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My dilemma

  1. Jul 19, 2005 #1
    I'm now a programmer in a Shanghai based IT company. I have been graduated from
    college for 4 years and my major in college is not math or physics related. But I kept
    thinking my "philosophical stuff" along and recently found there's answers for me in
    both pure mathematics and theoretical physics(M-theory/LQG, etc). so I decided to
    apply for a pure Math PHD study to make a sound base to do researching job.
    it's some difficult for me because:
    My undergraduate transcript just show very poor performance, also in those math
    classes as calculus, linear algebra and probability theory. and recently I got my first
    and terrible GRE score and a TOEFL 537.
    Someone told me I'll be competitive if I had journal papers. I think this is interesting
    on this condition that my goal is just present my thoughts in academic paper after
    learn mathematics systematically in graduate school. for now, if I have ability to
    send serious paper I would most probably not that urge to apply for a graduate study.
    now I'm learning Garrity's book, All the Mathematics You Missed...
    I'm looking for your suggestion, thank you!
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2005 #2
    a small chance

    I cannot in good conscious recommend you changing your career considering your lack of showing any ability to pursue a successful career in mathematics but if you really need to do this. You should go to school as a non-degree graduate student and than go for your masters in pure or applied mathematics.
  4. Jul 24, 2005 #3
    hello, Student_at_CUNY

    thank you for your reply!
    yes, I was very regret not learning maths well during my college time, and
    sometime I ask myself if I'm really having ability to do research in maths,
    especially when I was slow in doing those exercises full of tricks in text books.
    but in most time I tend to believe it's not the real math I'm looking for, instead
    I think a math as a whole is much more important than any detailed techniques.
    what is maths is the only question I want to know...
    non-degree graduate study is also a good way to go, thank you.
  5. Jul 24, 2005 #4
    if you want to go based on past performance, trends, etc., like the other poster said, changing careers is not a great option.

    however. i believe there comes a time in everyone's life where you have to make huge choices. for you i guess its, stay in my safe job or pursue my passion.

    i want to share some things i have observed for anyone who wants to pursue a very difficult dream. i am a huge baseball fan and i am a huge supporter of sabermetrics, or evaluating players strictly based on their numbers (ERA, avg home runs year, career batting average, career on base, career ops, so on and so on).

    here is the point, a lot of times in life, we let numbers define us. the only way to break out of this cycle is to work extremely hard. that is the only way you get somewhere. everyone has extravagent dreams and goals, it is your will, your work ethic, your determination, your focus that will achieve your dreams or not achieve your dreams.

    so, if you really feel like you are going to change careers and go to a Grad school in the United States, you must understand, you have to work very very hard. there are other people out there with better numbers; better GRE, better TOEFEL, better GPA. but, if you can dedicate yourself and work extremely hard, go for it.

    good luck man
  6. Jul 25, 2005 #5
    hello, JasonJo

    you're right.
    after all, life is always hard, especially for me in the most populous country
    in the world. for the past three years I have been thinking the question if
    I'd better stay in current job along or make a big change, or how to balance
    them all.
    I once thought to learn from the web instead of school, because there's
    wikipedia open, good text lectures downloadable, there's arxiv open, and
    many many others you can get on the web today. but I still know school
    study is necessary to get you in the right path not too wild...
    thank you very much!
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2005
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