There is stillness in the room. Everything is permeated in darkness, only being penetrated by the light of my table lamp. The illuminated sheets of paper lie in front of me. I grip my mechanical pencil tightly, writing every number through my pencil tip with intensity. My brain functions as a powerful machine with thrusts reverberating throughout the room...

Some people are more curious than others. They cannot suppress the urge to find a deeper explanation to a problem. They're mathematicians. They have an incentive to explore the depth of math equations and conjectures, relish this desire by staying up until 3 a.m. to solve a problem, and finally arrive at the answer after hours of arduous work. This is the type of person I strive to be.

I had never experienced this type of curiosity until high school. In the past, math came easily to me. I enjoyed solving simple math calculations and word problems. Every question was a puzzle that could be easily deciphered. As an elementary school student in ***, I was chosen to represent my school in numerous math competitions. After moving to America, I was selected by the gifted and talented program after taking an IQ test and was assigned a personal math tutor to teach me advanced materials. I felt confident about my studies in math. After entering high school, I even joined Math Club in hopes of demonstrating my superior understanding of the subject. Yet these math problems involved using complex problem solving methods and logic that simply escaped my basic understanding. For the first time, I was confounded by them. Their integers sneered up at me and teased my superficiality. I continued to participate in various competitions, but I broodingly stared at the word problem packets which eagerly awaited my meticulous proof steps. I could only offer a helpless stare and the frustration of my incapability.

I realized there were far more problems beyond my knowledge. But this drove my curiosity. Grasping the concepts seemed easy, but demonstrating them in practice problems required me to have a deeper insight into interactions and analyses of numbers. Investigations into limits taught me the functions' various aspects; complex geometry figures and angle measurements perfected my trigonometric skills; integration and derivatives tested my understanding of relationships of areas and slopes. It took significant practice, but I gradually grew confident with the problems and developed an insatiable curiosity.

Now, after two hours with the study light steadily radiating from overhead, a calculator in hand and piles of scratch papers around me, I take time to explore the depths and find buried treasures. After numerous misleading calculations and conjectures, tedious brain-twisting convolution, prolonged frustrating dead-ends, I penetrate the surface. My curiosity is satisfied.