I am a college student. I am glad to meet math as the first subject I am ridiculously interested in. But I am unable to control myself from playing cricket and counter-strike in my leisure time. There is always a desire to study math in leisure time but I can not do so. I don't know why but I only study it when my examinations are close. When I study it, it terrifies me with its enchantment, its beauty. I want to be a mathematician but I am really confused that do I really love maths or not? I think I do but I can't conclude for myself considering above conditions, I stated. I am scared that will I be doing good with maths after my Ph.D or it's just a temporary love. If this will go on, how will I do my research work? It's so criticizing. :(

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    $\begingroup$ I empathize. I've felt similar feelings in the past. However, I doubt this site is the right forum for such a query. You will be better served by talking to people who know you personally, such as friends or family or your teachers. $\endgroup$ Mar 18, 2015 at 21:12
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    $\begingroup$ Only you can really say, but there's nothing wrong coming home and relaxing with some gaming. $\endgroup$
    – Chris C
    Mar 18, 2015 at 21:15
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know why some one voted my question down? $\endgroup$ Mar 18, 2015 at 21:27
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    $\begingroup$ In fairness this isn't a question about maths education. Noone can answer whether you love maths or not. I sympathize with your situation but only you can help yourself. $\endgroup$
    – Karl
    Mar 18, 2015 at 21:35
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    $\begingroup$ @SufyanSheikh Again, I don't think this is a bad question. I just think this is not the right forum. Perhaps a question worded more broadly (and not about you specifically) might merit some interesting community opinions, but your question is more focused. You'll likely have better luck (but not guaranteed, mind you) at www.reddit.com/r/math. $\endgroup$ Mar 18, 2015 at 22:08

1 Answer 1


Perhaps this question will be closed, etc., but before such a thing happens, some possibly-useful comments can be interpolated:

In my experience, and observation, young people very-reasonably have many other interests... the proverbial "sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll"... and we note that the human race would not still be here if not for some of those interests... so one should not censure oneself for such interests.

Perhaps the delicate operational point is that such external stuff can fill up the day, and one does no mathematics. Thus, one might imagine that a socially dysfunctional persona is advantageous/required... for mathematics.

It might be true that if, in your 30+'s and/or 40+'s you'd rather be schmoozing than doing math, then doing math would have been a bad life-choice. But at age 20-something, there's no such indicator. I suppose a risk could be that if one were sooo haute-bourgeois that one had no instinct to think of making-a-living, and didn't have any urge to do anything "non-recreatinoal", then, yeah, one'd probably not be productive at much of anything.

Summary: being young is ... to say the least ... understandable. Being a bad sort of bourgeois/aristocrat-entitled is debilitating, in terms of doing useful things in scholarly domains, it seems.

That is, if you're "just a kid", but not a trust-fund baby, interest in things other than math does not doom you at all! :)

It is still true that there is a tipping-point, probably occurring within a few years, at most, wherein one has to "commit" to something...

  • $\begingroup$ It is helpful indeed! Are you a mathematician? $\endgroup$ Mar 19, 2015 at 4:37
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    $\begingroup$ @SufyanSheikh, yes, I am a mathematician: math.umn.edu/~garrett $\endgroup$ Mar 19, 2015 at 10:58

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