It gets easier.
I remember starting university and feeling completely overwhelmed. There was just so much to learn, and not enough time to do so. While that fact hasn’t changed, it’s crazy to think that topics and concepts that I once thought I’d never understand are now second nature. I’m still overwhelmed with the endless knowledge waiting to be uncovered, but starting to realize that it’s okay to not understand everything.
In high school I loathed math and science. If I would have known Computer Science would have involved various high level math courses, I would have probably chosen a different major. My feelings towards math and science changed while I was taking Calculus II my Sophomore year. For dramatic effect, I like to say that I only started to like math because of the Stockholm Syndrome.
Calculus II was a very intense course, demanding lots of trigonometric and algebraic knowledge. Unfortunately for me, I ‘learned’ those topics in high school and now had to play catch-up.
With the help of two of my closest friends at university, I was (spoiler) able to get out of that class with a B. I spent basically every Monday-Friday at the library from 6 P.M. till midnight with David and Faizel going over Calculus. It was hell, but it was worth it. In the moment, I hated it. I wanted to get out of the class and never look back at it. Now when I look back at it, I wish I could relive it. Thanks to David and Faizel, I acquired my love for science and mathematics as we often took ‘breaks’ from Calculus to discuss various science-y topics — most of which required knowledge of math. They took the time to help me understand every bit of what was going on, and I cannot thank them enough.
I didn’t go into Calculus II with any expectations besides hopefully passing. I had taken Calculus I twice, failed it once and barely passed the second time. An insurmountable task was ahead of me with Calculus II, and I did it. I did the ‘impossible’, and now when I look back, I see that while it was difficult, it got easier. It was never sunshine and rainbows — I wanted to give up numerous times. I learned that sometimes it’s okay to fail as it can show you what you need to learn. School had given me this impression that failing meant life was over, and that was a hard impression to overwrite.
Hopefully this story about how a universally despised math course changed my life for the better can help you to see that it gets easier. I learned so much about myself and the world from spending a lot of time with just two other people. I have applied lessons I learned from those time to all aspects of my life, and I’m not talking about integral calculations. These lessons have become integral to shaping who I am today, however. If you only take one thing away from this, just remember, everything gets easier. Do not give up.