The wonderful Math Babe has some really great advice for a student who’s worried she isn’t ‘good at math’ because she isn’t fast at math. Replace talk of math with talk of philosophy and this makes some damn good advice for philosophy as well.
Ignore your surroundings, ignore the math competitions, and especially ignore the annoying kids who care about doing fast math. They will slowly recede as you go to college and as high school algebra gives way to college algebra and then Galois Theory. As the math gets awesomer, the speed gets slower.
And in terms of your identity, let yourself fancy yourself a mathematician, or an astronaut, or an engineer, or whatever, because you don’t have to know exactly what it’ll be yet. But promise me you’ll take some math major courses, some real ones like Galois Theory (take Galois Theory!) and for goodness sakes don’t…
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