While I agree that society tends to dissuade women from math, it doesn't really work in my specific subset. I grew up with more female math-related role models than male. (Mom was chemistry major, dad majored in education partially because he sucked at math.) And the B is a massive outlier- it takes a lot of work for me to keep a C, usually. But thank you for the input.
Hi, I'm Alexandra. I'm turning 18 tomorrow, and I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that I have GOT to be more rigorous in my self-improvement if I'm going to manage to reach my ambitions.
I'm not quite a new member- I've lurked a lot, and even made a post a while back that got a decent number of comments and karma.
I discovered Less Wrong through HPMOR. It was the first time I'd read a story with genuinely intelligent characters, and the things in it resonated a lot with me. This was a couple of years ago. I've spent a lot of time here and on the various other sites the rationalist community likes.
I'm mostly posting this now because I'd like to get more involved. I recently read an article that said the best way to increase competency at a subject is to join a community revolving around the subject. I live in OKC, where I've never even HEARD of another student of rationality. The closest I've gotten is introducing my boyfriend to HPMOR.
I'm a biology student at a community college near my living space. I'm very good at biology, english, philosophy, etc. I'm really, REALLY bad at chemistry/physics and math. I've done some basic research into what makes a person suck at mathematical things, but it's been frustratingly low on insights. Most of the time, it's resulted in "you need to practice! you need to learn mathematical thinking!" which is objectively true, but practically, a little more detail in what to do about it would be nice. Practice hasn't really seemed to help too much beyond working problems. Give me an equation and variables and I can do the math. But I can't EXPLAIN anything, or apply it to non-obvious problems involving it. This is seriously getting in the way of both my biology studies and my study of rationality. I took general chemistry 1 twice to get a low B. I'm in the first two weeks of general chemistry 2 and it takes ages to get what seems like basic concepts. When I discovered I magically had a B in College Algebra, I suspected the professor curved the grade without telling us. I withdrew from precalc after three weeks because I realized I couldn't cope.
I'm hoping to get into contact with some of the more mathematically inclined people here who are willing to help. I considered emailing a few of the higher-profile contributors to the community, but frankly, they're intimidating and the idea is very scary to my inner caveman worrying about being kicked out of the tribe.
I have some pretty lofty goals for my future research- I want to go into genetically modified organisms, and try to improve nutrition and caloric intake in parts of the world where that sort of thing is difficult to get. Reducing scarcity in our society seems like a good start to a general boost in the "goodness" of the world. But there is absolutely no way I can succeed at this if I can't get a good handle on math and chemistry. My skill at the lower levels of biology is only going to carry me so far.
I've probably rambled enough, so thanks if you took the time to read. If, for some strange reason, you feel a pull towards helping a struggling student get a grasp on abstract thinking, I urge you to give into the temptation because oh god I need the help.
I like this idea. Sort of a "this journal article showed that this technique was statistically useful, this one said another technique was not" kind of thing?
Wow. You've been thorough. Note to self: modafinil is probably something I want to avoid if it can exacerbate anxiety that badly.
I got the anxiety book, and I'm starting to go through it. I absolutely recommend it- a few pages in and I was thinking "This guy just completely destroyed a lot of my justifications for having low self-esteem."
I sometimes think that LWers actually underestimate the help that individuals suggesting ideas can be. More than once, a friend has said something that made me think, "holy crap, I've approached this not just from the wrong angle, but the wrong freaking plane." I also have noticed that suggestions without disclaimers tend to get downvoted here, so I suspect the cached reaction is a good cached reaction.
Also, thanks for the giggle.
Huh. That actually does sound like what I do. Everything I've come across has suggested that's what you're supposed to do, though. And it is very relaxing.
I have no idea if any good teachers are around, but if they were, I couldn't afford lessons. Is there a reason why dissociating is bad? Because it's really enjoyable and makes me feel energetic and relaxed- even more than a full night of sleep does.
Coming from a reductionist "mind is brain" viewpoint, therapy actually does help. This is pretty well documented in the fact that 73% of patients who go through it say it helped in the long run. (statistic from my psych 101 textbook) Talking to a therapist may not increase your serotonin levels, but it does help teach you new mental "patterns" and ways to cope with the results. Saying the brain doesn't follow patterns is, well, wrong. The more you have a thought, the more the thought comes to you. If a chemical imbalance puts you in a mood that leaves you susceptible to a kind of thought, then you'll have that thought and start a negative pattern. So even then, if the chemical imbalance is fixed, you can still be stuck with the results. Therapy helps you build more positive patterns and maybe even let the old ones fade.
America actually has this weird cultural thing where living with your parents past 20 is seen as a badge of shame. You might have heard the "nerd in his parent's basement" stereotype a few times. The conservative families I know do have the "family values" thing, but they also have a huge "independence" thing. Most of them don't want their kids still in the home after they hit adulthood. They do tend to want to be near family, though. Obviously this is anecdotal evidence and should be taken with a grain of salt.
I will do that. I think I may actually have a copy of Chaos lying around. I've actually read (most of) Luminosity- I lost my place in the story at one point due to computer issues and never got back to it.
I tried CodeAcademy once, didn't find it that interesting. I don't think it used python, though. I'll check it out. Programming is in general very useful.
If I can find someone to tutor, I'll try that. It certainly can't hurt. Thank you!