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Will I hit an intellectual wall with math?

  1. Jul 14, 2011 #1
    Will I hit an "intellectual wall" with math?

    Every so briefly, for one semester, I was a math major in college. I got lazy and wussed out and graduated with a liberal arts degree.

    7 years later I'm feeling pretty dissatisfied with my career and long term job prospects. Seems like quantitative fields have better prospects. That combined with the feeling of personal challenge from a sense that I didn't adquately challenge myself back in college has me thinking of doing either a Masters in Statistics or a 2nd BS or MS in Comp Sci.

    And i'm starting basically from scratch, probably will take math courses at a community college first to do prereqs.

    That being said, the biggest fear I had back in college is something I still have. If you study something like math or comp sci, is there a point you hit an intellectual wall, where simply if you aren't smart enough, you just can't get the material and you won't pass the class? Or is hard work more of the determining factor?

    I was a fairly solid math student in HS and did ok in the intro calculus classes in college (Bs) but I was never the math whiz that was taking calculus in middle school or anything like that.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 14, 2011 #2
    Re: Will I hit an "intellectual wall" with math?

    In math and science, you will hit a wall sooner or later. Everybody does. If you hit a wall, you'll need to put in a lot of work, talk to a lot of people and read a lot of explanations. That way, you should be able to understand the subject.

    Don't letting "hitting a wall" discourage you. Everybody hits walls, but it's the way you deal with it that's important. If you do the right things (i.e. work hard), you can overcome the walls and gaining new knowledge.

    In fact, hitting walls and overcoming them is the fun thing about math. :smile:
  4. Jul 14, 2011 #3
    Re: Will I hit an "intellectual wall" with math?

    I agree with micromass. You will hit a wall or sometimes, or even a ceiling. One time when I got frustrated with my real analysis course, and I asked my adviser whether I hit the maximum of my mathematical potential. And he answered "yes, but more like a local maximum." (BTW, I did not quit math there, and now I am going to be a grad student in math.)
  5. Jul 14, 2011 #4
    Re: Will I hit an "intellectual wall" with math?

    Haha, only a math professor would say that.
  6. Jul 15, 2011 #5


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    Re: Will I hit an "intellectual wall" with math?

    The great thing is when you get over the wall, or at the very least, climb up high enough to see over it: it's a great feeling no matter how insignificant you may think it is or how complex other people may think of it.

    This kind of advice needs to be a sticky post.
  7. Jul 15, 2011 #6
    Re: Will I hit an "intellectual wall" with math?

    Yeah, that reply is just awesome :biggrin:
  8. Jul 15, 2011 #7
    Re: Will I hit an "intellectual wall" with math?

    I think so too :wink: I now realize that I just happened to be a bad neighborhood where my point happened to be a maximum, and it took some work to walk away from that neighborhood.

    (Of course, local max can be a global max, but most people probably won't reach there anyway...)
  9. Jul 15, 2011 #8


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    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Will I hit an "intellectual wall" with math?

    I prefer to think of it as a "cliff" rather than a "wall":

    [PLAIN]http://image.wetpaint.com/image/1/WHUC8TU5751Ue3HpHAQmtg587857/GW430 [Broken]

    (from New Yorker magazine)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  10. Jul 15, 2011 #9


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    Re: Will I hit an "intellectual wall" with math?

    This is peculiar. In most colleges, mathematics is a liberal arts degree. What was your degree in?

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