Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Moderators: gmalivuk, Moderators General, Prelates
 RogerMurdock
 Posts: 158
 Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:35 pm UTC
Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Hello everyone!
Though I am not very active on these forums, I have been reading them for a few years now and I do appreciate all the help you've given me answering questions and providing some very enlightening discussion. I am currently a freshman in university and had been having huge troubles deciding what I wanted to major/do with my life. I started as an engineer (my school is known for their engineering program), but I was very disappointed to learn the most difficult math we did was an "Intro to Dif EQs" course, while I find higher level theoretical math incredibly interesting. After much deliberating and reading (including this thread), I finally decided to submit a change of major into pure math (though I am doing an "option" in applied computing...getting a minor in CS as well as Economics hopefully). So I just wanted to thank everyone for your encouragement to pursue the course of study I really wanted, other than what I have been told would make me a good amount of money right out of college, even if you didn't advise me directly.
So in the spirit of this, I wanted to take a kind of survey of the forums I've been reading for so long now. Most of the people on here who answer questions appear very knowledgeable about math, but only sparingly are your real educational levels listed. It could be cool if everyone supplied their age (if comfortable), educational level/what their degree is in, and what they're currently doing, whether working, at school, or w/e. Kind of a "i got a degree in this and now I do this for a living" type of deal. I'll start.
Age: 19
Educational Level: Undergraduate  Applied Discrete Math Major (woooo!!)
What I'm doing right now: Freshman at university!
Though I am not very active on these forums, I have been reading them for a few years now and I do appreciate all the help you've given me answering questions and providing some very enlightening discussion. I am currently a freshman in university and had been having huge troubles deciding what I wanted to major/do with my life. I started as an engineer (my school is known for their engineering program), but I was very disappointed to learn the most difficult math we did was an "Intro to Dif EQs" course, while I find higher level theoretical math incredibly interesting. After much deliberating and reading (including this thread), I finally decided to submit a change of major into pure math (though I am doing an "option" in applied computing...getting a minor in CS as well as Economics hopefully). So I just wanted to thank everyone for your encouragement to pursue the course of study I really wanted, other than what I have been told would make me a good amount of money right out of college, even if you didn't advise me directly.
So in the spirit of this, I wanted to take a kind of survey of the forums I've been reading for so long now. Most of the people on here who answer questions appear very knowledgeable about math, but only sparingly are your real educational levels listed. It could be cool if everyone supplied their age (if comfortable), educational level/what their degree is in, and what they're currently doing, whether working, at school, or w/e. Kind of a "i got a degree in this and now I do this for a living" type of deal. I'll start.
Age: 19
Educational Level: Undergraduate  Applied Discrete Math Major (woooo!!)
What I'm doing right now: Freshman at university!
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Me:
Age: 30s
Education: PhD in math
What I'm doing now: Assistant professor in midAtlantic US
Age: 30s
Education: PhD in math
What I'm doing now: Assistant professor in midAtlantic US
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 19
Education Level: Finishing my freshman year of a major in mathematics
What I'm currently doing: Coming off of a graph theory research project and studying differential equations in preparation for a summer research project.
Education Level: Finishing my freshman year of a major in mathematics
What I'm currently doing: Coming off of a graph theory research project and studying differential equations in preparation for a summer research project.
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 23
Education Level: BA in Mathematics, Pure & Applied (the tracks were P&A or Statistics)
What I'm doing now: Freelance mathematics tutoring, teaching a couple test prep classes. Grad school is likely in the longterm.
Education Level: BA in Mathematics, Pure & Applied (the tracks were P&A or Statistics)
What I'm doing now: Freelance mathematics tutoring, teaching a couple test prep classes. Grad school is likely in the longterm.
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 29
Education Level: B.S. in Mathmatics (applied).
What I'm doing now: Research & Development for a private company, starting postgraduate work in Statistics in the fall.
Education Level: B.S. in Mathmatics (applied).
What I'm doing now: Research & Development for a private company, starting postgraduate work in Statistics in the fall.
 Cleverbeans
 Posts: 1378
 Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 1:16 pm UTC
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 34
Education Level: 2 year diploma in Drafting and Design, some university courses, and a couple years of MIT OpenCourseWare selfstudy
What I'm currently doing: Software developer for an architectural and engineering firm with a focus on computational geometry for CAD tools
Education Level: 2 year diploma in Drafting and Design, some university courses, and a couple years of MIT OpenCourseWare selfstudy
What I'm currently doing: Software developer for an architectural and engineering firm with a focus on computational geometry for CAD tools
"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."  Abraham Lincoln
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 25
Education level: in the third year of a BS electrical engineering, plus math minor.
What I do: freelance math and English tutoring, and looking at work as a sommelier for the neartomid term. Long term plans include grad school and space.
Education level: in the third year of a BS electrical engineering, plus math minor.
What I do: freelance math and English tutoring, and looking at work as a sommelier for the neartomid term. Long term plans include grad school and space.
Kewangji wrote:Someone told me I need to stop being so arrogant. Like I'd care about their plebeian opinions.
blag
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 20
Education level: About to finish my sophomore year. Specializing in statistics and minoring in math
What I'm Doing: Studying for exams...
Education level: About to finish my sophomore year. Specializing in statistics and minoring in math
What I'm Doing: Studying for exams...
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 19
Education level: Finishing my Freshman year.
What I'm doing: Research at the University of Maryland's Experimental Geometry Lab http://www.egl.math.umd.edu a friend of mine has the director of the lab as a professor so he said some good words about me. Also, because I know some number theory, abstract algebra, and topology the director said I know enough math to pull my own there.
Education level: Finishing my Freshman year.
What I'm doing: Research at the University of Maryland's Experimental Geometry Lab http://www.egl.math.umd.edu a friend of mine has the director of the lab as a professor so he said some good words about me. Also, because I know some number theory, abstract algebra, and topology the director said I know enough math to pull my own there.
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 19
Education: Working on BS in Physics w/ minor in Math (considering a double major seeing as I'll have the minor done by the end of next year)
Currently doing: contemplating just the math major because my Lab professor for next year is an asshat
Education: Working on BS in Physics w/ minor in Math (considering a double major seeing as I'll have the minor done by the end of next year)
Currently doing: contemplating just the math major because my Lab professor for next year is an asshat

 Posts: 4
 Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:10 am UTC
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 20
Education: 3rd year at the University of Waterloo. Doing a pure math major, though I may also add a combinatorics/optimization major.
Currently: Exams... Starting a coop term at a software company in May.
Education: 3rd year at the University of Waterloo. Doing a pure math major, though I may also add a combinatorics/optimization major.
Currently: Exams... Starting a coop term at a software company in May.
 Talith
 Proved the Goldbach Conjecture
 Posts: 848
 Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 1:28 am UTC
 Location: Manchester  UK
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 21
Educational Level: Undergraduate  3rd year of a 4 year BSc+MSc combination course in Mathematics
What I'm doing right now: Preparing for summer exams and considering what I'm going to do my 4th year project on  thinking braid groups and knot theory. Also starting to think about where I want to do a PhD in just over a year when I graduate.
Educational Level: Undergraduate  3rd year of a 4 year BSc+MSc combination course in Mathematics
What I'm doing right now: Preparing for summer exams and considering what I'm going to do my 4th year project on  thinking braid groups and knot theory. Also starting to think about where I want to do a PhD in just over a year when I graduate.
 colinrmitchell
 Posts: 33
 Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:10 pm UTC
 Contact:
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 26
Education level: BS in Applied Math. MS in Applied Math.
What I do: Computer programmer and consultant. Will be starting PhD in Applied Math/Corrosion Engineering in the fall.
Education level: BS in Applied Math. MS in Applied Math.
What I do: Computer programmer and consultant. Will be starting PhD in Applied Math/Corrosion Engineering in the fall.
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
colinrmitchell wrote:Age: 26
Education level: BS in Applied Math. MS in Applied Math.
What I do: Computer programmer and consultant. Will be starting PhD in Applied Math/Corrosion Engineering in the fall.
Oh hey, good combination. I do a bit of corrosion work myself, actually!
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age:24
Education level: BA economics, minor in mathematics.
Currently: In first year of economics phd; I wish my minor and major had been reversed.
Education level: BA economics, minor in mathematics.
Currently: In first year of economics phd; I wish my minor and major had been reversed.
The secret ingredient is...love!? Who's been screwing with this thing?
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
I seem to recall you being knowledgeable about avionics; does this mean your work involves a large amount of physics and, if so, do you also have some sort of physics education or did you just somehow pick it up while working?gorcee wrote:Oh hey, good combination. I do a bit of corrosion work myself, actually!
Don't answer if you don't want to, naturally
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
rat4000 wrote:I seem to recall you being knowledgeable about avionics; does this mean your work involves a large amount of physics and, if so, do you also have some sort of physics education or did you just somehow pick it up while working?gorcee wrote:Oh hey, good combination. I do a bit of corrosion work myself, actually!
Don't answer if you don't want to, naturally
I don't have a lot of formal physics education, although I did do a fellowship at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory working on the NSTX fusion reactor.
My degree is in Applied Math, but for the first 3 years of my undergrad career I was a double major in Aeronautical/Mechanical Engineering (dual) and Mathematics. Medical circumstances prevented me from completing my engineering studies, and I was forced to forfeit a semester's worth of financial aid due to the circumstances. So I have a pretty strong educational background in engineering.
My primary area of expertise is on numerical methods and modeling. I work for a private company that specializes in signal processing and modeling and control systems. A lot of our work has to do with flight control, but the theoretical background behind the methods becomes applicable to other fields. And a lot of advanced modeling techniques have to do with uncertainty quantification. This has led us to some contracts in areas that would not, at first glance, be related to traditional closedloop control.
As a result, I spend a lot of my time reading up and studying things that are outside of my domain of expertise so that I can adapt them to my domain of expertise: ie, understanding corrosion models to develop lifecycle analysis simulations based on parametric uncertainty quantification. It makes me a bit of a jack of all trades but master of none. Nevertheless, I love it, which is why I focused on applied math in the first place. I don't know a lot about corrosion, but I had to learn enough to stand in front of a bunch of career corrosion experts at NASA and present original research (and convince them we were worthy of winning the next phase of the research). Of course, I don't do this alone. We subcontract actual corrosion experts, and they help review the work and help guide the direction of the research. Applied research is absolutely a team effort. But I enjoy my part in it greatly.
Right now, I'm working on a biomedical project gearing up for human subject testing. Next month, I'll be working on corrosion modeling. The month after that, aeroelasticity modeling.
All things considered, I got pretty lucky with a decent gig.
 majikthise
 Posts: 155
 Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 2:28 am UTC
 Location: Bristol, UK
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 23
Education level: MMath mostly Algebra(/Algebraic Topology) and Logic.
Currently: statistical modelling for a gigantic corporation. Wishing I was PhDing about cohomology instead.
Education level: MMath mostly Algebra(/Algebraic Topology) and Logic.
Currently: statistical modelling for a gigantic corporation. Wishing I was PhDing about cohomology instead.
Is this a wok that you've shoved down my throat, or are you just pleased to see me?
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age:17
Education Level:Freshman Math/Physics double major, possible comsci minor
Currently: Procrastinating doing a physics assignment due tomorrow. Seriously though, mathwise I'm being superentertained by a junior/senior level Theory of Complex Variables class and bored to death by Linear Algebra.
Education Level:Freshman Math/Physics double major, possible comsci minor
Currently: Procrastinating doing a physics assignment due tomorrow. Seriously though, mathwise I'm being superentertained by a junior/senior level Theory of Complex Variables class and bored to death by Linear Algebra.
cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:If it can't be done in an 80x24 terminal, it's not worth doing

 Posts: 52
 Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:03 pm UTC
 Location: Central U.S.
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Count me as someone who only comes to these forums sporadically and rarely posts. But this is probably the best math forum I've seen, so when I want to go to a math forum, this is the one I come to. All of the others I've been to only see visitors once every few days.
Age: 24.
Education: BS in Pure Math, currently in grad school.
Currently: Procrastinating. But in a more general scheme, working on a Master's in Applied Math (my university doesn't have a pure Master's program). Planning on doing research in Complex Analysis.
I always say that nervously when I'm around nonmath people because the name "Complex Analysis" makes it sound much harder than it really is. And it doesn't help when you say "It's calculus with imaginary numbers."
Age: 24.
Education: BS in Pure Math, currently in grad school.
Currently: Procrastinating. But in a more general scheme, working on a Master's in Applied Math (my university doesn't have a pure Master's program). Planning on doing research in Complex Analysis.
I always say that nervously when I'm around nonmath people because the name "Complex Analysis" makes it sound much harder than it really is. And it doesn't help when you say "It's calculus with imaginary numbers."
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
That's pretty nice Thanks for the answer.gorcee wrote:stuff
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 18
Education: in first year of undergrad, probably going for either Mathematics, Economics, or Mathematics with specialization in economics (choice of BA/BS, BA, or BS, respectively) (or, potentially, both of the latter two).
Doing now: in school. Working at Boy Scout Camp this summer. Currently taking a highly theoretical, proofbased calculus course, hoping next year to do real analysis.
Education: in first year of undergrad, probably going for either Mathematics, Economics, or Mathematics with specialization in economics (choice of BA/BS, BA, or BS, respectively) (or, potentially, both of the latter two).
Doing now: in school. Working at Boy Scout Camp this summer. Currently taking a highly theoretical, proofbased calculus course, hoping next year to do real analysis.

 Posts: 15
 Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:52 pm UTC
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 24
Education Level: Finishing a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics
Current activities: Wrapping up a twoyear research project in differential geometry, starting graduateschool in the fall.
Education Level: Finishing a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics
Current activities: Wrapping up a twoyear research project in differential geometry, starting graduateschool in the fall.
 doesitsuityou@gmail.com
 Posts: 6
 Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:18 pm UTC
 Location: Eugene, Oregon
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 19
Education Level: Undergraduate Sophomore
What I'm doing: Drooling over how awesome math and physics are (and how deeply they connect), but more precisely, an applied mathematics degree and an applied physics degree.
Education Level: Undergraduate Sophomore
What I'm doing: Drooling over how awesome math and physics are (and how deeply they connect), but more precisely, an applied mathematics degree and an applied physics degree.
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 29
Education level: Ph.D. in group representation theory.
What I'm doing: postdoc at Oxford.
What I'm doing right now: waiting for a computer program to finish multiplying together 33000dimensional matrices...
Education level: Ph.D. in group representation theory.
What I'm doing: postdoc at Oxford.
What I'm doing right now: waiting for a computer program to finish multiplying together 33000dimensional matrices...
 Yakk
 Poster with most posts but no title.
 Posts: 11092
 Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:27 pm UTC
 Location: E pur si muove
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
I hope they are sparse!
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision  BR
Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.
Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Yakk wrote:I hope they are sparse!
Nope. That's why I gave it to a big computer. But the entries are from F_3, which helps.
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
May I ask what the reason for multiplying together such large matrices is? (I'm an undergrad so I can't see immediately why they would be that large, even if it might be obvious.)
cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:If it can't be done in an 80x24 terminal, it's not worth doing
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
It's a representation of a finite group, in particular the Suzuki sporadic simple group. I want to understand how certain group elements act under this representation, so I have to multiply the matrices together to get the action of that element. That's the easy bit really. The hard bit is finding the Jordan normal form of that matrix...
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 19
Education Level: Undergraduate  Applied Mathematics Major w/ Physics Emphasis  Minor in Physics and Music
What I'm doing right now: 2nd year at College, hoping to get a PhD in some area of Pure Mathematics and become a professor (more teaching than research)
I wish we had a Pure Mathematics program, but we've only got Applied Math as a major here. It makes sense, since the focus of the school is engineering, but I do still wish it was an option. Ah well, at least it's somewhat close to home! Also, creditwise I'm a Junior, hence the "2nd year" thing.
Education Level: Undergraduate  Applied Mathematics Major w/ Physics Emphasis  Minor in Physics and Music
What I'm doing right now: 2nd year at College, hoping to get a PhD in some area of Pure Mathematics and become a professor (more teaching than research)
I wish we had a Pure Mathematics program, but we've only got Applied Math as a major here. It makes sense, since the focus of the school is engineering, but I do still wish it was an option. Ah well, at least it's somewhat close to home! Also, creditwise I'm a Junior, hence the "2nd year" thing.
 Yakk
 Poster with most posts but no title.
 Posts: 11092
 Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:27 pm UTC
 Location: E pur si muove
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Spoiler:
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision  BR
Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.
Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Spoiler:
If you go GPUbased, you can rent time on "supercomputers" pretty cheap these days. Amazon has some Tesla setups that cost like, a couple bucks an hour, if that.
[/spoiler]
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 16
Education: First semester of freshman year in math done
Currently: Finishing school, no university stuff right now
I'm probably going for a minor in computer science or economics.
Education: First semester of freshman year in math done
Currently: Finishing school, no university stuff right now
I'm probably going for a minor in computer science or economics.

 Posts: 17
 Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:20 am UTC
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 18
Education: Finishing junior year of math major
Currently: Working on summer project in character/representation theory. So far my matrices have been rather small though...
Education: Finishing junior year of math major
Currently: Working on summer project in character/representation theory. So far my matrices have been rather small though...
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 61
Education: BA in math, MA in applied math, FCAS (fellow of the casualty actuarial society  math related to insurance)
What I'm doing now: Insurance company actuary, parttime math teaching
Education: BA in math, MA in applied math, FCAS (fellow of the casualty actuarial society  math related to insurance)
What I'm doing now: Insurance company actuary, parttime math teaching
 existential_squirrrel
 Posts: 401
 Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:57 pm UTC
 Location: San Rafael, CA
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age:19
Education: finished my freshman year of a chemistry major and mathematics minor
what I'm doing now: running a BOINC project called Primegrid for team XKCD, staying up late, writing a story, and starting to ponder the cost of buying two math books in addition to my other textbooks
What I want to do with math: teaching credentials, tutoring, pursue a bachelor's in pure math, then a master's or PhD. in it (after I get a degree in pharmacy or pharmacology)
Education: finished my freshman year of a chemistry major and mathematics minor
what I'm doing now: running a BOINC project called Primegrid for team XKCD, staying up late, writing a story, and starting to ponder the cost of buying two math books in addition to my other textbooks
What I want to do with math: teaching credentials, tutoring, pursue a bachelor's in pure math, then a master's or PhD. in it (after I get a degree in pharmacy or pharmacology)
courage is about knowing when to pick yourself up and whisper to yourself, "I will try again tomorrow"
http://http://stats.freedc.org/cpidtagb.php?cpid=f0b63432195be1a8665b08c414e36545&theme=12&cols=1
http://http://stats.freedc.org/cpidtagb.php?cpid=f0b63432195be1a8665b08c414e36545&theme=12&cols=1
 Bufo_periglenes
 Posts: 65
 Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:42 pm UTC
 Location: I don't know, and why am I in this handbasket?
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 20
Education: protracted homeschooling while sick; would be in sophomore year of college
Currently: reading my parents' college math textbooks (real analysis currently)
The Dream: research mathematician
Education: protracted homeschooling while sick; would be in sophomore year of college
Currently: reading my parents' college math textbooks (real analysis currently)
The Dream: research mathematician
Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas. —Albert Einstein
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 32
Education: BS in CS
Currently: working on MS in CS (after a 10 year break as a software developer)
The Dream: PhD in CS
Education: BS in CS
Currently: working on MS in CS (after a 10 year break as a software developer)
The Dream: PhD in CS

 Posts: 98
 Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 4:23 am UTC
Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?
Age: 22
Education: Technically 4th year undergrad; I've been at it for four years, really hoping to finish in five... maybe...
Currently: Very confused as to what to do in the near future
As a bit of an explanation:
Going into university, I was considering going into math or one of the sciences. However, my somewhat severe weakness and lack of interest in lab work (well, it's hard to explain...) led me into pursuing math and physics. Year 1 was great; I pretty much destroyed my analysis and physics courses and did well in linear algebra as well. The following years, however, were relatively disastrous for both math courses and physics courses (physics more so). Adding to this, my various social weaknesses really came into play. I was utterly incompatible with how the Year 2 physics lab course was set up, forcing me to drop or face failure by 1%. No one seemed to understand the nature of my problems or my program, which led to unhelpful measure after painfully unhelpful, timewasting measure. I also have really severe trust issues due to incidents in school and at home going back to my childhood. I find it next to impossible to approach anyone I don't know (and even many people I do), including professors (big, big issue there). I probably instinctively refuse to believe that the potential gain from talking to a given individual is worth the risk, unless I've been consistently proven wrong.
In my better past, tests were my strong suit. Now I'm terrible at them. This past semester, I took a final exam in a course on general relativity, and I realized that I couldn't write anything down. Or, if I could write anything down, it wouldn't have been very meaningful. What happened, I don't really know. I've repeatedly asked myself over the years whether I'm actually bad at / not that interested in math and physics and I should pursue something else, or there are problems that would carry over to everything else I do so that I SHOULDN'T leave math/physics. Perhaps the thing that has gotten me the most confused lately is that I hated PDEs on my first attempt but as of my second I have a very deep appreciation for them. Previously, I'd considered myself a physicist, considering the more hardcore math stuff too hard for me... but now I have to wonder whether I really do dislike stuff like topology, real analysis, etc. or I just had an extremely rough year that year and I would have hated a course at that time if it were about playing classic video games all the time. Then again, I also took differential geometry in the same year and loved the hell out of that...
I have had SOME contact with professors. I told the physics undergraduate associate chair about some of this (by email...) and he convinced me that I should adjust my current "Mathematics and Physics" program to "Mathematics and Its Applications (Physical Sciences)", which supposedly is equivalent in every way for a nonphysicist. I'm still a bit bitter that I can't claim to have had lab experience despite doing labs in three different courses... but ultimately it seems to be a step in the right direction. Perhaps my most meaningful conversation was one that I had in person after an oral exam. (I'm still surprised that it happened at all...) My PDE prof (ANOTHER wtf for me) told me about someone who got extremely nervous about exams and wasn't much of a talker  her best student.
I'm not really sure why I'm saying all this. I've attempted this a few times before, only to fail to see the point. I suppose that, at this point, I just feel a need to share with people who might actually understand where I'm coming from without looking for people to talk to in person. I just feel awfully inconsistent in my interests and my success in various fields of study in math and physics. I do at least OK in loweryear analysis but almost bomb higheryear real analysis; I have a good time in differential geometry but a significantly worse one in GR... I just don't know what to do anymore.
Education: Technically 4th year undergrad; I've been at it for four years, really hoping to finish in five... maybe...
Currently: Very confused as to what to do in the near future
As a bit of an explanation:
Going into university, I was considering going into math or one of the sciences. However, my somewhat severe weakness and lack of interest in lab work (well, it's hard to explain...) led me into pursuing math and physics. Year 1 was great; I pretty much destroyed my analysis and physics courses and did well in linear algebra as well. The following years, however, were relatively disastrous for both math courses and physics courses (physics more so). Adding to this, my various social weaknesses really came into play. I was utterly incompatible with how the Year 2 physics lab course was set up, forcing me to drop or face failure by 1%. No one seemed to understand the nature of my problems or my program, which led to unhelpful measure after painfully unhelpful, timewasting measure. I also have really severe trust issues due to incidents in school and at home going back to my childhood. I find it next to impossible to approach anyone I don't know (and even many people I do), including professors (big, big issue there). I probably instinctively refuse to believe that the potential gain from talking to a given individual is worth the risk, unless I've been consistently proven wrong.
In my better past, tests were my strong suit. Now I'm terrible at them. This past semester, I took a final exam in a course on general relativity, and I realized that I couldn't write anything down. Or, if I could write anything down, it wouldn't have been very meaningful. What happened, I don't really know. I've repeatedly asked myself over the years whether I'm actually bad at / not that interested in math and physics and I should pursue something else, or there are problems that would carry over to everything else I do so that I SHOULDN'T leave math/physics. Perhaps the thing that has gotten me the most confused lately is that I hated PDEs on my first attempt but as of my second I have a very deep appreciation for them. Previously, I'd considered myself a physicist, considering the more hardcore math stuff too hard for me... but now I have to wonder whether I really do dislike stuff like topology, real analysis, etc. or I just had an extremely rough year that year and I would have hated a course at that time if it were about playing classic video games all the time. Then again, I also took differential geometry in the same year and loved the hell out of that...
I have had SOME contact with professors. I told the physics undergraduate associate chair about some of this (by email...) and he convinced me that I should adjust my current "Mathematics and Physics" program to "Mathematics and Its Applications (Physical Sciences)", which supposedly is equivalent in every way for a nonphysicist. I'm still a bit bitter that I can't claim to have had lab experience despite doing labs in three different courses... but ultimately it seems to be a step in the right direction. Perhaps my most meaningful conversation was one that I had in person after an oral exam. (I'm still surprised that it happened at all...) My PDE prof (ANOTHER wtf for me) told me about someone who got extremely nervous about exams and wasn't much of a talker  her best student.
I'm not really sure why I'm saying all this. I've attempted this a few times before, only to fail to see the point. I suppose that, at this point, I just feel a need to share with people who might actually understand where I'm coming from without looking for people to talk to in person. I just feel awfully inconsistent in my interests and my success in various fields of study in math and physics. I do at least OK in loweryear analysis but almost bomb higheryear real analysis; I have a good time in differential geometry but a significantly worse one in GR... I just don't know what to do anymore.
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