Another assignment meant another stressful evening. I was 12 weeks into AP Calculus and I was so worried I wasn't going to be able to understand the class. So far I had completed the assignments, but I never felt I understood what I was doing. Our assignment was on rates of change. Hours went by and I was still trying to figure out the problem. How do I even start?

It was like a door opened and light flooded in. I knew how to do it! I wrote my steps down, checked the answer in the back of the book, and there it was. My answer matched! It was one of those moments when your confidence soars. It seems silly now that I got so excited about solving that one problem, but I consider that moment a defining moment when I knew I could be good at math.

The rest of the year was still challenging, but I felt like I knew how to get better at solving math problems: do as many problems as I could from the book until you understand the steps perfectly. That's what I did. After I completed the assigned problems, I would do all the odd problems so that I could get extra practice and know instantly if I was doing the problem right.

My calculus class taught me that to be good at something takes patience and practice.