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Looking for guidance, math and physics wise

  1. Jul 20, 2013 #1
    So here's a little background on me:

    I'm a rising senior in high school. I was always the kid that hated math throughout my career.... I thought of it as useless stuff I had to memorize that I would never use, and just distracted me from fun stuff. Even though I always got A's or B's in math and science, I never truly appreciated them (or considered myself "good" at them).

    That all changed a few weeks ago when I purchased "The Big Book of Math and Physics". Honestly when I saw it on the shelf at the bookstore I thought, what kind of nerds would buy a book about this? I opened it just to have a giggle at the math freaks out there, but I was immediately hooked. It really opened my eyes on how math and physics can be used to explain the universe, create amazing technology, and change the world. In fact, the book even has me considering possibly majoring in Applied Math or Physics in college.

    So what do you guys think? Could someone who always hated math have a major change of heart, appreciate math's uses, and major in it in college? I'll be going into Pre-calculus and Trig my senior year, and I'm actually quite excited!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2013 #2
    Did you not already have a change of heart?
  4. Jul 21, 2013 #3
    The fact that you are on this forum shows you have what it takes.

    First let me tell you a bit about myself. Throughout high school (graduated in 2011) I was placed in gifted/honors/AP classes throughout the four years. This included math and science classes. It turns out that my freshman year I had the WORST geometry teacher known to academia. She literally made me hate math in general. Fast forward to senior year I'm taking Calculus but still HATED math. I knew then for a fact that I always had the lowest test grades in the class in hated math more and thus studied less and would then result in lower grades. It was a vicious cycle that was going on throughout my high school career.

    You say you don't consider yourself good at math. I literally thought that I was incapable of doing anything related to math.

    Today, I'm a rising junior majoring in Physics thinking about graduate school and reading the Feynman Lectures on Physics just for the pure fun of it. How did this happen? One word. Desire. I had the desire to get myself out of the mentality that I wasn't "good" at math. So the summer after graduating I studied math. From elementary math up to precalculus. You see, I saw my field of knowledge in math as having little potholes here and there. Potholes that needed filling up in order to progress. Now that I think about it, I remember not raising my hand in class when I got left behind because I KNEW that the question I had was over some kind of operation that was taught years ago. I was embarrassed so I didn't ask questions in class which led to me being held back even further.

    Do not be afraid of relearning material that was taught throughout elementary, middle, and high school. It will give you the confidence you need. I began my freshman year in college with college algebra. It was boring mostly and too easy but I did learn something out of it. Then Precalculus. All A's. Confidence boosted. I quickly took the Calc's and am now about to take Differential Equations, Linear Algebra and Vector Calculus in one semester. The fact that I am doing well in my classes really goes to show that,"the only limitations to the mind are those we ACKNOWLEDGE", a famous quote by Napoleon Hill. I know I am behind a whole year when compared to other students my age, but if you buckle down, have a true desire to learn, are committed and motivated enough to follow in the footsteps of the great men and women that have changed our world, YOU CAN DO IT. It's not about being a genius. It is about the Desire. You got hooked through this book. I got hooked just from a couple documentaries on physics and then immersing myself in the rich history of both mathematics and physics.

    "The starting point of all achievement is Desire"
    "When your DESIRES are strong enough you will appear to possess SUPERHUMAN powers to achieve"
  5. Jul 21, 2013 #4
    There is a lot to appreciate. I think it's rather silly when people automatically giggle at those who are fascinated by learning. Especially since they are the ones sitting back and really having a great laugh at those who refuse to acknowledge the little beautiful things that pop up in our world.

    If I were you I'd just keep an open mind. You should give it a shot, maybe get some more literature and ease yourself into it, and who knows? You may just have opened the door to something incredible that you had accidently shut out for so long
  6. Jul 21, 2013 #5
    There is nothing to stop a budding mind from learning all that it desires.

  7. Jul 21, 2013 #6
    This is the best post I have ever read, describes me exactly!!
  8. Jul 21, 2013 #7
    Didn't want to start a new thread:

    How important is the math subsection of the ACT compared to your grades in math classes? I scored a 22 on the math, with a 29 composite score. However, I have almost A's in my high school math classes. If I applied to college as an Applied Math or Physics major, would colleges not accept me because of my math score? Or would they see the 29 composite and 3.9 GPA and move on?

    Or should I just retake the ACT after some hardcore studying so this isn't even an issue?
  9. Jul 21, 2013 #8


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    Staff: Mentor

    I think at most colleges in the US, you don't apply (for admission as a freshman) to a specific major. The application form will probably ask you what you plan to major in, but that's mainly for informational purposes and maybe for helping them choose an appropriate academic advisor for you. Any cutoffs on ACT or SAT scores will apply to everybody who applies to that college, regardless of major.
  10. Jul 21, 2013 #9


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    Science Advisor

    The freshman application process is meant to be all-encompassing in the sense that it takes into account not only ACT/SAT scores but also the grades in your classes as well as their difficulty, your extracurriculars, your teacher recommendations, your college essays etc. No one can say what one aspect of the application process will deal a fell blow (if any) because the process is more complicated than just applying a simple formula to determine if someone is admitted or not. That being said, if you are trying to apply to schools with very competitive applications I would definitely retake the ACT (or take the SAT) with the hopes of getting a better score, especially on the math. You can usually very easily find the statistics regarding the average ACT/SAT scores of admitted students at the universities that you are interested in; it's better to be safe than sorry.
  11. Aug 24, 2013 #10
    Accepted to IU, Fall 2014! Still finishing up Purdue application!
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