Mathematician Man

Jake - Malden, Massachusetts
Entered on October 3, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

In my eyes, math was an unstoppable force of unknowable logic, full of equations I was never going to understand-up until the 9th grade at Malden High school. I walked into my first day of high school as a freshman feeling scared, and uneasy. I was now “the new guy”, instead of being the top dog in 8th grade. After all the usual first day of school speeches, we had to go to our new classes. First was Algebra 1; I dreaded the thought of math, but after I stepped into the room, I was pleasantly surprised. The teacher was young, energetic, and kind of chill. She was also new to the school, which gave me a certain connection because we shared the experience, or inexperience I should say.

Some of you may be saying, “Oh math isn’t hard at all”. Well, if you find yourself saying that, we are in completely different shoes. Yes, some math may be easy, for example most addition. Two plus two equals four, that we all know. On the other hand what in the world was y= mx + b? That was the lesson plan for the day. I already knew I was in big trouble before the teacher even opened her mouth. Finally, after everybody was seated she began by introducing herself, then asking our names. We played the traditional name game for the first 15 minutes, then she began on the y= mx + b. If you just look at it, you see how it has no relation to math. As I admired the board at everything she could do to y= mx + b, I wanted what she had: complete and total understanding of the untouchable subject people call math. Throughout my first math class, my teacher said a lot of interesting things. One of these things was the following, “if you fail a problem, don’t give up, keep trying and when you get the answer it will stick in your head”. After hearing that I just knew I wanted to be a mathematician. From that day on in math class any work or assignment given out, I tried my best to fully understand, and complete. Sometimes I would be faced with a problem so complex, it was like trying to takes notes in a foreign language, but that’s why there was a teacher. My helper and savior: basically, through my eyes, my teacher was a knight in shining armor. Yes, I know that sounds king of cheesy, but it’s the truth. My math teacher answered questions for me 24/7. I think I asked more questions than everybody else in the class combined. Then again, with me asking that many questions, there wasn’t much left to ask.

After many repeated days of learning new math skills, and spending hours on end of some of the hardest learned material, for my first quarter grade I received an 88, a B+. I was very upset after learning my grade. Yes my parents were happy, but that was because I never got over a 70 in math. They didn’t understand my goals. I wanted to be as knowledgeable as the teacher, knowing the answer to everything that had to do with math. Through all my long nights of studying, I had only achieved a mere B+. That did not slow me down for the next quarter though. Math gave me a reason to believe if I just set my mind on one specific thing, one goal, I can accomplish anything. Now some of you may laugh and think, “I bet you will never fly”. Well in response to that I ask, can you?