As a science student in secondary school with a deep interest in studying engineering at the university, I was told that having a good grade in further mathematics was a must. That was fine with me. But there was a problem, I did not have a further mathematics teacher for the most part of my secondary school education.
Luckily a classmate had the recommended textbook for further mathematics. I borrowed the text and tried to read it by myself. I did my best. Oh, I did try. There was no lack of trying. I had an “A” for effort but I had little to show for my effort because I always came off short of solving the problems or getting the right answer.
The explanation in the textbook was more confusing than confusion itself. I just could not decipher the concepts and there was no help coming from anywhere. But I kept at it. I knew if I could crack the code, the answers were just waiting for me on the other side of the divide.
In my SS2, I took the GCE exams. Registered further mathematics as a subject and had a “P7” pass. I felt it was good enough for the effort. I doubled up my effort for the SS3, WASSCE. Guess, the outcome? Same as before. I felt bad. But believed, that I just needed a little here and there and things would add up.
Thankfully I did not need further mathematics as a required subject to study engineering. My JAMB result was just ok. I scored 224/400. Just good enough to grant me admission into the university to read Chemical Engineering. Voila!!!!!!!!
I thought I had escaped.
Year 1 Mathematics came along. I saw the further mathematics in its full glare there. It seems my nemesis was up at it again. “There is no peace for the wicked”. Here was I, a certified, non-wicked man but I did not have peace. Can scriptures be broken? Why is my case different? 😂👀✌
Well, I delved into studying and I studied it as best as could. I saw the concepts that were in the further mathematics that I struggled with. Then one of the folks in the class advised that I use the engineering mathematics text by K. A. Stroud. A senior friend also concurred. I borrowed the book from, Obus, a senior colleague in the room, and started reading.
In one night, K. A Stroud demystified engineering mathematics for me. This was the same engineering maths that tormented me in secondary school. This was the engineering maths that I had “P7” twice. My revenge mission was simple — solve every engineering mathematics problem that is in the book. Yours sincerely took the challenge and solved every question in the book that pertained to the courses that we took. And I got the right answers. It felt liberating. I felt like I conquered more land than Alexander The Great and Napoleon did in their lifetimes.
What was different this time? I got the right tool.
I got the tool that made me understand the concepts.
With understanding comes illumination.
When there is light, you can see.
When you see, you can navigate.
When you can navigate, you will find your way to the promised land.
That was what happened. You do not need to guess my result. It was a resounding “A”.
Your ATM card does not open your doors.
Your razor is not for cutting down trees.
Your driving license is not your international passport.
Your international passport is not your ATM card.
The backdoor key is not the mid room keys.
Different keys open different doors.
Having a key is not enough. Having the right key is what you need.
And some doors in life, are like combination locks.
You need a combination of keys to open them.
What are you struggling with?
Do you have the right keys?
Do you have the right resources for the tasks ahead?
Do you have the right people around you?
Do you have the right team?
Do you have the right mindset to tackle the issue?
Imagine if I gave up, thinking that Engineering / Further Mathematics was not understandable? I would have pigeon-holed myself into a corner and counted myself out…….even before the game began.
Thank God I got the right people to direct me to the right resources that gave me the result that I wanted. Today, I am a trained but non-practicing engineer because I persisted.
By the way, do not call me “engineer” because if you do I will suspect you. When my mum calls me “engineer”, I know what follows next. Do not join her, I beg of you!!!! 😎😂
Back to the matter, I kept hope alive and somehow, I met the right people that helped out. Yes, I know that hope is not a strategy but it springs eternal.
Keep hoping. Keep on keeping on.
Keep at it, you will find the right keys that will open you us to unusual success at usual hours.