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On a certain insufficiency

  1. Jun 23, 2010 #1

    This might not be a question of the usual kind. However, the feelings that I perceive these days cannot be put into more mainstream a framework.

    I am a quite successful undergraduate (2nd term) student of Pure Mathematics. However, now that almost a year has elapsed, I feel in retrospect that this timespan is severely out of scale, in relation to the amount of new knowledge, new concepts and ways of thinking attained. And in a certain sense, it frustrates me.

    My university is good, my professors great. The topics we learn are, albeit basic, of essential importance, and I do know why I am learning them and that I remain motivated. I have a deep unconditional interest in abstract structures. I had hoped, though, and that may be the cause of my frustration, that I will learn much more and understand much more.

    Some of you may suggest me to study whatever I am additionally interested in by myself. And, yes, that's exactly what I am trying to do. The actual topics that I need to write exams on, and hence have a priority, do require a significant amount of time, though. I can't just not finish a homework sheet (which aren't difficult, but require time nonetheless), and instead prove all theorems in a chapter or two of a book on measure theory by myself.

    Of course, I am not the "ideal" student. I procrastinate a lot. I could work on that. And I could make an effort to improve my social life. I do have one, but it could be a lot more satisfying. All in all, I could become more efficient in what I do.

    My question is, is anyone familiar with what I am talking about? Has anyone ever felt that he hadn't learned enough, or wasted time? Is having a good social life a necessity for long-lasting academic success? Is it just a result of unrealistic expectations that I feel frustrated by a seeming lack of knowledge and understanding?

    Thanks a lot in advance.


    Edit: To be fair, every month my mental maturity grows. My personality does change (to the positive). That's the most noticeable gain.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 23, 2010 #2
    I think I might know how you feel. I think that a good thing to do is certainly become more efficient. I used to be like that, but every time I think about spending a few more hours on the internet or watching tv I think that right now I could be doing a lot more to get ahead and make the material I learn in the future easier on me, and at that time I could further my independent studies even more. Once you get into the habit of doing that, it gets fun and you'll want to do it automatically.

    So if I'm interpreting your post correctly, simply using your time more effectively to learn things that you haven't learned yet will make you feel better. That helped for me.
  4. Jun 23, 2010 #3
    Etenim, are you and I the same person, because it sure seems like it to me?
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