Vita Markman

An Expression of Gratitude to Alan Prince

Possibly unbeknownst to himself, Alan made a profound influence on my life. He did so with a single piece of advice, which I remember vividly and rely on till this day. During my first year of grad school, I was debating whether or not to take a Formal Methods class, which is usually recommended for second year students or above. One day, I casually expressed my doubt about taking the class to Alan. I said that I want to take the class, but it is probably too difficult at this point, and I should wait. Even the professor who was teaching Formal Methods recommended that one take it during the second year or later. Alan’s response was different. He said plainly: “you should challenge yourself.” And I decided to do it. It was a difficult class, but despite that, I did well. Most importantly, I took Alan’s advice to heart and applied it in other courses that seemed daunting, and later to many other endeavors which seemed beyond reach. Every time I was in doubt whether something is “too hard” and whether I should “wait” to do it when I am “ready”, I remembered Alan’s words “You should challenge yourself.” And that his advice worked and therefore I should try. Alan’s words continually encouraged me to push myself harder to do things that seem initially outside my grasp. I am forever grateful to Alan for his encouragement and for making me seek challenge and believe in myself.

Vita Markman

Be happy for this moment.
This moment is your life.
~ Omar Khayyam

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