At the age of 18, most people are getting ready for college or trying to get a job. But March Tian Boedihardjo from Hong Kong is not like most people as he already accomplished both.
The Indonesian Chinese math prodigy born in Hong Kong is definitely way ahead of his time.
March managed to get an A in both Mathematics and Further Mathematics and a B in Statistics in the General Certificate of Education (GCE) A-levels in the United Kingdom. The two are entrance exams usually taken by 17-year-olds by he got those scores at only 9 years old.
A little later, he started his university education, the youngest to do so in his country, attending Hong Kong Baptist University in 2007. The 9-year-old has been tailored by the university with a 5-year curriculum only to finish it in 4 years.
News reports say that in his first day at the university, he criticized his classes and went on by saying that he found them way too easy and less stimulating than he had hoped. At the time, he also revealed that he wants to become a lecturer when he grows up.
Perhaps now that dream is going to come true at only 18 years old as he is now an associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) under a 3-year contract. The university is hailed as the 10th best in the world.
But when asked if his dream had come true, March had this to say, “Yes, but not entirely. It’s only a three-year contract and I still don’t know what I’m going to do after it ends.”
The instructor offer came after completing his Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Science and Master of Philosophy in Mathematics degrees at the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) and his doctorate program.
It turns out that brilliance runs in his family’s blood. March’s elder brother, Horatio, was also a child prodigy, who was admitted to the Oxford University’s Mathematics Institute at only 14 years old. His Their father, too, is of their kind being twice advanced to a higher grade during his primary school studies.
Now March says that he enjoys his life in America especially his teaching stint. He says that he still derives pleasure from studying mathematics and teaching classes of 30 to 40 students. March adds that he does not like giving lectures to larger classes, such as those with 200 students, which is rather common at the UCLA.
There is one thing that March hates about him being a prodigy though: being called a prodigy. He explains to the media when he was 13 that he felt the term implied that he hadn’t worked for his achievements.
Others may think that having to advance his studies had disallowed March to have a happy childhood, but this is something that he falsified. March clarifies that he had no regrets.
“If I were given a second chance, I would have gone down the same path,” he shares.