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Everything posted by Tampitump

  1. Well I have some data to go by now. Today was the last day of the semester and I made A on my math final. I suppose things can be learned.
  2. Please expand upon this if you don't mind. What makes it tougher for an older person to get into something like this or learn things of this sort as opposed to a younger person? What is the age limit? I'm mainly talking about learning things like math later in life after having neglected to learn it as a child or teen? I hear so many people say it's impossible (or very difficult) to learn after you have reached a certain age. Most people act as if you can't gain a full education unless you are within the 18-22 age bracket. This just puzzles me. What abut me being 25 makes me incapable of learning things to their fullest extent? Am I really supposed to believe that one's ability to learn things suddenly declines immensely as soon as the clock strikes 12:00 midnight on their 23rd birthday? I seriously don't get what many many people are saying when they say things like this.
  3. I have read his "Universe From Nothing" and others. He is very effective in the written word. He's decent at lectures too, but he seems to fall short in debates IMO. Especially with creationists and fundies like William Lane Craig. I like Carl Sagan as well. I have read his "Demon Haunted World" and it was fantastic. That's what I find strange about myself. I can understand the most abstract, hypothetical, and complex philosophical or scientific ideas, but put a math problem in front of me and I cower behind the covers and hyperventilate. I have trouble with maths, but I am way ahead of most people in terms of understanding logic, rhetoric, and philosophy. I don't get it. How is it that I'm terrible at math? You can teach me something in algebra, and if I focus and try extremely hard, I might learn it. But you'll have to re-teach it to me the next day. I lose it pretty much instantly. Math absolutely terrifies me as well. My mind goes into panic mode just hearing the word "math". I instantly get this feeling deep down that I know I'm inadequate and incapable of doing it. It almost makes me want to quit pursuing knowledge and intelligence altogether. It confuses me so much why I am able to be so bright in virtually every other sense, but when it comes to math, I look like an absolute imbecile. You could have a conversation with me and think by the way I speak, my knowledge of many things, and the words I use that I am a very intelligent person. Most people get the idea that I am very smart. Even one of my math tutors this semester told me that I seemed much more intelligent when I speak. But gosh, math is the best way to make me look like I've never even been to kindergarten. This deficiency is almost analogous to very macho men who are not well-endowed in the "manliness" department. It is a huge blow to their confidence, and if you look at them from the outside, they look like they probably would be well-off in that respect, but they're not. Fortunately, this is not my problem, but it is very similar in many ways. I feel like a smart person in the body of an illiterate person when it comes to math. I could go to any Ivy league college and carry on a conversation with any top science professor and they would think it a conversation well worth their time. But I can't even do basic algebra that my seven year-old niece can do in her sleep.
  4. I have refrained from making long term plans. Not to sound smart-alec, but your answer is kind of self-contradictory. You kind of said it's not too late while saying it might be too late. I have heard many distinguished, respectable people say that there is a point after which you have pretty much missed your chance to learn or understand certain things, many things in fact. I think this is true with things like sex as well. If you wait too late in life, you will just never really be good at it. I sort of see evidence for this when I go to school. There are kids who are 18-22 years old who have no trouble at all understanding complex things and I have such trouble with them. I get so embarrassed that I often don't interact with them in group studies because I'm always the only one who doesn't understand most of these things. Here is a video in which Sam Harris sort of confirms this position. It starts at about the 5:30 mark.
  5. I guess what I'm referring to is the notion that once you get beyond a certain age bracket and have not been introduced to certain things/conepts, then you will likely never be able to learn or grasp them. I guess math would be the notable one. But I guess language would be another one. If you don't learn it as a child or at a certain age, you just never will. I just wonder if this is true. If it is, then I am wasting my time trying to pursue this education. I just need to know if my concerns are founded. My experiences do seem to scale with this notion because I still struggle even with simple algebra.
  6. I'm 25 years old and starting back to college. I completely goofed off during pretty much all of my school years. From grade school on up until high school graduation, I barely squeaked by with everything and neglected my education. I always struggled with math especially because it intimidated me and caused me to distance myself from it. I decided to go to college at the last minute after high school and only got into a very non-selective school by the skin of my teeth. I spent three years there and never progressed towards a degree. I just never applied myself. I left college when I was 21. Long story short, I went through a drastic, 180-degree change in my attitude towards education between the time I quit college and now. I gained a new perspective on life in which I now value education and have decided that I want to achieve the highest possible education I can. I enrolled in college again this semester (which will be over next week). Of course, I was placed in the most remedial math course available due to my past short-comings in math. I thought that perhaps it would seem a lot easier to me now since I am more mature and I have learned a lot from a few years of avid reading and studying logic, rhetoric, science, etc. However, it is still proving to be difficult for me. I have heard from so many people and so many places that after a certain point, you just can't learn things anymore. If you don't learn them as a kid it's just impossible (or nearly impossible) to learn them now. I believe most of these people are referring heavily to maths, but I think they are suggesting that it applies to many other things too. Is this true? Is it true that, at my age, I can't learn these things? When people say this, it just instills this nearly unwavering discouragement and pessimism in my mind. It's hard to believe that- "Welp, guess that's it, can't learn anymore things now." I would laugh at the people who say this and think them absurd if it weren't for many prominent and distinguished individuals who agree with this position. I'm pretty sure Sam Harris and Steven Pinker (among many others) have spoken about this and have stated that this is the case. I so desperately want to move past where I am now and go to a top school. But there's almost this mentality that pervades our discourse that if you're not 18-22 years old and already sharp at these things, you can just never learn them. It's almost as if people state these things as absolutes, as if it is absolutely true in every case. If this is untrue or if I am utterly misunderstanding this, I would love to know about it. Before I really caught wind of these types of claims I had attributed my trouble with math to years of neglecting it and that it would only require me to go back over it, brush up on it, and that it would all be okay. But I hear these things said all the time it is starting to worry me. I'm sorry for the long post. I also wanted to state that I see a lot of people apologizing in advance for the possibility of posts like this being "inappropriate". I'm not sure what makes posts like this inappropriate, but if they are, I apologize. Thanks for all good answers!
  7. Thanks, I've actually taken a lot of time studying rhetoric, syllogistic logic, epistemology, etc. I'm actually taking my English rhetoric class this semester. In fact, this week I just got my grades back for my claim of cause and claim of policy research essays. The first was a 100% and the latter was 96% with my teacher remarking on both of them were "exceptional". I'm not saying I know it all. In fact, there are some concepts I struggle greatly with which bugs me to no end. I'm continuing to try to sort out what I don't understand and learn about it.
  8. Oh, trust me. I have. My journey to science started when I first started questioning my beliefs- particularly my religious beliefs (a conversation for another thread). I realized that I was so ignorant to just about every subject imaginable though I thought I had life completely figured out. Gosh how my world changed when I started going down this path of skeptical reasoning and discovering there was an entire world of enlightenment out there waiting for me to start studying. Before this realization, I was your typical self-righteous country bumpkin who thought education was for all those smart folks and that I was better than all that. Actually, that's not entirely the case, though its part of it. Mental depression also took a profound toll on my schooling. I never thought I would become the intellectual type who couldn't wait for the next book he would read or the next subject he would study. I now understand how science is done, how humans go about understanding reality, and how little we actually know. I want nothing more than to go to a top school, get a top education, and make academics my lifestyle and career. But my past is a major road block that is probably going to disqualify me from this, regardless off how profoundly different I am now from how used to be. Vanderbilt holds kind of a special place in my heart. Not only is it a great school, but its like "Tennessee's Harvard". It's my "local Ivy league" so to speak. It has awesome world-renowned research, and everything offered there is top notch. Vanderbilt is actually something, as a Tennessean, I am very proud of. My cousin went there for his undergrad and went on to Yale for his graduate degree. I would so love to go there! They have many options and concentrations of study for their computer science majors. They have an option in which you can go five years and graduate with a master's instead of a bachelor's. Getting in means a lot to me. I'm doing my best to find out what I can do make me super competitive. I know my terrible academic past will be a huge smoking gun on my application, but I was hoping maybe excelling this time around would display resilience and determination on my part and make me stand out. It might show that I'm not willing to give up. If there's anything I need to be doing right now, I want to know. I don't want to get to the point, be rejected, and think "why didn't I do x, y, or z?"
  9. Thanks for the encouragement everyone. It does make me feel much better. I did reach out to admissions at Vandy and a very nice lady responded to my email the very next day. She told me that they would be happy to look at anyone's application. However, she did say that given what I had told her about my history, it would likely be an uphill battle for admission. I was wondering what kind of volunteer work could/should I look into. And I'll have to write a good essay. Writing has always been a strong point of mine. But I'm not sure what to write about. I would like to write about how I came from being unconcerned and unaware of my true potential to finally seeing the value of education and gaining the drive to better myself, or something like that. Any advice there? Actually, this was her message: Thank you for your email and your interest in Vanderbilt. I am happy to hopefully provide more insight into our process. It sounds like you have found place where you are happy and enjoying your classes, which is great. The best way to learn more about Vanderbilt would be to look through the Admissions and Vanderbilt websites, and get a feel for our process/students who are the most successful in the transfer review and general information about Vanderbilt- academics, campus life, etc. Transfer Admissions: http://admissions.vanderbilt.edu/prospective/transfer.php Vanderbilt: www.vanderbilt.edu You can also visit campus to attend a Daily Information Session and Campus Tour, if that is interesting to you: http://admissions.vanderbilt.edu/visit/. With regard to the transfer review process, we admit transfer applicants from both four and two-year institutions, although the majority of students do transfer from another four-year school. We also require that students live on campus for the duration of their time at Vanderbilt, which is required to be at least two years. With regard to the classes you have taken, the Transfer Pathway will not be applicable here, so there is not a way to know which of the classes you have taken that will transfer for credit. Your transcripts are reviewed after you are admitted and decide to attend, and credit is reviewed/awarded by the University Registrar for the college to which you have been admitted. In our review, a bigger focus for us will be where are in school now, the classes you are taking and how well have you done (competitive students tend to have a 3.5 GPA or higher) but we will take your high school grades, testing and your previous college classes/grades into account as well. From what you’ve described, it will probably be an uphill battle for admission, given the competitive nature of our transfer application review. I don’t mean for this to be discouraging, I just want to provide honest and transparent context, so you can make informed decisions about the transfer process and your future. I hope this insight is helpful. Please let me know if you have any further questions. Kind Regards
  10. I'm still left with a modicum of ignorance as to what else would be necessary for me to do to maximize my chances for Vandy.
  11. If everything ends up how it is looking to end up this semester I will have about a 3.6 GPA to start off with at my new CC. I will actually be switching CCs to Nashville State after this semester because they offer computer science. My goal is to enter research on AI and AGI, and to be active in the scientific research community. I love education and the pursuit of knowledge so much now that I want to make academics a lifestyle and profession. My plan B if Vanderbilt does not work out is to attend the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. I will be pretty much guaranteed to go there due to the fact that they participate in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway program that my state does and that my CC is involved with. If I cannot get into Vandy as an undergrad transfer, I will apply after UT for their graduate school. I'm sorry for seeming down and depressed. The truth is that I am depressed, which is something I need to get help for too. It is just painful to look back on how horrific my attitude and actions were in the past. The main question I'm asking here is- Is it possible to make it to where I'm wanting to go? It is painful and hard to deal with seeing how things could have been, and knowing that it took many years and getting to the age of 25 before I started to realize things that most other kids realize when they are teenagers. I'm mainly just asking if it's still possible for me?
  12. I didn't mean to be a douche. I'm just worried and upset with myself and my academic past. I used to be such a numb-skull who had his priorities exactly backwards. My former self was so patently stupid and moronic. I laughed at education and higher learning and thought it was stupid. My personality was self-righteous and just plain sad. I couldn't care less about school, I skipped classes, cheated, and just flat out didn't give a rat's ass. I find myself now in the aftermath of a 180-degree attitude change. I now value education more than anything. I do have goals with my education that involve doing research and the like. But I also find myself in the aftermath of an academic past that I think I will never recover from. A joke of a high school career with a sub 2.0 GPA, low ACT scores, no clubs, sports, or extracurriculars, and nothing to show any kind of accomplishment or promise on my part. I have a first college experience that I failed miserably at. I'm just doomed. I have ruined myself. I have absolutely dug a grave, hopped into it, and pulled the dirt over. I can hardly stand to look back on the person I was just a few years ago. I don't even recognize me and I couldn't be more ashamed.
  13. I see this forum is pretty dead with only about 1 post every thread it appears. But I'm going to try. Just so you understand up front, I'm not a youngster just coming out of high school. I'm 25 years old and a college flunk-out. I used to care two damns less about education. I was a terrible student in high school and barely graduated with my 1.7 GPA. I never looked into college while in high school because I didn't think any of them would accept me so I just never planned on going to college. The summer after high school my parents demanded that i apply for college, so I did at the last minute. Some crappy local four year university conditionally admitted me. I spent three years at that school where I failed nearly every single class I took, only making Ds in the classes I passed. After three years I never made it past freshman status and was eventually expelled due to poor academic performance. I've been out of school for four years now. A couple of years ago I had an epiphany where I suddenly began to value education and knowledge. I suddenly got the dream to pursue a top notch education. Even before, when I was a numb-skull who cared less about school or education, my dream school was always Vanderbilt. My dream to go there became almost an obsession after I had my revelation. Since that point, my life has changed profoundly. I can't find enough to read. I can't study enough subjects on my own, listen to enough internet lectures, or get my hands on enough material. I am interested in computer science as well as other hard science subjects. I also read a lot about philosophy and cognitive science. I decided to go back to college. But my past grades were so bad I knew no college would accept me. So I enrolled in one of my state's best community colleges. It has a transfer pathway program that guarantees students the seamless transfer as a junior to one of the participating four-year schools upon completion of the two-year program. However, the schools on the list are mostly state universities and other crappier private universities (mostly Christian affiliated, which are the last schools I want to go to). Since Vanderbilt is an elite private research university it is not on the list. However, that is not to say that one couldn't transfer to there from my school or that the credits wouldn't be accepted. It just means they don't participate in the program because it is a guarantee, which schools like Vanderbilt most certainly do not do. This is also not to say there aren't good schools on the list in this transfer program. The University of Tennessee at Knoxville among others are on this list. But these schools just aren't VANDERBILT! This is my first semester back to school in four years. I am working my butt off now to get outstanding grades. I am still holding on to this dream of getting into Vanderbilt. My hope is that by doing outstanding here at CC, I might have a chance of transferring there after I graduate from here. The statistics at Vandy show that this year they admitted only 8.8% of first-year freshman students, and only 31% of transfers. I'm not sure what makes a transfer candidate stand out, but I think it has to do with grades, extracurriculars, leadership, essays, etc. I'm not sure what to do to make me stand out. I was not a member of any clubs or sports at any point during high school or my first college. I really want this. I am pouring my heart and soul into trying to make this happen. Do you think I've doomed myself with my atrocious past? Is there still hope for me? Someone please give me some advice. If you choose to respond, please make it a worthwhile response. No 'one or two sentence', pointless responses please. I'm looking for good advice here. Thanks in advance for any good advice!
  14. So I'll try my best to unpack my story as concisely as possible so I can get on to my question..... Previously I was a vastly ignorant person with largely no regard for education. I'm speaking here of the no-so-distant past. From childhood well into young adulthood I was very lost intellectually and academically. Therefore, I'm sure you can imagine that my academic history is very botched and atrocious. You would be imagining correctly. All throughout grade school, high school, and in my first college attempt, I hated school work, and had absolutely no regard for the importance of education. I never invested myself in my school work and I barely squeaked by high school with a laughable GPA and no intentions to attend college (mainly because I was under the impression that college wouldn't be an option for me due to my poor grades). I decided to apply to college during the summer after high school graduation due to the insistence of my parents. The school was just a run-of-the-mill state university that took me as a conditional admit due to my poor grades. I reluctantly attended, carrying the same attitude towards academics present in my past along with me. So in short, my time there was ultimately a joke. I spent three years attending this school after which I did not even make it past freshman status. I failed nearly every class I took and was eventually put on academic suspension. After this I spent nearly four years working various menial jobs before breaking down and deciding to go back to college. My decision to go back to college did not come without previous epiphany. During the period after my first college attempt and being in the work force I had something of an epiphany. I'm not sure what sparked it, but I started to rethink what I deemed important. I became an atheist after previously being devoutly religious (non-sequitur I know), and I also gained a passion for education and science. My decision to go back to college was not born out of desire to get a degree in order to get a better job. It was for the purpose of getting an education first and foremost. So fast forward to today, I'm currently a 25 year old community college student. My current major is mechanical engineering. This is my first semester back to college in four years, so I picked a major I felt would be a good starting point for a scientific general education curriculum. The community college I am attending is arguably the best or among the best in my state. I am on a transfer pathway program that will allow me to transfer seamlessly as a junior to a participating four-year college. My college of choice is the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Currently, I am putting a great deal of thought into what I want to pursue. I want to study one of the sciences and possibly strive for graduate school or even a Phd program if everything works out. I know I might possibly be biting of more than I can chew with this hope. I'm trying not to be too much of an idealist. The point is, I am interested in science, but I am so new to this territory of actually caring about education that I really don't know much about its many areas of discipline. I have considered physics, neuroscience, and computer science as possible avenues. I think I have potentially ruled out biology as it just doesn't interest me in terms of studying. I also want to be conscious of which path is more likely to lead to a successful career. I know scholarly jobs are extremely difficult to come by and require a candidate to be top tier (at least this is how I perceive it). I'm asking for information on the various sciences in terms of college degrees, the occupations available therein, what undergraduate degrees are required to pursue PhDs in these various fields, etc? I'm mainly just asking for information on the sciences that will help me make my decision. As I mentioned before, I'm just now starting to realize this desire to pursue the sciences and scientific education. There are some fields that stand out to me more than others in terms of interest, but I need more information One more detail worth noting is that I am starting from very humble origins here. I neglected my education during the past and am now have to play catch-up with the rest of the world. Especially in math. I just never got the foundation I needed, even in basic algebra. So now I'm basically starting from square one in remedial college algebra classes. I know this should be very humiliating for me, but it is a challenge I am either going to have to rise up to or just step down now. I don't see a good reason to give up so I will trek on with my pursuit of education. Thanks to all who respond. I just want to say, if you choose to respond, please post a detailed response. Not trying to be rude, I just don't like it when people give me half-baked answers that only address an insignificant part of my question. Thanks!
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