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Am I really cut for math?

  1. Feb 18, 2012 #1
    Actually i am planning to study Statistics, Actuarial and Financial Mathematics rather then pure math or applied math. I am 18 years old and currently in 3rd grade of high school currently planning to study math but i have some doubts should i study it.

    Two and half years ago i ran into some finance documentary and it really sounded interesting then read a book and i was hooked. Since then i follow markets consistently and i have read many books on finance and in process i ran into Quantitative Finance by reading a book called "The Quants" which i found interesting and soon realized that quantitative models are at heart of finance today. So set out to learn more about subject and found out that i really cant learn anything since i don't understand math used. I decided then(August last year) to learn more about math brush up my skills starting form algebra.

    That didn't go as well as i planned, i slacked off most of the time with occasional outbursts of work. In the mean time i found out that there math major with focus on Statistics, Actuarial and Financial Mathematics which i thought i would find interesting and enjoyable to learn. Then after getting a bad grad in math class i told my self to either forget about studying math it or start doing math every day. I opted for the latter so i decided that for the beginning i do 2 hours of math every day for 30 days and after that period scale up. Actually i managed to succeed in my goal and after 30 days i upped to 3 hours a day. I did that for three days and decided to take one day off.

    After that it went downhill(i wasn't motivated to do math for three hours) and after about 30 days i started to reflect on my experience. And it was mixed. There were times(especially at the beginning) where i felt optimistic about it and i felt excited about learning a bit more advanced stuff like Calculus and alike later on. But there were also times when i found it boring to graph bunch of quadratic equations one after the other or solving 60 factoring problems in the same manner. To be honest there were more days where i was bored by constant computation rather then i was excited to do bunch of exercises in the same way(there were also instances were i was excited to do even those not so interesting - like exercising liner equations for four hours and having fun at same time(wtf?!) ). It is really weird feeling for me because i feel when i am not doing exercise that i want to learn this stuff and that it seems interesting but when push comes to shove on part of me says that this isn't for me and that this doesn't really interests me. On one side i can't say i am the biggest fan of math nor school for that matter(i like to slack off), but on another side in last three years i was getting more and more interested in science mostly physics. Also i haven't pushed my self to do anything that interested me for 30 days a in my life. So i really don't know what to think abut this.

    Am i overreacting and pushing my self to hard or should i just roll with it and give myself a little bit of space and let my self enjoy math rather then worrying about this? Or maybe math becomes more interesting after algebra? Or these things that i am experiencing, are signs that math is not for me? Anyway i hope that i haven't bored anyone.

    Thank you!:smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 18, 2012 #2
    This has been said many times on this forum, but math is extremely interesting when you move past Calculus. However, math becomes extremely difficult to understand if you don't train yourself to get out of the "computational" mode that high school and basic college math courses teach you. Once you pass Calculus III you're going to be dealing with proofs which require a certain mind set. If you're struggling in Calculus I right now, I suggest that you brush up on Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry because the math will only become harder.

    Not to be harsh, but it seems like you will have a difficult time with math past Calculus I.
  4. Feb 18, 2012 #3
    Well if all you're doing is sketching quadratics then of course it's going to be boring.

    I agree with Totalderiv 100%
    The way highschools do maths is pretty bad imo

    But anyone can do maths if they put effort into it and don't slack off!
    You should check our khanacademy.org, he's got lots of videos about basic maths that should get you pointed in the right direction.
    You'll also find that what you're doing now isn't really that algebra-y, when you get onto abstract algebra you'll find it pretty interesting (I did at least).

    ++ for the interest in physics :D
    But you'll also find that the maths you'll need for physics gets pretty tricky too.

    I think I'm about to go off on a tangent, so I'll stop myself there!
    If you are excited about learning about new areas of maths, like calculus for example, do it, look up stuff on the internet and learn about it in your own time.
    When you get to university level maths you aren't going to be churning out sketches of quadratics all day, you'll be doing real maths - much more interesting!

    Good luck in your mathematical adventures, friend!
  5. Feb 19, 2012 #4
    Math in college is not like math in high school. I got what we considered a huge problem set in probability theory recently--24 problems with ten days to do them. You do less busywork, but the work you do is harder. Also, a lot of math in college is proof-based, as others have said. Honestly, I didn't like math in high school for some of the reasons you list--lots of tedious problems--but I love it now. It is a lot of work and kind of a commitment, though.

    I say just try your best, take some math classes when you get to college and see how it goes. No need to worry too much yet.
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