July 31st, 2017, 09:13 PM  #1 
Newbie Joined: Jul 2017 From: Saint Paul Posts: 4 Thanks: 0  I got into college and now I'm freaking out!
Hi everyone! My situation is this: I never studied much at school and only got to what is the equivalent to 7th or 8th grade in the US before I dropped out. Then when I was about 18 I decided I wanted to go to college. So I took some State tests the government provides for people to get their degrees, and, because I was always a bit of a book worm, speak a few languages, etc, I got through all right and began a Law Major. Because of personal reasons (my dad's health, work, etc.) I had to drop the course in my first year. Now I'm 27 and I recently began studying some maths on my own using Khan Academy and other online resources. The thing is, I got into a decent college this semester  and it is a Mathematics degree I got myself into!  but I do not feel prepared at all... I am worried I will fail and it is going to be another thing I will end up dropping. This is my progress on Khan Academy so far: (Do you think I will be able to run against time and learn enough to keep up with the curriculum? It supposedly starts with Analytic Geometry, Linear Algebra, and Calculus, but I do not really know if it's from scratch) Any guidance will be much appreciated! I only wish I had more time to study, but there you are... 
July 31st, 2017, 11:16 PM  #2 
Global Moderator Joined: Dec 2006 Posts: 17,725 Thanks: 1359 
How much time to study do you have? Why did you choose mathematics? When you've not done particularly well in some particular aspect of mathematics, was that because you made careless errors, because you didn't understand enough, because your preparation was inadequate, or because you needed more time? 
August 1st, 2017, 12:09 PM  #3  
Newbie Joined: Jul 2017 From: Saint Paul Posts: 4 Thanks: 0  Quote:
Last edited by skipjack; August 1st, 2017 at 02:30 PM.  
August 1st, 2017, 03:49 PM  #4 
Senior Member Joined: Oct 2013 From: New York, USA Posts: 536 Thanks: 77 
Hofstra used the course title "Analytic Geometry and Calculus," and i don't know how close your "Analytic Geometry" course will be to that. I would not recommend taking Calculus if you know only about half of Trigonometry and Precalculus. I've also heard of Math placement exams to know what math course students should start with. Two freshmen from different states (or countries) could have passed the same amount of years of math in high school but still be far apart in what math they know. If you post a course description and any prerequisites that could help. I like numbers (that's why I'm here), but I could only pass two semesters of calculus. Ideally you want a subject you like and are good at, but not everybody will be good at what they like.
Last edited by EvanJ; August 1st, 2017 at 03:51 PM. 
August 1st, 2017, 04:21 PM  #5 
Senior Member Joined: Aug 2012 Posts: 1,428 Thanks: 352  Try studying slow. The road ahead is long. You want depth.
Last edited by Maschke; August 1st, 2017 at 04:30 PM. 
August 1st, 2017, 06:11 PM  #6 
Newbie Joined: Jul 2017 From: Saint Paul Posts: 4 Thanks: 0  I'm afraid you're right. I definitely can become good at, since I'm progressing quickly and I think I will finish the Khan Academy content within a year, but that may not be enough time to keep up with the curriculum at the university I will go to.

August 1st, 2017, 06:20 PM  #7  
Senior Member Joined: Feb 2016 From: Australia Posts: 1,286 Thanks: 440 Math Focus: Yet to find out.  Quote:
As Maschke said, take it slow. You are a sponge, if you want to absorb the most water, you need to stay in it for longer, and plunge deeper! The only other thing is... I don't think 3 hours a day is enough. And maybe that's just me, but is there any chance you could adjust your schedule to allow for more time?  
August 1st, 2017, 08:41 PM  #8  
Newbie Joined: Jul 2017 From: Saint Paul Posts: 4 Thanks: 0  Quote:
I'll post about how difficult (or not difficult) I'm finding the first six months of it. But I'm pretty stoked that from knowing very little maths I now have the chance of getting a degree within three years... Maybe getting a tutor to help with the more abstract/unintuitive stuff is a good idea?  
August 2nd, 2017, 10:06 AM  #9 
Member Joined: Oct 2016 From: New York Posts: 56 Thanks: 14 Math Focus: Analysis and Differential Geometry 
I could write a long story about my story and background, but I'll cut to the chase. When it comes to mathematics, experience is everything. You need not only the knowledge, but the experience because it's impossible to have seen every type of problem before. For example, when I took my math final in linear algebra, there was a problem that was completely different than any homework problem or other problem I've done before. I had to rely on my experience to proceed, and when I got my answer, I knew it was right because it was the only answer that made sense. In other words, if there was a correct answer, I knew that was it. and the only way to, know that was it was because of my experience. Now, if you were to suddenly take away all my experience, I probably would have kept that answer blank or just try to make other methods work even though I know the problem is different. Another example, the question had asked if the matrix was diaganoliazable. It appeared that it was not, but my experience had told me to experiment, and it was like something told me, "what if it is? what properties must it have" and so I did some more steps, and it turned out that it was! Basically, I left that exam knowing in my heart that it was my experience that got me by. You can study, and study for hours, but in the end, it's the experience that makes you successful. It's both knowledge and experience. Last edited by ProofOfALifetime; August 2nd, 2017 at 10:11 AM. 
August 7th, 2017, 04:42 AM  #10 
Senior Member Joined: Feb 2016 From: Australia Posts: 1,286 Thanks: 440 Math Focus: Yet to find out.  This is true. But how do we obtain this experience? By studying for hours and hours! . (Just in case OP thinks we can bypass the studying part). Haha.. wouldn't that be nice.


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