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Continue with mathematics?

  1. Dec 21, 2013 #1
    First off a little about myself as I'm rather new to the forums. I'm currently pursing a degree in management of engineering sciences at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univiersity. I really enjoy mathematics, not just soliving equations but reading about the history of it and the great thinkers of the past. However, the classes are kicking my ***. I'm normally a straight A student but I'm pretty sure I'm about to make a B in my Calculus with analytical geometry class. I know it sounds petty but I just can't grasp the applied equations and I'm afraid I never will. Am I wasting my time and money?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 21, 2013 #2


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    When you say "normally a straight A student" what does that mean?

    A lot of students experience a type of academic wall somewhere around their first or second year of university. They find that what worked in high school in terms of getting high grades is no longer working for the challenging courses in university, or at least, it's not getting them the near perfect grades that they're used to.

    There's a number of reasons for this. First, there's a bottleneck between high school and university. Particularly among the STEM subjects, you're now amid peers who almost all did very well in high school. The class anchors just didn't sign up.

    Secondly, a lot of the material that's covered in high school is of limited depth. The classes in university contain a lot more detail and are designed to challenge the students. The studying techniques that may have been sufficient in high school are no longer sufficient to ensure you have a complete grasp of the material.

    Third, there are a lot of social factors that can influence your academic performance: living on your own for the first time, financial stress, parties, commuting, a gamut of extra-curricular activities that you simply didn't have access to in high school, a new set of friends, dealing with room mates, romantic relationships, etc.

    So before coming to the conclusion that you're not capable of comprehending the material, it's important that you try to assess your situation. You can't really do much about the first factor above, but the other two you have some control over. Look at how you're studying. Try to learn how you learn. Try new approaches. Put more time in. And figure out if any of those external factors are playing much of a roll.
  4. Dec 21, 2013 #3


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    What applied equations are you having trouble with? The related rates, max/min?
  5. Dec 21, 2013 #4


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    As you take more and more difficult classes, it can sometimes take longer for things to click. A friend of mine (smart guy) just could not understand calc. He got a C and a C- in calc 1 & 2 respectively. then he took diffy Q and something just clicked. He got an A in diffy Q and calc 3, then had mostly A's in all of his other math classes (hes a math major, im not sure what his more advanced classes were). Point being sometimes it takes a while to click. as long as it clicks before you get to the end you'll be fine.

    try learning the material from a different vantage point. go to other professors and students and try to get them to teach it to you. sometimes 1 professors teach style may not mesh well with your learning style.
  6. Dec 28, 2013 #5


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    hahahaha this is hilarious! i always thought of it as "diff EQ" for "differential equations". hahahahaha that's funny.

    to the OP, keep studying. i wouldn't discount yourself yet.
  7. Dec 30, 2013 #6

    LOL, that was a good one.

    Yes, keep your head up. Sometimes it takes awhile for things to finally sink in. A friend of mine was in a similar situation -- he never fully grasped calculus and ended up getting a C in the course, but whenever I help him, he seems to understand better. Sometimes it just takes a different approach.

    Perhaps try buying a different textbook, ask different professors, a friend, a fellow classmate, or get a tutor. I know getting a tutor can seem daunting and I must admit that I never got one when I needed help with one of my physics classes and now I regret not trying hard enough.

    Anyway, don't be so hard on yourself! Perhaps it can even be a self-confidence issue or having a bad professor. Continue with mathematics if that's what you love to do. Never let a grade or "not getting something" change your major.
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