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Schools The importance of gaining perspective in a university eduacation

  1. Aug 30, 2012 #1
    Hi all,
    Just looking for some advice regarding university (again).
    Here's the 411 on my situation:
    I'm just your average mathematics major at a big public university in Canada. I've gone through freshman year with excellent grades and am about to start my second year in the math honors program this fall.
    Now, I've decided to take 5 math courses each semester and nothing else. At this stage in my life, I'm not really sure what I want to do after my degree. I thought I wanted to go to graduate school afterwards but now I've pretty much lost direction. This has lead me to question the value of focussing too much on just one subject.
    Basically, I'm afraid that I'll lose valuable perspective if I don't take some time to explore other avenues (by taking other courses in humanities, going easy on my math courses to give myself time to do other stuff, etc.). But at the same time I'm scared that 'distracting' myself will prevent me from becoming as good as math as I want to be and in the long term, may even hamper my chances of going to graduate school if I choose to do so.
    I'm just curious as to whether this is a normal experience for someone who is in the early stages of their university education and is on the cusp of adulthood. So I guess I'm asking whether anyone here had to face such a dilemma and what sort of advice you would have to give to someone who's 18 and stupid and hasn't really figured out what's what.
    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2012 #2


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    Science Advisor

    Hey skhan172 and welcome to the forums.

    My advice would be not necessarily to do actual specific courses, but to get yourself out there so to speak.

    Meet wide ranges of people, listen to what they say and observe what they do. Read things by a variety of different kinds of people.

    Finally, the best advice is related to putting yourself out there: put yourself in different situations with different people and not just only stuff that's purely academic or intellectual.

    The reason for doing the above has to do with the fact that the world is a really diverse place and most people are not academically inclined and frankly don't care about that sort of thing. It doesn't mean this people aren't smart though: a lot of them are and you will learn things from being in these situations that you won't learn in the classroom or from a textbook.

    If you want to read stuff, you can always do that in your own time but experience is something that is participatory in which you need to put yourself in a particular situation by force and not just hoping that things will happen magically.
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