Ever since middle school – no, elementary – I have been involved in a relentless fight with numbers. Mathematics never came easily to me. Whether it was finding x, deciding if x was either imaginary or real, placing x on somewhere on the parabola given, nothing ever seemed to simplify, if you will. It’s not that I refuse to do the work, I try, honestly. I can recall asking countless teachers in what possible circumstance will I ever need to evaluate a particular set of numbers. Time and time again I would be dealt with the universal of math teachers, “it’s not what you learn, but that you learn.” Constantly irked by this useless statement, I began to wage war against all of math, a conflict that would press me to cut corners.
In my average seventh grade math course, we learned thrilling techniques of graphing, fractions, and basic algebra. I can say, without hesitation, that “basic” algebra had aggravated and enraged me above all other classes I have ever taken. Maybe it was the drone of the man in the front of the room, the unusually high temperature, or that my notes were covered in erase marks and doodles abound, but the subject was plainly past my learning capabilities. Therefore, I saw no other option in the class than to fight math back, and cheat. That’s right. I took my excellently crafted, well-hidden note card and began the test. Days later, I was given back the test, a bold, red A stood at the top of the page with my name on it. Good, I thought. Good? That’s it? Why don’t I feel satisfied? I beat the test, I beat math, I got the grade I wanted, but there was still a void in my feeling.
Then it struck me, not only the realization that I did not deserve this A, but also hard-hitting guilt. The kind of gut-twisting, sweaty palmed guilt that is only found in genuine remorse for one’s actions. There is no other feeling worse than regret in life, which is exactly why I had to relieve the feeling. I confessed to my teacher that I took the easy way out. His answer was casual, as if he knew that the easy way out had resulted in my tail between my legs demeanor, “Take it again.” With a new mindset bent on achieving, I devoted myself to two hours of unadulterated algebra. I aced the test.
I now choose to live my life with perseverance and to asses my struggles. Pride is not passed on or written on a note card, it is earned. Nothing is learned, gained, one is not stronger by easing themselves through life. I believe in one will receive full compensation equal to the amount of work that they put into life. That’s what makes life worth living, the ability to commit, toil, and understanding that one earned success. Expressed by the formula, reward = (work)2 + dedication.
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