Math Team adds up to great experience


 In seventh grade, I was a new student at Stratford and placed in Algebra 1. 

It was the highest math class at the time, and I had not learned quite everything I was supposed to learn at my previous school. 

Because of that, and the fact that I was a new student having to adjust a new environment, I did not make the grades I wanted that year. 

I assumed that math was not my thing, and that I would struggle for the rest of middle and high school. 

During the summer, however, I reviewed Algebra 1. I wanted to be prepared for the next year. 

I still expected to struggle, but geometry actually went a lot better than Algebra 1. 

Mr. Hubbard suggested that I join Math Team, but I was hesitant to do so in the beginning of the year. I did not actually sign up when they were forming the team. 

As the year went on, I began to like math even more. There was nothing more satisfying than solving a problem that seemed impossible at first. 

I decided to join Math Team about a week before MathCounts, there main math tournament. 

I did not know much about Math Team other than that they do math though, so I walked into my first tournament not really knowing it was a competition or that there were different rounds or anything like that. 

I thought that there would be just one test that we would have to take, and then we would be done. I imagined it to be kind of like the SAT. 

However, I found out that math team in a much more collaborative experience than most people think.. 

Everyone understands math a little differently, and everyone sees different ways of solving a problem.

So, in the middle of our team round, when we had to solve ten problems with the rest of our team, we had to work together to find solutions to the problems. 

We only got two right, but we probably would have gotten none right if we had not been working together. 

Everyone understands math a little differently, and everyone sees different ways of solving a problem.”

— Sabina Ajjan

After this, Math Team became one of my main extracurriculars. 

I continued doing it in high school although I soon discovered that it was much more difficult to do well with high schoolers. There are some unbelievably smart people out there, and I felt like nothing compared to them. 

Because I am an innately competitive person, this disappointed me at first. I had to learn to do math tournaments for the mere experience and to just compete against myself. That was the only way to keep improving. 

Junior year, Jocelyn Tang and I decided to lead the Math Team and started posting challenge problems outside math team coach’s Mr. Bobby Stecher’s room every month. We have many people trying to solve them, but I hope more do soon. 

Although we have not won many tournaments in recent years, I believe we can soon. 

I want us to practice more often next year to prepare for the tournaments. 

There are a lot of geniuses out there, but that does not mean we cannot beat them. 

I know we are smart enough. We just need more experience.