Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

A plead for some guidance

  1. Feb 22, 2009 #1
    I am a 17 year old Junior in High School. For most of my life I have completely slacked off in my education. I've always gotten by easily enough, but never really LEARNED anything, it seems. Sometime last year I realized what I wanted to do with my life. It started from something I saw on television. As I was watching the Science channel, it occurred to me how amazing our universe truly is. You see, I had never really thought of this before. I never saw the beauty in how things worked. Soon I found myself reading the encyclopedia, watching more shows, enrolling into my high school's physics class, and paying attention in school so I can start my quest for knowledge. As I've learned, I've become more fascinated every day. However, there are those moments of despair. I'm only in a Geometry class with Algebra I behind me. It's about the average route the student at my high school takes. When I read of many other people, they've done so much more with a deep understanding of the world around them. I get the feeling of inferiority. It's not that they may have taken more advanced classes at an earlier age, but I seemed to have missed out on the concepts. They don't seem to teach it at our schools. I try to work out these problems and why they work the way they do. It's hard to explain, but I feel as if I missed out on the complete understanding of even algebra. Understanding math is very important to me, because I realize it's the foundation of everything. It is the common language of describing the universe. Without a strong understanding of mathematics, I won't be able to reach my goal of reaching the level I would like. All I want is some consolation and guidance. I will continue to reach my dreams of learning the universe, and I feel almost certain I will reach them, however in this moment I also feel a little hopeless.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 22, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Can you get some accelerated math and science classes in your senior year? Can you and your parents afford some tutoring this summer (and next) to get you up to speed? In my senior year of HS, the math teacher came up with a (still woefully inadequate) "Advanced Math" class to challenge me and three other kids who had moved beyond the school's offerings. I was headed to engineering school at the University of Maine, and still felt that my math background was lacking when I got there. In fairness to my school and my math teacher (and all the others) my graduating class of 42 kids was the largest ever, and the teachers all had to be generalists.
  4. Feb 22, 2009 #3
    The thing is, I live in a small town with few offerings. My high school is a modest one, with only a couple hundred students. There aren't very many programs for any sciences, or even math. So all this time, I'm basically relying on the colleges to gain my deeper understanding of the mathematics. I'm planning on getting the most out of math I can right now, but I still feel it falls short, unfortunately.
  5. Feb 22, 2009 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    I wouldn't worry too much about this at the high school level. As long as you have the right courses to get you acccepted into the university program you're aiming for, that should be sufficient. In general, the first year of university can seem like a review for some students, but ultimately it evens out the playing field for all the incomming students. Of course that means that you might have a little more work to do at that point.

    Also, there's no reason you can't do some extra reading and/or problem solving on your own. Ask your teachers to recommend some more advanced textbooks and check them out of the library. Another option might be to form some kind of a "math club" at school where you meet and try to solve problems beyond the level of your cirriculum.

    Finally, keep in mind that is will always seem like someone else has more opportunity, or has done more with his or her life. I find it's best to subscribe to the mindset of doing the best you can with the opportunities you personally have and those you seek out, and try not to pay too much attention to what it looks like others have done.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook