3 random thoughts

2023-01-15

A math prof once told me that there are 2 types of intelligent people in the world:

  1. People that just get it. You know, like those weirdos that don't need to take notes in class and barely study before a final exam.
  2. People that need to stare at a textbook for 5 hours for a concept to finally make sense. Or ask a friend to explain it to them 17 times. Or read the same StackOverflow post over and over again because their brain feels like mush and nothing makes sense. Until they finally get it and the experience has been so traumatic that they'll never forget it.

If I'm smart (idk), I definitely belong to the second kind. I always had good excellent grades, but that was because I summarized entire textbooks and solved thousands of integrals instead of becoming a TikToker or something. I'm proud of my grades because they're not the result of me being a natural genius, I was just embarrasingly disciplined.

But okay, all of this is to say that along the way I've learned a couple of things, which I'll share with you now because it's Sunday afternoon and I'm bored.

Uno

Learning how to enjoy solitude will make you stronger and happier. I was harshly bullied during my early teenage years. No, no one was dipping my head into a toilet, it was much worse: I was coldly ignored. As in no one talked to me at school. At the beginning it was like torture, I would arrive home and start crying because my mom's "Hello" would be the first words directed to me in the entire day, but then I started enjoying it. I began to enjoy my lunch breaks reading under a tree, instead of listening to 13-year-old gossip that I didn't give a pickle about.

Those years taught me how to enjoy being by myself, and without them I think I would have lost my mind during the pandemic, or when moving to an unknown country to complete my undergrad. I've also seen how people remain in toxic relationships because of the fear of being in an empty house, alone, with their only roomate being a person that they don't even know.

So learn how to be alone, but not lonely.

Dos

Teachers aren't scary, they're one of the most interesting people you'll ever meet. Going back to the previous point, children were cruel to me. And so some of my best friends in school (and even in university) were my teachers. My interest in literature sparked with the help of my 3rd grade Spanish teacher, that would read to us short stories from Julio Cort√°zar (this is hardcore literature for a third grader) and play the trumpet during reading time (he wasn't reading at the same time of course). Another prof had weekly meetings with me during the pandemic, and most of the time we would not discuss about my research project but about life, family, friends, and other topics that were hard to talk about when in quarantine with a cat in the middle of Montreal's winter. I would have never studied mathematics or computer science without the wonderful courses (and the even more wonderful people that taught them) I took in university, and without my teachers I wouldn't be the person I am today.

Don't be scared to ask them a question, go to office hours, or just say hi after their lecture. You'll be surprised by how much you can learn from them.

Tres

Adult owls sleep upright, but baby owls must lie down to sleep because their heads are too heavy compared to their cute and small bodies, and their neck muscles aren't strong enough. Owls are my favorite animal, and this is one of my favorite facts about them.

Oh you wanted another deep and wise piece of advice? Sorry I just like owls.

And so the thing to learn here is that you should exercise your neck muscles from an early age.

And that's all. Hope you enjoyed this prime number of random thoughts, happy Sunday.