Whenever my friends grumble about how difficult math or computer science are to them, I get really jealous.
My friends mostly have the same interests as me. Drawing, singing, photography, creative writing. Analyze and compare literature and historical documents. Most of them aren’t sure about what they want to study in college, and I don’t either. But I have some vague ideas: philosophy, anthropology, history, English, creative writing……
But every time I hear that kind of conversation, I start second-guessing myself. You understand math formula faster than any other student. Your teacher said you’re “gifted” in computer science. You’re two chapters ahead of everyone else in statistics. Without even trying. Even your friend who never gets math isn’t sure that they’re not going to study science. Are you sure you don’t want to go into the STEM field?
“You’re wasting your talents,” They say. And for a long time, I believed it.
Growing up, my math and science grade is always higher than language art and social science. My father is a math genius. He got the highest math score out of thirty thousand people and studied physics in college. My mother works with computers all her life. “I’m not bragging, I’m blaming my genes,” I told my friends. Some people feel like they were born with the wrong body, but I feel like I was born with the wrong talents.
No one has told me I’m a bad writer. I am good at writing, too. I’m a profound thinker, too. I get straight A’s in English and history, too. Maybe there is something less apparent about the achievements in them.
But I danced in my bedroom for minutes the day my English teacher first told me I’m a brilliant writer. I jumped up and down like a child when I got a story idea in the middle of the night. I smiled so hard that my muscle hurt and then cried for hours when I finished the first draft of my novel.
I am a writer. I am a writer. I am a writer.
“But you’re so smart,” They say, “You could totally be an engineer or something!”
Yes, I can.
But I’ll be miserable.
I wish I’m not good at math because society values STEM over humanities and arts. I wish I’m not good at math because if I choose my passion, somehow that will make me less worthy of respect. I wish I’m not good at math so I won’t feel guilty “wasting my talents” to do something that I’m actually passionate about.
I think the world needs more creator. I believe creating arts that feed people’s soul is just as important, if not more, as creating new technologies that bring convenience to people. I see arts as a tool to express yourself and make people feel less alone, and most importantly, something so fascinating and intriguing that I want to “waste my whole life on”.
Creativity is my core value. It’s one of the reasons I left my home country; the education there eliminated creativity. They were trying to kill the creator inside me, which is equal to killing me. I’m sure math can be creative in some way, but I just don’t get it.
I’m a writer, an artist, and a mathematician. If I want to put “writer” before “mathematician”, that’s okay. This is my life and my choice, and I have full control over it.