Introduction, Part I
It’s odd writing posts for a blog, when you’re never sure if someone will read it, when you don’t know if someone else will find what you’ve written to be worth reading. It might be even more bizarre to use blogging as a way to shame yourself into striving to achieve your goals. But I don’t know what else could work. At first, I thought this could be a place where I would let my thoughts run free, where I would post anything I found of interest–from mathematics, philosophy, physics, to interesting literature and poetry, and so on. But shyness got the better of me, and I felt embarrassed that personal posts would be an avenue for others to judge–as if it mattered, let alone as if it happens!
After some thinking, I’ve decided to try to play on this fear-of-judgement to my advantage. Before, I made goals and if they ended up unfulfilled, I could walk away without any burden. This time, I will discuss my goals on this post so that I have a responsibility to the undefined audience to fulfill them–otherwise, they will judge me as a failure, and I don’t want that! (I am acknowledging this complex while simultaneously using it to my advantage). Besides this, I have thoughts that I want to record and remember in years to come, and this is a great way to fulfill THAT goal.
Introduction, Part 2
Why this sudden resoluteness? It’s not like I haven’t had this resolution before–it’s just that I never carried it out. Here’s what provides me with new resoluteness, and hopefully the will to see this through.
I may have mentioned in some earlier posts that I attended Canada/USA Mathcamp 2013. Every alumni you ask will, without a doubt, say it was an incredible experience. For me, it was incredible, and it was horrible, though no fault of the camp itself. Whether I want to admit it or not, I was definitely not mature enough for the experience there, and failed to appreciate how to appreciate it while I was there. I thought I could get by in life, even enjoy it, by creating a bubble around myself, through which only mathematical knowledge would pass through. And so while I struggled on problem sets, everyone else was busy doing bizarre crosswords together, singing, playing ultimate Frisbee, playing Dominion, playing Go and Phutball. I wanted to join in and have fun, but felt like I shouldn’t.
Fast forward a few months, and I am applying to MIT in hopes of finding there a similar culture as I did at Mathcamp. Fast forward another two months for a deferral. Another four months to straight rejections from Harvard, Stanford, Princeton. Another week of self-pity to a few hours ago, where I decided to overcome that self-pity. A few hours ago, I was attending Art of Problem Solving’s Math Jam (discussion, of sorts) on Mathcamp, which brought back many fond memories. I decide I want an experience like Mathcamp again. But that’s only going to happen at MIT, I say. How am I going to get into MIT again, I ask myself? Then it hit me: why not apply as a transfer?
Weeding out Bad Habits Such as…
Being motivated to set new goals, just to get into MIT, I realize, is a bad note to end this post on, and a bad way to start the body of it. This realization came immediately after deciding to apply as a transfer student. Nevertheless, to achieve that goal I would have to achieve (or should) achieve some lesser, related goals, not as means but as ends. In short, while bettering oneself to get into a “good” college/university is a bad idea, sometimes it can set the right idea for how one should improve.
The first step is to weed out bad habits. Until now I have thought my salient characteristic to be hard work, but this was self-deception; rather, it has been stubbornness and laziness and dreaming big, among other things. Neither of the first and the third are particularly bad; both stubbornness and dreaming big are good if one has the means of achieving such a dream. Laziness, on the other hand, is not, and might be considered the worst.
As a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, laziness is the first bad habit I will weed out, by committing myself to studying math at least two hours a day.
Feeling Inferiority and Self-Pity,
is also the first habit I will weed out. Intentionally being humble, but without self-pity is how I will deal with this.
is the second habit I will weed out, by learning to enjoy life with my friends. But this doesn’t mean giving up ‘myself’ for what’s popular or to be popular. If I have an interest, I will explore it and find friends that enjoy it, whether or not current friends like it.
Avoiding Anything but Math.
is the third habit I will weed out. I personally even get the feeling that my education in high school has not been complete. I have not taken chemistry, biology, economics. I have not done enough writing, and as you can see if you’ve read far enough, that my writing has suffered as a consequence.
If I can take classes at the University of Utah this summer, I will insist on taking one class in:
in addition to two classes in mathematics.
And, of course, I will blog as a means to improve my writing skills. I apologize in advance that often the quality of writing in these posts will suck. But not for long, I hope.
Why?: Because it seems like life will be more enjoyable when I do away with these habits, even if they don’t get me into MIT next year.