Saturday, 31 May 2008

Exam Letter, May 2008

With a triggering material from Terence Tao, a mathematics professor:
Among chess players, it is generally accepted that one of the most effective ways to improve one’s skill is to continually play against opponents which are slightly higher rated than you are. In mathematics, the opponents are unsolved or imperfectly understood mathematical problems, concepts, and theories, rather than other mathematicians; but the principle is broadly the same. (more)
I believe that every test, exam, or academic hurdle of sorts is an opportunity to learn and to improve ourselves.

Our answers - or solutions or responses - are like the swing of a racket to hit the ball.
The questions are like a "stress test" - seeing how far we can go without failing. Each correct answer reinforces our understanding.

Logic gives order to the knowledge fragments in our minds. Patterns and sequences become obvious. We become better at handling the ball.
But of course we would also encounter questions which we don't fully know the answer.
Because, otherwise, we'd be stuck in yesterday's ceiling. Yes, we might have attained 100% yesterday. But that is then just a nice number. It doesn't translate into reality.

Reality is when we face the unknown: new discoveries, new learnings, new advancement. Who needs to be stuck in yesterday?
And now, while time still allows us to heighten our ceilings as maximally as possible - to expand our horizon as distantly as achievable - let us then fulfill it.

Potential is what we haven't done yet.

Don't waste it.


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