Top of the Class

Ep #25 Winning a Child Genius Show and Study Tips Worth Remembering!

January 09, 2021 Crimson Education Season 1 Episode 25
Top of the Class
Ep #25 Winning a Child Genius Show and Study Tips Worth Remembering!
Top of the Class
Ep #25 Winning a Child Genius Show and Study Tips Worth Remembering!
Jan 09, 2021 Season 1 Episode 25
Crimson Education

Have you ever tried to memorise the order of a shuffled deck of cards? What if you had a time limit and had to recite the order in front of judges on a national television show?

That's exactly what Mahesh Namasivayam had to do as a contestant on Child Genius Australia, a competition he won in 2019 for a variety of academic feats (see the final episode here).

In this chat, we talk about how he memorised the deck of cards using his love of the FIFA football game along with his study tips for other students, how the title of being a 'genius' sits with him and what he hopes to do after school.

  • Click here for more information about the high IQ Mensa organisation. 

Mahesh is a current Crimson Rise student. The Top of the Class podcast is powered by Crimson Education. If you want to learn more about your path to top US, UK or European universities, learn more about Crimson's tutoring and mentoring services.

Do you have a story you'd like to share with the world? We invite student listeners to fill in this form to be considered for the show.

**Download the Ultimate Resource Bank for Science Students with the favourite resources from young scientists featured on the Top of the Class**

Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever tried to memorise the order of a shuffled deck of cards? What if you had a time limit and had to recite the order in front of judges on a national television show?

That's exactly what Mahesh Namasivayam had to do as a contestant on Child Genius Australia, a competition he won in 2019 for a variety of academic feats (see the final episode here).

In this chat, we talk about how he memorised the deck of cards using his love of the FIFA football game along with his study tips for other students, how the title of being a 'genius' sits with him and what he hopes to do after school.

  • Click here for more information about the high IQ Mensa organisation. 

Mahesh is a current Crimson Rise student. The Top of the Class podcast is powered by Crimson Education. If you want to learn more about your path to top US, UK or European universities, learn more about Crimson's tutoring and mentoring services.

Do you have a story you'd like to share with the world? We invite student listeners to fill in this form to be considered for the show.

**Download the Ultimate Resource Bank for Science Students with the favourite resources from young scientists featured on the Top of the Class**

Podcast Host  00:00

Hi, Mahesh. Welcome to the Top of the Class podcast. It's fantastic to have you on the show. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself?

Mahesh 00:56

My name is Mahesh. I'm 14 years old and I'm most well known for winning the second season of SBS Australia's Child Genius in 2019. I am from the north of Sri Lanka. That's where my parents are from and they migrated here in 2004 a couple years before I was born.

Podcast Host  01:14

Fantastic. and talk to us a little bit about what exactly SBS Australia's Child Genius is like, for those people who haven't seen the competition, we've got listeners from all around the world. Can you explain a little bit for us?

Mahesh 01:26

SBS Australia's child genius was essentially it's a show for social 16 children are selected from a process that starts at about 1000. And it's basically children go through four days of competition to determine a winner. And there's different rounds in different subjects such as spelling, mathematics. And everyday there's also a memory and recall round, such as after the math round. On day two, we had to memorize a randomly shuffled deck of playing cards,

Podcast Host  01:56

Right? But take me back to when you first entered the competition, like what made you want to be a part of this TV show?

Mahesh 02:02

Well, my parents and I, we watched the first season in late 2019. And we we found it quite interesting. And we thought of it as a possible opportunity, but then sort of forgot about it. And then we read in the men's magazine, Australian men's magazine that auditions were going to be open. And we had a little chat with my parents. And I was sort of very apprehensive about entering because I thought I wasn't at the requisite level to enter in the show, let alone win. And so I was quite sort of what Yeah, I was really apprehensive about it. And I was not very keen on going. But my dad thought, you know, if he doesn't make it, it's not the end of the world. We'll just give it a shot. And so we we ended up flying out to Sydney for the auditions in March 2019, where there were about 900 people. And then that was eventually through the process of elimination whittled down to 16, who competed in the actual show.

Podcast Host  03:02

And so what was the process of elimination? Like, because that's a very fierce competition 900 down to 16. I think you could probably work out the percentages faster than I can. But it's a very, very small amount of students that are actually chosen for the show, how do they get down to that? 16 people.

Mahesh 03:18

So it's first like, right here in Melbourne, we did a Skype call with one of the producers who you know, asked me some basic questions just to get an idea of where my strengths are, and a few questions to determine my suitability for competing in terms of actually being on TV, or sort of the psychological side rather than the cognitive side of things. And then once we were told that we had been successful in this way, we're fine out to Sydney based off the written application and the interviews. And then we started taking sort of academic tests to do with, you know, maths, there was a moment there was spelling, and there was a science component. And these were, you know, just like standardized school tests, which were basically again to ascertain our ability and sort of pressurized situation. Then we also had interviews with the psychologists that SPS had hired for the purpose of child genius, and they took detailed notes on how will this student react to being on camera, and we sort of had little practice interviews. So 400 became 150, who are invited to the second day of auditions, which then became 50, then 25 and 16.

Podcast Host  04:32

So what was the general bizarre vibe of that kind of place? 900 talented smart students from I'm going to guess all over Australia and not just Sydney, who have all kind of packed in to try and get on this show. was their match kind of chatting to other students on the day trying to gauge who else might be on the final kind of 16 at the end or were you all just kind of you know, sticking with your parents at the day.

Mahesh 04:57

That was a big mix of things, you know, like they were some really great people there. Um, and it, it always feels great when you're talking to people who are have, you know, the same interests and same intellect as you because you, you bond quite quickly. And you know, we were we were chatting to each other about, like some of us had watched the last season. And you know, we were chatting about some of the other people on there and how, you know, one question can completely derail your chances sometimes. And so, you know, it was quite interesting. And there was a mix of people, you know, there were people who were 12 at the time, like me, and they were in the same room as little eight year olds, and they sort of just blew your mind, these little eight year olds are so smart and have such a high level. And yeah, it was, it was a really great experience in terms of the social aspect, because you got to meet new people who, especially with some of the older kids of the other 15, whom I competed with, who had phones and things like that. So we were able to communicate after the short and we maintain those links. Oh, that's awesome.

Podcast Host  05:58

What strength did you go in to that show with because you said the producers were asking you about what your strengths were? And like, how did you know what your strengths were going in?

Mahesh 06:08

Well, I knew that I hadn't been aptitude for memorizing things, because I sort of had this really, really weird talent when I was little where, because I would sit in my high chair, and right in front of it was a calendar. So I would be staring at that all the time. And so I was able to, you know, memorize dates and look at patterns. And if someone asked me, What date will June 26 2014 be like, I was able to tell them within 15 seconds. So that was something that unfortunately, I don't possess anymore. But it was sort of something that really sort of defined me as a person, whenever we saw people, my dad will be like, Oh, my son can do this. And so you know, it was it was quite interesting, because people liked it.

Podcast Host  06:53

Certainly an impressive trick. And like, I struggled to figure out five days ahead of me, we know what date it will be. And that kind of thing, if you can figure out what it's going to be four years from now, or I know, used to be able to do that when you were perhaps a little younger. But yeah, the fact that you were able to do it when you were younger is probably even more impressive, to be honest.

Mahesh 07:11

Like the way I did it was I sort of used patterns to analyze, like, I thought, you know, today is December the 18th. And it's a Friday. So next year, I know that next year is not a leap year, so it will be a Saturday.

Podcast Host  07:24

So then you can just mentally do the math or the arithmetic and work it out pretty quickly.

Mahesh 07:29

I knew I knew what the views were. And it was quite simple. And I took a lot of shortcuts to do it. So yeah.

Podcast Host  07:35

Okay. And I'm also interested in I guess, how your ideas or understanding of intelligence has changed through this experience, because you came in with a set of skills, and you came in with a set of aptitude. But I'm sure you met a lot of other students through the process, like your friends to the competition, who have different skill sets, different aptitudes, etc. So what do you define? Or how do you understand intelligence? When people speak about, oh, someone's a genius? Like, is it an IQ score? Is it memorization? Is it you know, under pressure, being able to solve things on a TV show? Like, what's your understanding of intelligence?

Mahesh 08:15

I think, you know, people who define intelligence purely based off things like an IQ score or test results, it's a bit of a tunnel vision, sort of, because there are other things that determine how well you perform in a certain situation. Obviously, if you are in an exam, how much you know, is an integral part. But as well as that, it's how well you deal with the pressure of being in an exam. And even if, you know, it's the sort of mental images that you have while doing the exam, because if you walk in, and you're like, I'm going to fail this exam, then your mind adjust to that sort of, I'm going to fail, I'm not going to pass. But if you come in with confidence, which is the confidence is aided, if you prepare well, then knowing you prepared well, you feel good about the exam, which then enables you to do well. So even if you know, even if you're not a straight A student, if you if you have those external factors, it can help you do well. So it's not it's not just Nike, yeah.

Podcast Host  09:17

Right. Right. You know, it's a good way of thinking about it. And I'm sure like, your understanding of intelligence is changed as a result of the competition as well like saying, people who are really good at X or Y, or Z, or you know, whatever it might be that they've got a really good skill setting, and you're able to appreciate it even though you might not be at their level, you're like, yeah, they're really smart for that particular reason. They're really smart for that particular reason. like everyone's got their own kind of flavor of smart if you know what I mean. Yeah,

Mahesh 09:42

and it can also it can depend on prior experiences, like I was good at that dates thing because I stayed in calendars all the time. And people who would have read a lot when they were younger, are naturally better at English and spelling, and things like that, because they've basically grown up around books and words, so You can see like, there was one guy on the shirt he was the name was Justin. I believe he was 10. And he was ridiculously good anagrams and anagrams were, in my opinion, the hardest part of charging is I didn't get a single one, right. And so there were 11 letter words, and he was getting the anagrams within five seconds. He was amazingly good at it. And I asked him and I said, How are you this good at anagrams? Did you just do a lot of practice on these? or What did you do? And he said, I used to read a lot when I was little. And I had a set of jigsaw puzzles with the 26 letters on them. And I would make words and imri, arrange them and make more words and things like that. So there's that kind of experience, which helps you to be better at something in the future. Yeah,

Podcast Host  10:43

it's interesting, I think, in terms of that kind of early concept of what makes a genius, right, like when I was in primary school, and I think this might be a situation for you as well, not too long ago, it was about the times table races, and whoever is like dominating the times table races who just cannot be beaten, everyone's like, Oh, my God, who is that kid. And usually like, they've got the times table on the back of the bathroom door, or like back of their bedroom door. And they just say it all the time, they come across it all the time. And as a result, like it's just, you know, the recall is a lot easier for them. But it is interesting, like how a kind of very specific, almost trivial type of skill, like solving anagrams or memorizing a deck, I mean, memorizing a deck of cards is actually pretty impressive. And I'm interested to ask like how your brain processes that kind of information. But it's like a trivial skill down at a really high level can take a student, especially when they're kind of eight to 12 years old, from being just a normal student up to like genius level, because they do it super super well, like 10 times better than any other student. And even if it's like a fairly basic skill, everyone's going to be looking at that student being like, Oh my god, they're a genius, even though they just grew up around that one particular skill. Do you see that that kind of thing is an aspect of child genius, where they might not necessarily be an all rounder, like super smart student, but they've just got a particular skill they're really good at.

Mahesh 12:07

I should have mentioned this before, but how other people perceive you can also impact how you perceive yourself. And so if people are walking around looking at you and saying, That kid is a genius, and makes you feel good, and it makes you feel confident. And in this day and age of technology, times, tables and things, it's all about beating everyone at mathletics, and things like that. So Oh, that's what it was when I was in, prep a new one. So you know that that sort of also impacts how you go about things. And even if it's just one skill, that one skill could be anything and everything amazes people. And so, you know, when when people are that sort of all struck by you, it makes you feel good, too.

Podcast Host  12:48

Yeah, well, let's get into that whole kind of perception thing, because I'm really interested in that. You've been crowned Australia's child genius. Since that time, how well or not well has that title set with you. Because obviously, like some people might say that that adds pressure, because I saw the trophy that you want, it's half your size, it's massive. So I mean, having that kind of trophy, having that kind of title, it might give you confidence when you go into school, or go into different interactions with different people. But yeah, how was that title set with you over the last year or so?

Mahesh 13:19

It gives me a bit of pride to know that people recognize me for that. But on the other end, you know, I don't necessarily approve of the fact that that's all that people know me for. Like, sometimes if I introduce myself to people like, Oh, you want this TV show. And like, there's things there's other things about me, I feel like they see it as the only part of my personality. And that irks me a little bit, but I'm still super happy that they do know that because, you know, it's like odd that they have heard of me, they've watched this show. So it's like, it makes you in that sense, feel good. But you know, I don't necessarily agree with the fact that it should be all people know me for and my friends have been very supportive before as well. So that is also something that I very much appreciate. Like they while it was airing, they were very supportive of me. And one offered to buy my trophy for 100 bucks. So, you know, there's that sort of pay support, which is also great. So there's two sides of the coin.

Podcast Host  14:22

Well, I mean, offering to buy the trophy for $400 is a bit of a odd side of the coin, but I guess you know, yeah, it's a pretty impressive trophy. So I don't really blame that friend of yours for wanting to buy it off you do you feel the weight of expectations when you go into an exam or you get up there and you know you're doing times tables in primary school, whatever it might be. Did you feel the weight of expectations that like everyone was trying to beat you? Mahesh is like the child genius. And if you slip up, everyone will be like “oh…”

Mahesh 14:54

everyone loves a bit of friendly competition. And no one's perfect and being child genius. Doesn't get guarantee that I'm going to ace every exam, or be the darks of my school or things like that. I do feel sometimes that pressure that comes from it, but I try not to let it get to me. Because, obviously, yeah, this is a big achievement. But it's, as I said before, it's not everything about me, I can do other things. And so I try to keep it out of my head, and which is also, you know, something that helped me during the competition, because I was being looked at as one of the top people in that pool of 16. And, you know, I just kept doing my thing and paid off, so you can get into that circle of letting it get to you. And then it sort of makes you crumble a little bit or, you know, you can push it away, and I try my best to keep it out of a shot.

Podcast Host  15:46

Well, I think it's really the difference between healthy competition and unhealthy competition. And if students are kind of getting towards that unhealthy competition, where they're getting anxiety around exams, where they're like, feeling like one Mark slipped is like a big issue, then that's starting to get unhealthy. Would you agree with that?

Mahesh 16:03

Yeah, I think so you know, that there's a line that needs to be drawn sometimes, like, sometimes, you know, my parents, if I dropped a few marks in an exam, which I know that I shouldn't have, then you know, it's like, it's good. Because I get encouragement from my parents, it's like, you know, I know you can do better not you should be doing better. I know, you can do better that sort of constructive criticism versus not so constructive criticism. And you know, sometimes my friends joke with me like your child Janie's you should be icing it, I take that lightly. And because after all, you know that they're just my peers. They're not like, you know, minority finger or anything. So I enjoy the sort of banter that comes with it. But I agree that there is a line that needs to be drawn,

Podcast Host  16:49

I really respect that you have reflected on the title and how you interact with it, right? Like, I feel like it's not a title that's owning you and changing the way you see the world. Like, it's just something that you know, is there and it's kind of ever present. But you don't let it get to you, which I think, yeah, pretty impressive. And it's something that I think a lot of students struggle with early on to kind of have that maturity around a title. Now, you're at a great school here in Australia, and you're also part of the Crimson rise as well. But what do you like to learn? And how do you keep yourself interested and engaged and you know, wanting to learn more.

Mahesh 17:28

So I, I do a fair bit of extension I did a lot in primary school, I still do a fair bit here and there. And my secondary school, I think there's also external factors, like, obviously, you can't be doing all work and no play. And I feel like, again, having really great peers around me has helped me to, you know, stay focused, because when I want to, I can relax a little bit, that helps me to stay switched on when I need to, and keeps me motivated to learn. Because I know that whenever I step into a classroom, I've always got great people around me. And so it makes me you know, look forward to going to school and things like that.

Podcast Host  18:08

Now, if you had an hours free, or say a day free, and you were in the mood to learn something, what would you spend your day learning?

Mahesh 18:16

It's a good question. I've always been interested in making music electronically, using digital audio workstations, things like GarageBand Logic Pro, and I've always enjoyed doing it at school, and I've bought a MIDI keyboard, which I use at home, to make music. And I've always wanted to learn how to really properly do it, like the professional says, probably something that I would go through first.

Podcast Host  18:41

Nice. Well, it's interesting, I've come across a lot of students, as a result of being the host of the top of the class podcast, who are doing their own learning in a lot of different areas. hadn't heard that one before. So I think Go for it, you know, like, yeah, it'd be interesting to kind of see where that ends up. And, you know, it's interesting to kind of, I think, apply yourself to research projects and all this other kind of cool extension. So if you are wanting to get out of the school bubble a little bit, where would you go? Would it be Instagram? Would it be going on Google YouTube? Like, if you wanted to learn something that was a bit of left of center and to engage in a different field completely? Where would you go?

Mahesh 19:20

If I wanted to learn something for free, obviously, YouTube is the first place you'd go, because there's tons of how to videos on nearly every area. Udemy is good. If you've got a little bit of money to spend. I wanted to take a course in a in a programming language, then I would head straight there. So I wanted to learn all about the aerospace industry in half an hour, then I'm going to YouTube but if I wanted to learn how to program and I bought, then I would go to Udemy. Okay, no, that's

Podcast Host  19:49

a good differentiation. I like that. Talk to me about the deck of cards memorization because that seems to be an impressive part of what about what you did on the child genius program. What was the challenge if you could explain it, I mean, sounds pretty obvious memorize a deck of cards. But how did you perform on the program in doing that, and then I think it would be great to kind of learn a little bit about how your brain processes like a lot of information very quickly, and like seeing patterns or whatever you might do.

Mahesh 20:17

By that stage of the competition, there were 12 competitors remaining. And we had 45 minutes to memorize a randomly shuffled deck of cards that had been shuffled and then bound with a key chain thing. So basically, you had to memorize those and come out and recite them in front of the host, the two panelists and the crowd. And so I had a very, very, very strange technique to do this, because I knew that I would have 45 minutes, I chose a technique, which was sort of would take more time, like some people, were memorizing them in 10 minutes, and then just practicing practicing practicing for the remaining 35. But, you know, because I knew that I had that time, what I did was, I was an avid FIFA player at the time of the competition. And so I had a bunch of, you know, lineups of different teams memorized. And so I assigned each assigned four teams to each suit. And so what I did from there was I knew their starting lineups, like by heart, and so each card was assigned to assign him so one was the goalkeeper 235 with defenders, six through eight were midfielders nine through the jack were attackers, queen to substitute goalkeeper and kings a head coach. And so I would go through the card, and we had paper to write the notes down. And so I've got one, this is this player from this team. And once I was done with that, I flipped the paper over and start writing a short story based on it would read like commentary by the end of it is this guy passes to this guy. And if it was a goalkeeper coming next then and I had a striker beforehand, I had a little jacket, this guy shoots and scores past him. If that makes sense. Yes. And so I went through this with the full 52 cards, then I would read it through twice. And then I by then I will be able to recite it. And it works for me, I got all 52 cards, and I recited them pretty quickly, one minute and 15 seconds, which is good.

Podcast Host  22:16

That is crazy. What an awesome technique a I think that it actually combines a lot of like, I've done some interesting research into memorization and techniques for that bit like that whole kind of story concept, or attaching what is I guess an arbitrary figure, like the jack of spades or whatever, to something that you're more familiar with? Which is exactly what you did? So is this are these like practice skills for you? Did you know that you were going to do that as you came in? Or as the challenge came up? You're like, Okay, I've got to memorize things. What do I know Really? Well, I know FIFA lineups.

Mahesh 22:49

Well, in this in the case, specifically of the memorizing cards, I'd seen it happened last year. So I knew, you know, that's a sort of unique thing. They're not going to get rid of that for next year. So when the time came to apply, I knew beforehand that I was going to need to do this. And so I watched three sports, mainly I watch a lot of cricket, basketball and soccer. And the one that stood out and I thought I would be best at was the soccer lineups. And so I went through it with my parents and we we practiced, it must have been about 20 times. And so with that level of practice, you know, I was feeling pretty good heading in. And as I said, a while back, that confidence also plays a part in how you perform. And because I was feeling good about myself, I think that helped me just sort of sit down and I was getting straight into it.

Podcast Host  23:40

Yeah. So does that kind of technique of memorization carry over into any other aspects of academia? Like if you're going into an exam? Do you also have FIFA players and lineups on your mind? Or is it just specific to memorizing cards?

Mahesh 23:56

I wouldn't use that technique if I needed to memorize things like dates. But because it's a bit long and convoluted, and it was unique to that situation where I knew I would have that time. Unless you already know beforehand. I wouldn't use it because it's it takes too long. It's very unique to that situation.

Podcast Host  24:18

But is that how you generally approach learning new things is like, Okay, I've got this new piece of information or I need to be able to reproduce what I'm saying he he then kind of like sifting through what techniques might be best for that given situation?

Mahesh 24:34

Yes, sometimes, you know, like in in another round of child genius we were given a table with so it was related to creatures of the ocean. And we had the English name, the scientific name, the depth, they found out that diets their size, their lifespan, and interesting facts about them and where they found in the world. And so that was a giant table of information. for which it was sort of best to split it up. And we again had a lot of notes. So the first sort of step I had was making connections between the English and scientific names, like a sample question might be, provide the scientific name for the great white shark or something like that, like, I might try and make a connection between the English and scientific name, that one will sort of just sit down and memorize it. Like there was no clear cut technique which I use to go with that.

Podcast Host  25:31

Right. But I think what I'm saying from you, though, is that when you see a set of information, whether it be cards or deep sea animals, those kinds of things, it's like, how can I make a bit of a pattern out of whatever I'm saying, How can I make this easy for myself? Can I pair things up? Can I, you know, relate it to something I already know. So it's not 100 pieces of information, it's 50 pairs of information.

Mahesh 25:52

A sort of good analogy that I sort of just popped into my mind is, when you're using a vacuum cleaner to clean your house, it's not going to pick everything up in one word, which is why you go back to the start and go again. After that, it does pick it up. And it's the same with information. Like when I first got this table of information, I would scan it, and sort of pick up information. Obviously, I can't memorize everything by reading it in one go. And so and I go back and go through it again, and again, and again, and again. And so I would split it up into pages in the same way that you vacuum different rooms at different times. And so that was sort of something that helped me instead of trying to memorize the whole thing in one go, we had one hour for the memory round, and it was 583 pages. So you know, I take about 12 minutes, approximately first six minutes is memorizing everything on that page, then next six minutes is, you know, sort of trying to recite to myself, what's on there?

Podcast Host  26:50

Okay, you know, it's interesting techniques.

Mahesh 26:52

My techniques are a little unorthodox, but you know, they worked for me, they might not work for everyone, but they helped me a lot. And so it's sort of just from my personal experience.

Podcast Host  27:03

Okay, well, let's break it down for perhaps the general audience out there. If there was one or two pieces of advice that you would give for students to approach memorization as a technique, or kind of like figuring out what works best for them. What advice would you give?

Mahesh 27:18

I think the best advice I can give them is, don't dismiss anything as that's not gonna work for me always give it a shot, no matter how weird or wacky it is. Because that FIFA technique which I use for cards, it was idea that came from my dad, he said, Is there anything you're interested in that you can link to these cards? And I said, I like I like playing FIFA. And he said, What have you thinking, and then I came up with this lineup idea. And I thought it was really weird. But then when I tried it, it works really well. And so don't be quick to dismiss anything. Or I guess don't judge the book by its cover. Yeah, just give everything a shot. And it also depends on the situation. If you're getting something a couple of weeks before the exam, try the sort of vacuum cleaner thing, study one day, take as much as you can, then test yourself on what you've attended taking the previous day, and then fill in those gaps. I hope that makes sense.

Podcast Host  28:11

Yeah, no, it does. I think it makes even more sense. When I think back to the exams that I did in the past. I don't do any exams these days, luckily. But you know, when I was going through exams, I didn't really have any techniques. I was just kind of like studying my notes. And I think it was kind of haphazard as to what I would remember. And what I would forget. However, seeing it one of the guys when we're doing Australian history exam. It's pretty funny. We're walking into the exam. And he was so nervous. He was sweating heaps, and he had written quotes down on the palm of his hand because he couldn't remember them. And his hand was all sweaty. So they're all smudging. And I'm like, bro, you did not prepare too Well, did you hear? And he was like, dude, I'm so stressed. I hate this. So it's like that exam anxiety. And I think, I think if you can say to yourself, honestly, that you prepared and planned for the exam and you had certain techniques in preparation, it will just give you so much more confidence going in, right? Like, you must go into an exam pretty confident, because you have been applying techniques to the way you study, not just putting in hours into study. And I think that's a quite a big difference when you think about it. Like it's studying smarter. Everyone says, you know, you got to study smart. And I think one of the things that you must be able to do by now is definitely study smart.

Mahesh  29:28

Yeah, like work smart. Not hard. Yeah, it's at the end of the day, everyone has their own preferences, things work for people that might not work for other people. You know, someone after listening to this might throw out a deck of cards and try the FIFA method, but it might not work. You need to build up a healthy fear for addiction to get to get to that point. So it's unique to everyone. But again, like don't dismiss anything as too weird or too wacky because there is no technique which is completely useless to the situation.

Podcast Host  30:00

Fantastic. Just a few more questions for you, Mahesh, what's your mentor group or what's your, they say you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. And people who are encouraging you, you mentioned your friends have been fantastic support. But I'm going to guess your parents have also been a great support sounds like your dad's been really integral to kind of helping you develop, but then there's the young Mensa community, you've got your friends now that you've met through the child genius program. So I guess who these days do you see is like your core group that helps you to keep pushing along and doing great things.

Mahesh 30:32

Obviously, you know, the most integral people to that are my, all my family, my parents, obviously, they're responsible for who I am, like the 50% of who I am today is that and they made decisions when raising me which have come out to be the right decision. So obviously, I would like to them and what they've done for me and the sacrifices they made, you know, fleeing a war in Sri Lanka to come to come here so that I can have a better life is something that I don't take take for granted. Because it's allowed me to have a much better education and set myself up much better for the future. And then after that, you know, is my friends, they were like a great support for me, you know, the very few who knew that I was doing child genius. And then by the time it was airing, you know, everyone knew the sort of the banter and jokes about it has been, you know, it's been good. And I also, you know, sort of indebted to them for the support that they've given me throughout this time. And then I've got a 10 year old little brother, who made a fleeting 32nd appearance on child genius, which he was very proud of. And he's also, you know, an integral part because, as opposed to if I was an only child, the personality changes a lot. And so he's been there for me a lot as well, which is really great.

Podcast Host  31:52

And then what kind of role does young mentor typically play? Because I know there's a lot of students out there who probably know of mentor but might not know that there is a young mentor community. But would you recommend pretty highly intelligent students to look into joining something like young Mensa?

Mahesh 32:08

Yes, 100%. I don't always get the chance to go to their events, because I've got a pretty busy schedule, but they're a really great opportunity for everyone to connect with other people who have the same level as you. And that's something that shouldn't be taken lightly. And, you know, it's, it's like joining young Mensa, obviously, there is a requisite level. But even if you don't feel like you're at that level, just give it a shot. Because, you know, I I didn't think that I was at the requisite level for child genius, but look where I am now. So it's a really great opportunity and do not pass up on it.

Podcast Host  32:47

Good recommendation, I think it is a fantastic organization to be a part of like international organization of smart people work. Why would you miss out on that? Right? And that's a pretty, pretty key way of summing it up. And what's next for you? So you just wrapped up your aid? What do you see you kind of progressing through school? And potentially, if you had a crystal ball, what would you want to do after school as well?

Mahesh 33:11

Well, obviously, the aim is I would like to get into a top American University be that, you know, some, like one of the Ivy League universities or MIT, Stanford, etc. And that's sort of like the ultimate dream. And I'm hoping that at least as a nation, America is a bit more stable by then. But that's the ultimate dream. And I've seen people in my family and my parents, friends, they've dreamt it, and I've done it. So it's, I'll always look at that as something that I'd like to do. And then after that, I'd love to work at one of the big tech companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, or Apple, because Google CEO, being from a community that speaks the same language as me is a role model to me. And I look up to him because he grew up in India, in South India, in a middle class family in this, you know, apartment in Chennai. And so the way that he's able to been able to drag himself up from that is really inspiring. And he's sort of the reason why I like to go to America study work.

Podcast Host  34:20

Yeah. Actually visited Stanford in January. I don't know if you've ever been to the end of the US campuses, but did a tour there. And I visited Brown, Harvard, MIT, Yale, Columbia, NYU, Stanford, UCLA, UCSD and UC Berkeley as well. It was a very busy two weeks for me when I was going over there, I had no kind of conceptions as to which university I would really love. And you know, I'm not going to go to university again anytime soon. But it was the NYU campus and I was like, Oh, this really feels like home for me. Whereas the other students who I was taking on the tour, they all felt like they would fall in love with Harvard, but a lot of them were Like, oh, Brown University is amazing, or UC Berkeley was the one for me type of thing. You know, like every student felt a connection to a different campus, depending on the field, and depending on the location, the vibe, and it was at a time when like, there was not really many students on campus, but we're actually meeting students who were kind of on holidays, and they were coming on campus just to show us around. But it's really interesting to kind of get a different vibe, just by being on campus and feeling do I belong here? Or do I not, but it was really interesting. So if you said right now, which University you'd like to be at most?

Mahesh 35:32

Well, Harvard's the ultimate dream. I think that's always it's always been that way. Because Harvard is the most famous sort of American University. When when someone says American University, you think immediately Harvard, but we'll have to see what happens with that.

Podcast Host  35:49

And if students wanted to get in touch with you, how would they do that?

Mahesh 35:51

I have an Instagram, which will probably be in the description of the podcast, and you can get in touch with me, I'll respond as quickly as I can I check in quite frequently. So yeah, feel free, 

Podcast Host  36:02

Awesome well Mahesh, it's been awesome to chat with you. It's been so good to hear about your techniques for memorization, to get rid of an insight into what it was like being on child genius. And to get a bit of a prediction about where we might find you in a couple years time. wishing you all the best, and I look forward to following your journey on Instagram.

Mahesh  36:19

All right. Thank you, Alex.

Podcast Host  36:20

Cheers Mahesh. Thanks for listening to Top of the Class. subscribe for future episodes. For show notes and to plan your best future head to