This I Believe

Abike - Lawndale, California
Entered on March 7, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that I am not good at math. It’s true, I’m not. At all. You would think that going to a prestigious, academically minded school with less than 17 students per classroom and one-on-one teacher-student meetings would cultivate my math abilities, but it didn’t. I am a senior taking trig, while most of my peers are in pre-calculus, calculus AB, calculus BC, even independent study for the mathematical geniuses. I am not saying that I wish I was taking the independent study course or anything like that, in fact, but don’t tell; I actually like taking trig. Attending a college preparatory school such as mine, taking a class that I can enjoy and not feel bombarded with due dates, projects, and tests 24/7 is few and far in-between. With trig, I enter the classroom feeling a weight has been lifted from my shoulders, a weight of pressure from college, grades, parents and teachers, and I can just breathe. It’s weird because math is usually the least flexible of subjects. Either you’re right or you’re wrong, forge the gray area. The teacher takes it slow. There’s no rush and I feel like I am learning something, and even though its trig and I’ll probably never use it anywhere in my life outside of school, I take it in. My teacher says trig will help us be more organized and better problem solvers, and he’s probably right, but what I think all these reciprocal functions and age and rate problems have done for me is something more than that: they have slowed down the clock and they have allowed me to try and take a stab at this whole math thing. I wouldn’t say that I’m an A+ student in trig, but I also wouldn’t say that I’m a bad student in trig either. There is probably no way I would ever become a mathematician or have a career in finance or accounting, but if for some strange and obscure reason something like this were to happen, I know for a fact that I could at least pull from my brain the skills and lessons I had learned from my 12th grade trig class to try and solve the problem at hand. School should be about learning and having fun, two characteristics that are sometimes difficult to put hand in hand with the notion that rigorous courses = esteemed-or should I say better-universities. However, trig, surprisingly, turned out to be one of those classes that made school mean something to me and while maybe a rigorous course for a sophomore, trig certainly is not meant to be a rigorous course for a senior. I mean, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale are excellent schools, but could I perhaps learn something more worthwhile at Howard, Loyola Marymount University, even Community College? I hope to be successful one day, but I also hope that all the schooling I went through was in some way for my well-being too. So, I believe in taking it slow, be the turtle in the race instead of the hare, enjoy the scenery and take time to perhaps venture off the trail when something strikes your eye, after all, slow and steady wins the race.