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Can you suggest fields of study? (Obscure to Popular)

  1. Aug 4, 2010 #1
    Hello. I am a rising sophomore at a liberal arts college. My current plan is to major in mathematics. However, I think I am coming upon a realization. I like mathematics, but I don't know if its my passion. Now partly, I wonder if this is because I haven't actually made the transition from computational to abstract mathematics. (I have been struggling with proofs and abstract concepts for awhile now, and it definitely seem a lot more interesting on the other side.)
    Also, I have a constant pull between wanting to be pure and wanting to be applied. I wish to do something that is useful, helpful to people, but at the same time I want to hole myself away and explore some abstract world.
    Basically, I am confused as to what I want to do and I want to find what my passion is. I realize this can take a long time, but I don't want to pidgeonhole myself. So hence this post.

    Can you suggest something for me to investigate? A field, an area of research, anything that you think is interesting or you think I may find interesting? It can be from physics, biology, mathematics, chemistry, anything. (I really don't care right now about job opportunities, money, anything like that. I just want to find my passion. Everything else will follow because I will make it follow.)

    A little more information about myself that might be useful to make suggestions.

    I like to problem solve, and I like problem solving with off the wall solutions. I crave creativity, as most people do. I think this is the main reason I am attracted to mathematics.

    I find computer programming incredibly easy. This is partially because of a lot of experience I have in the field, but its always come easily to me. (A lot easier than mathematics.) The catch is, I get bored with programming. I think this is because it seems to be easy for me. I don't know if this says something about my personality. (I like a challenge?)

    I like trying to tie ideas together. I don't know if I am actually good at doing it, but I like doing it.

    In the past, I have considered a large array of future careers and fields of study. (Physics, Mathematics, Literature/Writing, Doctor, Medical Researcher, Neurology, Philosophy, to name a few.)

    I tend to think I am a good self-directed learner. I like spending hours with a book, or video lecture, trying to teach myself something new that I find interesting.

    I like collaboration. I'm not much of a talker, but when it comes to intellectual pursuits, I love to discuss ideas.

    Thank you for any suggestions that you can provide. They will all be greatly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 4, 2010 #2
    Have you considered computer science?

    You said that programming felt boring to you, but computer science is way more than programming, although being good at programming is obviously important in that field.

    CS has elements of both abstract math and at the same time is obviously applicable. I think CS requires a lot of problem-solving, collaboration with others, and self-direction (you need to keep on teaching yourself new programming languages and stay up-to-date with current technology).

    Although I'm not a CS major, I'm majoring in electrical engineering and have a lot of friends in CS. I've taken a few CS classes and my dad works as a software engineer. So I feel pretty confident saying that I think this field is interesting and would fit your strengths.
  4. Aug 4, 2010 #3
    I have not actually taken a fully fledged CS course. (Well I took the "Fundamentals" class.) My school offers a Theory of Computation class which seems quite interesting, along with other things like Artificial Intelligence which I am planning on taking. I suppose it would be worthwhile to investigate that in more depth, though it just doesn't seem like its something that would resonate with me. Might as well try though.

    Would anyone be able to suggest some reading or a textbook that could perhaps give me an idea of what real computer science is like? (No textbook I suppose could ever give a perfectly accurate representation, but just enough to introduce me to the basic concepts and ideas.)

    Thanks for the suggestion sweetpotato.
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