My Math Forum  

Go Back   My Math Forum > Math Forums > Academic Guidance

Academic Guidance Academic Guidance - Academic guidance for those pursuing a college degree... what college? Grad school? PhD help?


Thanks Tree3Thanks
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
September 25th, 2017, 07:06 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Joined: Sep 2017
From: Iowa

Posts: 9
Thanks: 0

Kinda freaking out

Hello. I'm hoping I can get some guidance or help, or something.

Background. I am a 53 yr old who has been working in civil engineering doing design and drafting for 29 years. I do not have a degree or a professional license, however, and I want both. This is very important to me. I am very good at what I do, but I am very weak at math. Sounds strange for someone in engineering, I know, but I do know what I do on a daily basis.

Algebra completely baffles me, and always has. What the deuce is X? It's like hieroglyphics to me. Yet everything builds from there. I started basic algebra at the community college level a few years ago and struggled every step of the way, but have managed to get by. I am now at a university (online program) and in calculus, and I'm kind of freaking out about it.

My issue is that I cannot retain what I learn. I get concept fine. I can do visual things like graphing fairly easily. But I should be remembering what I learned last semester in trig that leads to calculus, and I'm struggling and feel like I'm attempting to reteach myself on the side while trying to keep up with the class.

I thought maybe I had ADHD, as I fit so many of the symptoms, so I had myself tested by a professional a couple months ago and I definitely do not have it. Which actually kind of frustrated me because I'm back at square one with the same retention and concentration issues and nothing to point to that can be identified and worked with.

Any thoughts or help or suggestions would be most appreciated. Please feel free to ask questions if you need more information to make a suggestion or provide a thought.
ArthurDeco is offline  
 
September 26th, 2017, 10:09 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Joined: May 2008

Posts: 258
Thanks: 50

Beer soaked query follows.

Just of curiosity, are you a teetotaler or do you drink occasionally?
Please, humor me.
jonah is offline  
September 26th, 2017, 11:18 AM   #3
Math Team
 
Joined: Dec 2013
From: Colombia

Posts: 6,973
Thanks: 2296

Math Focus: Mainly analysis and algebra
How much are you practising? What you are learning (mostly) is not mathematics, it's the tools with which mathematics can be done. If you don't learn well what the available tools are, what they do and how to use them, you will always struggle to use them for anything. It's like trying to learn how to play the Grieg piano concerto without learning well how to read music or play the piano.
v8archie is offline  
September 26th, 2017, 04:32 PM   #4
Newbie
 
Joined: Sep 2017
From: Iowa

Posts: 9
Thanks: 0

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonah View Post
Beer soaked query follows.

Just of curiosity, are you a teetotaler or do you drink occasionally?
Please, humor me.
Occasionally.

Humored?
ArthurDeco is offline  
September 26th, 2017, 04:36 PM   #5
Newbie
 
Joined: Sep 2017
From: Iowa

Posts: 9
Thanks: 0

Quote:
Originally Posted by v8archie View Post
How much are you practising? What you are learning (mostly) is not mathematics, it's the tools with which mathematics can be done. If you don't learn well what the available tools are, what they do and how to use them, you will always struggle to use them for anything. It's like trying to learn how to play the Grieg piano concerto without learning well how to read music or play the piano.
Virtually every day. Weekend days can be anywhere from 5 to 8 hours, plus.

I get what you're saying. A lot of what I'm doing right now involves simple things like factoring, etc., and I find myself having to reteach myself to use them.

I've started taking some "simple" algebraic problems to work and occasionally taking a couple minutes and working it just for the reinforcement. That has helped some.
ArthurDeco is offline  
September 26th, 2017, 06:31 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Joined: Feb 2016
From: Australia

Posts: 1,361
Thanks: 467

Math Focus: Yet to find out.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArthurDeco View Post
Virtually every day. Weekend days can be anywhere from 5 to 8 hours, plus.

I get what you're saying. A lot of what I'm doing right now involves simple things like factoring, etc., and I find myself having to reteach myself to use them.

I've started taking some "simple" algebraic problems to work and occasionally taking a couple minutes and working it just for the reinforcement. That has helped some.
When you say "I can't retain what I learn", what do you mean exactly? Is it that you simply forget after some time period?

Mathematics is a cumulative subject. Meaning that concepts and technique build on what came before. Are you sure you're understanding what's going on before progressing?
Joppy is offline  
September 27th, 2017, 05:13 PM   #7
Newbie
 
Joined: Sep 2017
From: Iowa

Posts: 9
Thanks: 0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joppy View Post
When you say "I can't retain what I learn", what do you mean exactly? Is it that you simply forget after some time period?

Mathematics is a cumulative subject. Meaning that concepts and technique build on what came before. Are you sure you're understanding what's going on before progressing?
Pretty much. And the loss of retention is embarrassingly short. I can learn something, feel confident in it, then less than a day later wonder what it is that I just did.

I don't have this issue with other subjects. Not when I read, or write, or whatever, just higher math.

I'm not looking for sympathy, per se, but maybe hoping that someone has had similar issues, or knows someone with similar issues, and can maybe suggest a technique or something that I haven't tried that might work for me. Even a small progression in the right direction would help immensely.

I am aware that I am probably being my own worst enemy, to some degree, also. Again, I am not usually like that.

It probably doesn't help that, to my mind, variables absolutely must mean something definitive. Take f(x), for example. X, must be a number, not another equation with more variables. I *know* that's not the case, though.

Anyway, thanks for listening. I have to do some homework. The Chain Rule is tonight's topic.
ArthurDeco is offline  
September 27th, 2017, 08:16 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Joined: Feb 2016
From: Australia

Posts: 1,361
Thanks: 467

Math Focus: Yet to find out.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArthurDeco View Post

It probably doesn't help that, to my mind, variables absolutely must mean something definitive. Take f(x), for example. X, must be a number, not another equation with more variables. I *know* that's not the case, though.

Anyway, thanks for listening. I have to do some homework. The Chain Rule is tonight's topic.
Do you feel uncomfortable when you see something like $f(x) = x^2$ ? How about $f(3) = 3^2 = 9$? Apologies if I'm not addressing your problem accurately.
Joppy is offline  
September 28th, 2017, 11:58 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Joined: May 2008

Posts: 258
Thanks: 50

Beer soaked recollection follows.
From an author's preface:

Learning to use mathematics could be compared to learning to drive. In either case, the quote from the Chinese philosopher Lao Tse is appropriate:

You read and you forget;
you see and you remember;
you do and you learn.

At the outset the learner-driver is presented with a bewildering set of rules and tasks, some
of which must be performed simultaneously, some sequentially. There are sound, sensible
reasons for each of these rules, as learners will discover on their first outing on a public road.
Mastering driving skills and gaining a sense of how to control the car only comes about by
following closely the routines demonstrated by the instructor, then practising them over and
over again, sometimes patiently, sometimes not! In the end, the new driver will be able to
handle a car easily and effortlessly, as if it were second nature. With these newly acquired
skills life is enhanced with previously unavailable choices. The new driver (with a car!) can choose where to go, who to go with, what route to take, what time is convenient, etc. And so it is with maths.
Thanks from Joppy
jonah is offline  
September 29th, 2017, 04:52 PM   #10
Newbie
 
Joined: Sep 2017
From: Iowa

Posts: 9
Thanks: 0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joppy View Post
Do you feel uncomfortable when you see something like $f(x) = x^2$ ? How about $f(3) = 3^2 = 9$? Apologies if I'm not addressing your problem accurately.
$f(x) = x^2$ makes me uncomfortable. I keep thinking, "What's x?", even though I know x doesn't always have to be defined.

$f(3) = 3^2 = 9$ puts me at more at ease. This makes sense to me. It's straight forward. Boom, go!

This is part of it. The other is simply having trouble remembering processes and/or formulas without absurd amounts of repetition.
ArthurDeco is offline  
Reply

  My Math Forum > Math Forums > Academic Guidance

Tags
freaking, kinda



Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
I got into college and now I'm freaking out! kodiak Career Guidance 11 August 8th, 2017 03:42 PM
Kinda trivial, but kinda neat! johnr Number Theory 2 May 22nd, 2013 12:33 PM
Kinda easy transformations question pyth0n Calculus 3 September 28th, 2011 08:54 PM
Engineer here! (Well, Kinda) Pmaleymia New Users 7 September 25th, 2009 06:15 AM





Copyright © 2017 My Math Forum. All rights reserved.