Hello. My name is Nick. I'm new to the forum. I'm a 26 year old currently enrolled at Kankakee Community College. Ever since I got out of the Marine Corps in June of 2008 and the economy tanked I decided to get into the nursing field thinking it was a safe and reliable job field, though, I've never really had a passion for that kind of work and to tell you the truth, I am starting to despise it as I am currently working as a certified nursing assistant. Last July after I quit smoking cigarettes I took the initiative to buy my first telescope as a way to reward myself. I have always been into astronomy but never really let my interest grow. I had an "aha" moment one night when I crudely figured out how long it took light that was being reflected off of Jupiter's clouds to reach Earth. I was pleased with myself. My results were fairly accurate. Now, I've never been good at math and algebra, mind you. I always struggled with math growing up. I never made it past a basic alegbra in highschool and I think it took a couple attempts. I took a basic physical science class last semester and surprised myself at how much I could learn and how much I enjoyed the math involved, despite the challenge. I had to spend many hours a week in the tutor lab furiously scribbling on a chalk board but got out of the class with an "A". My love (and obsession) with astronomy has really sparked a new interest in the quantum world. Even before I started getting heavily into astronomy I was reading about inertial electrostatic confinement fusion and what was happening at the atomic level. I've been reading about particle physics on my free time when I can (very basic introduction on particle physics). I constantly think about the quantum world, types of decays, and fusion in stars, so much so that I dream about them (I'm not trying to be corny, here. I actually dream about this stuff). I'm pretty sure I'm going to bail on the nursing thing. It is the safest, easiest, and less painful academic choice but I don't think I would be a very happy guy devoting my life to a profession that will crush my spirit. I want to pursue a career in something concerning particle physics or nuclear engineering. I want to learn more about and work with the behavior of sub-atomic particles. However, I'm extremely intimidated by the advanced math that is involved. Actually, I'm kind of intimidated by the basic math involved. I'm currently enrolled in an intermediate algebra class. So far, I'm doing just fine. Where I used to get angry, tired, and bored I now find myself getting excited, euphoric, and satisfied about working on algebra, though, the anxiety and frustration is still there. I'm extremely worried about the ridiculous coursework that is involved with any of the fields that are sparking my interest. What if my brain just can't handle it? Not everyone is good at math. How does one get over their barriers in mathematics? Does anyone have advice? Is there anyone who shares in the same anxiety but has overcome it? What can someone do to improve their skills and excell at the math involved?