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For those that don't know me... now 38 years old, first year of grad school for mathematics. I started undergrad at 33. I am married, have A.D.D. and a somewhat busy life, but I'm very determined...

Nonetheless, I got a C+ in a graduate class when my grades came in yesterday. This amounts to almost failure in grad school terms - I am on academic probation.

Because of my limitations, I took only two heavy classes - advanced linear algebra and abstract algebra, and a seminar class. The seminar was pass/fail and I gave a talk. The idea of that class is to give you the required credits to keep a TAship and to do some basic research (which I really enjoy more than classes.)

I was told by lots of people that a C means you are doing really bad, and they are very rarely even handed out, so long as you are showing up, handing in all your work, participating, etc. The algebra professor does not seem to subscribe to this philosophy. I did the best I knew how, but I can't blame him for the grade. I had a hard time with the class.

I did very well in the more abstract stuff in undergrad, but the pace of the material in grad school, and the level of abstraction in algebra seemed to get the best of me. The professor is a classic, hard core, not-interested-in-education philosophy grad school type professor. I won't go down the road of blaming the guy. I have a sense he is explaining things very clearly - just not to me.

Had an unprecedented panic on my first in class test, and ended up with an 11 percent.

I am told that it is common to have "impostor syndrome" in the first years of graduate school, where you feel like you don't belong, that you are stupid, and that people are all smarter than you. But I feel like I have concrete proof of this fact. I am pretty sure I am among the lowest.

However, I stayed in. I'm not out yet. I'm still very determined. We did lose a few people early on, and I'm not one of them.

I found out in the second or third week of school that many people postpone the algebra sequence until later, because it is the more difficult (among Algebra, Analysis, and Topology, the latter being the "easiest" if there is such a thing). I chose algebra because I prefer it, however I am certainly seeing what people are talking about. The amount of abstraction requires a mathematical maturity that I'm not sure I have yet.

If I understand correctly, I have a semester to fix this. Next semester is a little bit lighter in that only one class (Algebra II, same professor) is a core, and the other an elective (Foundations and Logic, which I'm really looking forward too) and I am doing seminar again.

We are also completely moved into our new house (oh, did I not mention we also bought a house at the beginning of my semester and moved? I really did not want it to happen that way.) and I am now on meds for my A.D.D., as all my previous coping strategies (diet, yoga, exercise, meditation, planners) just weren't enough.

I was studying over my break, but have been moping the last couple of days. I'll get over it. My wife is extremely supportive, but I wouldn't mind hearing from some of you.

I have another question about proofs and such I'm going to post in another thread...

-Dave K