Mathematics is a complex subject in itself. No wonder why many students fear getting their hands on solving equations or even solving problems that require complex analysis. I am no exception, it was difficult for me for quite some time. Even though mathematics is tough, it is a required subject to get one fully equipped with necessary problem-solving and complex analysis skills. Possessing these skills enables me to pursue my dream of becoming an engineer.
I could vividly remember that when I was in secondary school, I used to fail my mathematics subjects in every term examination. Just because I find my weak spot in mathematics, many of my classmates often ridiculed me, and even my mathematics teacher found me struggling at this subject, to the extent that he was in despair of me. I was terribly saddened during those days. But one day came. I made a firm resolution – something that could change my academic struggles in maths. I told myself that if I still remain on the same pace, my goal to becoming an engineer will no longer be achieved. If could put more effort on it, nothing is impossible for me and eventually there will be a glimmer of hope right ahead. The day when I went back home from school, I spent at least two hours studying our previous lessons, going over mathematical concepts, and solving more problems as many as I could.
I made self-study notes as a summary of every subtopic of the main ones. In school, I paid attention during discussions and answered my teacher’s questions. Sometimes, when I could not understand certain topics, I would stay at school to meet my teacher and to ask him about those that I still found challenging. That moment came that I could comprehend arithmetic and some basic concepts, and I noticed that mathematics is fun. I also felt comfortable answering those questions which were difficult for me for some time. As far as I believe, solving mathematical equations such as those in Algebra can improve our self-satisfaction, especially when we get correct final answers. I can say that this was because of persistence. I believe that as long as we persist in doing something, we are more likely to meet desirable outcomes.
There is one thought that always inspires me to keep improving on my maths subject. It says that in order to make my dream to become an engineer be real, I shall excel in problem-solving, in mathematics, physics, and chemistry, as these all require a very strong fundamental mastery in calculations; and learning the basics of mathematics is necessary. I also know, however, that an engineer does not have to be adept in maths but more so on having passion for understanding how things work and interact.
Back then during my mathematics test in school, I always obtained scores between 30% to 35% which was categorised as “G” or below the boundary of the passing score. Through all my spirit of never giving up and the hard work I did,, I improved quite a lot and was able to raise my grade from a “G” to “B.” Even though it was not as good as what I expected, I could really feel that hard work was truly paying off. Slowly but surely, I made a miracle that I raised my score from “B” to “A” and I finally could remain my grade A all the way until I finish my secondary school. I remembered that these words were precisely used to describe me when I was in Form 5 (Grade 11), where I received an “ Academic Merit” award. Through my first year of high school up to the last one, I was always getting the “Determination” prize, received by the students who put a lot of effort but do not see the results of their efforts. I was extraordinarily overjoyed that finally, on my last year, I was able to receive a merit award. On that moment, my maths teacher really could not believe that I was able to achieve that much and all my classmates who underestimated me were surprised, as well.
Believe it or not, I used to be a very weak person in arithmetic at the outset. Nevertheless, through all the setbacks and hardships I went through to avoid failing my maths subject, I now excel in the subject and can lead those who still struggle. In my opinion, I strongly believe that mystery happens. We may not know for now what it is that is keeping us low. But I think mysteries have to be solved, in my case, it was mysterious why I always get low marks. But as long a person is willing to do his best, desired and even unexpected things may happen.
In the face of miracles, everyone’s chances of creating miracles are equal. Most importantly, the term ‘mystery’ is not all about destiny. Miracle can happen to us only if we believe in ourselves.
By Ng Tiam Poh, Malaysia