Starting this summers program my mind was solely fixed on the research which has challenged and pushed me far beyond expectation. Surprisingly though it is the program’s communications development that may leave the greatest mark on my life.
Some explanation is needed here. It is safe to say I am a late bloomer. This is most clearly illustrated in that I went from high school calculus to graduate topology at UCSB in just one year. Despite being a disciplined hard working high school student with a deep commitment to distance running I never considered myself as being one of the really smart kids especially in writing.
Now entering my junior year, anticipating completing around twenty math grad classes by my BS, I am facing the reality that I will be competing for PhD programs described as insanely competitive. Many of these students started serious math in elementary and junior high school, scary huh?
Math does come fairly easy to me but the same cannot be said for my writing. In our program we were taught presentation skills and the qualities of effective writing. We began with learning to write with a purpose, that logic is all important, and the ability to write concisely is essential. But it was another aspect of writing that I felt most transformative: making my writing more open, transparent, and ultimately more personal. This is a work in progress.
This summer was about research, the Gauss-Bonnet Theorem, and as I said, it challenged and pushed me far beyond expectation. By this I mean there were times I struggled with just trying to figure out what questions to ask let alone how to answer them. So many up and downs that it has been an emotional roller coaster ride. Yet at the end I am smarter and far more resilient.