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  1. #1
    Senior Member great_bay's Avatar
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    Default I am interested in majoring in math but...

    Hello, I am a person interested in going back to college. I just finished my first semester and passed all four of my classes. The only reason why math pique my interest is because a lot of sciencce internet article appear to be interesting. I have yet to start a math class and I think I'm going to have to take Algebra one. I have read a Algebra one book at the library but math appears to be so boring. Is there really all there is to math or does math actually get better? If math gets more interesting, I will stick with math but it appears boring so far. Is math really just plugging in the numbers and memorizing formulas?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member great_bay's Avatar
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    @Coriolis

    What do you think? Does math get more interesting? You're the only math person I noticed here so may I ask you?
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  3. #3
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    I majored in Math for two years at college. No, it's not about plugging in numbers, the higher level courses can involve abstract maths, modeling, statistics/analysis, integrals and diffy ques and series math, etc. Lots of formula (not basic computation) work.

    I struggled a bit with the higher levels and it got too abstracted for me to want to invest in for a career, so i swapped out. I still have an official minor in Math, though.

    Not really sure exactly where you are at class wise, but pretty much it's high school math that is more about computation (and Trig, and Geometry basics, etc.) Using math to solve complex real-life problems / modeling is more the aim in college math. It can be applied to problems in various fields.
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    Senior Member great_bay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Totenkindly View Post
    I majored in Math for two years at college. No, it's not about plugging in numbers, the higher level courses can involve abstract maths, modeling, statistics/analysis, integrals and diffy ques and series math, etc. Lots of formula (not basic computation) work.

    I struggled a bit with the higher levels and it got too abstracted for me to want to invest in for a career, so i swapped out. I still have an official minor in Math, though.

    Not really sure exactly where you are at class wise, but pretty much it's high school math that is more about computation (and Trig, and Geometry basics, etc.) Using math to solve complex real-life problems / modeling is more the aim in college math. It can be applied to problems in various fields.

    I'm going to take Algebra 1
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  5. #5
    Obliviously Mad Ashtart's Avatar
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    You can use math and algebra to keep data of your daily life, solve real life problems and so forth. That usually makes it quite useful in day-to-day and less "boring".
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    Senior Member great_bay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Totenkindly View Post
    I majored in Math for two years at college. No, it's not about plugging in numbers, the higher level courses can involve abstract maths, modeling, statistics/analysis, integrals and diffy ques and series math, etc. Lots of formula (not basic computation) work.

    I struggled a bit with the higher levels and it got too abstracted for me to want to invest in for a career, so i swapped out. I still have an official minor in Math, though.

    Not really sure exactly where you are at class wise, but pretty much it's high school math that is more about computation (and Trig, and Geometry basics, etc.) Using math to solve complex real-life problems / modeling is more the aim in college math. It can be applied to problems in various fields.
    Would you still continue math right now?
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  7. #7
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by great_bay View Post
    Would you still continue math right now?
    I wouldn't, because I liked writing and computer programming better. it depends on what you like.

    Coriolis probably knows better, but my feeling with high-level math is that I either had to apply it to a tech field of some kind or I had to become a professor and do research/papers on the side. It's something that is useful in pursuit of certain other goals.
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  8. #8
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by great_bay View Post
    @Coriolis

    What do you think? Does math get more interesting? You're the only math person I noticed here so may I ask you?
    Actually I am a physicist, which means I have studied a fair bit of math, but always with the goal or applying it to something. Like @Totenkindly, I think I would find studying math alone to be too abstract, though it can be fun in a sort of puzzle-solving way. Teaching math as memorizing formulas and plugging in numbers is like teaching English as just spelling and grammar. Yes, you need to be able to plug in the numbers and to a calculation correctly, but "real" math is about figuring out what the formula is to begin with, based on what you are trying to do.

    I suppose explaining it like this ("what you are trying to do") betrays the applied nature of my own math background. In any case, math is sometimes called the language of science, meaning that we describe (model, simulate, analyze) physical phenomena as much using mathematical expressions as using words and paragraphs. Learning math on its own is like learning a language. To me, at least, the interesting part is when you then use that language to read and discuss literature, or to write essays, poems, short stories, etc. I use math, then, to help me design experiments, to analyze the data I get from them, to use that to model the phenomenon I am studying in order to try to predict what will happen if I change this or that parameter. This process is iterative.

    There is variety in math. You will find that algebra is different from geometry, and trig is related to both but different still. Then there is calculus (differential and integral), differential equations, and linear algebra (my favorite), which are also different. If you enjoy math but are concerned that it might be too boring or abstract, you might try taking basic physics or even chemistry. Then you will have something to apply it toward. If you aim to continue in any science or engineering subject, these courses might count toward your degree. I suggest you also speak with some of the TA's in your math courses. They will have studied lots of math, and can give you additional perspective on the different topics within the subject.

    Good luck! I am always encouraged to see someone take an interest in math, or science.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member great_bay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Actually I am a physicist, which means I have studied a fair bit of math, but always with the goal or applying it to something. Like @Totenkindly, I think I would find studying math alone to be too abstract, though it can be fun in a sort of puzzle-solving way. Teaching math as memorizing formulas and plugging in numbers is like teaching English as just spelling and grammar. Yes, you need to be able to plug in the numbers and to a calculation correctly, but "real" math is about figuring out what the formula is to begin with, based on what you are trying to do.

    I suppose explaining it like this ("what you are trying to do") betrays the applied nature of my own math background. In any case, math is sometimes called the language of science, meaning that we describe (model, simulate, analyze) physical phenomena as much using mathematical expressions as using words and paragraphs. Learning math on its own is like learning a language. To me, at least, the interesting part is when you then use that language to read and discuss literature, or to write essays, poems, short stories, etc. I use math, then, to help me design experiments, to analyze the data I get from them, to use that to model the phenomenon I am studying in order to try to predict what will happen if I change this or that parameter. This process is iterative.

    There is variety in math. You will find that algebra is different from geometry, and trig is related to both but different still. Then there is calculus (differential and integral), differential equations, and linear algebra (my favorite), which are also different. If you enjoy math but are concerned that it might be too boring or abstract, you might try taking basic physics or even chemistry. Then you will have something to apply it toward. If you aim to continue in any science or engineering subject, these courses might count toward your degree. I suggest you also speak with some of the TA's in your math courses. They will have studied lots of math, and can give you additional perspective on the different topics within the subject.

    Good luck! I am always encouraged to see someone take an interest in math, or science.
    kk, thanks. I understand more about math than before after reading your post.
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