Everyone has heard of the three-dimensional cube made from smaller pieces that twist and turn but miraculously manage to keep their original shape. These cubes made by Erno Rubik, a Hungarian architect and professor, were originally made to teach his students three-dimensional geometry, however, they ended up being used for amusement. When I was younger, I remember watching all of the older kids compete with one another to see who could solve the cube the quickest. Even though the task of constantly scrambling and fixing the cube seems mundane and a waste of time, the other kids and I were fascinated and addicted.
I remember coming home every day excited to learn new algorithms and try to get my average time lower. In the beginning, like everyone else, my time was terrible, taking at least five minutes to unscramble the cube. Despite my rough start, I continued to practice until my time started to decrease drastically. Eventually, I was confident with my skills to the point where I could show off to the other kids. I became the one that others came to ask for advice on how to lower their time, as I was the uncontested champion. Since it felt like there was nothing else to improve, I decided to take on a challenge that I had always been interested in. There were rumors amongst the kids of a cube that was five cubes long instead of three cubes long like the regular Rubik’s cube. This seemed like a good challenge that I could throw myself into.
After purchasing one of these larger cubes, I scrambled it and tried solving it. I was quickly humbled as I could not figure out how to put it back. With every turn that was supposed to unscramble the cube, it seemed as though the puzzle was becoming more chaotic. My hopeless confusion was just like the confusion I felt the first time I touched a Rubik’s cube. My victories were exciting, but the feeling faded quickly and I was left with nothing else to do but search for another puzzle that would provide a challenge.
This loop continued for a few cycles until I went to summer camp in 2019. There I met a friend who shared my love for three-dimensional puzzles. I was humbled again because his skills were far superior to mine, with his average time being almost half of mine. By the end of the summer, my time dropped significantly because of his help, but my skills were still dwarfed by his.
My journey with the Rubik’s Cube is long from being over, but it has taught me to stay humble since there is always a bigger fish and that there are always things to improve no matter who you are. Now my only hope, as I continue to scramble and unscramble the same puzzle, is that I meet more new close friends that I can learn from and teach.