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Should I give up?

  1. Dec 15, 2008 #1
    I thought it was my dream to be a mathematician. I got accepted to a very good school with a brilliant math department. But after the first semester it seems like the assignments were too much for me to handle. I had two grad classes Analysis and Algebra. I did well with Analysis and kept up on my assignments, but the Algebra one was just too fast paced and by the end I couldn't even understand the questions on the homework assignments.

    Anyway this semester is drawing to a close and I am very discouraged with my performance. I think having a wife, A full time job and taking two classes was way too much, but I am not even sure that I could handle one. I don't want to waste my money nor the professor's time if I don't have what it takes.

    This is very sad indeed since I think about math all the time and love it so. There is just no time in my life to treat it properly.

    Thanks for listening.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 15, 2008 #2


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    there are three rules in getting what you want in life:
    1) never give up.
    2) never give up
    3) never give up

    if you were accepted, then you DO have what it takes to succeed there.

    go talk to some helpful person in the department, about how you feel.

    probably you are just suffering first year adjustment.

    grad school is VERY demanding, but it can be done, and afterwards you have access to the life you dreamed about.

    or maybe you may wind up in a different program, with less intense demands. but you can still realize your dream, if you want it and your married life can stand it.
  4. Dec 16, 2008 #3
    There are more than three rules, here are some more:

    4) Pursue a better, or a least another, dream.


    5) Want what you get (Epictetus)


    6) Read stoic philosophy, at least until you get to 5). It's more interesting than algebra, at least for me (even though I got 'A's in algebra).
  5. Dec 16, 2008 #4
    In your case, it may be better to study math subjects like algebra yourself using college notes or books. You can then take as much time as you need to master the subject.
  6. Dec 16, 2008 #5
    Maybe you should just take different classes? Sounds like your 2 classes, Analysis and Algebra, were taken for quals? Were you hoping to do research in either of those areas? If not, take a class in Topology or PDE or Dyn. Syst. or ... by the sound of it you did just fine in your Analysis class and it seems like that would carry you further in those classes than Algebra would. I remember "getting" Algebra until Ring Theory and then it all went ... (though we did rush a lot of it).
  7. Dec 16, 2008 #6
    You can absolutely do it if you want to. You may take more time than the average student, or you may not be able to work full time the whole way through the program; this can be a difficult matter for someone with family responsibilities. But hard work and persistence matter more than just about anything.

    On the other hand, if you do decide to do something else, you can also be successful and happy. I am personally convinced that our creator endows each of us with abilities and interests (plural) with which to make a living, achieve personal satisfaction, and contribute to our communities.

    So it's up to you. Be confident in yourself, give yourself enough chance to achieve the goal you have set, but even if you decide the program is not right for you, there will still be many paths you can take.
  8. Dec 16, 2008 #7
    It is funny but stubborn people get what they want after a period of time.
    Like Thomas Edison who tried 1000 times for inventing electricity bulb. All of us would look him as a fool trying this much , but he succeeded and we all use bulbs in our houses.
    Success needs passion and enormous endeavour , trust in yourself and you will not have a chance to fail !
  9. Dec 16, 2008 #8
    he didnt invent the light bulb, he perfected it. and i dont think it took 1000 tries. persistance can only get you so far.
  10. Dec 16, 2008 #9
    Yes but misquoting facts will get you everywhere!
  11. Dec 16, 2008 #10


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    This is a little off-topic, but strangely I couldn't find anything online which either disproves or proves that Edison tried 1000 times before he succeeded. Even Snopes.com doesn't have it.
  12. Dec 16, 2008 #11


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    so epictetus started the theme that led to "if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with".

    (i also seem to remember that epictetus was a slave, which likely influenced his attitude.)
  13. Dec 16, 2008 #12
    This is a loser-miNded point of view. You can always love what you cannot have.
  14. Dec 18, 2008 #13
    Thanks all for your reply's.

    I do find that I take longer than average. When I took the GRE's I didn't get through all 66 questions but of the questions I did do I only got one wrong. I am sure that if i had more time I could have gotten a higher mark. But it ended up being good enough to get me into a good school.

    I find this on the homework sets as well. My main problem is that I physically can not move on to the next question if I can't answer one. I can't stop my brain from thinking about it enough to focus on the next question.

    I really enjoy number theory. So yea maybe I need to focus on something else. My program does require me to pass an Analysis and Algebra qualifying exam though (and then 2 optional ones, 1 speciality one)

    @Count Iblis
    Absolutely it might. I have Artin's and Lang's algebra book, which one would you recommend to start with?

    Thanks again all
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