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Does someone want to study with me?

  1. Jul 26, 2016 #1
    I have difficulty completing books that I start because I lose interest or motivation. So, I was thinking that it would be different if I had someone to maybe report my progress to.

    Here is what I propose. I will choose a book. For example, Gems on Geometry by John Barnes. I will set a target of finishing it in around a week and report my progress daily. If you'd like, you could also take up the same book to read, or else choose a separate book of your choice,and report your progress to me too !

    To start with, o shall be choosing a lot of books about recreational/historic Mathematics, but will soon move on to meatier books too. Let me know what you think.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 26, 2016 #2

    Fervent Freyja

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    You may be able knock out Gems of Geometry in a few hours, including taking notes. I can't see why not, with it being 325 pages long (unless there are problems to work). My campus library has a limit of 10 books check-out at a time. I feel for you though, it would be nice to have a reading buddy and I do get lonely having interests that are so different from everyone around me. How about you write a review of it on here when you finish the book?
     
  4. Jul 26, 2016 #3
    Thank you for your kind words. Somehow, I've always had this mental block that it will take me months to finish a book. I had to force myself to say that I could do it in a week. Maybe a reason I can't finish books is because I don't believe I can. After reading what you wrote, I started feeling more confident and started believing that I could finish it. I don't think I can do it in a couple of hours, but my mental glass ceiling has been crushed and is leaving me charged with self-belief. Actually, I do maintain a document containing reviews(or rather summaries) of books I read, but that too isn't complete because I don't always finish books. Writing a review to you would certainly help me in completing my project ! I too, could be your reading buddy and you could tell me about what you're reading.
     
  5. Jul 26, 2016 #4

    Fervent Freyja

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    The issue here is probably one of attention span. Reading comprehension is a skill, it can be improved, degenerate and is very unique to each person. Everyone has their own areas with difficulties and strengths. I myself, have a horrible habit of trying to speed read and speed write everything, which often does affect my comprehension and writing. I find myself wrong afterwards if I get too excited about it and can't slow my pace. I always have something to write with when reading books and some online texts. You don't have to take notes on the whole book, but before even starting, do some reflecting on what you need from the book and what information you should prioritize before tackling it. Building up a strategy before you begin will help guide you through the book.

    It will also be your guide to writing notes on the book, because you can't take notes on the whole thing. Just try to summarize the main ideas as you go, and write complete copies of the text of short sentences/problems that you want to remember; also writing your own opinions, reminders, and questions to yourself as you go can help with remembering that information. The greatest benefit in note-taking is it slows down our thought process long enough to reach deep connections that are already in place in long-term memory, we usually read so quickly that we don't have enough time to make more associations before moving on to the next idea in the book. That's very important and note-taking can help engross a person in the material. But, not all people are same, and others use different methods in reading. Much of it does depend on what you already know about the material. There are many methods you can use as tools to improve.

    I wouldn't feel so bad about believing that you cannot do it. When I first began reading material in physics many months ago, it had been very intimidating, as my prior major after high school was in education and now biology, and neither had been no where near as difficult.to understand. The literature is full of terminology and ideas that I have never encountered before, and it was just very confusing for me. I also have had little exposure to higher mathematics, and have forgotten so much of what I thought I learned in and after high school- it's not like I can re-take courses that I passed already! I do, however, consider my naivety in the subject a blessing and am trying to be cautious with how I process this information.

    Although, things can be uncomfortable and frustrating for us at times, we have to remember to continue pushing through. Eventually, it will click. I do feel a little more comfortable now and understand that I have to be patient in learning this. I'm excited about learning more in physics and mathematics, but know that I have to be more patient with myself and set realistic goals. I expect it will take me many, many years to fully understand the body of knowledge in physics. Wading is confusing and uncomfortable for everyone, it can be painful at time, but we have to keep going and not give up!

    As far as making lists of the books that you want to read, I think that doing that may not be a good idea at the time, at least not a very long one. Not all material can be read quickly, but most can- there is just too much information and knowledge to process and too little time to do it. You have to learn how to judge what needs a scan-through and what you need to read more carefully. Oftentimes, a good book will reference you to other good books (same goes with papers), paying attention to that will help you decide what to read next. And if it constantly being referenced and is heavily related to the topic of your interest, then you really want to put it on a list. I will say though, that I usually try to stay away from popular science books, there are so many textbooks and papers to read! I do think they have value as a secondary supplement, but I haven't really learned so much about anything from reading only that kind of text. It sometimes confuses me even more.

    Tell you what, I was going to my campus library today anyway, I've actually been missing it, usually, I avoid being there unless I have to be. They are boring and I don't get along with everyone. I will find a popular science book and read it over the next few days. I will use my notes to write a little review and post it on here, you can do the same. I will post it by Friday.
     
  6. Jul 26, 2016 #5

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    Are you planning to continue this for only entertaining/historical math books or eventually textbooks? You should easily be able to zip through the former as long as it keeps you interested, but--as you say--"meatier" books should require much more time and even doing a couple pages of day is an accomplishment. But maybe that's just me and I'm slow. :sorry:

    IMO, it's not very good to set a deadline because then you'll be more focused on finishing the book by that date instead really understanding the content.
     
  7. Jul 26, 2016 #6
    You are right. Often, I'm too slow too. Sometimes, I spend over an hour just understanding two paragraphs of Art of Computer Programming and sometimes not even that !Deadlines could be flexible, but I badly need to finish books. Otherwise what happens is I feel like I've nothing t show for my hard work because I haven't finished many books cover to cover.
     
  8. Jul 26, 2016 #7

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    Being slow and taking your time to understand technical material is not the same thing as losing interest and motivation. Don't worry so much about merely finishing a book. Taking a long time to finish one (and understanding it!) is much for valuable (and satisfying for yourself) than quickly reading 2 or 3 books.

    Also, if you get bored and frustrated with a book you're in the middle of, don't put it down to try something different. Stick to it and keep trying :) You probably just need to practice utilizing self-discipline.
     
  9. Jul 26, 2016 #8

    micromass

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    If you have facebook or willing to make one, I can help you! Contact me if interested.
     
  10. Jul 26, 2016 #9
    I can try to be your study partner but I already started with few textbooks (just one week ago). I'm studying analytic geometry by Lehman (Ch 1 to 15), mechanics by Alonso & Finn (except ch 11), calculus I by Leithold (Ch 1 to 7) and linear algebra from Lay (Ch 1 to 8) in parallel to Lang (all Chs). I pretend to complete this in two months aprox, so by the first week of october this should be done.
     
  11. Jul 27, 2016 #10
    That's a lot of serious study. Are you sure October isn't too quick to finish this ?
     
  12. Jul 27, 2016 #11
    Please offer me your guidance, Micromass.
     
  13. Jul 28, 2016 #12

    Fervent Freyja

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    What chapters did you read today? I decided upon How to Build a Time Machine by Paul Davies, I may buy one for my nephew later. Don't worry about the deadline, see how far you can get until it's completed!
     
  14. Jul 28, 2016 #13
    it is definitely far from being "a piece of cake" but at least i'm very serious about it and i'm also working very hard to learn (and practice) properly.
    Finally, I think it totally worth it, so you should give it a try, at least in your own terms.
     
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