One letter can describe my primary and secondary mathematics education: "F." I failed or barely passed every math class I took as a kid. Even with the assistance of specialized programs and tutors, I could not understand the fundamentals of math. My tutors would lose their patience with me, and my peers would chuckle as I failed to perform a trivial multiplication problem on the whiteboard. So, it is a joke that I stand here today with a BS in Applied Mathematics from a UC. I want to tell you the story of when and how I got here.
My passion for Math started in a basic Algebra course at my local Community College. I had a Professor that embraced making mistakes. She was able to remove the fear of messing up and taught us how to reason through our errors. We would study each line of our work as if we were debugging a program and step-by-step circle any errors. After going through our work once, we would then reason in our own words why our approach was incorrect and almost 99% of the time you would have an "ah ha" moment. By reasoning through our mistakes in this way, we fundamentally understood why our approach to solving a problem did not work and got us a step closer to the correct method. I used this approach in every subsequent Math course in Community College and aced each one.