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aerospacedout

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**What does it mean to be "good at math"?**

I have recently began preparing for college by picking up a calculus textbook and doing it from the beginning. Although I'm not particularly talented at math, I am a little above average when it comes to understanding physics and mathematics concepts. I never put in the time to study however so my skills have deteriorated and I'm trying to get them to an acceptable level so I would be a little more prepared for aero/mech engineering. My conceptual understanding is fine but the calculations are off and I'm missing quite a lot of fundamentals, mostly due to lack of practice. This lack of practice is also the reason I'm failing my calculus class, also very discouraging for someone who seemed to be good at math.

The problem is, even though I'm well versed(or so I thought!) in derivatives and integrals as they apply to many types of physics problems, it seems that the more math I learn, the more i realize that I know barely anything. I try to go back, relearn my fundamentals, but even if I am able to learn stuff, I am discouraged by the fact that there is just so much of it that I didn't even know existed, and that it is impossible to learn all of it. And honestly, I'm already in calc, i have absolutely no clue of how I will be able to catch up and manage to keep my other class grades up.

I read that there are around 60 disciplines in math. That's insane! How much of it do math majors learn? Engineers? How is it possible to learn (and retain) that many concepts and calculations? It seems as if, like numbers, math is infinite and extremely broad, and I never thought of it that way. I never expected there to be this much, and I honestly have no idea what being "good" at it would mean, even if I manage to get through this 650 page textbook(ambitious goal, kinda stupid and unrealistic though...). Being good at calc is completely different from being good at topology or geometry or linear algebra... I never really expected that. They're all different, just like the differences between the various liberal arts.

Is it worth it for me to keep going even if I won't learn as much as I want to, as quickly as I want to? I love math now, even if I'm not amazing at it. I've always loved physics even though my ap physics class is brutal at the moment. I was wondering if anyone could give some advice, and answer there two questions:

a)What does it mean to be "good at math", if it even means anything?

b)can you share an experience where you struggled with math and physics and managed to somehow climb your way out?

If this is the wrong section, please let me know.. I'm not sure where else to post this. And sorry for the disorganized thinking in my question, I'm just a little overwhelmed by the realization that math is actually an umbrella term for a huge, varied, never ending universe of concepts and calculations, rather than some specific class or concept.