My Life Will Go On (10) by Junior Win

Since my childhood, my father who was a Mathematician and lecturer at the University had been talking to me about mathematics. But there’s one thing was not clear. It’s about the difference between the points of views of my teachers and my father. Whenever he said such things were important, they were never mentioned by my teachers, the important problems that he had chosen were never asked in the tutorials or in the examinations, and whenever he said that such problems were useless and contribute nothing towards mathematical thinking, these were the problems that were asked in the tutorials and exam.

Why? Why is it so?

But surely he could not tell me why. He always replied, ‘Just accept it as it is.’

All right, but I was now in an important phase of my career. The coming 2nd year final examination will decide whether I was eligible to attend the honors class. To be eligible to attend the honors class, one must get distinction in both pure and applied mathematics. So, what did he advise me to do?

This time, he answered. ‘You know what your teachers like and so do what your teachers like.’

Okay, as the saying goes, when you are in Rome, do as the Romans do.

I studied day and night in my University life. I did all the exercises. I also searched further problems in the library to prepare for the unseen questions. I carefully learnt basic mathematical theories from my father. What I learned from my father, unfortunately were of no use at all for my academic career. I took many hours calculating one problem by thorough studying. I did not want to memorize by heart without understand the problem.

(I become an Honor Student at the University of Rangoon (RASU) in my dream.)

(Illustrated by Maung Yit)

I studied day and night in my University life. I did all the exercises. I also searched further problems in the library to prepare for the unseen questions. I carefully learnt basic mathematical theories from my father. What I learned from my father, unfortunately were of no use at all for my academic career. I took many hours calculating one problem by thorough studying. I did not want to memorize by heart without understand the problem.

During self-study, I did not watch movies, and television. My father did not like for working so hard in my study. He said sleep regularly, and full sleeping is the most important thing for the students. I thought if I could not get 2 distinctions in Major subjects, my life would be ruined. I had never worked hard like that before. I myself was surprised for my unusual performance. My mother said if I worked hard like this at my tenth-grade, who knows! I would be a medical student, and become a doctor!

(My twin brother was proud to be an engineering student.)

(Illustrated by Maung Yit)

In short, I was allowed to attend the Honors because of distinctions in two major subjects through memorizing and repeating things I did not understand against my better judgment and of course my father’s.

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