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Hi, need some advice

  1. Apr 17, 2008 #1
    Hi, I decided to write about my situation. I hope it won't make too much trouble for you all for me to share my personal problems like this.

    I lost my direction some part of my academic life but I am trying hard to work hard at getting down to the major root of the problem - my past negligence and confusions.

    I personally don't believing in grinding at something without a cause that I really feel for, and I know that to be motivated, I need something to strive for.

    My unrealistic childhood dream is to be a scientist, but to face it, I don't have Physics background to start off with. If you want to know why, blame my misguided choices and my school. What I am doing now is to take elementary physics equivalent of O level standard, but no higher.

    I have absolutely no background in computer sciences, and actually have some interest in going there. I am worried about why I just feel that I want to go there when I know absolutely nothing much about it. (Blind faith?) Is this a good choice?

    I bought some books on java and other computing languages but I'm so stuck at my pre-university material right now that I really cannot find the time to experiment it out and see if learning it and applying it is my cup of tea. I love solving problems and understanding but the way school teaches maths and sciences have often killed my interest. They just stuck to showing how it's done. Limited questions. I don't know how the smart students aced it, some of them just told me they just memorised the methods, some said they just knew...and a lot more tell me they seeked private tution...sad enough but I often think if I'm just plain stupid or what to not be able to do it on my own.

    I may have a lot of questions for the teachers but I feel really bad back then about asking them as some of the questions sound really stupid and some of them looked at me as though I wasted precious of their time on stupidly phrased questions (such as, is there another way to solve it?), and at that time I didn't know such a forum like this existed.

    I don't want to believe that I have terrible memory but I have difficulty committing some of the texts to memory, such as biology texts...to add on that personally I feel that my vocabulary word-bank usage for English seems to have stagnanted from few years back...now I sound like a really bad student, but people seem to think otherwise when they look at me by first impression. Kind of an irony. I'm not that proud to not admit that I'm weak at grasping concepts at first sight. Yet I couldn't stick to some concrete plan to success and now I'm stuck almost nowhere.

    In case you wanted to know how well I did, I did much more terribly than my peers, just enough to scrape a passing grade for all subjects. I swear I tried, but it was either not impactful or way too late back then.

    Is there anything I can do to change this or just let things go from here and condemn myself? This is not an ego boost or to reassure myself that I can do it/I am a failure, I just seek your honest, sincere opinions here. Sometimes I feel that I may be doing all these for nothing...it can be pretty demoralising.

    Also, I will like more insights, career and academic wise, with regards to computing or computer science related courses.

    Last edited: Apr 17, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 17, 2008 #2
    I'll make a few general comments since I can relate to your situation. I am also a product of bad decisions during and after high school. I will be correcting this situation this Fall. I am also going to major in CS. My maths have huge gaping holes I need to fill however that won't stop me. I know very little about CS and my only background is that I know how to use, build, and maintain a computer. That is it. Just remember that CS branches off Mathematics.

    As far as asking questions in class, ask as many of them as you want. Teachers get paid to teach you. Teachers teach because they want you to learn (teaching is not a money-making profession). When it comes to understanding a subject simply go back to the basics and start from there. Is like dancing, you gotta crawl before you learn how to dance. And even though some Humans may have a natural affinity to dancing ALL Humans can dance. Same goes for Math, Biology, Physics, etc. every Human can learn you just gotta master the fundamentals.

    Just do some soul-searching and figure out what you want to do 10yrs, 20yrs, 30yrs, 40yrs, 50yrs from now. Personally, I am inclined to computers because they solve Human problems. A CS degree will allow me to work on a field that directly adresses Human problems and brings solutions to them. Find that thing that motivates you and run with it. Remember, the path to success is paved with failures.

  4. May 30, 2008 #3
    Hey 'PuzzledMe',

    I can totally relate to your situation too.
    though, what i say might not be concrete solutions as to what you should do, I want you to know that you're not alone and also that things can be done to change what you're going through.
    are u in high school or college?
    in either case, your childhood dream of becoming a scientist is not unrealistic because, you still have time and u can always catch up with what you need to learn and do, to become a scientist. what matters is how quick u can initiate actions towards ur goal.
    you dont have to be smart or have innate genius to become a scientist, but should definitely work hard.
    to start with, you need to do some soul searching on, what success is to you and what kind of future profession means success to you.
    dont get too hard on yourself.. there are many ppl in this world, who do terribly bad than their peers and still have no clue. but you're resenting your situation and figuring out that you want to get out of the status quo. this is a decent starting point and definitely things will fall into places, of course with your determination and efforts to change.
    to address specific issues, such as your memory, see what distracts you while you want to commit something to memory. try to experiment and find out what kinda environment would help you memorise better.
    regarding having blind faith on computer science, my honest opinion is that you should not do that. before choosing it seriously, you should do some homework on why computer science interests you and will you really be motivated enough to go through all it takes. you should talk to computer scientists and/or may be to grad/undergrad senior students and why and what is it abt computer science that they are passionate abt. this could apply to any field that you're considering to pursue for a career.
    on the other hand, if you realise that after all computer science is not what you want to do, still you're not left without options, you could still find something for a career, that you'd be happy doing. only you'd know what you want to do.. it might take time to discover your true interest but dont give up on your quest to find that out.
    on a final note, i'd like to add that your grades dont reflect your value as a person. if you want to get good grades, work for it but dont let the poor grades to undermine your self -esteem.

  5. May 30, 2008 #4
    Just mentioning I'm going headlong into an EE major, supposedly the most difficult major on my campus, with incredibly insecure math skills and a background in...Asian Studies. Oh, and a poor high school/community college transcript to boot. But I believe that it's never too late to learn something new, or to start from the bottom and build up again. Don't feel rushed. Take the time to address where you're weak and then go from the fundamentals.

    Like Vijay said, you can only do it if you really have the motivation. If you want to be a scientist, you can. If you want to do Comp-Sci, you can. Just take it one step at a time. Keep an eye on the prize.

    Good luck, it's my battle too!
  6. May 31, 2008 #5
    Hi PuzzledMe, I think you made a stand just by being sincere in your post here.

    There was a study made on whom might be more fitting as a programmer some time ago. The conclusion was that those who seems to manage best is those that just accept without questioning why. To try to understand and 'solve' the mysteries and quirks of programing languages as you learn them doesn't work

    :) So if you're serious about Java then you just have to devote the time you need and really do all exercises and all in that 'blind faith' that it will somehow come clearer as times goes by :)

    Anyway, I don't know how old you are but if I was you I would start doing those classes that you will need for your goal, and perhaps define more in detail what I really would like to 'play' with?
    Have you thought of Astrophysics for example. There are a lot of cool things that will keep you interested there. Forget money, at least if you're reasonably young :) Go for what you like, that will keep your mind alive.

  7. May 31, 2008 #6


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    Education Advisor

    A comment on feeling stupid asking questions:
    It can be tough to ask a question - especially in a university environment when you have a class of 300 people and you have to direct it to a person who has studied the subject for the better part of his or her life and when the twenty people in the first row are going to get an A+ in the subject no matter what.

    But I can guarantee that as long as the question is relevant, there are other people in the class wondering the same thing and they are all just too afraid to ask.

    Remember: the fool wonders, the wise person asks.
  8. May 31, 2008 #7


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    +1 on the responses about asking questions.

    If you've got a question in mind, and it is about what is being taught, then blurt it out and ask, it doesn't matter what it sounds like as long as you get the message across. If the lecturer doesn't get what you're asking, or you can't understand his/her answer then say so! Rephrase the question and ask again :-)

    Teaching is a two way process, and everyone (the tutor included - if they're any good) is always glad that there are people who ask questions, because most people are too shy to ask!

    The other tip I'd give is to actually plow through every word in the recommended text books, as soon as possible in the course. Even if you don't understand it at the time, when you reach it in class your reading will help you understand it better than those who have only just come across it.
  9. Jun 1, 2008 #8
    :smile: i too can relate myself with ur situation puzzledme. i m keeping a watch on this post.
    really good advice regarding general questions.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2008
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