Monday, April 8, 2013

Who is behind every successful top-notch kid?

Last Friday, something amazing happened - my son had his first taste of victory at a major, major event at State level. He would have made US history at this major event, if he was surrounded by believers. My heart ached that day for my mistake - for my laid back approach - for not believing that he is one-of-a-kind and for not noticing prior to this event.

Every athlete before becoming something special or before entering world stage, always found a coach or a guide or a guardian who noticed he/she having or possessing a special talent and nurtures them to that legendary status. And that lacked at least till now in my son's life.

As a mom, I did certain things right - like providing whatever needed for him to be successful, but I did not follow through. Unknowingly, I taught certain important things related to this event which no mom would have done I guess, at the young age of three. I used to religiously read for him everyday related to this event while breast-feeding the other kid, and while he was sipping milk from his bottle. I provided puzzles of every kind but not with the intent for him to be successful but for fun. I had time and he was my first experience as a mother, so I poured my 100% attention on him. I followed my heart and taught whatever felt right at that moment to my brain. And he always showed enthusiasm in whatever I exposed to him. He was like a sponge, absorbing anything and everything. But I never did anything planned or with a goal.

Many times in the past, I questioned within myself whenever I saw this particular competition on TV - what do these kids get by knowing all these kind of  information - why do they want suffer at such a young age, the intense rounds of pressure, failure and disappointment. My son showed his potential by being almost always perfect on APP by scoring huge points. Did that ring my bell that he is one-of-a-kind? NO! My recent blogs or whole of this blog should explain - why? Because I got diverted and started chasing so-called  fictional "love" from 2008. I was going through my own demons.

My major defect was of not spending time to analyze him. This was my first experience too, witnessing directly such a major event - so I had no clue of how good he was compare to the other contestants. All I thought was from this experience we will know that how much he lacks in knowledge compare to his peers. Worst thing is even though he was good at apps or any quiz he participated online, and was constantly preparing from young age and that too with passion, I involuntarily decided to zero it down. The whole time during the preliminary rounds in the competition while I was waiting, I was like - is this the end - is he going to say this is what I did wrong - how many he answered wrong - how good the other contestants were.......I just did not believe in his potential. I did not know my own son. I am puzzled that why I did not think not even for a second that he has potential, that there is a possibility of winning or going to nationals.  He became the youngest runner-up instead of winner because of his parents' attitude. Other may say - hey, you should be happy that he was a runner up beating 98 best of the state that too in his first attempt. Yes true, but how did he reach the runner up status - ON HIS OWN. Where he would would have been if his educated parents showed or devoted 100% of their time in training him - the kid would have broken so many records - state and national - all they had to do was BELIEVE. The kid was ready to do hard work and have immense talent, passion, photographic memory - who did not get the best out of him - THE PARENTS!!

Yes, I am same the person who believes totally on a stranger/steward based on stares and smiles on a ten-hour flight and continues to keep hope and belief that one day we will meet for sure and then we both express how much we missed each other....Arghhhh....look at my PRIORITIES!!!

I have witnessed many times, whenever I don't get involved from piano recitals to any kind of school tests, kids grades show up. Young kids always needs parents guidance, attention, a little push for them to be best.

If my son won't win next year, it will haunt me for not being a smart parent, for not being top of the game, for not guiding him properly when he had the POTENTIAL and for sorting out my priorities. On Friday, every other parent congratulated me along with my son. I thought to myself - why are they congratulating me - it was all his effort. Right when I was about to sleep, that's when it hit me that for this kind of competition, a winner cannot be born without parents help. There is a ocean of material to learn for this competition. And it is not possible to do by yourself - you need guidance, planning, and someone to constantly check on progress/weakness/strong areas, and direct accordingly. Yes, I researched, provided whatever required, gave inspirational speech, corrected his negative attitude and making assumptions of which age group can win and which cannot based on past results. My mistake was by not following through -  studying the whole process of what can be asked - checking on his weak areas....anything which would have given me satisfaction of the end result by saying we together as a team - did whatever we could, we tried our best.....

My husband too had potential of becoming something but he did not become or win any major events to
surely tell the world or to himself that I'm best in
certain things. And the reason - same - PARENTS. His mother is a school dropout and father was busy socializing. And the result - son who had potential but nothing achieved for anybody to speak about. He always talks about his experience and not-so-great-glories. I had to tell him - if you think you had potential or you have the skill - your time is over, whatever knowledge you gained, spread it to your kids, guide/nurture them to be winners. Otherwise, what's the use of  that knowledge or experience. He is so involved in himself and half attempted victories. He should take pride in teaching his kids too. For this particular event what I have noticed is Fathers getting involved, taking pride in guiding and at the same time bonding with sons. It is like victorious together like a team. And that's the glory we should be talking about.

The whole experience proved that a winner cannot be born without a proper coach. The talent will perish or the world will not get a chance to witness if the talented person is not surrounded by right people with right attitude, who can spot greatness and nurture the candidate's natural talent. Everybody has some talent but some possess extraordinary, but for the world to witness the extraordinary, you need to have a right parent, a dutiful parent, a great parent who can bring out the best in his/her child or else the child with extraordinary talent becomes just ordinary.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A new journey to a new world....will I reach the shore?

Job search in January exposed me to the world of ACTUARIES. The first thing attracted about this job is that it doesn't expect candidates to have experience....all they need is to pass an exam to get an entry level job. I thought - wow, how cool is that.

My Google search led me to beanactuary site. Salary, prospects, age-no-bar, career makeover....everything sounded good. There were couple of sample questions related to P1 exam on the website....when I looked at it, I totally panicked. Long long ago, I was a math student and during that time, while I was learning probability/Statistics, I questioned myself - why the hell they make us learn sine, cosine.....blah, blah....when and where I will be using these knowledge in my life.

But now, I understand - how it answers and exposes to unknown, uncertain world with mere sample data and the pattern among the sample data.

Even though, I knew the actuary journey will be tougher, but I did not anticipate that it will be so unbelievably hard.

Maybe there is a pattern going on in my life where I always try to choose something impossible under my circumstances, and later when I fail, I cry about it, like chasing Steward. I never see what is close, right infront of my eyes, but chase something beyond my reach.

Whoever wants to tread this journey, should hook themselves to this website .  Once you sign up, you'll find a supportive group who are all treading under same water as you - the same fear of whether you can pass, the countless doubts ranging from problem solving to self-doubts about fulfilling your dreams.
When you think of giving up, that's when
you're really close to your destination.

There is one particular guy who is in his sixties - has passed the first exam after studying for an year - he is the one who inspires, always answers any kind of question. He is the one who motivated me to be on this course.

My sister always questions my judgement about why I'm pursuing such a hard thing. If I want a job, just to keep myself busy, why not to do testing or anything which is easier to get.

Well, I don't the answer, but I ventured out in this direction. I am enjoying the learning process, keeping myself busy, challenging myself even though I know, I suck. Even made a deal with God that if I get a paycheck this year, it indirectly proves that Steward really loves me and misses me.

Before I re-meet Steward, I need to find my identity or to create a new identity which introduces me as not-a-desperate-housewife-but-really-has-a-great-life-with-great-job-and -a-lovely-family. Like it or not, everybody is judged based on their job, aspirations.....
Yes, taking care of your own children and their well-being sounds lovely but nobody respects a housewife.

So anyway, through CASACT forum, I came to know that there are not many jobs, and many are waiting for Obama's health care to kick in which may open the gates of opportunities to entry-level Actuaries.

I thought, I will somehow manage to take May exam but the due date to apply for May exam is today and I am not comfortable about confirming my journey at this time - too early for me to say "YES' as all I know is what is what but not mastered each and every problem.

Finally, I queried the forum members:

I feel like I'm understanding the concepts when I going through the theory but while actual solving time, almost all exercise problems in ACTEX manual seems to apply new theory to solve. So every time it feels like I'm actually learning something new.  Do we have to keep on doing the same problems over and over to familiarize the concepts?
I went through one-fourth of Finan but thanks to a forum member, I got my hands on ACTEX study manual.....went through the theory and SOA problems....felt comfortable as the book covers exactly what is needed for the exam and every problem comes with a solution, so it was easy to learn without googling for every unfamiliar concept addressed my Finan's exercise problems.  Some of Finan's exercise problems pop up before the related theory, eg: Problem 9.9 has been asked to solve before introduction to Bayes' formula.

I did not solve any ACTEX manual SOA problems on my own as I told earlier, each and every problem  is addressing unfamiliar constantly I'm learning new concepts, new ways to solve, new ways to think After few days, if I see the same problem and if it is not a simple problem, I am not able to solve or having no clue of how to solve.

Is it happening only with me or everybody goes through this phase until you understand the concepts. The solution is to keep on doing same problems again and again until you clearly understand the concept and remember the process of solving the problem. I really need guidance on how to learn. I am overwhelmed by the whole learning process.

 Few members replied:

after a year of studying for P (I am a little slow, though) I never felt like I commanded it. I had a good number in Adapt, not an 8 though, and when I got to the exam, almost every single problem looked like a new one, almost like the last ones in SOA. Given infinite time, I would have solved them all. I ended up guessing like 5 or 6 and solving some of the most difficult, and leaving the ones where I had to do multiple integrals, not sure if by parts, lol, memory fails me now. I passed, barely, but passed. I was so happy, as after finishing the exam, thought I failed miserably, left a note complaining about the short time, and then after that I see a note saying I passed. Kind of exhilarating.

I have been a casual observer of this forum for a while. I just wanted to jump in for a minute and say that the advice and encouragement shared on this forum is very helpful to me as I take my shot at passing one of these exams. Thanks for those sharing their thoughts on the materials, studying and test experiences (we all seem to be in the same boat!) and especially those who have passed for sticking around and offering advice to those of us who have not. There are two types of actuary students: those who have passed an exam and those who have not, yet. 

Meanwhile, these is how I am studying: 
Wandering mind

Dirty Dance Movie

Actuary P1 exam
Actuary lessons along with art....
I suppose instead of a
guy and a girl conversation,
 it should have been policy holder and insurer....

a Venn diagram and a girl with whatever face.

So this is me swallowing my pride,
Standing in front of you saying,
I'm sorry for that night,
And I go back to June all the time.
 It turns out freedom ain't nothing but missing you.
Wishing I'd realized what I had when you were mine.
I'd go back to June, turn around and make it all right.
 I go back to June all the time.

I wake up at 5:45 AM, from then on, I get kids ready for school. Once they leave, I watch GMA while having breakfast. I can start studying from 7 or 7:30, but I feel lethargic as Sun is still not out, dark all over. I browse and do my ritual of searching any related tweet about my favorite airline and its members, and then I get depressed. Almost everyday other than weekends, I cry, not just cry, but wail in distress of not talking with Steward on that day while listening to songs on the radio. Recently, my neighbor passed away, my husband mentioned about family members crying softly. I asked, "how come they are not wailing", he said, "people cry, only if they miss them too deeply, when they can't bear the thought of never to see them again". Well, I guess, that's what is happening with me - the way I wail which is quite surprising for myself.

If I try, I can really spend 4 hours at least without any kind of disturbance but I'm not able to.

Finally, I have to express my sincere thanks to United States libraries, all you need is - to have a dream to study, dream to achieve something big, the libraries can provide you any book in the world without you spending a penny, with Inter-library loan facility. I am thinking to take the exam in July. Hope I'll study hard and not waste my time. FOCUS! FOCUS!!

30 questions in 3 hours.....multiple choice...easy right? NOOOOOOO!!! The questions will be hard and the points are given based on toughness of the problem, not straightforward points based on how many you got right.

Is it just one exam, and then you're settled????? NOOOOOOO!!!  First one is for entry. It could take from 6-10 years to pass all of the exams but experienced fellows have the potential to earn from $150,000 to $250,000 annually.

According to Hinduism, no experience goes waste. Every time when you move from one moment to the next moment you are expanding, you are growing, and you are learning. If you look from this angle even your death is auspicious because you are going to the next step. Only if you are not clear about the next step you will feel the fear of death.