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Not sure where to go from here

  1. Mar 22, 2012 #1
    I'm majoring in mathematics, mathematical physics, and mathematical statistics. Aside from the fact that I'm triple majoring for the cost of one major and two minors (an example of my school not being good at organizing course requirements), I don't know why I'm doing any of this.

    The fact of the matter is that I don't think I want to do math beyond analysis EVER as a job. Abstract algebra, topology... they're really, really fun to learn, but not fun at all to do repeatedly, if that makes any sense. In fact, I'm only a math major because I think it's fun to LEARN. Not so much to spend my life doing. It's like someone who's only taking the course to enjoy the "popular science" part of it, but finds regular popular science to lack sufficient rigor.

    As for mathematical statistics, I think it is an incredibly useful skill no matter what I do in life. Much like how people exercise despite not liking it, I choose to major in mathematical statistics. Also, statistics is not too bad; it ties really well into modeling systems, a type of problem solving I always found really cool about quantitative courses in general.

    Now, physics is the kind of problem solving I like. You know, build models and stuff. Especially statistical mechanics. That **** was awesome. And I really do enjoy learning it--but, again, as a more rigorous form of popular science.

    I'd like to note that I'm not good at all at any of these fields. Hell, I'm probably dumber than all my peers in these fields. The only reason why I'm getting better grades is that I'm studying significantly more. And that I have a good memory. I tend not to forget about anything I learn. That said, my problem solving skills (out of the box, without studying) are **** compared to my peers. You know www.math.stackexchange.com? I can't do any of the questions with bounties, because they're the ones that actually test real problem solving, not regurgitating what you've learned in textbooks.

    The one class I really found I enjoyed was a harder, more rigorous form of game theory I took a short while ago. That was the funnest subject and class I have ever taken. Too late to switch my majors, though. :(

    I don't know what to do after college. Finance? Prolonged working on mundane stuff literally makes me feel terrible. Academics? Can't compete with the brainpower of my peers. If only I could stay in college and just learn everything else.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2012 #2
    Ok, I'm going to get up on my soapbox and talk about early retirement again.

    Growing up and throughout college I struggled with what to specialize in because I thought "hey, I'm going to be doing this for the rest of my life until I retire at 65+ so I better love it."

    WRONG. The average worker today starts out with this mindset and does in fact end up spending about as much as they are earning, consequently working the rat race until they are too old to do it anymore. Luckily, there is a much, much more wonderful alternative...

    Wake the F*$% up and realize that probably 90% of your spending does not contribute to your happiness in any meaningful way! Instead, drastically increase your savings rate to the point that your savings passively generate your living expenses and WHAM, you're financially independent in 5 or 10 years. Congrats, you now have the freedom to wake up every morning and do what you want with your life.

    In your case, audit every class in your local university that sounds interesting. Solve problems that look fun to you.

    My point is that you're going to have a lot of marketable skills and if you can put some of them to use for a relatively short period of time, you can just be a professional student for the rest of your life.

    This is the blog that opened my eyes: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/08/mr-money-mustaches-own-story/
    Guy was a mid-range software engineer for 5 or 6 years, then retired right before his first kid was born.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
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