Why? – A Hodgepodge of Me
More than “what did you eat today?”, “did you get up on time for class?” and “is that funny smell you?”, this is one of those fundamental questions I get asked every day. Today, I want to share with you a few stories so that you can get to know me and my story of that word “why”. As a 21 year old growing up in a digital age, two of my greatest passions are mathematics and public speaking. People tend to think of these things as relics of the past; after all, you never hear about great mathematicians today, and since communication is mostly digital, why do we need live speaking skills?
First and foremost for me, “why” gave me a love of math. Since I was super young – literally 3 or 4 year old – I was fascinated with words and numbers. I used to have a foam set of the alphabet that I would play with in the bathtub, and put back based on words I could form. When other children went for colouring books during centre/playtime in pre-kindergarten, I always went for the math worksheets. I could solve the problems, but I always wanted to know why – why was 1+1=2? Fast forward 17 years. I am now a fourth-year honours math student at the University of Alberta. My why’s are a little more complicated, but inside my often frenetic, anxious soul lies the same little boy with the desire for the 3-letter word that soon becomes the frustration of every parent. Speaking of which, I was very, very lucky. I have wonderful, supportive parents who helped me to from a healthy but tight-knit relationship with “why” until I could start to express them in places and times that would give me answers, leading me right into my passion for oration.
“Why” is the most wonderful dialog starter? Think of how many different people you’ve passed in your lifetime. Each one of those people carries their own ideas and thoughts, their own “why’s?” Imagine how much more connected we could become if we probed into each other’s why’s by sharing our own through the art of voice? We all are interested in ourselves, it’s our favorite topic. The easiest way to build connections is to ask someone about themselves! Imagine instead of asking a person about a person reading a book about the book, asking them why they like the book. The conversation goes to personal memories and boom! – a social connection. Good speaking is still so important in other areas; it lands us jobs and dates. It allows us to convey intelligence and interest and most of all, passion! We are all passionate about something; asking “why” allows us to open up in ways we never thought possible.
I love asking “why?” The question sometimes scares me as much as the inevitable answers. But “why” is the portal to a world most unexplored; to scientific and technological innovations, to deeper pondering about art and the world, and a demand for answers as resolution that has characterised the human spirit since the beginning of time. The only thing that might thrill me as much is when someone else is brave enough to ask why. As a tutor, few things excite me more than when one of my students challenges an assumption people have or intelligently challenges an opinion of a teacher; critical thinking is one of the most important skills anyone can possibly have.
I get asked “why?” a lot too. Why I’m doing a math degree, why I haven’t taken a vacation in three years, why I can drink both Pepsi and Coke and not consider myself a godless heathen. Truth be told, there is a rhyme and reason to my life; as someone about to start the last year of my undergrad degree in math, I have jobs to fetch, friends to make and money to save (student loans, always around the corner!) Yet at the end of my university journey, I’ve had the confidence to realize one thing. The only instances of “why?” that need answering come from my harshest critic: myself. I accept, despite what other people think, that my life is my own. I love my life; getting the opportunity to pursue the universe’s biggest questions while eating an ungodly amount of chicken nuggets is an opportunity I hope I never take for granted.
I hope that you enjoy my website and what I have to offer. And I hope that maybe – just maybe – you too will find the audacity to start asking: “why?”