This I Believe

Ali - Carrollton, Texas
Entered on September 8, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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This I Believe

I believe in doing things the hard way first. I believe there are no shortcuts and no easy ways out.

I always found math very easy, that is, up until Algebra II. Interval notations, “e”, “i”… none of it made sense anymore. New formulas, new rules, new variables; it was all confusing. My teacher understood this and made it easy on everyone. Every problem we would solve, we would use a calculator. Whether it was graphing parabolas or solving algebraic equations, it was all done on the calculator. “Don’t worry; you will have a calculator on your test.” I would hear those comforting words before each test. With the help of that calculator, I started making A’s. I did not have to know how to graph equations, all I had to do was just punch it in to the calculator and it would graph it for me. My job was just to copy it from the calculator to my test. Complex equations; no problem. I had the calculator. Finals were coming up and I wasn’t nervous. As long as I had my calculator with me on the exam day, I had nothing to worry about. “Clear your desk and leave only a pencil and an eraser.” WHAT!!! No calculators on this portion of the exam! I was doomed. I didn’t know how to solve any of the problems. I was so used to having the calculator do all of the work, I didn’t even bother to learn how to solve these kinds of problems. Why did I have to be lazy and take the easy way out? I just spent one year in Algebra II and learned nothing. Now I have to re-teach everything to myself. I should have learned how to do everything by hand using only my brain rather than a stupid calculator. I would have understood the material ten times better.

I believe in doing things the hard way first. I believe there are no shortcuts and no easy ways out. No matter what it; math, sports, your job, always learn the fundamentals first and then if you need any assistance, use it. Never try to take the easy way out.