Even though I’ve been teaching myself math for a couple of years now I only just started (a month ago) at the university. My experience is rather mixed.
For starters, I’d like to mention that I’m 21 years old. As I understand it, this is not too young and not too old. Having said that, I can’t help but feel jealous of all the young people who populate my courses. In one of my courses, the percentage of students under 18 is around 40% (haven’t checked rigorously). The thing is I don’t think that it would have bothered me so much if I hadn’t felt like the academy is holding me back.
When I learn by myself from books, I just go from one thing I didn’t understand to the next and no minute felt wasted. Ignoring the fact that I can already solve the test of three courses I’m in (I tried to avoid them but I have to do them), I find myself more often than not writing down homework solutions to problems I wouldn’t have spent a minute on since I knew they weren’t an issue. The pace is so slow that I regret having started at the university in the first place (with the exception of one course).
I understand that in some way this is something I did to myself (by teaching myself these things beforehand). I’d like advice or some support since I’m pretty close to taking back my decision to learn at the university. So far it feels like half the fun of math for twice the time (and all those little kids have the time since by my age they’ll be doctoral students…). I really miss those self teaching days.
I feel like if I would only be given a chance to study at my pace, I could finish the degree in a year and a half and have much more fun doing it…
What am I to do?
EDIT: It may be worth mentioning that I got exemption from several courses due to past studies I did in an open university (one where you learn alone from books).
There are many things you can do.
If you do understand the homework then it won’t take you very long to write down the solutions. Go ahead and do it. Try to do it elegantly.
Look for the subtleties, I tell my undergraduate students that they will really understand the material of course X after they teach the course.
In your text there may be more advanced problems, try them or try looking in another book/source.
If you feel that you can handle more advanced material, try getting permission to sit in a course that interests you, try doing the work from that.
It is good advice to talk to the chairperson or a faculty member. Do make sure that your tests/homework are coming back as correct. If they aren’t, it is still a good idea to talk to someone (it always is!) but then you might want to present your situation differently.