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I don't know what I should

  1. Jan 6, 2007 #1
    So, I have been a bad student since 8th grade. I stopped listening in class, delinquent, didn't study, and got into drugs.

    As I look around me now, I realize just how much I have fallen behind. I do have to admit, I have almost completely lost my ability to remember (because of weed) and that the main contributer. I have been clean now for over 2 years (since mid. 04).

    Anyway I just want to know any of you know of an online resource that I can use to help me catch up.

    Seriously, I'm in 11th grade, never failed a grade but I realized today that I have even forgotten what 'prime factor' was until I looked it up. I really, really need help. I am a very bright person, but my brain just seems to have done some serious house cleaning.

    I need to review and understand at least what the average teenager at my grade should know. In as little time as possible as I have many, many other projects I need to do, and I am planing on starting C programming.

    Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2007 #2

    Chris Hillman

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    That's a pretty sad story...

    Have you asked your doctor for suggestions/referrals? Over at the dreaded Wikipedia, they like to advise persons seeking medical advice to "seek out a real doctor", and since you say you have experienced memory problems for two years after getting off the weed, I'd say you may be describing a medical condition. Your doctor should be able to help you find out if this is a real memory deficit by arranging to have your memory tested by a specialist.

    Taking mind altering drugs while your brain is still developing may be a particularly bad idea, because it is not at all unlikely that you really did mess up your neural development. Too late now in your case, but do not despair. A great deal of neurological research now suggests, or so I understand, that the human brain may be considerably more adaptable than was previously thought, particularly in someone who has suffered a "brain insult" at a young age, so you may be able to "work around" whatever damage you have done. (For example, young persons who go blind due to an ocular condition seem to sometimes be able to "adapt" their visual cortex to model spatial configurations based upon aural inputs rather than optical inputs.) You might just have to work a lot harder at retaining information than you would have needed if you had smoked less ganja, but again, your doctor might be able to refer you to specialists who can perhaps suggest practical strategies.

    If you really want to go into programming, I have to say that this is one area in which it would be exceptionally difficult to do good work if you do not possess an outstanding memory. Do you know any professional programmers? If so, you might ask them how much they struggle with remembering stuff.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2007
  4. Jan 7, 2007 #3


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    Homework Helper

    I am a programmer and I don't remember stuff all that well. The trick as a programmer is to write your code with reusability in mind and to put good comments with it because inevitably you won't remember what it did. With the comments and by looking over the code, one can usually quickly see what it was about.

    Not all programmers have super memories, believe me.
  5. Jan 7, 2007 #4


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    Homework Helper

    Linuxkid, re-educate yourself. I would buy books and read them over, spend the money because it'll be worth it. If you can't remember simple things about mathematics, look around online to assess the overall structure of mathematics and decide what you want to learn, then buy the books and learn it.

    For elementary maths, there are many online resources like mock tests and tutorials and such.
  6. Jan 7, 2007 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    Well this thread started off in the right place -

    Math & Science Tutorials

    As for brain and memory development, certainly talk to a doctor, but GP/pediatricians may not have adequate knowledge of neurophysiology. I would recommend a daily (or every other day) supplement of Vitamin-B complex - particularly B6 and B12. The other side of that is - don't overdo it - taking too much of a particular Vitamin can have adverse effects.


    As for learning - there are plenty of resources at PF - particularly the math and science tutorials.

    There is a PF forum on programming.

    Catch up with what? Math? or Science?

    For math, in addition to PF, try - http://www.mathematicshelpcentral.com/lecture_notes.htm
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2007
  7. Jan 7, 2007 #6
    I would go to a library and check out books on every field that you feel like you need to go back to or improve in and skim through them. almost every library has at least one or two books on C programing. In subjects where you have the most trouble remembering things, you could try finding a different textbook on the same subject and using both interpretations if that would help
  8. Jan 7, 2007 #7
    Don't take this as correct, but the last thing I heard about marijuana's effects on the brain was that the damage to the memory sections is very limited if the user after being clean for a while continously re-teachs themselves. I am not sure if this is true, but hey, reading can't really do you too much harm.
  9. Jan 7, 2007 #8
    I don't know about that. I'm in 10th grade and iv'e know some other people at my school that do weed and when they DO try to learn they seem to do fine.... of course sometimes they seemed to be screwed up mentally....
  10. Jan 7, 2007 #9
    I'd go see a doctor about the memory problem. I'd also think that the problems are not from just marijuana use (anything else your neglecting to tell us?). I was the same at your age only for a time span of 5-6 years (I didn't snap out of it until I was 19-20), and I can guarantee I was worse.

    Take advantage of your second chance at life. I did, and I now do very well as a physics major, which is much better than my other option (by now, I'd be dead).
  11. Jan 7, 2007 #10
    I know lots of very inteligent people who smoke weed constantly and they are still smarter than me and I don';t do any drugs. These people are physics majors and enigneers.

    I doubt its the weed that is making you loose memory, if you think its affecting your memory then it will, its probably all in your head. If you havn't taught yourself how to learn or how to pay attention in class or take good notes that maybe why you don't remember certain things.

    It reminds me of my brother, he was into drugs pretty hardcore and now he can't do anything, he use to be just as smart as me but never tried in life and now he is afraid to try because he's so far behind. He still enjoys life but he now wishes he could be in school rather than working 12 hour days and 2 jobs just to get by.

    Everyone forgets the simplest of things, somtimes I dno't remember the months in the correct order, but that doens't mean i'm loosing my memory, its just somthing i never thought was that important so I never retained it.

    But if you plan to be a programmer, you should realize math is important to you. I'm a Computer Science Major right now and I do more math than programming.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2007
  12. Jan 8, 2007 #11
    They'll wish they didnt later on.

    I beleive there are exercises you can actually do to strengthen your memory, although i'm not sure if any of them are highly effective. neave.com has simon online but i'm not sure if thats the kind of memory exercise that you're looking for.
  13. Jan 8, 2007 #12
    I have read research that indicates certain cannabinoids function as a catalyst for hippocampal neurogenesis (although it's not conclusive). I blaze every day but I also spend between 4-7 hours studying and I manage to maintain a 4.0 (doing theoretical physics and mathematics). Perhaps you should start structuring a study period (high school shouldn't require to much time) to make certain you are learning everything.

    I nearly failed high school and I had to start in Algebra II when I entered college (due to my poor work ethic and laziness). I had forgot how to factor a polynomial, so don't worry to much about forgetting prime numbers but I have taught myself everything up to Calculus.

    It's not that your memory is poor, it's that when you don't access information often, the neural pathways weaken over time. Just brush up on your maths and whatever other subjects you have 'forgotten' and start paying more attention. Once you learn something, it's really hard to forget.

    Don't blame the drugs -- if you honestly put effort into it, you can balance it with school.
  14. Jan 8, 2007 #13

    Chris Hillman

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    Hi again, linux kid,

    As you may know, the whole issue of marijuana use is highly politicized and unfortunately this tends to skew discussion in forums like this. I would warn any young person against using large quantities of common drugs such as alchohol, marijuana, etc., since if you can set aside the politics, there does seem to be considerable medical evidence that overindulgence can have adverse effects on the developing brain of a child or teenager. At the same time, I would caution parents/caretakers against panicking over some youthful experimentation, since there also seems to be some evidence that, while all kinds of environmental factors (including stuff like pesticides) can mess up a kids brain, the human brain does seem to be somewhat adaptable in working around even permanent neurological damage.

    The bottom line seems to be this: you do seem to be describing a memory problem, and this is a legitimate cause for concern. You should have it checked out by a specialist; the first step is probably to ask your GP for a referral.

    Good luck!
  15. Jan 12, 2007 #14
    In my experience with people who may appear to have "smoked themselves stupid" It seems to me to be more that they have lost the will to learn. They just don't care to learn or apply themselves at school. I think if you force yourself into a good routine of spending a few hours a day studying, you may find that it is just goign to take some time to get into a groove but Your brain will begin to function properly again. I am no doctor though, I would suggest seeing one anyway. But mainly I would say once you find some good sources for re-educatign yourself, then it will be important to just get on a schedule and make yourself learn
  16. Jan 12, 2007 #15
    So many students in high school, even the "bright" ones, have a hard time remembering everything. A lot of times, kids feel inferior because they don't full understand that most everyone else is at their same level; they only see the "exceptional" kids and think they need to be like that too.. I think your "problem" is more an issue of you thinking that you aren't at the level you should be, but I wouldn't worry too much. Unless there is something you aren't telling us... Just study hard, and don't be afraid to admit that you don't know something, especially something that you feel like you "should" know. It is good that you are seeking help, dont stop.
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