Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

I need some serious help

  1. Sep 21, 2005 #1


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Here's the thing, I want to go to the University of Waterloo. I'm currently at another school, who seems to go at a slower pace than high school. I get so bored, that I don't even to go to class. It's just brutal. I thought things would pick up during the second year, but I was DEAD wrong. Probably worse in some cases.

    I'm definitely far behind compared to students in Waterloo, but I'm willing to work for it. I'm motivated, and I just need to get out of that **** hole.

    I need to set myself at par with the students down at Waterloo, so I can start third year over there.

    I have Calculus by Michael Spivak.

    I'm not sure what I should get for Linear Algebra or for Combinatorics. I have books for them already, but they are applied... and just boring as hell. They never seem to run out of examples.

    I'm in Applied Abstract Algebra as well, but that class ain't no good right now. It's a 3rd year course, where students are still stumped on the basics of Proof by Induction. I can't take this any more.

    What should I do? Should I go for it? Learn 2 years worth of math in shortly over a year?

    In the next few days, I will decide whether or not to drop my business courses.

    Note: Getting 90's in my classes will do no good, since I know they aren't preparing me for anything. I'm better off getting 70's, and talking to profs about my problem. I have talked to a prof, and he offered to help, but I wasn't motivated enough since I was on my own and that finances are a problem. Now, I just don't care... I need to get out. This is a waste of money!

    Can anyone lead me the way? Or some advice? Anything?

    Note: I'm going to do some of my assignment tonight, and then I'll crack open Spivak and give it another try.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 21, 2005 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Another note...

    I have access to a large library, so if you have any recommendations of texts, let me know. I can borrow them for the whole term. :)
  4. Sep 22, 2005 #3
    Go to that library and borrow lots of books! Our recommendations are meaningless, because everyone learns differently. You have to find out which books are good for you. Remember that math education has very little to do with your classes, teachers or classmates, and it has a lot to do with you and those books.

    Better off getting 70s? Don't be delusional; if these classes are actually too easy for you, then your grades should reflect that. Also, do not depend opn your classes to prepare you for anything; the classes are a supplement to your education!
  5. Sep 22, 2005 #4


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    I don't plan on getting 70's. :approve:

    Thanks for the help.
  6. Sep 22, 2005 #5
    For linear algebra, try "Linear Algebra Done Right" by Sheldon Axler. More theory and less calculation with no purpose.
  7. Sep 22, 2005 #6


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Thanks for the recommendation. :biggrin:
  8. Sep 28, 2005 #7
    I believe, from our former communications, that we are both around the same age. From someone who has recently questioned their own schooling and future, this is what I will recommend to you:

    - Drop your business courses and humanities.

    - Switch to part-time status, continuing with mathematics. While you may not be "challenged" in class, continue pursuing it in your own time.

    - I just checked now and the 105D application is active (you can apply for winter as well as fall 2006 entrance). Apply to Waterloo for fall 2006 entrance. This is at the Ontario Universities' Application Centre website (ouac.on.ca)

    - You find the math easy so high grades should be relatively easy. Make it your goal to hit the higher end of the grading spectrum. If your school uses a GPA topping out at 4.0, go for a perfect 4.0 for fall and winter semesters. That is assuming your school rates 85% and up as a 4.0. You should be able to do this as a part-time student. Do NOT underestimate grades. You're undergrad. The foremost factor deciding your acceptance to Waterloo will be your grades as a transfer student. If you have any professors that you are comfortable--ask them for a letter of recommendation.

    - Wait until the fall semester has completed and you get your grades back. THEN send in your transcript to Waterloo. The transcript deadline isn't until like March/April for most schools. Why not send the current transcript? Simply because your fall grades will polish out your transcript.

    - Since you're a part-time student and you have finance problems you can get a full-time job. Go on a budget and save up the rest of your money between now and Fall 2006. Surely you have some skillset by this age that you could exploit [for something more than a McSalary hehe].

    - Start reading up on the scholarships and bursaries from Waterloo and third party. Apply, apply, apply. I believe that you once said you were thinking of teaching math at high school when you are done. There are probably additional grants/scholarship/bursaries available to you for that. I know there are various initiatives to produce more math and science teachers here in Ontario so I'd definitely look into that. Some schools (Queens and UofT I think) have Science+Education majors. I'd bet they have special scholarships and incentives available to them (moreso than just a regular science student). Waterloo might have the same for math.

    This "plan" seems reasonable enough if pursuing studies in mathematics at Waterloo is what you really want to do.

    Additionally since you feel that you are not "up to par" you may opt to apply for first year entrance instead of with transfer recognition IF you feel that is the only safe way "in". Once in you can then ask to be evaluated for prior standing or whatnot. I'd recommend this only if your current grades aren't enough to set you apart (above or at the minimal requirements for Waterloo)

    Make some detailed 1, 3 and 5 year plans. Thats the best thing I've discovered while in school. Planning, as simple as it may seem, can help you lay out your goals and realize an effective way of achieving them. It can be as simple as spending 20-30 minutes once a week and re-evaluating your goals and considering your current accomplishments.

    BTW, which school do you currently attend?
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2005
  9. Sep 28, 2005 #8


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Hey singleton,

    Nice to see you again.

    I know getting over 80% shouldn't be a problem. My organization has greatly improved. I have three assignments due tomorrow, and had one due today, and they are all done, except one question for Calculus and one question for LAII. That's done basically.

    Well, it wasn't me that wanted to become a high school teacher. :biggrin:

    Also, I can't go part-time because that means I'm not full-time and my father is no longer entitled to pay for child support. :mad: I dropped my business courses. I have been following through Spivak and another Analysis text, which isn't the same stuff as Spivak. I also plan on doing some Linear Algebra to polish up those skills.

    I really hope things workout for me though. I really need to get out. The school really screwed me over.

    Note: I wish I can share what school I go to, but I don't feel like I should disclose that information.
  10. Sep 28, 2005 #9
    How could you write so long and in many ways ? :confused:
  11. Sep 28, 2005 #10
    *turns on mind reading mode*
    You attend Trent or Brock...I'm receiving too much interference to see it clearly.

    As long as you have a nice grade average at ANY ontario university you should be able to get into Waterloo.

    I'm sorry that you can't go part-time. That really sucks.

    If the finance problem is bad enough, no one would look down on you to go out and work for a year to get on some stable ground and then go back to school. Then again that may be more problematic as the minute you do that OSAP will demand any money be paid back or whatever. I don't know your particular financial status--that is for your eyes only and you'll have to evaluate what the best path is.

    Perhaps you can tutor (on-campus jobs are preferred) or work a part-time job while doing your current studies.

    Besides "get good grades and transfer", all we can really suggest is that you make a plan. Take some time and write your goals and think what you'll need to sacrifice to get there. Follow the steps and followup on them to see where your strengths and weaknesses are. Your focus should be on how to achieve the grades and money. Find the correct balance and you'll do well.
  12. Sep 28, 2005 #11


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    You're pretty good for mind reading. :biggrin:

    Well, I have plans and I hope to stick to them.

    Things are going smoothly, but right now I'm stuck on that one problem. :grumpy: I won't make much of a big deal out of it since I'm confident about all my other solutions.

    Anyways, things should go well. If not, I can go part-time at Waterloo, which I know I can get. Full-time is generally harder.
  13. Sep 28, 2005 #12


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Just stopping by to say I solved the problem. :biggrin:

    Also, I want to thank singleton for the help I appreciate.

    I really really hope I can do something about this. Even if I fail at Waterloo, I've still succeeded at pushing myself. At my current school, my limits aren't being reached. It's so boring that I don't even want to learn the material. It's like I'm back to high school again. When I get bored, my grades go down. :mad: I'm doing great now, and I already have plans to start studying for midterms, which is a two-four weeks away. I want to stay ahead, and that way I feel more comfortable doing my own things.

    Anyways, thanks for everything.

    Note: I've learned by visiting McMaster that good schools are good schools for good reasons. I attended some classes at McMaster with my gf, and they weren't even math classes! I'm visiting again this Friday, but I'm going to math classes instead... they'll never know. :biggrin: I plan on visiting Waterloo as well, but I'm confident that the profs are organized and driven just like those I've seen at McMaster. Also, that does not mean the profs don't suck, just better.

    Note: There are great profs at my school, but what really kills it is the structure of the program and the courses. They really need to work on that. They used to teach Spivak, so I don't know what happened there.
  14. Sep 28, 2005 #13
    Don't forget that there are always other [good] schools in Ontario.

    I had my heart set on going to Waterloo for CS when I was high school but that didn't pan out.

    Toronto, Queens and McMaster are all great schools. They would surely "challenge" you enough.

    If you enjoy Spivak, take MAT157Y at UofT. Its a first year course titled "Analysis I" and thats the course text. I know this because I'm interested in the specialist programme (physics) and that is one of the first year courses (and also for math majors). I'm hoping to get in as part-time so I can do math credits via nightschool (one at a time) while working here in Toronto.

    [I would then like to attend full-time in a couple years time once I've saved enough money to sustain me and I'll have the math foundation as to not be overwhelmed in the physics program. This will allow me to better comprehend the material and hopefully excel in the studies.]
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2005
  15. Sep 29, 2005 #14


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    BTW, Happy B'day, JasonRox. :)

  16. Sep 29, 2005 #15
    Would you mind naming the school that you dislike (just curious, I'm in Canada as well)?
  17. Sep 29, 2005 #16
    Just curious, but why not just retake a few classes if you transfer? instead of trying to teach yourself, why not retake the same class at waterloo, and though a lot will be review, it'll prep you for the higher level and faster pace of things, without throwing loads of new material at you. being set back a year isn't really a big deal, especially because you're transfering. loads of transfer students end up taking an extra year. maybe consider that eh? just throwing that thought out there...
  18. Sep 29, 2005 #17


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Yeah, I probably will just take an extra term, but not an extra year. The reason why students hate taking extra time is because time equals money. So, that's not good. I'll do what's best, and if taking an extra year is my best bet, I will take an extra year.

    For singleton...

    I am considering other schools, but not McMaster. I want to major in Pure Mathematics, and most schools don't seem to have that option. They have Pure Math courses, but no degree options or what not. I'm thinking about U of T, but I haven't looked into it, so I can't say. The only schools that I would consider are Waterloo, U of T and Queen's because they are the only schools known outside of the country. I might do McGill, not sure. The reason why I want a school known internationally is because I would like to do graduate school out of Canada if possible, which I'm thinking the US or Japan.

    I have some goals... short and long.

    My shortest are the small goals are related to things like, finish reading chapter 4, etc... Keeping it simple, so this is really short. It goes on to like to how much I would like to get done by December 31, 2005. :biggrin:

    My next goal is to get accepted to Waterloo, or whatever my choice may be. I just say Waterloo since it's obviously a desirable option.

    My next goal is to do well at this new school, and to hopefully find that area of mathematics I'd like to focus on.

    The list goes on, but my options are open for now since I don't know what's going. The one thing I do know is that I'm not going to Brock next year. That is a given. If Waterloo doesn't take me full-time, I will apply part-time. I'm seriously out of here.

    Again, thanks for everything. Talking about it just helps me clear things up. At the same time I get great advice, which is priceless. I've been in this position before, but why I chose Brock is a different story. I had the notion that all undergrad schools are the same and they are what you make of it, but at Brock... you can't make anything out of nothing, which is what you get. :grumpy:

    Note: I guess you know. :tongue:
  19. Sep 29, 2005 #18
    Oh, as for challenging yourself you may want to follow the available resources. I've been perusing Dror Bar-Natan's class notes for Analysis I:


    Those are different notes for corresponding years he taught the course (2002/2003, 2003/2004, 2004/2005). They each have some variance and are good overall paired with your book. The course text is Michael Spivak's book so you can expect similar quality and challenge in the work.

    Do the homework problems he posted (for all three) and try his tests out (time yourself and then mark them afterwards with his solutions).

    Great practice and should be challenging enough to tide you over this year :biggrin:
  20. Sep 29, 2005 #19
    Additionally, you may want to investigate that education option. I know you pointed out that it wasn't you, but good math teachers are in (and will continue to be) in demand.

    I know that the system has a huge influx of teachers recently, but many of those are English, history and geography teachers. I personally know of about a dozen people that are in teachers college or have completed it. None of them majored in math, though.

    Check out the Waterloo math program with teaching option:
    http://www.findoutmore.uwaterloo.ca...ption.php?program=Mathematics Teaching Option

    It won't limit you. Sure you will take an extra course or two, but you should still be able to do lots of pure math if you so choose. It is a joint program between Waterloo and Queen's. If that isn't quality, I don't know what is ;)

    You should be able to find much more grants/scholarships/bursaries available as a student in that program. There ARE government incentives for math and science teachers so you CAN find the money... (I'm not linking, you have to dig it up yourself heh).
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
  21. Sep 29, 2005 #20


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    singleton, that link to the U of T website is just priceless.

    I'm following the assignments from another school, but this has class notes and everything.

    Note: I don't plan on teaching because I have better options open for me, like Certified General Accountant. I have one more year of college to complete all the requirements. This is my fall back plan. Thanks for letting me in on it though.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook