Having trouble with a decision...

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Having trouble with a decision...

Postby MurphysIT » Sat Oct 15, 2011 6:46 pm

Ok, here is my problem. I'm an Army vet, 32 years old, and about to start College with my benefits. I'm trying to decide on a career field and want to go into the sciences. I'm considering meteorology, oceanography, entomology, paleontology, astronomy, and archaelogy. I've always been pretty solid at school except for math and I'm willing to work hard to overcome this. I have taken college courses before, both online and B&M and done well. Does anyone have any suggestions, or advice? Thank you for your time.
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Re: Having trouble with a decision...

Postby phonghuynh » Sun Oct 16, 2011 9:49 pm

Hi,

What you are doing is extremely commendable. I can relate to your struggles in math. In fact, I thought I was going to fail college calculus but ended up passing. I took advantage of the opportunites and resources my college provided. I got tutoring, went to office hours, and visited my school's math center where I extra received help from TA's. Keep your head up always. Stick with it and you will do well. Work on your weaknesses and work on ways to improve. Continue to do practice problems and never give up.

Unless you are naturally gifted, success in math will take determination and persistence. My advice is to keep at it every single day. Utilize resource your school offers. Never be afraid to ask questions.

You can do it!

I was a Microbiology major and graduated despite my weakness in math.

Best,

Phong
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Re: Having trouble with a decision...

Postby MurphysIT » Sun Oct 16, 2011 9:53 pm

Thanks for the advice. It's good to know that science degrees are still possible with a math weakness. It's really the only thing I'm worried about and I know I'm going to need all those resources (and all the encouragement I can get).
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Re: Having trouble with a decision...

Postby John Dreher » Sun Dec 25, 2011 9:50 am

Best of luck starting a career in research. Regarding math, bear in mind that different areas of work will have differing requirements in the amount and kind of mathematics involved. An archaeologist will need to be comfortable with basic, high-school level math, while an astrophysicist will need a good deal of advanced math. Look at the course catalog for the school you are interested in; it will list the required courses for each major, including the math courses. Individual course descriptions typically list the pre-requirements for the course. For most of the areas you are interested in, a research career will necessitate obtaining an advanced post-graduate degree -- looking at the pre-requirements for some of the graduate courses offered in your area might also prove useful. If a research career begins to look too intimidating, bear in mind that rewarding work may be available assisting in research. For example, I am an astronomer, and when I make observations I often rely on skilled telescope operators to actually control the telescope I am using. The operators jobs put them in the middle of astronomical work while not requiring the advanced mathematical skills needed to master physics. I'm sure similar jobs exist in most of the other fields of work that you expressed an interest in.

I think it quite admirable that you are willing to make an effort to start a new career path at an age where many would think it impossible. Be reassured, it is not impossible, I have seen successful graduate students who also embarked on their scientific careers later in their lives than the "normal" path.
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