As far back as I can remember, mathematics had been my first love. It still is. I can remember reciting the multiplication tables with great joy when I was in primary school and the almost perfect marks that 1 scored every time we had a test. I cannot understand why juggling with numbers would present such a huge problem to some of my classmates.

Now I am on the verge of sitting for my form five examinations. I discovered that numbers have largely given way to symbols. Manipulating with the symbols are even easier than with numbers. Differentiation, integration, the solution to multiple angled trigonometrical problems, stationary points, the square root of surds, the intricacies of logarithms and hordes of other apparently mind-boggling stuff never frightened me. I positively revel in mathematics, much to the dismay of my classmates. They even accuse me of raising standards. What can I do to alleviate the problem? I love mathematics too much to ever consider giving it up, That is what my classmate secretly wish me to do so that they stand a better chance of passing.

The one big advantage of being good in mathematics is that I have lots of free time. Unlike other studying subjects, mathematics merely require the student to learn one or more basic principles. After thoroughly understanding the principles, the student can solve all the problems given to him. It is as simple as that. So normally after studying a new topic in mathematics on my own, I would do the recommended exercises. By the time my mathematics teacher come to the topic with the rest of the class, I would have finished it long since. My teacher knows that I have done so and he leaves me alone to do whatever 1 like. I usually do some reading on other subjects since I have so much free time left over. Otherwise, I help out with my fellow classmates who are weak in the subject. Poor fellows, I imagine I can hear their brains clicking every time they try to delve into the mysteries of simultaneous equations.

Alas, as the Americans say: “You can’t win ‘ern all,” my prowess in mathematics is as glaring as my hopelessness in geography. I simply detest the subject. I cannot understand why we must remember the names of capital cities, the largest ports, and the highest mountains in the world. Why must we remember the population of almost every town and city that we read about? Do they not know that babies are being born every day and the population does not remain constant? Anyway, no two geography books adree on the same figure for a town, So why so much haggling about who lives where and who produces what? I cannot see how such knowledge can help us in any way.

I had great problems with geography, much to the dismay of my teacher and the joy of my classmates. My teacher used to tell me. “If you would just study geography as you would read a storybook, you would be all right.” I took his advice and it helped a bit. I can now go through an average geography lesson with a minimum of hassle, unlike the other times when I said Tasmania was in Africa and Eskimos lived in Antarctica. My classmates normally have a good laugh at my geographical idiocy, till the time come round for mathematics. Then it is my turn to lord over them.

Soon the examinations will come and ! look forward to it with mixed feelings. With such contrasting abilities, one could well understand why If I fail geography I would have failed one group of subjects. That is not going to help in my final results in any way. As a safeguard, I am also taking part so that I can pass the necessary groups to obtain a full certificate.

One very important thing that I learned in my extreme feelings for mathematics and geography is that one has got to live with oneself, that is, live with the things one loves and the things one hates. Then one can learn the meaning of tolerance and be able to go through life as best as one could. The world is not meant for extremists.