I find it amusing that I could probably impress my family at the dinner table by using terminology from my mathematics classes. If I used words like logarithmic, multivariable calculus, hypersurfaces, tangent planes, and linear approximations, I could get them to think that what I’m doing is pretty advanced stuff that they wouldn’t even be able to wrap their heads around.
During primary, secondary, and CÉGEP, mathematics is pretty similar in its style. Essentially, the idea is to give students the tools and skills necessary to be able to solve various problems (both in pure mathematics and applications such as physics or chemistry). There is a large focus on formulas and strategies to solve problems.
When I was in secondary two, my mathematics teacher asked if my class if anyone wanted to participate in a mathematics competition outside of class. A few people volunteered, but I did not. I suppose at the time I might have been a bit self-conscious about participating in an activity that seemed like it wouldn’t be a popular thing to tell people you do. (Of course, I wouldn’t mind telling someone that I did that right now.)