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Feeling Discouraged

  1. Sep 22, 2004 #1
    I was wondering if any of you were ever discouraged in math. I mean, you're sitting there in lecture and just feel like you're never going to get it. I haven't really had that happen, but I think it might sometime. How could you overcome that?
     
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  3. Sep 22, 2004 #2

    Math Is Hard

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    I've been there, for sure! I recommend finding a good tutor, and asking lots of questions on this board. The weird thing is - sometimes math gets easier. I mean, in my case, anyway, I found calculus 2 to be WAY easier than my pre-calc or calc 1 class. (A lot of it has to do with the teacher.)
    Also, don't be afraid to ask questions in class. Sometimes you might think it's embarrassing, but actually everyone in the room turns out to be relieved you asked, because thay were wondering the same thing!!
     
  4. Sep 22, 2004 #3
    I've definitely had that happen. I've gotten A's in Calculus I and II, but back in high school when I took Algebra I, I nearly failed it. It wasn't until I got into college when I found out I was pretty good at it.
     
  5. Sep 22, 2004 #4

    mathwonk

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    usually a nice sandwich helps, or a sunrise. i.e. tomorrow everything looks different as little orphan annie said so well.

    but truthfully, usually when i am discouraged at work i notice i have not eaten lately and am tired. i.e. it usually happens at the same time of day. so i just wait until the next day when i feel better.

    but more globally i have just gotten used to the fact that lots of people are smarter than me. so what? I still enjoy learning at my own speed, and occasionally I creep up on them with my little "never give up" tortoise approach.

    I also work at not buying into the smart alecky attitude that used to pervade many of the university settings I found myself in as a young man, where people were often made to feel ashamed of asking questions. (Maybe that is why you are asking that question here, as this site is a place where all questions seem welcome.)

    by the way if you still have not had it happen yet that you feel you are never going to get it you are way smarter than me.

    In regard to the advice to ask questions, a friend once paid me what he meant as a compliment, that the reason i had become a mathematician and others had not, was i was not afraid to ask stupid questions!
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2004
  6. Sep 22, 2004 #5

    Math Is Hard

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    It's funny that way. But you don't have anything to worry about. You're probably helping all the rest of the students with math concepts. That's actually a good way of testing if you really understand a concept - see if you can explain it to someone else.
     
  7. Sep 23, 2004 #6

    matt grime

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    frequently i find myself wondering how you're supposed to do something in maths. a break always helps. I had a conjectur i couldn't prove for weeks, went away did something else for six months and when i came back to it the answer seemed relatively obvious. a bit extreme perhaps, but it happens to most all of us.
     
  8. Sep 23, 2004 #7
    I actually do help a couple of people in class who ask me about something. I have 13 and 14 year old girls coming to me to help them with their algebra. It feels good knowing that they want to come to me for help.


    Don't worry, I've had it happen more times than I care to remember. It always seems to work out in the end, though.
     
  9. Sep 23, 2004 #8

    mathwonk

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    The point is that learning and doing math is not a contest, but a lifelong shared enterprise, and it can be very enjoyable, as is teaching it.
     
  10. Sep 23, 2004 #9

    JasonRox

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    If someone "smarter" than you is being an idiot around you, tell him you have a girlfriend. ;)
     
  11. Sep 23, 2004 #10
    Like they'll believe that of me. :rolleyes:
     
  12. Sep 23, 2004 #11
    Just remember that everyone learns in different ways. I'll be honest, in high school I failed math a few times and ended up dropping out (stupid mistake). I thought I was terrible at math.

    Back at the end of May I began a correspondence Calculus course that is rated Grade 13 for Ontario. While it is nothing compared to university math for sure, I still found it odd that I maintain a 98.9% (I write my exam in 3 weeks!) in the course while I failed "lower" math in high school (and I'm teaching it to myself mind you--no teachers or help available other than these great forum members!)

    In college (I'm taking Computer Programming and Analysis at an Ontario college) I always find it tough to follow lectures. I can only imagine math lectures would be that much harder to follow (for my personal learning style that is).

    Heck, when I picked up the Calculus books (four books each 0.75-1 inch thick) for my correspondence course I quickly skipped through the books and was sure I'd fail being away from math for 5+ years (and when I last encountered it 5 years ago, I was horribly failing).

    The trick is to never get intimidated, bringing yourself to read the text is half the battle. Read and re-read over and over until you truly understand things. I find that helps me :)

    Anyhow this is getting long, just remember that the worst failure is not trying and like the good advice I've heard here--"What are you worried about, at most your mistakes will kill but a few trees (paper)".

    Sometimes just getting outside, taking a deep breath of cold fresh autumn air at night and going for a walk, thinking about your future and so forth is enough to clear the carbon buildup. :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2004
  13. Sep 23, 2004 #12
    This is exactly what I was getting at. Great reply! Kind of inspirational, I must say.
     
  14. Sep 24, 2004 #13

    JasonRox

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    Getting discouraged is the fun part isn't it?

    After you pull through, it feels great, and the next thing you know, you know double the stuff you knew before. Maybe it's because you know so much stuff and you are just slowly plugging all the wires together, which gives you a nice rounded understanding of the material.

    I think getting discourage and pulling through is what makes math so much fun because it is such a challenge.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2004
  15. Sep 24, 2004 #14
    The key is you have to do well on every exam you take.
     
  16. Sep 24, 2004 #15

    Pyrrhus

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    No, They key is to take an active interest on what you're being taught, because if you care about what Calculus, Physics, Chemistry or whatever, you'll always want to learn more!.
     
  17. Sep 24, 2004 #16

    JasonRox

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    Right! Grades don't matter.

    I'd rather write a proof of something I haven't done before on the back of the exam pages.

    Put it this way:

    You know when you understand material, and when you do know you understand the material, you don't need 100% on an exam to tell you that.
     
  18. Sep 24, 2004 #17

    Tide

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    Are we confusing discouragement and frustration? Personally, I've never been discouraged by math though some problems have been rather frustrating! Back in school and on those occasions when I didn't fully understand some concept or principle the prof was discussing it only served to strengthen my resolve to figure it out myself.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2004
  19. Sep 25, 2004 #18

    Pyrrhus

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    Exactly what i meant, except most students don't care if they didn't understand it properly and go on, if you have an active interest you will definetly care, and then the exams won't look as hard as they seem to.
     
  20. Sep 25, 2004 #19
    You may be right. It probably is frustration that I've often felt. I kind of do the same that you do, try to figure it out myself. Or, at least get another explination or point of view on the subject he was lecturing on.
     
  21. Sep 25, 2004 #20
    You guys are right, grades arent the only thing that matter I suppose.
     
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