On Love-struck with Mathematics
What’s so interesting about mathematics anyway?
This story begins when I was in the elementary school. At first, I wasn’t that good at mathematics (And still not that good either currently lol). I was struggling with number, but it just turned out that I’m relatively better at mathematics than the other subjects. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t the smartest person back then, but at least my parent and friends knew that I’m good at something. Is it important? Well, yes. What do you think my parents expect from a 10-year-old boy rather than getting a good grade at school, especially mathematics? My teachers often asked me do I love mathematics, and my answer was indeed no. Why would I like a subject that most of the classes hated it so much? I also never think to enter a mathematics competition. I wasn’t interested, and my parent was not either. Instead, my parent supported me to join Karate extracurricular (wait, what does it have to do with mathematics? Ok, maybe just ignore it).
In my junior high school, again and again, I was struggling with mathematics at start. I was comfortable working with numbers, now why I only see x, y, z, and other weird letters and symbols here? I became irritated, but it wasn’t long before I started to get good grade at mathematics again. Oh, I forget to tell you, I wasn’t good at other subjects in my junior high school (but not the worst either, lower middle overall). My worst rank in class is third from the last, not really bad, huh? Again, if someone asked me do I love mathematics, I said no. Why would I like mathematics? I wasn’t that good either, at least never go into real competition. The real competition in my junior high school is only Karate which I got beaten up so much back then, at least until I graduated from senior high school.
What about senior high school? Of course as you may expect (again), I was struggling (again lol) with mathematics at start then the stories repeated again. Why would mathematics be really hard at first but always gotten better for me? At least this is not the case for my friends. Most of my friends hated math from the beginning, and it always be that way. But, in this senior high school, I realized something. Something that I should had known from the start, something that I didn’t want to admit for no reason.
It was love, from the start.
This is the answer that I always deny. I really do like mathematics, more than I ever knew back then. I think that’s why it always got better, it’s the same way if you like someone. Your girlfriend may get b*tchy sometimes that you want to just leave her, but funnily, you stuck there and choose to stay, and it just got better with time (wait, why I write something like this, but it feels good so just keep it). It was right that I’m not really that good at mathematics, at least if I went to real competition I’ll lose, it just I loved mathematics for no reason, regardless of my family and my friends don’t like math. And I’m asking you, what will you do when you do realize you like someone? Well, at least for me, nothing can stop me from it (just kidding, except when she rejected me lol, fortunately math can’t reject the love of someone). My math grade keeps getting better at my senior high school until college. In my campus, honestly I was a little bit crazy when it comes to calculus (it’s true you become stupid when in love, right?). Well, many people said that calculus is the hardest subject for your first year in Institut Teknologi Bandung, and that’s not really the case for me in 2 semesters (hopefully it doesn’t sound so arrogant). Even after I graduated 3 years ago, I can tell that calculus is still my favorite subject in ITB, even though it’s not the most useful subject in my Petroleum Engineering major.
What about now? Currently, data science and artificial intelligence (AI) is really hype especially in giant companies and start ups. When I’m starting to look for it by myself, guess what I find, it’s mathematics again (yes, it’s mostly statistics specifically). Without any background in statistics and programming, of course I already understood it will be hard for a person like me. But when I remember back then, I was struggling too with mathematics at first and love will always make its own way right? So here I am, trying to learn mathematics again (and programming), trying to learn a bunch of theory that I have almost zero experience in it, and most importantly, trying to love again as I always did before. Because I know, when it comes to love,..
I choose to stay.