No one was ready for the amount of nerdiness that would ensue. Like a soldier preparing for war, I stood tall in the center of the court, locked and loaded with my trusty whiteboard marker in hand and homemade calculator holster secured around my waist, ready to take on the challenge. Nothing could stop me and my love for math. I was set on my relentless pursuit of victory. A new era had begun: it was my time, nerd time.
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Rather than looking at a difficult problem as an impossible hurdle, math has taught me to view it as a challenge, a game. A game that makes me turn to others through study groups and discussions, and what brought me, as a seven-year-old, to want to spend my birthday doing math with my friends at Kumon. But mostly I turn to myself. Whether it’s calculating the odds of a certain hand while playing poker with friends or a eureka moment like discovering a pattern in square numbers that allows me to write down thousands of consecutive squares without a calculator or even written calculations (I’m up to 3000 squared: 9000000), I try to find and apply math in everything I do.
I also turn to my drive to push myself past my perceived limit. Many of my favorite moments are when I look at a problem and have no clue where to even begin, like when I wrote my own mathematical proofs for Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion. Probably the most challenging project I have ever completed, it was also the most rewarding. It reminded me why I love math and most especially the beautiful, logical way Calculus combines the abstract with the concrete into a single cohesive subject that I can use to prove such enormous phenomena which govern our reality, merely by manipulating variables on a sheet of