Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Blessing in Disguise! =)

'How's Cambridge decision?' and  'Got any reply yet?' are among the most common questions that I got these few days. The actual decision was revealed finally after a few months, on last Friday. Some of my friends (in fact a lot) got rejected as always, and some of them got pooled. I don't personally know of anyone who got offer from the University, until just now someone told me that one of my friends got offer. I would like to congratulate those who got offers and commiserate those who got rejected. To those who are being pooled and waiting to be fished, good luck and have faith in yourself! =)

Unbeknownst to me, I was waiting for my decision like anyone else. Thanks to my senior, I was advised to stay calm and not to expect too much. Indeed, expectation would influence your immediate reaction at the moment you get to know your result. If you hoped too much, you will be very disappointed when you were rejected. If you did not expect much, you wouldn't feel that down if you were rejected. Moreover, you will instead be surprised by the success should you succeed in that matter.

So, I was waiting for the decision email to come hitting my email. Nothing. No changes from UCAS Track. I sent an email to Pembroke College's Admission Office and the admission officer asked me to wait until Monday (9 January). So I waited until Monday and still nothing came knocking my door. I sent another email to the admission officer and finally, she replied me just now. An automated email goes like this:

Wooohooo! A rejection! Surprised of my reaction? That was what most of my friends' reaction when they know that I'm happy for this. Why am I being so happy for being rejected? Why don't I feel that disappointed when I get rejected? If I tell you that I'm very happy and don't feel disappointed or sad AT ALL, I'm lying. I doubt anyone would feel extremely happy for being rejected. But, what is the element that makes me happy, and more importantly, what alleviates my disappointment in merely a few minutes? 

If you feel happy for your rejection, why do you apply in the first place? Well, I applied for Cambridge Maths mainly for its strong reputations and my deep interest in Maths. But sometimes a rejection doesn't mean that's a bad thing. Perceiving it from another point of view, it's a blessing in disguise. I had been rejected by many scholarships institutions two years ago, and what doesn't kill you would definitely make you stronger. 

What really rejoices me was my personal preference and the ability to think rationally out of emotions. Emotion is a very strong element that would influence everyone of us if we don't know how to control it, and use it for our own good. It could be so demotivating to the extent that you take it as a failure. When you view something as a failure, you will never get to stand up and search for other doors. When one door shuts down, often we are so overwhelmed with our emotion, that we do not realise many other doors are opened for us. So first thing to learn here, learn to control your emotion and not the other way round. 

What about my personal preference? Do I NOT like Maths at all? No, I love Maths and I would really love to pursue a career related to Maths. But at the meantime I must also be acknowledged that Maths Tripos at Cambridge is a course full of extreme level of mathematical theorems and proofs, and often is NOT consistent with real life applications. In other word, Maths Tripos in Cambridge teaches pure maths at extreme level with the main objective of moulding top notch mathematicians. 

You might argue that there are some rooms of real life applications for pure maths, but those are still very limited in fact. Number Theory (a branch of pure maths), for instance, can be applied in cryptography. One of  the advantages that I could think of studying Maths at Cambridge is, graduates would be able to pick up any sorts of knowledge (be it finance, economics etc) at a very fast pace as they have been trained rigorously throughout the whole course. The ability of understanding abstract mathematical concepts trained students to think beyond everyone else's remotest imagination. That's the ability that I wish to drill within myself. 

On the bright side, if I got an offer from Cambridge to read Maths, my hell will get started. Why? I would then be required to do STEP papers, which are NOT easy at all. Based on past year records, many Cambridge's Maths offer holders missed their offers simply because they didn't meet the requirement set for STEP papers. My A2 is coming this May/June 2012, and the combination of A2 and STEP is predicted to be a disastrous one. Plus, should I got an offer from Cambridge, my sponsor wouldn't let me go and would certainly pressurize me to firm it. Thank God for saving me from all the unnecessary stress. You know what I want eventually. 

I suspect my passion for pure maths is still at the scratch of the surface, and it definitely won't be consistent with the fact that many maths students pursue a degree in Maths because they appreciate the beauty of Maths and their extreme passion in Maths. Maths is itself a very beautiful creation I would say, but with the exposure to many other interesting elements like Economics and Finance, the passion for Maths alone somehow distributed over a larger area of subjects. 

Since I am deeply interested in financial market, I prefer to pursue a career not only emphasizing the importance of  maths, but also in statistics, economics and finance. Anyone who knows me well will definitely know that I like Actuarial Science, and recently grew my interest in trading and mathematical finance. I still have a lot to learn, and a lot to improve myself. I am still a novice in most of the subjects so I wouldn't have time to sulk over yet another life challenge of mine. 

Remember this, a challenge would only strengthen you if it fails to deviate you from your initial goal, or worst, topple you altogether. I have so many reasons to be grateful and cherish over, rather than be disappointed and sad. Anyway, I still have 3 offers on hand, and now it's the time for me to really ponder over what I really want. Living a life by counting blessings is very much indispensable than living a life of sadness. Thank God for everything I'm blessed with! =) 

Firm: The University of Warwick (MMORSE) / Cass Business School (Actuarial Science) 
Insurance: Heriot-Watt University (Actuarial Science) 


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