ANNIE: So I’m from China and for my third year of the university I choose to come here as a visiting student. So, first, when I was accepted by MIT, I was very excited, but after I came here that I realized there are lots of challenges I need to face, including the life and a study. And it was the same time that I decided to explore more about the astrophysics and cosmology.

So I choose 8.286 as my first step to do the exploration. And part of the reason that I choose 8.286 is that the professor for it is very famous, Professor Guth. And he wrote the text books and do lots of the breakthrough in this field, so I choose 8.286.

However, this is the class that needs you to do some accumulation of vast knowledge about the background of the things that you are going to learn. However, I didn’t have that preparation. So listen to the professor and keep up with the professor– each sentence is hard for me at first because– before I come here I took the English proficiency text, which include the listening part. And, for me, at the beginning, I think each sentence of the– in the lecture was exactly the same as I was taking that test. So my focus was purely on try to understand each sentence instead of to get the knowledge because, first, I have to understand what he was talking about and sometimes I would even drop the line. But I will try my best to pick up it and keep up with the– everything in the class.

At that time, I also choose some other classes, including 8.05, the Quantum II, and also the 8.233, the relativity, which is also time consuming. So I didn’t spend enough time in this class until the second quiz. So we have five problems all about the reading materials, but I only did one correctly out of the five. So my grade was bad. So after the second quiz I realized that I should do something to control the situation instead of the– let the situation to control me. So I think it would be good if I can write a email to the professor and ask what I should do to save myself.

So I already know the professor– they are very busy and they are world famous, so mainly asking what to do to how to read a book, this seems very silly questions to the professor, so I was hesitated. But I think there’s no other method I could take to save myself. So, at the end of day, I thought maybe it’s correct to sit down and write a email.

So I went back to my dorm, I close the door, turn on my computer, and start a first draft of the email. I first described in my situation and asked what should be a better way if I can read the book, get some background knowledge of the cosmology. And then I check my grammar, my tones, and also the structure of the email, yeah, to– until I realized that maybe everything would be OK if I can send it. So at the midnight I clicked the button and send the email.

To my surprise that it was read before the next class that I got a reply from a professor. And you have already– you can already speak two languages, which is very impressive. This is his first sentence. That was very encouraging and also give me some spirit– or it inspired me to keep going and try to change my situation. So after that, he also give me some suggestions like you can read the Chinese version first and then to grab some general knowledge about it and then you can read the English version, so I did what he told me.

And it was– there were two weeks before the last quiz, so I take that two weeks to go over– first go over the Chinese version, but just got the general idea because the words are, to some extent, changed between two versions. So after that I will read the English version in detail to get– to try to memorize the vocabulary, the words, and– which will closely connect it to the quiz questions. So I still remember that. Before the final, I didn’t sleep for a whole night and I didn’t bother to go back to my dorm. I just stay in the campus and try to memorize each– to go over the notes which I take during reading the materials and try to memorize everything. So I got satisfy grades for the final quiz.

And also from this experience that I know that MIT professors are always there as long as you are trying to reach out. They are always there to– they are willing to help you. What the professor said in the email still have positive effect on me even now because every time when I face challenges in my study, I think I can already speak two languages. Something– is there is something more difficult than this?