Someone asked me why I was so stupid that I gave up the “fast-track” offers from Beijing Institute of Technology and some other Chinese top universities to put myself under the uncertainty of applying a graduate school. Guess what? I am adventuring! People grow up in their adventures.
As a top student in my department, I could definitely get the “fast-track” offer by BIT or other top schools in China, and actually some professors did express the willingness to be my supervisor. As a former student in the BEng/PhD Honor Program with good standing, I was also guaranteed that I could do a PhD program in BIT with some well-known faculty members who have made great achievements in academic and research.
However, would it be interesting at all if I just played in that small school doing some research, which itself requires me to reduce the knowledge exchange with others, in the field which I am not crazy of? No, never! You will never know what the world looks like beyond the mountain unless you get out of the mountain. As a youth, I would like to adventure; I would like to try the things I am curios about; I would like to build helpful things even just starting from a random idea; I would like to treasure my virtue as a young person of brevity, creativity, and honesty.
A lot of students and even faculty members in BIT have heard me, and I think most of them only focus on my academic performance. I would be thankful to those who advertise me to the younger class or other professors, but I have to express my opinion now. As I said, I just did the most basic things in my first three years in BIT, which I believe should not be something uncommon. The honor program’s rigid requirement on math maturity has almost taken up all my free time. I know that I did not have much chance to explore and to satisfy my curiosity, for which I did make a plan to make up.
I participated in the mathematical modeling contests, which I had heard for years before I went to college. I also tried to continue my journey in the algorithm world by joining the ACM/ICPC club, though I did not make it after two trials due to the time constraints caused by the academic work. With the kindly help from my former advisor and her team leader, I attended lectures for CS major students and Software Engineering students even though I could not enroll the classes due to the fault of BIT’s undergraduate system. I attempted to replace the Data Structure pre-enrolled on my schedule with the more advanced one for Software Engineering major, and I also endeavored to minor in CS until I found the minor system in BIT just “technically” works since 2004. I also organized some discussion groups or reading groups to study on interesting topics or do some intensive research starting with the materials taught on-class though all of them did not last longer than half semester.
So what? I has already been aware of the unavoidable weakness of me compared with students in other schools. When I decided to start my new adventure, I have prepared to face the bitter and the challenges, since I know I would never be happy if I just stopped at the boasted illusion that “BIT is the BEST school in the universe”, which itself is not logically self-consistent either.
This is not my first adventure, but it will be the hardest adventure so far. If I want to work on the topic I am crazy of, I have to face with tons of problems: I am not a CS majored student; I do not have a CS minor; I cannot prove my ability in programming and my college-level knowledge in CS, since I learnt them before college, which is not listed on my undergraduate transcripts; except for Chinese, no one know the arrogant institution beyond China at all. Compared with CS classmates here in Northeastern, I know I am as good as CS majored students, but it helps nothing.
Do I feel regretful for my choice? No way! All the difficulties I am currently facing to confirm my decision’s correctness. If I had not done that, later on, things would become much more uncontrollable. If I really felt regretful, the thing I would regret should be the choice I made 4 years before. So, whatever!
If I had not chosen to do that adventure 7 years before, what would my life be now? As an atheist, I don’t want to say something transcendental. So, maybe I should use chemistry. If you don’t break the equilibrium, how can you reach the product?