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I am a junior in Caltech's mathematics department.

I keep being harassed by some non-mathematicians and fellow students that I do not have what it takes to do mathematics. They say that one must have done something by the age of 20 years old to actually do something in mathematics.

Also, they kept harassing me that I don't know what I'm doing, because the only reason I gave them for why I'm doing math is that it is fun. They don't think that's a valid reason, and think that there is a problem.

They keep telling me that I need to reasses my plans. Has anyone been in these situations before? What should I do?

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closed as off topic by Qiaochu Yuan Jul 10 '11 at 3:26

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@Calvin: while I sympathize with your situation, it has very little to do with mathematics and more to do with harassment, so is off-topic here. You should bring up with the appropriate authority at Caltech, not with strangers on the internet. Alternately, you should ignore them. –  Qiaochu Yuan Jul 10 '11 at 3:27
I am not sure that this question is appropriate for this site since it cannot be answered. I believe that questions that can be answered rather than discussed are more appropriate. For example, your question "Has anyone been in these situations before?" is more like a poll/survey question rather than a mathematics question. However, at least from my point of view, your question "What should I do?" has an easy answer: nothing! If people are actually telling these things to you, then they probably do not know what they are talking about and it is not worth listening to them. –  Amitesh Datta Jul 10 '11 at 3:27
I do not understand why this question has received two upvotes ... –  Amitesh Datta Jul 10 '11 at 3:32
Actually, correct my last comment: I do not understand why this question has received three upvotes. (But it would be ironic if the people who upvoted the question are the same people who voted up my comment directly above ...) –  Amitesh Datta Jul 10 '11 at 4:40
@Qiaochu Yuan: The question of whether one must do something by age 20 in order to be a mathematician doesn't seem as if it's on the topic of harassment at all. –  Michael Hardy Jul 11 '11 at 0:57

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