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I am currently a university sophomore pursuing a degree in computer science. During the 2010 fall semester, my linear algebra professor approached me after class and suggested that I consider getting a concurrent degree in mathematics. I have always been very passionate about mathematics and have always thought I was decent at it due to excellent grades, so I am (or was) seriously considering getting that concurrent degree.

I have done some research on the upper division mathematics courses and found out most of it revolves around proofs rather than problem solving. I absolutely love proofs; I was never satisfied with theorems in my calculus courses unless a proof was provided. The proofs I had to present in my lower division linear algebra course were fairly easy and seemed pretty straight forward in my opinion. My professor commented that they were always "lucid." All of this increased my confidence in my mathematical ability. Recently, though, I have been questioning that ability.

I participated in all the AMC 10/12 competitions in high school and never did particularly well on them. Many of the problems seemed to require introducing some mathematical structure or an ingenious simplification that made solving the problem possible within the time limit. The competitions made me see and also appreciate how creativity manifests in mathematics. However, they also showed me that not only do I lack creativity in the arts, but also in the subject I am passionate about. Lately I have been looking up some interesting math problems to do for fun and each one seems to end up with me taking a really long time to solve or just plain failing. They all require that creative spark.

So what does this have to do with pursuing a concurrent degree in mathematics? I have noticed that many proofs involve quite a bit of creativity. If the upper division courses are all about proofs and I lack the creativity (well, I do have some strange "Eureka!" moments every now and then), how am I going to fare in such courses? This anxiety has spread to my thoughts about how I will fare in my upper division computer science courses. It is frustrating and depressing to feel that perhaps I am not cut out for these degrees and perhaps college in general.

Have any mathematicians or computer scientists on this board ever feel this way once or still sometimes feel this way? Am I correct in thinking I may not be cut out for mathematics and computer science due to a lack of creativity?

EDIT: This thread may actually be better suited for the academic guidance forum...

I have done some research on the upper division mathematics courses and found out most of it revolves around proofs rather than problem solving. I absolutely love proofs; I was never satisfied with theorems in my calculus courses unless a proof was provided. The proofs I had to present in my lower division linear algebra course were fairly easy and seemed pretty straight forward in my opinion. My professor commented that they were always "lucid." All of this increased my confidence in my mathematical ability. Recently, though, I have been questioning that ability.

I participated in all the AMC 10/12 competitions in high school and never did particularly well on them. Many of the problems seemed to require introducing some mathematical structure or an ingenious simplification that made solving the problem possible within the time limit. The competitions made me see and also appreciate how creativity manifests in mathematics. However, they also showed me that not only do I lack creativity in the arts, but also in the subject I am passionate about. Lately I have been looking up some interesting math problems to do for fun and each one seems to end up with me taking a really long time to solve or just plain failing. They all require that creative spark.

So what does this have to do with pursuing a concurrent degree in mathematics? I have noticed that many proofs involve quite a bit of creativity. If the upper division courses are all about proofs and I lack the creativity (well, I do have some strange "Eureka!" moments every now and then), how am I going to fare in such courses? This anxiety has spread to my thoughts about how I will fare in my upper division computer science courses. It is frustrating and depressing to feel that perhaps I am not cut out for these degrees and perhaps college in general.

Have any mathematicians or computer scientists on this board ever feel this way once or still sometimes feel this way? Am I correct in thinking I may not be cut out for mathematics and computer science due to a lack of creativity?

EDIT: This thread may actually be better suited for the academic guidance forum...

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