engineers, economists, mathematicians, and financial experts receive. These skills are valuable.
You're not going to find all the masterworks of mathematics in a museum exhibit, but they are all around us, absolutely everywhere. In fact, there's so much around us that it has become normalizing. Find the amazement in what we can do and keep drawing that circle, a little less sucky each time.
As I see students follow the same beaten path semester after semester, what I (and every other academic instructor in the history of the world) would love for them to realize is that the same concept of specificity governing the improvement of easily visual aspects like musculature and dexterous skill governs mental alacrity as well!
Here are things you hear all too often in a classroom translated to the world of fitness:
This is exactly what students are saying with their various lines. When looked at through the lens of physical progression, you can see just how silly it is. Is math easy? Heck no, not for everyone, not for most. Are you going to have a career in mathematics? Maybe not. That's not really the point though. Critical thinking skills and exposure to the most powerful system man has ever produced is not a bad use of time.
Remember though, when you feel weak on a topic or problem set, that you might actually be weak. Not because you don't have the mental ability, but because it's a heavy weight and you have to work your way to lift it. Keep pounding away and you WILL LIFT IT and it will feel great.
Is 183,243,042 divisible by 3?
You might think the only thing you can do is find the nearest calculator or perhaps hunker down for a wildly tedious bout of long division, however, there's an easier way to tell for 3 (and others!)
A NUMBER IS DIVISIBLE BY 1:
A NUMBER IS DIVISIBLE BY 2:
If it is even. This is actually what it means to be even, but just check that last digit for a 2,4,6,8, or 0.
(Example: 48,183,380 is divisible by 2 because the last digit is 0)
A NUMBER IS DIVISIBLE BY 3:
If the sum of the digits is divisible by 3.
Consider the above example (183,243,042). Well it is! 1+8+3+2+4+3+0+4+2 = 27 and 27 is divisible by 3.
A NUMBER IS DIVISIBLE BY 4:
If the last two digits form a number divisible by 4.
(Example: 32,416 is divisible by 4 because 16 is!)
A NUMBER IS DIVISIBLE BY 5:
If the last digit is either a 0 or a 5
(Example: Both 285 and 6,420 are divisible by 5)
A NUMBER IS DIVISIBLE BY 6:
If the number is divisible by both 2 and 3 (By the above rules)
(Example: Our original number 183,243,042 is divisible by 6!)
A NUMBER IS DIVISIBLE BY 7: (TRICKY!)
Double the last digit and subtract it from the remaining digits, is that divisible by 7?
(Example: 371 is divisible by 7 because 37-2 = 35, and 35 is divisible by 7)
A NUMBER IS DIVISIBLE BY 8:
When the last 3 digits form a number divisible by 8
(Example: 300,000,000,104 is divisible by 8 because 104 is.)
A NUMBER IS DIVISIBLE BY 9:
If the sum of the digits is divisible by 9 (just like the rule for 3!)
(Example: 45 is divisible by 9 because 4+5=9, and 9 is divisible by 9)
A NUMBER IS DIVISIBLE BY 10:
If the last digit is 0
(Example: 30, 270, 610 are all divisible by 10.)