Screwed by Social Skills and Bad Quant Skills

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yamato_rena
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24 Sep 2014, 8:43 pm

I'm screwed. I have a problem set due tomorrow that I understand a lot (though not all) of the basic principles of. I've been working since the weekend on it, so it's not like I waited till the last minute. I just kept getting stuck on problems and needing to ask for clarification that usually comes half a day later at best and isn't always all that clear. The TA keeps telling me to talk with other students about it, but I can't because the professor has a rule that you're only allowed to work with one other person at a time. Most are already paired off, and I generally hate group work, or at least this kind! We don't have to work in groups. We can work individually. But if we choose to work in a group (which includes so much as discussing answers with another student), we can only work with one other student, and it cannot be the same student for two different problem sets. If we're just free-floating and talking with each other, people are usually pretty nice, but it's when you need to split off into set groups that people get all snooty. My modus operandi whenever we do group work is just wait for everyone else to group up and then see where there's a free spot. But that only works if group work is mandatory across the board. I almost always get rejected if I ask someone myself, so if the choice is offered to me, I almost always choose to work alone. But math subjects are some of my worst, and I am not following how to connect the basic principles to these problems (which are all written precisely to be needlessly confusing - something the professor himself admits to). I need help, but I can't ask for it, and worse, there's just about no chance of getting an extension (Trust me, I tried). It didn't help that all this happened the exact same week as Rosh HaShanah (I'm Jewish, and that threw a giant wrench into my schedule), as well as the same week my health insurance provider decided to randomly be a jerk about whether or not my medicine's covered (I've been buying meds for the past couple of days off insurance while I get the mess worked out). I'm stuck! Please help!



Dantac
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24 Sep 2014, 10:12 pm

I read and I see your scheduling problem but I'm not sure what it is you need help with.

The problem set that is due or the scheduling or getting an extension...?



yamato_rena
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24 Sep 2014, 10:14 pm

Dantac wrote:
I read and I see your scheduling problem but I'm not sure what it is you need help with.

The problem set that is due or the scheduling or getting an extension...?


I don't even know what I really need help with. I guess maybe at this point being able to join a group to prevent this from happening in the future.



Variadic
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18 Oct 2014, 8:00 pm

yamato_rena wrote:
Dantac wrote:
I read and I see your scheduling problem but I'm not sure what it is you need help with.

The problem set that is due or the scheduling or getting an extension...?


I don't even know what I really need help with. I guess maybe at this point being able to join a group to prevent this from happening in the future.


Use the prof's office hours.

I got through my grad algorithms by seeing my prof outside of class twice a week and doing the problem sets while sitting outside of his office. I asked very focused questions, didn't complain, and made sure to take up as little time as possible if there were other students waiting. The fact that I was doing this week in and week out (and not just a few days before the assignment was due) communicated that I actually wanted to learn the material, not just get the grade.

After just a couple of weeks we started to see a pattern in what I was misunderstanding, and I was able to change my strategy of how I approached the problems. I started summarizing the problems in my own words and sanity-checking my interpretation with the prof before I invested hours solving what I thought was the problem (it usually wasn't).

All in all, it was a horrible, humiliating and (evenutally) a modestly empowering experience. I passed (I don't think I ever looked at the grade I received), eventually graduated, and I've steered clear of theoretical computer science ever since.

Hang in there.


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NicholasName
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19 Oct 2014, 3:46 pm

Does your school have a tutoring center?


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