I did something that felt a little foolish while studying today. I found myself struggling with a very basic concept (Bode plots, if anybody knows what those are) even though that is something I should have down cold.
So I looked through an undergrad textbook and read the section on Bode plots, worked every example problem, and went through the complete derivation of how to draw them. Nobody actually goes the long way around in practice, normally you use approximations and some shortcuts (just like nobody actually takes derivatives in calculus the real way, you just memorize the derivatives of common functions).
And it took me forever, but I finally can say I truly, truly understand this concept. I think I never really did, I just sort of smudged through.
But I can't smudge on quals.
So here's to going back to basics, forsaking your pride and taking things the long way around.
Now you just wait, I'll be 98 someday and still muttering about poles and zeros, saying "SEE what grad school did to me?"