Why Failing Algebra (Twice) was my Greatest Gift

I’ll never forget the sinking feeling in my chest when yet another test would be returned to me with a big, fat “D-“ in red writing. I would quickly flip my paper over hoping none of my classmates saw.

I was so embarrassed. My failing grade was not from a lack of trying, it was from a lack of truly not understanding. This was my second time taking Algebra. I failed the first time and now was my second shot to get at least a C-. I had a tutor, I studied, and completed my homework to the best of my ability, but somehow it never clicked.

Here’s what I don’t like about math: There’s one answer and it’s either right or wrong.

When my dreams of ever having a career that involved any type of number crunching went out the window, I really put my all into my English classes.

I loved that with writing assignments, there are many “answers” and there are MANY ways to get to them.

The way I looked at writing assignments were – you are given the bare minimum expectations about what to cover in your paper. If you do just that, you can pull off a C grade easily. The rest is up to you, you get to be creative and surrender to the outcome. Your opinions, life experiences, feelings, and interpretations ALL MATTER when you are turning in a paper.  

Math doesn’t give a crap about your feelings!

This idea became the framework for my life: many different outcomes, many different ways to get there.

Life is not linear. There isn’t one right or wrong way to do life. One person’s correct answer could be another person’s F.

We are the creators of our world and how we get to our destination is up to us. If something isn’t working for you, maybe it’s a sign that there is something far better out there for you.

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