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I am currently studying Year 9 Mathematics(perhaps I shouldn't ask middle school related questions here...) I've recently started studying/learning Maths 'seriously'; As in I started having hours of straight study sessions. In previous years, I studied Maths almost like a hobby; I found it fun, interesting and enjoyed the short study sessions. But since recently, I feel like I'm studying Maths, doing practice questions over and over again just to get good grades. I no longer feel much interest in Maths; I study for the coming exams, doing practice questions over and over again mindlessly.

So my question is: Is this just a normal part of a student's life? Or am I doing something seriously wrong in my method of studying?

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    $\begingroup$ I'll tell you a story. I loved math all throughout High School, and even the early part of college. When I got to Calc 3 and then Differential Equations, I began to loath it. It was too abstract, and the classes were too demanding. You know what? I'm an engineer now, and I love math again. It helps me solve problems, and nobody is forcing me to do it. You don't hate math...you hate the classes. It's normal. You love ice cream - who doesn't? But if someone was forcing you to eat it for every meal, for weeks on end, you'd get sick of that too! $\endgroup$
    – dberm22
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 15:30

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This is quite normal - but the problem is, that I have seen people lose their interest totally with Maths due to this. It is symptomatic of being overwhelmed with the requirements of the maths course, rather than the maths itself.

Some suggestions:
- Make a game out of your revision - either with yourself or with a classmate.
- Find relevancy in the maths as you go (this can be difficult with some topics).
- Take a break, you'll probably find that your love for the subject will return later (this happened to me).

One thing I did was to have a long term goal and understand that the process that you are doing now, is part of the road to the future success.

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Jonathan, as you say, you are still only in secondary school mathematics.

College and graduate school mathematics are far different than what you are experiencing. It is far more challenging, in an exciting and rewarding way. I recommend picking up a proof/logic book, such as Carol Schumacher's book "Chapter Zero". This is often taught at the beginning undergraduate level in a college math program (after calculus), and it will show you some of the basic ideas of higher mathematics that mathematicians use on a daily basis. The actual questions that mathematicians consider on a daily basis are more complex than the concepts discussed in that book (I did say it was an early undergraduate text), but that book provides the building blocks for the post-calculus mathematical mind.

If you enjoy what you read about in that book, it's possible that you might enjoy pursuing mathematics as a career (whether as an assistant professor at a teaching college, or as a foot soldier at the front lines of mathematics at a research university). If you find the subject mildly interesting, but the questions only appeal to you in an academic way and you could just as easily enjoy spending your time thinking about, say, issues in anthropology, culture, or the natural sciences, then you might eventually want to find a job less all-consuming than a research career in mathematics. You may want to find work at a teaching college, or perhaps not even in academia. Perhaps a more ordinary, 9-5 job with good benefits and no obligation to mentally carry your work back home with you, thereby freeing you up to think about whatever you want in your off-time, is more suitable for you.

Perhaps it's worth saying that choosing this latter type of work, especially after you make it as far as graduate school mathematics, is liable to be fraught with emotional risks... high-octane graduate programs in mathematics, like other STEM fields, are filled with vampires (among your peers) who will suck up the nourishing nectar of your 'inadequacies' with a straw... but when you get to the stage of bargaining with your adult life in your hands, you have to cut through the erroneous beliefs about 'worthy employment' that are perpetuated in this (somewhat dysfunctional) social culture and make the choice of employment type that will be secure and sit well with your personality and working habits.

Again, it's still early in the game for you, so these questions might be a bit premature. Keep them in mind for future consideration.

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It's perhaps temporary. But if you ever fancy doing mathematics as a profession, then I think that one has to have "a passion" for the subject at a level that's independent of practice problems, formal education, teachers and such.

Mathematics isn't created by practice problems, formal education or teachers. It's created by doing it. In order to do it, well, one has to be able to be motivated by the constructs themselves.

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    $\begingroup$ What does this mean? Which constructs? How are these independent of practice problems, formal education, teachers and such? What do you mean by "doing it"? Who upvoted this and why? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ @BenjaminLindqvist Mathematics is discovered by interpreting constructs such as numbers and their relations and geometric shapes e.g. curves. If one cannot be motivated by the same kind of "researching" procedures, independent of how it's presented (formal education, teachers, ...), then one is not really dealing with mathematics. $\endgroup$
    – mavavilj
    Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 19:37
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The answer is: decision is yours. Stick with it or leave it. Nothing good comes easy in this life, learn to fight troubles, be strong, but never regret what you have chosen. Better to change career than to spend life doing something you do not really love. Math, as any other profession, is not always fun, it may be hard, boring and depressive, but it may be glorious and happy after that when the problem is solved. Finally, no one understands you better than yourself. Listen to your heart.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for fantastic life philosophy: "never regret what you have chosen". I guess you meant "career" in the place of "carrier" $\endgroup$
    – Vikram
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ Oops, you are right, thank you, carrier is from another field :-) $\endgroup$
    – A.Γ.
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 17:13
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This is completely normal, if you feel like you are getting overwhelming and bored of practice question, change the routine up. Take a break, study something else and go back to it. It is tedious but that is what study is meant to be.

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I used to feel the same way. What I do now is that in the beginning of a course I try to get ahead right away, that way I don't have to feel stressed out during the rest of the course, and I can - without guilt - spend a few hours each week doing what I call "bonus math". That is, math that is simply for fun. It can be things like spending time here, looking at difficult problems trying to solve them or reading up on some math related subject that I'm interested in at the moment. So basically mix it up, try to remember why you started to like math in the first place.

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