I wasn't a big fan of algebra in high school
I liked geography. I liked history. I even liked languages. You could safely say I liked everything but maths.
So while I'd score high marks in almost all subjects, my maths score barely hobbled beyond 50 or 65%.
And it was no great concern to me, because I figured the other subjects more than made up for the maths. Until I reached the final year at school, that is.
The scores I got in the final year would determine my future. It would determine which university I went to; and possibly what I'd do for the rest of my life. And so I had to somehow fix the problem of just being average in maths.
I ran into a professor called Mr.Sharma (pron. sh-uhr-maa)
Mr.Sharma was this short, pudgy little guy who chewed some kind of betel nut and had tuition classes for those who wanted to improve their math. And I'd never really taken extra tuition for anything in my entire life. I kinda believed tuition was for those who were ‘not-so-smart'.
But with maths I fit the category, and so off I went to tuition.
School would finish by 4pm. I'd go home, shower and get to the classes by 6pm. By 8pm I was home. And my evening would just be beginning. Because Mr.Sharma would give us anywhere between 50-100 equations to complete. And as if the quantity wasn't enough, we had to complete them before the 7am class the next morning.
I was all of fourteen years old. Maybe fifteen.
And I was going to bed at 11pm (often because my grandmother would force me to close my books and go to bed). And then waking up at 5am to get the remaining equations done. Then I'd have to have enough time to have breakfast, pack my school bag and walk to the tuition class about 2km away for the next day's class.
At first I hated it.
I didn't think it was worth the bother. Then we had our mid-term exams. I scored a perfect score in algebra. Me scoring 100%? That was like winning the lottery.
Mr. Sharma worked us through the year. I don't remember how many equations I finally did.
Or how many times I did the same equations over and over again, but I could tell you this: I could look at an equation and tell you the answer. I didn't have to work it out. I didn't have to see the answer. I just done so many thousands of equations in that year, that they were like old friends. I just knew them inside out.
So why am I writing this story?
Is it to show you how brilliant I was? Or is there another reason?
Yes you guessed right: If you really want to succeed in a skill, you can't have a waffly-professor. You need someone like Mr.Sharma. Someone who doesn't take excuses. Someone who pounds you with “equations” till you dream, eat and sleep with “equations”. And that alone can make you go from average to brilliant, but there's no magic trick. And I know there's no magic trick, because I didn't just have to excel at algebra. But all the languages as well. And the sciences. And every other subject that school throws at you.
But if you have a great teacher, and you have a great capacity to put in the hours, it's a matter of a year.
It doesn't matter if you want to play the guitar, or learn to draw cartoons, or learn algebra for that matter: You can do it.
In one year you too can go from average. To 100%.
(Footnote: Yes, I did finish the final exam and got 100% in algebra. And I'm stlll no fan of maths, but give me a Mr.Sharma and a back-breaking schedule and I'm sure I can do it again. And so can you!)
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