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Will I succeed as a mathematician?

  1. Jul 3, 2013 #1
    Sorry if this thread has already been posted...but I'm very worried about this.

    I don't have a lot of "natural" mathematical prowess, but I'm a REALLY hard worker, and that resulted in a lot of good grades in high school. In IB SL math, my predicted mark was a 96, and during midterms for gr11 IB physics, I was at a 93 I think.

    I'm not THAT good at proofs, but I think, with hard work, I'll be able to do well in them. Like I said though, I have no natural mathematical skills. I'm just a really hard worker.

    I'm self-studying from my brother's first-year uni text (calculus: early transcedentals, 7th edition), and I do understand a lot of it. Most of the early chapters are review from my math course.

    How would I be able to do well as a mathematician? Would it be absolutely necessary for me to have natural talent, or will I be able to get by in uni with hard work?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 3, 2013 #2
    Nothing in your post stands out that would instantly disqualify you. I would say, don't ask. Just take your math courses and see what happens.
  4. Jul 4, 2013 #3
    I think you are worrying too much about the wrong things. In the long run, your high school marks will likely have no bearing on your performance or "abilility" to be a mathematician.

    Maybe one thing you can do is look more into what it is to be a mathematician. Do a little research, find more information, maybe talk with a university advisor. They might have some useful information. If you are nervous about proofs, that is okay. Most people entering math will be fairly unfamiliar with them.

    Learning a little symbolic logic might help you get more confidence with this, or going through some elementary proofs. It took me a little bit of time to get comfortable with proofs (I only switched into mathematics my 2nd year), the thing that helped the most was just doing proofs myself. The book you are reading might not be the right choice for this. When your courses come along, just work hard at them and you have the potential to do well, as does anyone. If you want a head start what might help more is 'learning proof' resources. Some profs put these up on their course webpages, and there are also several books available
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