Math & Me: “It’s Complicated”

I have a love-hate relationship with Mathematics. 

It all started in first grade. New school, new language, new people. I didn’t understand any of it — and if I remembered anything else about Grade 1, I spent most of that year being a lost soul. Math was a strange, unfamiliar alien back then — I knew my numbers, of course but that was it. GEMDAS, operations, and the concept of time killed me. It went on for another year but thanks to a good soul (who I am now proud to call my best friend for a whole decade) who helped little me understand how the numbers just kept appearing out of nowhere on the blackboard, I was motivated to actually work to understand it. Summer after second grade, my parents pushed me to memorize the whole multiplication table. (I suffered everyday but) I thank them everyday for pushing me to do so because after that, Math suddenly became easier. Needless to say, I excelled and I ended up being placed in an off-campus Math course and the school’s Math Enrichment program. 

It doesn’t go “happily ever after” though. After a while, I found it difficult to catch up with the lessons. Maybe it was my laziness and overconfidence but it also had to do with the solitary room we would always go to, leaving the Regular class back in the classroom. It felt so isolated and suffocating to be in a small room, studying Math with a bunch of geniuses. I ended up wondering if I really belonged there. This insecurity of mine became my downfall. After two years, I was placed back in the Regular class — where I bloomed again. It was the best year of my life (for Math) because everything felt so easy, so free. I should’ve seen what was coming: after seventh grade, I was moved back to Enrichment. Same thing for first year, I felt insecure and I dropped — back to Regular. Excelled again and was brought back to Enrichment for third year. Now in my senior year, I feel like I must have done something right ’cause I’m still in Enrichment. 

Enrichment, Regular, Enrichment, Regular, Enrichment.

The circle of my life.

Looking back, I realize it was my attitude towards it that affected my performance. My feelings of insecurity and being mentally suffocated caused me to stop caring about it. In the Regular, however, taking comfort in the slow and sure pace and a bigger room gave me a better feeling about Math. 

I’ve started this year with a bad mark. As my mom said, “It still sucks — but your perspective of it should contradict that.” It’s all in the mindset. Whether or not I think Math is easy peasy, I’m right. Whether or not I think Math is difficult and a pain in the ath, I’m right. Knowing this, I’m determined to stay optimistic (stay positive hehe) for this year. 


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