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A Letter to Students (2023) - Ending my A Level Study Journey

Language/语言:   English   简体中文
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By: Ken Deng   Published on 21 May 2023

Approx. 2000 words, 9 mins

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Dear students, teachers, and visitors,

My senior high school (A Level) study journey is coming to an end and I will enter University Year 1 in September 2023.

You can see which university I will enter in mid-September 2023.

While waiting for your exam results, you can learn more about my updates. Hope you can get A*s (or 90% equivalent, etc.).

Continuing my Services

I will continue Ken’s Study Journey services throughout my university journey and you can continue using my services, such as Ken’s Study Planner (planner.kenstudyjourney.cn). I will be sharing my university journey and life as well as study tips, tools and habits.

You will not need to be concerned (worry) about oversea Internet latency issues if you study overseas since I also have some cloud servers in other countries/regions (e.g. Singapore and London, United Kingdom) as well as my servers in Guangzhou, China. (except for American and African users)

However, please note that all personal data will still be stored among China mainland servers to ensure data security. My other servers outside China only distribute files and forward data to visitors nearby and so will not keep your data.

As for user feature requests, Ken’s Study Planner desktop and mobile apps will be made, released and published between September 2023 and January 2024, depending on my available time.

Considering the inaccessibility of some Internet services (e.g. YouTube and Instagram) in some countries/regions, I will also post copies of my university videos/vlogs (MP4 files, 1080p) in my website's “Vlogs” section (kenstudyjourney.cn/vlogs) and photos (1080p) in “Photos” section (kenstudyjourney.cn/photos).

Achievements

In recent years, I have got a lot of achievements in my junior high and senior high school journeys.

  • In 2019 and 2020, I have been featured by 2 educational institutions and a school as an excellent student.
  • In 2023, I have been invited by an educational institution and a school to share my study tips in lectures.

Learn More

New Web Technologies and EPQ Project

As part of my EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) research project, I have been adding some new technologies to my website, getting an A* (27/28) in EPQ.

  • IPv6 (e.g. 2408:400d:1108:426c::1603:7e rather than IPv4: 8.134.18.22)
  • BGP (Border Gateway Protocol, connecting to many ISPs on a server)
  • HTTPS and HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security)
  • HTTP/2
  • DNS CAA
  • Global load-balancing with many servers around the world

But I want to tell you that you need to make deep research after discovering real-life problems. That’s how I got an A* in my EPQ Project.

Learn More

More Web Servers

Experiencing reduced costs of web servers and email systems, I have added more web servers around the world, from 1 server in 2019 and 2 in 2022 to 4 in 2023.

  • CN-CAN (Guangzhou, China): 2 servers
  • SG-SIN (Singapore): 1 server
  • GB-LHR (London, United Kingdom): 1 server

This increases the liability of my services like Ken’s Study Planner that students use every day, especially when a server is down (not working normally).

User Experience and Technology Development

Ken’s Study Journey strongly attaches importance to IPv6 technology development and applications as well as user experience and security, using my maximum effort to provide users with the best experience ever.

It not only has colourful and inviting interfaces and layouts and security controls but, more importantly, supports and applies cutting-edge technologies, including IPv6 and 5G.

The “IPv6” icon beside the website logo symbolises the importance of IPv6 I am concerned about, which turns green wherever your network supports IPv6 or remains blue otherwise, giving users a quick check of IPv6 support.

Since late 2022, IPv6 is supported and available on all server nodes (using IPv4 and IPv6 Dual Stack) both inside and outside China mainland, with no IPv6 dead spots for all users worldwide.

Persistence means Success

I have been making the website (since 2019) and Ken’s Study Planner (since 2021) until now, adding new features each month.

In the EPQ project, I have spent a few months enabling and configuring IPv6 on my website (plus my home broadband and WiFi) after hundreds of trials and errors.

Then I finally successfully enabled it. This is one of the huge successes I have made.

Some students, including bloggers and YouTubers, give up their (study) resources and services and stop publishing new content halfway.

However, I kept them from 2019 to 2023. In 2023, the number of users on Ken’s Study Planner has been proliferating (increasing very quickly) recently and it now has 60 to 70 users worldwide.

Always Try New Things

In April 2023, I attempted China ICP Registration (plus China Public Security Registration) for my website to use China mainland servers, storing user data in it.

The registration was successful with the ICP registration number “粤ICP备2023036527号” you can see at the bottom of my website.

Visitors and Users Count Disproportionality Problem

In recent years, my website and services have had a special trend in the number of visitors and users on my website and Ken’s Study Planner:

  • The number of visitors and users in China is far larger than (>>) sum of the number in all other countries/regions.

This is what I expected:

  • The number of visitors in every country is almost equal to each other.

Simply speaking, this is because the Study Tips industry was well-developed in other countries/regions far earlier (as early as 2016 to 2017), using well-made apps (e.g. Notion and Forest).

This means my services are popular in China, including some Chinese university users using CERNET (China Education and Research Network) ISP.

However, I predict that this will be solved after entering university.

Discover and Share Real-life Knowledge - My 2019 Tradition/Habit

In 2019, I invented a study technique: Discover and share knowledge in real life.

It was private to my classmates and friends on WeChat Moments between 2019 and 2020. However, since 2021, I extended this idea to my public resources, adding “Related Knowledge” green boxes to my articles.

I am keeping this 2019 tradition and habit until now.

For example, when I went to Zhujiang New Town, Canton Tower and Guangzhou Library (tourist attractions in Guangzhou, China), I discovered A Level Physics (9702) knowledge: Visible Light Waves

  • Light Speed = v = f λ = 3.0 × 108 m s-1
  • Wavelengths (λ) of visible lights are between 7 × 10-7 m (700 nm) (red) to 4 × 10-7 m (400 nm) (violet)

Learn More

From Simple Blog to Free “Volunteering Service”

In early 2019, my website used to be a simple personal blog with uncertain topics only used to boost my English skills.

Later on, as I overtook many students (see below ↓), I secretly transformed it into study tips and resources sharing website, along with my free Ken’s Study Planner service.

My resources, tools and services could only be used by myself, but they have then opened to and shared with the public for free. This is similar to volunteering, doing unpaid work for the society.

Overtaking Others (from D to A*)

Although I failed many exams in Grade 4 in my primary school, having limited language proficiency in listening, reading and comprehension skills, I have finally overtaken most classmates in Grade 9 in my junior high school, entering:

  • the Top 10 in our grade, and
  • the Top 1 in our class.

Although I have spent a number of years restoring essential listening and reading skills by setting Daily Goals, I have still got A*s (or 90% equivalent) in many subjects since Grade 9.

I am continuing to overtake others to get better results in the future.

By the way, I want to tell you that It’s Never Too Late to Learn.

Learn More

Being Self-disciplined

As a self-disciplined student, I have been elected as our school’s student union member (inspector of disciplines) in AS Level (Grade 11).

I also understood the importance of following rules and regulations, which is not only for dealing with inspection but also to make the community safer.

During the study tips sharing lectures, I summarised some common phenomena for only dealing with inspections:

  • Overspeed in driving cars on highways, and then reduce speed to normal only where Police Enforcement Cameras exist (or in speed-measurement intervals).
  • Scan and show health codes in public places during the pandemic only when the staff checks them.

Making Memorable Slogans

As well as sharing real-life knowledge, I also have made some slogans throughout my study journey (sometimes with rhymes in both English and Chinese):

  • 2019: Keep Studying during the Holidays!
  • 2021: A* Flies to the Sky, Making your Future Bright!
  • 2022: Great Study Habits are Productive
  • 2023: Make Daily Goals, Burn like Coals.

Be Creative and Imaginative

If you want to know where my slogans, colourful interface, design and Logo come from, I will tell you that they all come from my creativity like being a designer.

For example, why I made the slogan “A* Flies to the Sky, Making your Future Bright!”?

When I got my IGCSETM A* results in 2021, I imagine that the stars (*) of A*s (A Stars) on the Statement of Results and Certificates can be converted into stars in reality:

  • emitting lights in the sky,
  • leading students to a successful way, and
  • encouraging students to study hard/smart.

Since 2019, I have been inventing my study techniques and tools based on some real-life problems, like inventing, designing and programming Ken’s Study Planner to solve my difficulty to make study plans.

In order to retain (keep) my creativity and boost my skills, all parts of my resources are made and completed by myself alone, including:

  • UI and UX (User Interface and Experience) design,
  • Code Programming,
  • Servers and ISP Networks (including IPv6) Setup, Configuration and Maintenance,
  • Article Content and Resources Templates,
  • Video Animations, Design and Editing,
  • and even China Website ICP Registration.

Learn More

Don’t Always/Only Rely on New Published Content

Every study resource (e.g. website and YouTube channel) is being updated with new content, but don’t only read/watch/listen to newly-published content pushed to subscribers.

The background of new content changes as time goes on. For example, from senior high school (IGCSETM and A Level) to university life.

In my free time, I check existing content (especially those published before I subscribe) because some old content is also valuable and useful, like watching a previous Senior High School study tips video on a University Student channel.

Only with Patience can we Boost Problem-solving Skills

Despite my endeavours and achievements, my website has experienced attacks and non-attack outages.

In late 2019, my website email system received hundreds of spam emails each week, providing services like SEO (Search Engine Optimisation and Ranking) and Website Design.

Whether I reply “Yes” or “No”, or do not reply, they always send me the second email “Have you Read my Previous Email?”. Then I reported all “spam” emails by sending Abuse Complaints to ISPs or email providers.

Until 2020, I finally realised that there are spam robots automatically crawling email addresses from websites and remembering them. Then I updated the “Contact Me” page.

In 2022, my website was attacked by some students having negative study attitudes, using spam/negative comments and even (D)DoS attacks. This is against the Terms of Service (ToS) of many websites and some other study-related websites were also affected, enabling Cloudflare's Anti-DDoS service.

After a week of investigation, I have then given criticism and education and the attacks have stopped.

Also, Ken’s Study Planner was outage for new users, failing to sign up and send email verification codes.

I then fixed this issue several days after receiving an email from a new user: “Where is the Verification Code from your Website? I didn’t receive it.”.

So, I want to tell you that being patient can boost your problem-solving skills.

Any Questions?

If you have any questions, you can contact me.

Hope you can be successful and have more achievements in your new semesters and future study journey.

Ken Deng (Ken’s Study Journey)

Guangzhou, China

21 May 2023

Disclaimer

1. Related Knowledge displayed in this article is for ease-of-understanding only. I cannot ensure that they are 100% correct.

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