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Sometimes The Greatest Joy is Not In Your Own Success

By , Tallahassee, FL
I look at myself in the mirror and admire everything that I have done up to this point. I appreciate the struggle that I have been through and how it has changed who I am. I really don’t care either about any humiliation I have felt relating to school, being called anorexic Asian kid, or math nerd. My interests are practically anything that makes me feel better about myself. I have learned to always do my best and the importance of team work. My new idea is “A man should be motivated by a desire to achieve rather than beat others.”

I excitedly attended the opening ceremony with the rest of my team. The talk by Richard Ruscyck was a huge eye opener. He addressed many issues that I had in mind. I learned that no one knows if winning math competitions helps you get in college because nobody has the “the magic 8 ball” that colleges use to choose students. He instead told us to instead take this as an opportunity to make new friends. However, I did not heed his advice and focused more on placing.

My first topic test was a disaster. I had a mental breakdown during my first test and didn’t know what to do. It was like my AP Chemistry experience without a teacher for the 2nd semester. I reported my insanely low score to my sponsor who instead comforted me and said, “Just do the best you can.” I still didn’t care too much about how others did. I would have felt bad had one of them placed but I didn’t though. After all, I was the most serious about doing well. Before School bowl, my teacher told the 4 of us this is you all’s best shot at getting a trophy. I realized how foolish I was in hurting myself by not wanting my team’s success. I wanted to use the school bowl as a chance to redeem myself. I suddenly realized what it meant to be part of the club and what I had to do.

By the end of the convention, I was the 17th place also-ran in BC calculus and Integration. A lot of us were hit hard but we stood together, set aside our differences and so the calculus team placed 9th. This was something we have not been able to do all year. I was motivated to repair my loopholes in number theory and probability. I wanted to enlighten future students and bring them together to share with them the same experience I had as a Mu Alpha Theta competitor. My teacher asked if we were ready to place in the top 10 for sweepstakes next year, I enthusiastically shouted I’m in for the win! I am more eager to show future students all my tricks and approaches to handling problems. Looking back on this experience I can still feel proud about the convention as a whole. I took Richard Rusyck’s advice seriously and have found and reconnected with many friends who have similar interests. I have learned that in life having a competitive spirit can others just as badly as it can impact you.



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