Saturday, April 04, 2009

Realised, Awaken, and Understood.

8 months ago I meet Prof. Edward to ask for special seating of a test to skip the first year modules. However, I was rejected. The reason given then is that IPhO only train me to solve problems. However, physics is about understanding. And I should take the time to understand the concepts of physics.

Then I've gone through the 2 Physics and scapegoated the maths together, not giving my best in them, but doing good in the exams. And so I only got 3 As for them and no A+. Moreover, I don't think I can recall what they taught me very well now. My additude was terrible in the sense that I didn't took much of anything in Sem 1 seriously. I was more of a bitter guy for missing out on a lot of oppotunities (scholarship, MIT, advanced placement, gold medal) before coming here. And so I didn't really think I accomplished anything significant during sem1.

Come sem2, I realised I don't wanna repeat my mistakes and I should do something more than just study or else I'll regret it as one sem loss. However, almost the same additude on the 2 physics and one maths carried themselves over here. In addition, I had one English module that carries no MC! But I planned properly and didn't take too heavy a module from USP this time. In the course of time, I made a timetable for sem 2 to make sure that I catch up to the others in my weekly homework and performance. And I noticed that I actually spend a lot of time in the 2 level 1 physics modules, due to Lab and Mastering physics mostly. So they are quite heavy modules. So I did had some more bitterness on having to take them. I did my Mastering during lectures and take my liberty to skip them to do other modules and attend other talks.

All this lasted until Prof. Yeo Yi had pointed out at the end of the module that "there are a lot of smart people, but it is the smart people that has the additude will make it." Humility is the key. He said that Asian people going to the US had some advantage towards their peers in the first year. However, at 3rd year, the very same people who were behind them caught up and was better than them now. What happened was that the things taught too early will fix the taught of the students. But then their peers learned the basics of physics with an open mind, so they think deeper, and ask more questions. And what happened in year 2 is that the physics students cannot see the physics in the maths, so basic understanding of physics is important. He told us to try to see physics with an open mind, try to understand the structure of it.

I was quite sure that this partly if not mostly is directed to me. It got me thinking, should I take 8 and a half module next sem? How can I have the right additude while doing that much things? I tried to listen to maths class, but got asleep soon after. It was a pattern, a habit born of the first impression that the module is nothing to me. So I was quite depressed on Thursday, on the subject of taking more modules or having the right additude. The friends I have consulted told me that what's the point of taking that many module if what I gain from it is nothing? or I don't fully immerse in the module.

Just now, talking to Hariom, I commended him as having a dissatisfaction on understanding and wants to understand as much as he can on each physics modules. And so after that I realised that's what I lack. the urge to understand deeper, the dissatisfaction with what is presented and asking for more. I knew then what Prof. Edward wanted me to learn: to throw off the mental mechnical way I do physics by questioning why, why whY down to the last why. I realised that the IPhO is nothing really to be proud of, there's no understanding there, we are nothing compared to the physicists. And so this lesson is learnt. And it is definately worth all those hours of the 4 physics modules for me to realise it. At least at this point in time. But I am quite afraid that I need the mental tool for IPhO yet to serve me in the coming exam. No worries, I know now how to procede. And I thank all the Profs and friends that helped me realised this.

1 comment:

khoo said...

Good post for me..thanks..