Hi there, this is Ex10si0n. I am thrilled to have been admitted to Carnegie Mellon University. It is a significant milestone in my life that deserves celebration 🎉! I am incredibly grateful and excited about this opportunity.
Asian as a Difficulty Level
As an Asian student from Mainland China, I have been immersed in the traditional Asian education system since childhood. I attended a prestigious school that encompassed elementary and middle school education. Like most typical Chinese high school students, I focused on excelling in mathematics.
The college entry exam, known as Gaokao, is a rigorous test that covers fundamental subjects and serves as the ultimate evaluation for Chinese students. The results of Gaokao follow a normal distribution, and I scored in the top 8.42% provincially, which was the average for my high school.
During that time, my main focus in high school was to lower my percentile and achieve higher marks. It sound harsh, but for Gaokao-oriented students in Mainland China, competition is the most common path forward. Although it may seem disheartening, it is a reality we have no choice but to accept.
Humans Are Not Just Percentile
Referring to the typical path of a Chinese student’s life, exams play a crucial role at every stage - from entry into elementary schools, high schools, and universities, to pursuing graduate studies. I must acknowledge that examinations are an effective means of assessing students’ academic capabilities. The use of exams as a decision-making tool by the authorities in China dates back to 587 A.D. Over time, the format of these exams has evolved. While we may no longer have a suffocating hierarchical administrative system, we still have rigidly stratified tiers of universities and administrative levels. These tiers are widely known, and many people tend to make comparisons between them.
However, what I believe is that grades do not provide a comprehensive evaluation of an individual’s thoughts, ideologies, experiences, and principles. The ability of an individual to get work done, for instance, is not easily assessed through a few examination papers. Humans are not machines. It is neither necessary nor meaningful to benchmark individuals based on the points or subjects defined by a minority authority.
Why Step on Others' Heads?
Involution (内卷), a sociological concept. When a cultral pattern has reached a certain level of development and is unable to break out of its own and can only continue to evolve and complicate itself internally.
Since about 2018, the term "involution" has become widely known in China, and has been extended to denote as a social pattern in which one must outperform others in competition. So people tended to compete rather than collaborate, at least for what I have been educated, each individuals want to step on other people's head and not supposed to have time to break and breathe. Mountainous of peer pressure, social pressure smother us and force us to strive for survive by competing with others, even the one you love, even your friend and family.
On the other side, the term, anti-involution, also absurd enough. Anti-involution is the approach to eliminate involution by criticizing someone who is doing their own works which is regarded as involution by others. Ultimately, people fulfill the value of themselves by stepping on others' heads as well as criticizing others, which is a tremendous internal consumption and cannot make people enjoy the knowledge itself peacefully.
996 is a representative example of extreme work hours. 996 refers to working from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M. for 6 days a week, which is very popular in big tech companies in mainland China and some specific groups led by Chinese seniors in North America. What is surprising is that the employees who work 996 actually dislike it, but continue to work in those positions. There are no protests or strikes, even though they may experience exhaustion after working 12-18 hours each day. This is because working during strikes is considered commendable by seniors and can lead to promotions. The employees are endure and get used to the workload but their paid not changed.
As people make efforts to step on others’ heads, the percentiles do not change, the salaries do not change, the heart attack rate rises with the GDP, while the quality of life shrinks along with their remaining life expectancy.
Everyone Deserved to be Discovered
Everyone deserves to be discovered, for within each person lies a unique set of talents, abilities, and perspectives that can contribute to the world in profound ways. No matter one’s background, age, or circumstances, there is something valuable and special within them waiting to be unearthed. Each individual possesses a hidden potential, a spark that can ignite their passions and bring forth their true purpose. From artists to scientists, writers to athletes, innovators to caregivers, every person has something remarkable to offer. It is through the process of discovery and recognition that individuals can tap into their full potential and make a meaningful impact on their own lives and the lives of others. Let us embrace the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to be discovered and appreciated for the treasures they hold within, fostering a society that values and nurtures the unique qualities of each individual.
Do Something Creative
Watching the YouTube video of a past graduation ceremony at Carnegie Mellon University, I was deeply moved by the words of Pat Gelsinger, the CEO of Intel, who said, “Do something creative.” Throughout my academic journey, starting from elementary school, I have engaged in various creative endeavors, such as creating a flashlight that could be switched on by pressing batteries, developing a beep piano powered by an HP calculator, crafting holograms, and designing intriguing computer programs. Unfortunately, these innovative creations were often undermined and considered a waste of time within our education system. In fact, You may get busted by deans or directors of your high school if they caught you are playing around with a calculator during the whole lecture. However, hearing these words from a respected individual reminds me that what I have accomplished is truly praiseworthy. I am genuinely touched by the validation and encouragement to pursue creativity.
Fight On, Tartans!
I am aware of the demanding workload at Carnegie Mellon University, as well as its reputation for having high tuition fees. While I acknowledge the challenges of managing both academic responsibilities and financial constraints, I am determined to seize this invaluable opportunity to pursue my master’s degree, gain unique experiences, and expand my network by connecting with individuals from around the globe. Besides, I am so excited to enjoy best lectures of computer related topics in the world and I am ready to playing around with well-known labs even though they are full of challenge.