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Study to not feel guilty

  1. Jun 1, 2012 #1
    It is one month into my summer vacation and the only task I have right now is to prepare for the General GRE that is coming up pretty soon. However, I still try to read a bit of math everyday. I feel extremely guilty if I ever get the thought of not doing math for just one day. I think that is going too easy on myself and letting myself slack off. So I end up spending most of my time reading math instead of studying for the GRE.

    I am wondering whether it is okay to not do math everyday even though I am looking into a career in math. When math professors take a vacation, do they just not think about work at all?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 4, 2012 #2
    I think you need to ask yourself the question, "Do I really like math?".

    If you are pursuing a career in math, then you should be very interested in math, and absolutely love doing it. If you are forcing yourself to do it because you want a career in it, then you are doing it wrong. Once you have that career, you will have to force yourself to go to work everyday. That is not good.

    If you do like math, and you enjoy studying it on a daily basis then that's awesome. I think that you should maybe not do it everyday though and set your priorities straight (ie. the GRE). Once that is over you can have all the fun you want reading equations.

    Also, I didn't think professors took vacations. Unless you call talks/conferences in far away lands vacations.
  4. Jun 17, 2012 #3
    Do you enjoy math or do you just do it because you feel obligated? If you want to take a day off from math, I don't see how that's a problem as long as it doesn't interrupt your flow or whatever. In fact, if the GRE is a priority right now, I would say worry about that more. I don't know what is the "correct" amount of time to spend studying math. Last summer I didn't think about math much at all, except when I was reviewing high school algebra stuff for the GRE (Mathematica abuse has caused my basic algebra skills to atrophy). But then there are the people who spend the whole summer doing research or REUs.

    As for the vacations, I'm not sure. I think professors tend to spend the summers working on their own research, since they aren't busy teaching. I imagine that's what they do on sabbatical as well. But many of them have lives and families, and I'm sure that plays into it too. But you work up to spending that much time on it--you don't have to live like a professor when you're an undergrad (as I assume you are if you're cramming for the GRE?).
  5. Jun 18, 2012 #4
    I definitely love math and would like to do it for the rest of my life if possible. However, even in the most romantic relationship you occasionally get the impulse to run away. After all, I worked 75+ hours a week excluding lecture time for the past three semesters. I figured it would still be ok if I don't think about math for two weeks in a year so I decided to focus on the GRE, which is happening very soon.
    When I ask whether professors take vacations, I don't mean 3-month summer vacation. I wonder whether they would just spend a week in the summer travelling with their family and not doing any work in that week.
  6. Jun 18, 2012 #5
    I do remember I read somewhere that Schrodinger derived his wave equation during his vacation with his girlfriend..
  7. Jun 18, 2012 #6
    Girlfriend? I believe it's his mistress. :yuck:
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