I don't think I can become an actuary

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In summary, Mr. Eclair_de_XII is struggling to learn and retain information due to his current workload and fatigue. He does not think he could handle working at a full-time job while studying for any examinations.f
  • #1
I just get too fatigued from studying, reading, and doing coursework from my current school curriculum. So I don't think that I could handle working at a full-time job, while studying for any examinations. With my current three senior-division math courses (which include linear algebra, vector analysis, and probability), sometimes I'm barely following along. It's hard for me to concentrate on what my professors are saying sometimes, not necessarily because I don't understand them, but mostly because I just don't have the energy to focus and feel engaged in learning mathematics anymore. It's just tiring nowadays. I don't fare very well after my lectures, either.

Usually, when I open my books to do ungraded practice problems, one of three things will happen. I will either: (1) stare for several minutes at the problems that I am confused by, panicking about how I am unable to solve them, which will interfere with my concentration and ability to do them, (2) zone in on a problem I think I can do, then spend many stressful minutes trying to figure it out in my head even after closing the book, or (3) think I know how to do a problem, but not bother to write down a solution because I'm too tired to grab a pencil and some paper to write it down. Just thinking about practicing ungraded math assignments tires me out really fast.

But it's not like I'm failing any of these classes I'm taking, since I've yet to receive any of my graded assignments back. In any case, I've been in school for about six years, and I think it's starting to take its toll on me. I don't want to stop, since I have two more semesters until graduation, including the current fall semester. But at the same time, I can't help but feel miserable all the time while studying, which is why I am confident that I won't be able to study to become an actuary. I had hoped that having a summer vacation free of school would have cleared my mind and enabled me to function better during the fall semester, but it's worse now than last spring.
  • #2
How much sleep do you get? If you sleep enough hours but are still fatigued, it would be worth investigating if you have a sleep disorder. Nowadays with modern technology you can monitor yourself sleeping.
  • #3
I'm sure you could become an actuary.

But I agree that, based on other threads you've posted, on your current path you won't become one. Spend your energy elsewhere.
  • #6
(3) think I know how to do a problem, but not bother to write down a solution because I'm too tired to grab a pencil and some paper to write it down.
Your "being tired" seems to be a common theme in several of your recent threads. I think it would be a good idea to schedule an appointment with a doctor, to see if there is something wrong, and eliminate things like mononucleosis or an Epstein-Barr virus.

But it's not like I'm failing any of these classes I'm taking, since I've yet to receive any of my graded assignments back.
But it's also not like you're passing, either, if you haven't received any feedback.
  • #7
One thing I've noticed from your posts, Mr Eclair_de_XII, is the questions you have asked have been ridiculously difficult and not questions I woud typically have worried about. There are always hard questions and if you learn the work, you can answer many of them. But there will always be problems that are infeasibly difficult and I just wonder if you are focusing too hard on the hard stuff when concepts are more important.

Knowing the concepts and how they relate to the problems, how the solution to the problem demonstrates the concepts, is important. So sometimes you need to ask, how does this demonstrate or relate to what I'm learning.

For example, I was learning from Spivak's calculus book and he had a particular problem that was very challenging. Prove the following inequality... . It was a monster and I spent an hour trying to solve it. At my wit's end, I decided it was just not possible for me to solve it. I would have to move on. But then I realized, it actually had nothing to do with calculus and would mean nothing at all if I moved on.

So I think you need to be a little less willing to conquer every problem and be proud that you are doing well in your studies.
  • #8
Just keep on trucking. Mathematics is about having patience. A person studying mathematics, or many of its offshoots, should find enjoyment walking blindly in the dark labyrinth we call "hard problems." What is the point of solving 100 easy problems in 3 hours, where nothing new is gained? Should not one find working on 3 hours on a select few problems that test our understanding more enjoyable? Even if we can solve them?

I notice this a lot with classmates. By studying. Do you actively engage you're textbook? Work out the examples. Try to explain yourself why such and such follows? Do you rely heavy on solutions manuals?

I find that students not reading their textbooks with the goal of understanding the material, and relying on solutions manuals to be the cause of this issue you have.
  • #9
To the OP:

I have a few questions for you:

1. When you say you are tired all the time -- are you in general physically fit? Are you overweight/obese? Do you eat well and exercise? Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to giving you the energy to study or work. I should also add that obesity is a risk factor for sleep apnea that was alluded to earlier in this thread.

2. When it comes to studying, do you study on your own, or do you know other people in the math program who you can study with and bounce ideas off of? Having study groups can be helpful if you feel you are stuck on numerous problems. If an idea doesn't immediately come along, don't panic but instead focus, follow your chain of reasoning, talk to other people, use the resources available at your college/university, do lots of practice exercises. These were what got me through university.
  • #10
I should clarify what I said earlier. The hard problem I was talking about had a hint to solve it but I didn't want to solve it using the hint because it seemed to be an interesting problem. So I thought, let me try and solve it without the hint. When actually, with the hint (use Cauchy-Schwarz) it became almost trivial. Without it, basically impossible. It was dumb of me to do that. And I think maybe the OP is like that, trying to conquer every single question whereas sometimes you have to move on because you know the concepts and you can solve those questions.

Or perhaps it's just something medical which we probably shouldn't discuss for privacy reasons.

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