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Am I cut out for math?

  1. Sep 25, 2015 #1
    I'm a senior in highschool and next year I would like to study mathematics in my capital city. I love studying math in general and I've always gotten A's on my math/physics tests without much preparation. However my parents have always been telling me that I shouldn't do that because there is no chance of me passing the tests, because i'm not smart enough. And lately whenever I ask something in the homework help forum. I feel kinda stressed because once someone shows me the trick to the problem I often think to myself :"I should have known that." and I feel that other people are asking so much harder questions, some of which I can't even dream of how to solve at my level and because of that I sometimes feel kinda stupid and I'm starting to believe what my parents are telling me
    My question would be:
    Is it possible for someone to succeed in an university just by working really hard?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2015 #2


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    I think you need a certain amount of affinity with and talent for the subject, but that you have already shown. If you combine this with working hard, it can get you very far. I don't know you, of course, but my advice would be to ignore your parents and give it a try. Otherwise, later on you may be sorry that you didn't. Math is a good start, and if you do not feel comfortable with your choice, you can switch to a number of related majors (think of physics, computer science etc.) with relatively little time loss. At least this is how it works where I'm from.
  4. Sep 25, 2015 #3
    Yes. I'm dumb as a rock, and I graduate university in a couple of months with a physics degree and a 4.0 GPA. All throughout my undergraduate career, not once has a professor asked me a question during lecture that I've been able to answer correctly. Not once. It just means you'll have to work much harder than others. It means your professors may look down on you for asking "stupid" questions, or for not getting something that was explained a million times. If you really are quite stupid (which I can guarantee you are not), you can get through university just by working hard.

    I'll put a disclaimer here, though. I went to a state school, not an Ivy League or even a reputable school. Maybe someone will be able to tell me whether you can get through a more rigorous curriculum (or even graduate school) just by working hard.
  5. Sep 25, 2015 #4


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    Rocks are very underrated. I have never heard a rock say anything stupid.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  6. Sep 25, 2015 #5
    This is how most people succeed.
  7. Sep 25, 2015 #6
    No, it isn't. Not everybody can do math. Some people will never get it, doesn't matter how hard they work.

    That said, you have obtained all A's so that's a good sign. But university mathematics an all other ball-game. It requires you to do proofs, which might be new to you. Some people go into math with all A's and just don't seem to get proofs, they can't handle it. On the other hand, some people go into math with bad grades and it seems to be their thing and they do very well. So while your A's mean you understand the basic stuff (which is good), it gives no indication on how you'll do with proofs.

    So can you succeed in math? I cannot know. You cannot know. Your parents cannot know. It is something you must find out for yourself. I would advise you to start self-studying some proofy math now to see how you like it and if you can handle it. I am willing to help you with this, PM me if interested.
  8. Sep 25, 2015 #7


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    You have not studied hard and long enough yet to know if you are cut-out for Mathematics. Other people are making judgements about you before you have taken enough time to develop, so they do not know.
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