Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

For the discussion of math. Duh.

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RogerMurdock
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Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby RogerMurdock » Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:45 am UTC

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!

skullturf
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby skullturf » Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:50 am UTC

Me:

Age: 30s
Education: PhD in math
What I'm doing now: Assistant professor in mid-Atlantic US

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mdyrud
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby mdyrud » Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:26 am UTC

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.

bclare
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby bclare » Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:01 am UTC

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 long-term.

gorcee
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby gorcee » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:43 pm UTC

Age: 29
Education Level: B.S. in Mathmatics (applied).
What I'm doing now: Research & Development for a private company, starting post-graduate work in Statistics in the fall.

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Cleverbeans
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby Cleverbeans » Mon Apr 11, 2011 3:52 pm UTC

Age: 34
Education Level: 2 year diploma in Drafting and Design, some university courses, and a couple years of MIT OpenCourseWare self-study
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

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nehpest
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby nehpest » Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:45 pm UTC

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 near-to-mid 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.

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314man
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby 314man » Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:36 pm UTC

Age: 20
Education level: About to finish my sophomore year. Specializing in statistics and minoring in math
What I'm Doing: Studying for exams...

B.Good
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby B.Good » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:09 am UTC

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.

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Thor
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby Thor » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:33 am UTC

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

SmoulderingGT
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby SmoulderingGT » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:21 am UTC

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.

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Talith
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby Talith » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:00 pm UTC

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.

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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby colinrmitchell » Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:08 pm UTC

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.

gorcee
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby gorcee » Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:33 pm UTC

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!

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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby torgos » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:18 pm UTC

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.
The secret ingredient is...love!? Who's been screwing with this thing?

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rat4000
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby rat4000 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:24 pm UTC

gorcee wrote:Oh hey, good combination. I do a bit of corrosion work myself, actually!
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?

Don't answer if you don't want to, naturally :)

gorcee
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby gorcee » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:05 pm UTC

rat4000 wrote:
gorcee wrote:Oh hey, good combination. I do a bit of corrosion work myself, actually!
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?

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 closed-loop 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 life-cycle 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. :)

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majikthise
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby majikthise » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:38 pm UTC

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.
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Meem1029
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby Meem1029 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:56 pm UTC

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 super-entertained by a junior/senior level Theory of Complex Variables class and bored to death by Linear Algebra.
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby adanedhel728 » Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:37 am UTC

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 non-math 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."

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rat4000
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby rat4000 » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:05 pm UTC

gorcee wrote:stuff
That's pretty nice :) Thanks for the answer.

pizzazz
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby pizzazz » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:22 am UTC

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, proof-based calculus course, hoping next year to do real analysis.

slobbishbody
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby slobbishbody » Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:53 am UTC

Age: 24
Education Level: Finishing a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics
Current activities: Wrapping up a two-year research project in differential geometry, starting graduate-school in the fall.

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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby doesitsuityou@gmail.com » Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:03 am UTC

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.

DavCrav
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby DavCrav » Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:33 pm UTC

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 33000-dimensional matrices...

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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby Yakk » Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:32 pm UTC

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.

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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby DavCrav » Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:28 pm UTC

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.

Meem1029
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby Meem1029 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:11 pm UTC

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

DavCrav
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby DavCrav » Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:10 am UTC

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...

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Raeil
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby Raeil » Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:23 am UTC

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, credit-wise I'm a Junior, hence the "2nd year" thing.

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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby Yakk » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:22 pm UTC

Spoiler:
DavCrav wrote:
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.

Strassen? Big-iron, or GPU based?
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.

DavCrav
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby DavCrav » Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:43 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Yakk wrote:
DavCrav wrote:
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.

Strassen? Big-iron, or GPU based?

I only meant a big computer, not a supercomputer. It's only multiplying some matrices together: they aren't even over 100,000 dimensions! I will later need to deal with constructing 1,000,000-dimensional matrices, and then I'll need to talk to people about getting time on a proper computer...

gorcee
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby gorcee » Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:58 pm UTC

Spoiler:
DavCrav wrote:[spoiler]
Yakk wrote:
DavCrav wrote:
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.

Strassen? Big-iron, or GPU based?

I only meant a big computer, not a supercomputer. It's only multiplying some matrices together: they aren't even over 100,000 dimensions! I will later need to deal with constructing 1,000,000-dimensional matrices, and then I'll need to talk to people about getting time on a proper computer...

If you go GPU-based, 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]

Muvlon
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby Muvlon » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:15 pm UTC

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.

nachomancer
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby nachomancer » Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:55 am UTC

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...

fcas
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby fcas » Wed May 18, 2011 1:20 pm UTC

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, part-time math teaching

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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby existential_squirrrel » Thu May 19, 2011 6:15 am UTC

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)
courage is about knowing when to pick yourself up and whisper to yourself, "I will try again tomorrow"
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Bufo_periglenes
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby Bufo_periglenes » Sun May 29, 2011 8:57 am UTC

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 8)
Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas. —Albert Einstein

Parsifal
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby Parsifal » Sun May 29, 2011 7:07 pm UTC

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

capefeather
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Re: Getting my undergrad in math. How about you?

Postby capefeather » Mon May 30, 2011 3:58 am UTC

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, time-wasting 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 non-physicist. 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 lower-year analysis but almost bomb higher-year 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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