I came here since I know this is the best place to ask a question.I'm...





I came here since I know this is the best place to ask a question.
I'm a first year student who changed his major to applied mathematics. In middle school I was a garbage math student, but I realized the importance of math in high school when I was introduced to amazing teachers who truly loved what they did. I put myself in tougher classes and eventually got to AP calculus. There was an error in my idea, I never really got a deep understanding of the stuff I was doing and was struggling since I didn't understand the basics and never really did practice problems.
This year I began to start over from scratch from pre-algebra working to pre-calculus. Even though I have already took Calculus.
I'm in a introduction to research class this semester and we are preforming a meta-analysis of some random topic and then presenting at the end of the semester. I'm really enjoying it, and I will definitely apply for more research as I progress through my undergraduate career. (Urge to Compute)
I know I'll probably never win a field's medal, but I'm really intimidated and humbled by the near perfect SAT math scores and Math Olympiad participants.
It's too late for me to have that, but the best quality I have is sticking with the concepts and problems until I can explain them to my dog. (Basically until I understand it)
I'm really sorry for the long post / soft question, I've just been thinking about this since 11th grade but never asked anyone about it.
Basically I'm just wondering if I'm wasting my time, and if there have been mathematicians that were in a similar situation. (Famous or not.)
Again, sorry for the soft question and thank you for taking the time to read this!

Answer & Explanation




2022-07-17Added 20 answers

Let me tell you that it's not too late to enjoy the field of mathematics. I too went through a circuitous path of getting into mathematics. I was extremely lazy in high school, had mediocre SAT scores and had no idea what a math competition was. I was a business major for undergrad and studied finance. It wasn't until after I graduated that I made friends with a guy that had been a math major in his undergrad. He eventually convinced me to take the honors calculus series at a local community college and promised he'd help tutor me. I was fortunate, my teacher there was a PhD student at a local well known college and took a liking to me and became somewhat of a mentor. I was a little neurotic and became obsessed with math. I ended up quitting a full time job, moving back in with my parents and then taking classes at the local university (you could pay and take classes as a non-matriculated student). I did this for two years, taking only math classes and then eventually applied to their MS program and was accepted. I have since scored in the top 97% percentile of the GRE general math, and published one paper with another in progress. I'm going to take the Math subject exam in the Fall and apply to Phd programs.
So, will I ever be a math wizard... no. But do I love mathematics, yes. I share this with you so that you know, there are people out here that started even later than you and are happy they did.
I'm not sure where you are in your education, but working problems is one of the (if not the) best thing you can do to solidify your foundation.

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