Caesar Bao

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When I was in preschool, we had a mental abacus class, and I was so bad at it. I always envied my classmates who got picked to attend the mathematical olympiad. I thought they were so smart, and I would never be as smart as them. The math teachers didn't like me either. So math was not something I thought I would ever be good at. I started exploring more into literature and arts. My little essay got published on a magazine when I was in first grade and won first prize. But the Chinese education system is more focused on how to get good grades on exams than learning the beauty of the subjects. Writing classes became boring; teachers always preferred essays that are fancy to read than the ones that are actually meaningful. I lost interest in the classes and had bad grades. My mom hired physics tutors, math tutors, and English tutors to tutor me privately after school. Even during summer breaks. The endless math and physics assignments made me dislike math and physics even more.

Because I disliked school so much, I never got good grades on the exams, and Chinese schools only grade you based on the exams. There are no participation points, no homework points, only final exam grades. To prepare for the final exams, the schools give students monthly exams and rank the students based on the exam grades. Although I had good grades on liberal arts subjects, my math, physics, and chemistry grades always kept me on the low rankings. The teachers told my mom that my grades were not good enough to get me into high school. So my mom decided to send me to the U.S. I attended Villa Madonna Academy, a private Catholic high school in Northern Kentucky.

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The first math class I had at Villa was geometry. I've encountered geometry in elementary school and middle school, so it was very easy for me. For the first time ever, I had an A in math class. The teachers never discouraged students who had bad grades. The classes are not just about exams anymore. I started to enjoy school. All the math teachers I had in high school were very nice. I stopped disliking math. I started to become a better student. It really is like what Prof. Long said on the first day of class, attitude is your best friend or worst enemy. My favorite subjects in high school were musical theater, psychology, and finance. I even enjoyed the religion classes. Although I'm not a Catholic, the catholic people around me were very nice and were not like the stereotypes portrayed on TV at all. The religious environment intrigued me to explore more about my own religion. I'm Buddhist; the more I learned about Buddhism, the more I got interested in philosophy and psychology. I read many research papers on Buddhist practices and the effects of the practices on the human brain. The research papers used a lot of statistics. I loved the clarity the data could provide. I loved using statistics in my AP psychology experiment reports. I was fascinated by the power of data.

Statistics is an essential aspect of every industry. Science researchers use data; the finance industry uses data, governments and corporations collect data. Data is crucial to today’s society. It allows organizations to determine the cause of problems more effectively, to visualize relationships between what is happening in different locations, departments, and systems. I am fascinated by the accuracy, and the firm evidential support statistics could provide me when making a decision. This intrigued me to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Statistics. A degree in statistics could offer me more than one secure career path. The flexible nature of this major is another reason I chose to study in it. A statistics major is endlessly adaptable. This has stemmed my interest from a great enjoyment of studying statistics to both mathematics and finance, as well as psychology. The flexibility of the major allows me to explore my options in many other areas. It allowed me to minor in psychology and music.

My current plan for a career is to become a great psychologist, investor, and musician. Working 9 to 5 is not for me. My goal is not getting employed and making money for other people. I believe busyness is a killer of the mind. I want to use my short life for things that I believe are more meaningful. Studying math and statistics has taught me that a problem could have many different solutions. Like there are many ways to live. It has shown me how to use my creativity in day-to-day life. Studying psychology has changed my view of the world. I have dreams of becoming a psychologist and helping people throughout my life. To me, being a psychologist is not a job. It’s a way of me giving back to society and making the world a better place. Growing up, I saw how my parents struggled with their life, trying to make ends meet. The difficult childhood restricted my ability to understand who I am, to pursue what I want to accomplish, and my therapist helped me through it. She changed my life for me, and I wish to do the same for others.


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I realized the importance of personal finance at a very young age. Investment is about choices and risk-taking. It has the ability to generate profits or cause losses. I think the same concept implies to life. The choices that we made in life are investments. They affect our future and influence the goals we aspire to achieve. Studying statistics can help me understand the probabilities and risks when it comes to navigating my investing decisions. I believe being an investor and a self-employed psychologist could free up a lot of my time and allow me to do other things that I enjoy. Such as making music. I love singing; it verbalizes the emotion of the music; it enables people to connect their feeling to the music on a deeper level. It can heal and warm a person’s heart, just like a therapist. I am very privileged to be able to make all the plans for my future, and I hope one day, through my work, I could help more people have the same privilege that I have.


Interesting math that I have encountered

0=1,

0=0+0+0+0+0+0+...,

0=(1-1)+(1-1)+(1-1)+(1-1)+(1-1)+(1-1)+...,

0=1+(-1+1)+(-1+1)+(-1+1)+(-1+1)+(-1+1)+...,

0=1+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0...,

0=1

I discovered this when I was scrolling through my YouTube Home page. I usually won't click any video that talks about math during my spare time. But this one was fascinating. I was like, no way 0 equals 1. It doesn't make any sense! But the teacher proved 0 equals 1. I was astonished. I know 0 definitely doesn't equal one, but how does the proof make so much sense? I didn't understand this until two years later. We learned series in my Calculus II class. This is Grandi's Series, and it's divergent. It's interesting how weird things happen with infinite sums.

It's like the Ramanujan Summation, 1+2+3+4+...=-1/12. How's it possible the sum of natural numbers is negative? You could prove it with Riemann Zeta Function; you could also think of it as the String Theory. I tried to make sense of it by reading more articles about it. But infinity is not a sensible value. It doesn't exist in nature. With the Bosonic String Theory, The string has different modes of oscillation; you get an infinite number of harmonics. With the seemingly infinite contributions, you could regulate them and try to make sense of infinity. When you sum up all the contributions, possibly it would lead you to -1/12 that feeds back into the 26 dimensions. With the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, you can't measure everything precisely. Trying to make sense of everything, scientists invent new mathematical fictions. Although String Theory doesn't reveal the nature of our universe, it's still a valuable tool to help us discover new aspects of our universe. p.s. My brain hurts from trying to understand String Theory. I still don't quite understand it, my explanation is probably wrong on many levels, but I hope it was an enjoyable read. :)

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