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College Algebra - Paul K. Rees, Charles Sparks Rees, Fred W. Sparks

I did not like math. When I was in high school, algebra nearly became an obstacle to my graduation. Then in college, it was again an onus. I failed my Algebra 101 class in the first term of my first year. Thus, I did not just like it; I hated it.

But, I think those subjects that make life difficult for you can eventually teach you a lot. They teach you to have more discipline. They teach you to study more. They teach you the value of perseverance.

When I took the class again the following year, I was really determined to get it right this time. I sat in front of the class. I listened intently. And I read this textbook.

I read the principles, studied the formulae, and assiduously did the exercises. And to my amazement, what was once erudite was now lucid; I now understand! Fuzzy math was not fuzzy anymore. I grasped the beauty of special products and synthetic division. I realized the usefulness of linear and quadratic equations. And I gained the satisfaction of cracking a seemingly thorny problem with the use of the principles I learned.

I passed all the exams and when course card day came, it was not a surprise: I earned a grade of 4.0, the highest grade in the De La Salle University system and effectively removing the failure I once had. And when I took the next required math course, statistics, I again passed with flying colors.

I still have this textbook with me in my bookshelf, and every time I see it, it reminds me that with the right attitude, almost any problem can be solved. It is also a reminder that one can turn failure into opportunity to learn, and to succeed.