PHOTO COURTESY OF TONY LEI, Tony Lei loves AP Calculus BC!

Lei breaking limits

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A feeling of satisfaction swept through senior Tony Lei as he received his exam score for AP Calculus BC — a notoriously challenging and daunting class. Lei was ecstatic, knowing that the work he put in had finally paid off. 

As a junior in AP Calculus BC, Lei held high expectations for himself and strove to be the best he could be. Along with his passion for math, Lei wanted to prove that he was capable of passing the class and the exam.

“I chose AP Calculus BC because I simply wanted to challenge myself, enhance my math prowess, and because I felt that I needed to follow the path my older brother took,” said Lei. 

During his first semester, Lei was filled with uneasiness and frustration. The fear of failure engulfed him as Lei believed he was falling behind his classmates. However, seeing their success evoked the ambition and desire to succeed. 

“My experience in calculus was a rollercoaster of emotions, being one of the few times I didn’t completely excel at math like I normally did. It ranged from a loss of hope to a light at the end of a tunnel – victory,” said Lei. “When I wasn’t doing as well as my peers, I often felt downtrodden and that I just wasn’t good enough, but being with peers that struggled with me invigorated a fighting spirit.”

His months of preparation were proven on the day of the AP exam. This day demonstrated the skills he acquired from the countless hours of time he dedicated to studying and reviewing. Truly freed from the academic pressure Lei placed on himself, the invisible weight was taken off his shoulders as he recognized his self-worth. Lei realized that he did not have to please anyone, nor did he need to place such a heavy burden of self-doubt upon himself. 

“I just knew that I had to improve, utilize every resource I could find, and throw away two things that were holding me back,” Lei said. “I didn’t have to be as talented [as] or follow the same path as my brother nor did I need to plague myself with false hope through optimism. I just had to face reality and get through it, whether or not it took hours on end practicing and studying the material.”

With his tremendous amount of vigor and resolve, Lei passed the exam with flying colors. 

Some advice to students who are taking calculus, Lei says, “Continue growing. There is no secret technique or strategy that is going to magically make the class easy. What really matters is the patience and perseverance to get to that end. In order to get through the journey, we have to practice and be focused and learn from our mistakes.”

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