Tag Archive for 'rules'

Email Etiquette

Email: you get too much of it already, you’ll get waaaay too much of it at Harvard. It is arguably the most important communication tool on campus. Professors will use it. You’ll use it. Your friends will use it, everyone in your club/house/organization will use it.

Thus, it’s important to understand the rules of emailing, or else people will start to tune you out.

(BTW, am still getting into the tandem of posting, so forgive me for this late post.)

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How To Learn Math

These are my experiences about learning, written from the perspective of a math student. I do think that my advice is applicable to other theory intense subjects such as physics and economics.

So I used to be the smart guy in high school. Doing well in math competitions, not listening in class and all that stuff. Basically I was a smart jerk. Needless to say, when I got to Harvard, I wasn’t the smartest in my class anymore. My freshman year, I enrolled in math 25, the honors class for math majors. I did pretty well in that class, but had to work really hard. Now, looking back at that experience, I see a couple of things that, given the chance, I would have done differently.

One could say that I was good at math, but not at learning math, if that makes sense. In high school, the emphasize for me had been at problem solving, while math studies in college are much more theory oriented.

How do you efficiently learn so much theory?

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The Art of Managing Mental Space

Mental space — like physical space — is what we have very little of as college students. When I took on a leadership role in January, one of the former officers mentioned, “It doesn’t take up much time, but it takes up a lot of mental space.”

What she meant was that the amount of mental energy you needed to devote to the position was much larger than the time actually required. This struck me as an — oh, so that’s what I’ve been doing wrong all along — moment.

Last semester, I was at odds with my schedule (or google cal rather). I would stare at the white empty boxes that seemed to populate my schedule at the end of the week, but when I mentally sat down to balance the accounts, I kept coming up short. It seemed like I had a lot of free time (suppose n hours/week), but I didn’t seem to get n hours of work accomplished and I never actually felt like I was anything less than busy.


Thus, I will try to use the concept of “mental space” to better manage your time (and happiness!) in this entry.

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Success: Little Fish in the Ocean — How to Deal, How to Survive

The problem and beauty with Harvard College is that it takes the creme of the crop of mostly high school seniors — the math geniuses, the Olympic hockey players, the beauty queens, the famously politically inclined — tosses them together in a tin pot and tells them to play nicely.

There are crazy premeds who stay up to late hours of the night completing (competing) their problem sets. There are quiet geniuses that inhale mathematical theorems the way my roommate D. inhales microwavable popcorn. There are sons of millionaires who sell millions of dollars of ads for their organization. There are professional musicians, ballet company level dancers, Jeopardy winners, and so on.

In the midst of all this splendor/glamor/wonder, it was very easy to feel like: what the fuck am I doing here?

This is how I’ve learned how to deal, how to survive…

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