How My Lifelong Struggle With Math Ended in Success

How My Lifelong Struggle With Math Ended in Success
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How My Lifelong Struggle With Math Ended in Success

By Isabelle Nguyen

I was born three months premature, weighing 1 pound 10 ounces. I had a Grade IV bleeding hemorrhage in my brain, resulting in a surgically placed shunt on the right side of my head. The doctors didn't know what my chances were, but they knew they were slim. They told my parents that I would have a considerable number of obstacles that I would face as I grew older.

The doctors were right. I struggled throughout grade school. My most difficult subjects were math and science, and my stronger ones were social studies and English. For some reason, the numbers and concepts didn't click for me as they did for my classmates. This trend would follow me throughout high school.

My goal in high school was to graduate with a high school diploma, not a Special Education diploma. During my junior year of high school, I had to pass a sequence of statewide exams to receive a high school diploma. I passed all exams but one—math. For two consecutive summers, I took a remedial math course and still couldn't pass the exam, despite a month of studying.

Running out of options, I went to my counselor and filled out a waiver form, asking the superintendent of my county to waive my score and allow me to receive my diploma. After reviewing my test scores and record, he agreed to give me a high school diploma. It was a nice feeling, but somewhat disappointing to know I had to fill out paperwork to get what I had worked so hard for.

My math struggles continued in college. During my first semester, I was placed in a math support class. Unable to finish my coursework on time and failing the exams, I decided to retake the course in the summer semester. With the fast-paced semester, I was on track to finish the assignments and very close to finishing the class. Unfortunately, at the end of the semester, I still had two sections of the coursework left to complete. By this time, I was beyond frustrated.

My advisors gave me two options. I could take the math support course a third time or I could go to a different college and take its version of the math support course. I chose the second option and spent the next year focused on math. I finally ended up passing the math support course and then an algebra course! When I got my final grades back, I thought it wasn't real. It took me a long time to comprehend that I had passed. I had worked incredibly hard and was relieved, knowing that all my hard work had paid off.

There were many days where I just wanted to stop and quit going to college altogether. It was such an emotional drain for me, but I knew I couldn't just stop. I wasn't going to rely on people or handouts. I wanted to make something of myself.

Although I have faced much adversity in my life, I somehow find a way to continue to be positive. To keep motivated, I take everything day by day and surround myself with a positive support system. To those who struggle with math, do your best, believe in yourself, and don't give up.
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  • 来源: 2017-10-18