I always thought I had mastered my favourite subject (mathematics) since I had graduated and received a title as an engineer. When I was at school, I always entertained the idea that once you finish your career you know everything you need to work on your profession and then you can proceed to the next step. Whatever a next step is.
I thought I had “made it” and I shouldn’t worry about “looking back” to review what I supposedly knew so well. But I was surprised when I tried to enrol in an advanced quantum mechanics class, they asked me to take an online test to see my “level”, since this class was only for “advanced students”. And they expected us to have a certain level in order to deal with the concepts without having to “explain the basics” to the no initiated.
Although I had not many problems to answer that test, I was surprised to see that there were many areas where I didn’t feel so sure about my answers. Concepts I thought I had mastered long time ago, looked not so clear right now. Doubts appear on the way and that was a feeling I wasn’t very comfortable with. After all I had mastered that subject, I knew everything already, right? Or did I really?
The human mind has the capacity to store just millions of bytes of information without problem. But the neuronal connections that are not used often tend to be replaced or labelled as “unused” making the search more difficult to accomplish.
The feeling of “insecurity” was so strong that I opted to go back and review those areas where I didn’t feel so strong anymore. So I had to swallow my pride and began a whole review of math from the basics. And I must admit that I am enjoying the way they are now teaching the “new math”.
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