(cheerful, thumping music) - Although there's a funny story about my first year in grad school. So my first year in grad school, I get there, and you have to qualify to get a PhD. And to qualify you first have to take three exams, two of which are in math, and one has to be an outside area. And so I go into my very first class, which is topology. And there's, my mentor is also, my student mentor is there, they partner you with, is Vladimir.
And he's, he's in the front row. There's this giant book of math. It's yellow, it kinda was screaming warning, don't open it. And I look at it and I'm kinda flipping through and I don't know any, I understand like the first two pages maybe three pages of it. And so we go through this and Vladimir says, "Professor, "this is really elementary, maybe we could go to something further." And so he says, "Sure!" He doesn't ask the rest of the class, he's like, "Sure." So he's like, "Well, let's go to chapter three." So he flips to chapter three and I'm like I don't even, I don't even know what any of this is.
And so I try my same thing I go back and read the, all the coursework I can. Can't really figure it out. So I go to this other course, Numerical Analysis, and it's appropriately titled Six Six Six. (laughing) And I don't understand anything in there, and so I'm like, well I didn't understand that class and this class so I might as well stay in this class. I get I think a C in the class, barely hangin' on. So now it's time for the qualifiers. So I take my first qualifier there in Numerical Analysis and I get the lowest score, well the second lowest score.
I didn't get the lowest score 'cause there's somebody who didn't show up. But I get the lowest score and it's this moment of like, jeez what do, what do I wanna be? So the next six months I basically dedicate myself to just studying non-stop, just locking myself in a room and just studying. And then the next time around I got the highest score on the qualifiers. And then after that it was just class, after class, after class just working non-stop at it, and I was very fortunate enough to work on a really interesting problem, and have fantastic advisors most people have one advisor I had four advisors.
And so I had people, all these people teaching me and it was such a great moment to kind of see how ideas can become something very powerful, and can push the world forward. (cheerful, thumping music)
Skill Level Intermediate
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