Overall Educational Vision:
- Wanted interdisciplinary education, saw majors as building blocks for further life-long learning.
- Math is the foundation for studying natural sciences.
- Classics is a big part of the foundation for studying humanities.
- Over time, I became more intensely interested in my majors, focusing on depth rather than breadth of knowledge.
Growing as a mathematician:
- First-year honors calculus taught me the importance of English words in mathematical proofs. I understood it better when I TAed the same course.
- The Mathematical Contest in Modeling was a fun challenge to apply math to real-world problems in four days.
- Summer programs, research, and graduate classes.
- Honors thesis: Regularity of Free Boundaries.
Deepening understanding of classics:
- Classics is the study of ancient Greek and Roman stuff.
- Like math, Classics is not just about symbol manipulation—it is about beautiful ideas which changed the course of history.
- From a class on Plato’s Symposium, I found that it’s hard engage the text without bringing modern ideas into it.
- But once we understand an author’s ideas, we evaluate them and see how they apply to our own lives.
- Senior essay: Connections between Amphitruo and Bacchae.
- In Classics, unlike math, we can’t prove everything—there is simply not enough information. Instead, focus on cohesion/flow/storytelling.
Other challenging/interesting classes:
- Making of the 21st Century and Middle East Politics were challenging classes because I am not used to the social-science method of thinking. They also showed me how complicated and messy political problems can be.
- An easy but fun honors class on the Power of Music. We heard from musicians, experimented with sound, and learned how music connects with different disciplines. I did a presentation on the thought processes involved in swing dancing to music.
Summary of extracurriculars:
- I went to church almost every week.
- In summer 2013, I went to Japan for four weeks to volunteer, helping missionaries with housework and participating in tsunami relief (a year after the tsunami).
- I had a lot of fun swing dancing and found new friends.
Huskies for Opportunities in Prison Education:
- On a whim, I took a summer honors class about education in prison.
- We went to the prison to have inmates as part of our class.
- We read about prison issues and brainstormed ideas of concrete ways students could help.
- I was blown away by how much some prisoners value education, and inspired to actually do something.
- In order to implement some of our ideas, I joined the HOPE club (which came out of the class the previous year).
- Recent project: Exhibition of prisoner art in the quad:
Reflections on Busyness
- I was very busy, and at times my life seemed like an impossible balancing act.
- Sometimes I ready for anything, but other times I experienced angst–am I good enough? Am I spending my time on the right things? And so forth.
- Angst is stupid. It reminds me of when I was a kid doing math with sidewalk chalk and cried because I couldn’t square a three-digit number.
- The antidote I keep coming back to: Take everything as a gift, not something you earn through your own accomplishments. This is one application of the Christian idea of grace.
- Need a vision bigger than yourself. Vision is like music in that it helps us balance and keep going, and it makes our stumbling irrelevant.
- Don’t try to be the Messiah because you aren’t.
I used to bear the burden of the world,
The swirling seas and terraced continents
That like a blanket round its waist are furled
And hold all peoples, places, and events.
I used to carry heaven’s vaulted frame,
Whose grinding gears propel the day and night,
With gold-helmed warriors whirling wheels of flame
Who stab the hungry void with spears of light.
But now I dance the grass beneath the sun,
The fallen leaves, the snow, the violet flowers,
And feast and sing and sacrifice and run,
Or softly sleep in ivy-curtained bowers.
I lose the world, I lose its heavy fear:
A greater One than Heracles is here.