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Buckeye05

Can't do Calc: What are my options?

13 posts in this topic

I know that the most obvious answer here is probably "not much", but I'm not quite ready to completely give up yet. 

A little backstory first. I've known I've had a major math issue my whole life, and I've spent the last several years trying to catch up to speed with extensive tutoring, classes, and the works. I've been trying to to learn the skills I need to get through these higher math classes later on, but it's becoming increasingly apparent that it just isn't going to happen. This in combination with my aspirations for a weather related career creates a frustrating situation to say the least. In the mean time, I'm about to finish my "plan B" major and will be working as a medical lab tech here soon. This will support me, but I'm just completely disinterested in the field to be honest.

So for the past month or so I've just been trying to see if there is anything else out there that will give me a shot at some type of career fulfillment. I have uncovered a few tentative leads, and I want to know if I should go for it or just suck it up and try to move on. The link below is probably the most interesting thing I've uncovered in my research. It mentions that "Even if you don’t have a degree in meteorology or a science field, you can still find emergency management jobs available with the National Weather Service, including positions as technicians, office directors and IT specialists."

http://www.emergency-management-degree.org/faq/what-emergency-management-jobs-are-available-with-the-national-weather-service/

Is this even remotely true? Are there actually job opportunities at NWS weather forecast offices for people who aren't fully degreed mets? I just wasn't aware of this until now, and I'm a bit skeptical. I would be MORE than happy to work along side meteorologists even if I'll never be one myself. So the supposed available positions for someone like myself are IT, meteorological technician, electronic technician, and office director (what?!). I'd think that if there is any route that would be remotely hopeful for me, it would be IT due to the fact that there is always some demand for that. Electronic technician also has my interest piqued. On the other hand, I'm very skeptical about the whole meteorological technician thing. That sounds like a position that isn't actually ever filled, or isn't anymore. I would think that the NWS would just hire already degreed meteorologists to do the meteorological tech stuff via some additional on-site training, especially given the funding issues. Another idea I had was county emergency management, as I know that they assist the NWS with storm surveys at times. That's just such a specific thing though, and an Emergency/Disaster Management degree is very broad and could land me somewhere else entirely. The last thing I want to cover is this:

http://distance.msstate.edu/geosciences/bomp/program_structure

MSU's "Bachelor of Science in Geosciences: Concentration in Broadcast & Operational Meteorology" program. No higher math, so I can get through it no problem. But my question is, would completing this be of any use to me whatsoever in terms of employment? It might look nice on my resume, but would it be able to do anything for me besides land me a broadcast/TV job? Anyway sorry about the wall of text, and any advice and answers to these questions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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I struggled with calculus as well.  It seems to start out easy and then quickly become complex.

It seems risky to want to work in meteorology when running away from part of the pre-meteorology curriculum.

If you do so, you will not get parity with other people in the field.  It just isn't worth trying to duck away from calc.

See if you can take calculus at a community college as have it count towards the degree that you want. 

Line up some private tutoring.  Make friends with other students in the class and do homework together

with others.   If you are really lucky, you can find an instructor that deliberately allows students to access

exams from previous years to use as study aids.

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5 hours ago, winterymix said:

I struggled with calculus as well.  It seems to start out easy and then quickly become complex.

It seems risky to want to work in meteorology when running away from part of the pre-meteorology curriculum.

If you do so, you will not get parity with other people in the field.  It just isn't worth trying to duck away from calc.

See if you can take calculus at a community college as have it count towards the degree that you want. 

Line up some private tutoring.  Make friends with other students in the class and do homework together

with others.   If you are really lucky, you can find an instructor that deliberately allows students to access

exams from previous years to use as study aids.

This here in bold is precisely is what I've been doing for the past few years, sans actual calculus because I have been unable to make it to that point.

Now this really sucks to admit, but I've been treading water in Algebra level math classes for the past few years. My goal was to build a strong base in Algebra that I would need to get through calc. Needless to say, this hasn't panned out. I've spent a lot of time with private tutors, including a physics/calc prof that I worked with for a pretty long time to help me get caught up. I paid a lot for his help but I think I left the poor guy exasperated. So I'm not really "ducking away" from calc, I just can't seem to get a firm grasp on the prerequisites to even think about taking it. At some point, I got tired of feeling stuck and also started tearing through this MLT program that i'm finishing up now. I recently cut my losses and just solely started focusing on MLT stuff. Despite this, I am having a hell of time putting this weather thing behind me. So that's where I'm at currently.

So now that that's established, it's pretty obvious i'm not looking for parity at this point. Nor am I necessarily looking to even work IN meteorology. I mentioned above that I'd be more than happy to work along side those who do, or have a career that is even vaguely associated with weather. So again, my questions remain, are these supposed IT and technician positions out there, are these positions ever filled by non-mets, what will the MSU program that I linked do for me, and are there other options i'm not yet aware of?

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On 12/30/2016 at 3:56 PM, Buckeye05 said:

http://distance.msstate.edu/geosciences/bomp/program_structure

MSU's "Bachelor of Science in Geosciences: Concentration in Broadcast & Operational Meteorology" program. No higher math, so I can get through it no problem. But my question is, would completing this be of any use to me whatsoever in terms of employment? It might look nice on my resume, but would it be able to do anything for me besides land me a broadcast/TV job? Anyway sorry about the wall of text, and any advice and answers to these questions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

That's only the geosciences classes. The actual degree (http://distance.msstate.edu/geosciences/bomp/degree_requirements) requires a minimum of 6 hours of math, and without calculus/differential equations, it's not a meteorology degree that would be accepted by the NWS. As the name of the degree states, it's a geosciences degree, with a meteorology emphasis. There are jobs that would be available to you with this kind of degree, though.

 

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On 12/31/2016 at 10:56 PM, huronicane said:

That's only the geosciences classes. The actual degree (http://distance.msstate.edu/geosciences/bomp/degree_requirements) requires a minimum of 6 hours of math, and without calculus/differential equations, it's not a meteorology degree that would be accepted by the NWS. As the name of the degree states, it's a geosciences degree, with a meteorology emphasis. There are jobs that would be available to you with this kind of degree, though.

 

Thank you for the reply. I already realize this wouldn't make me eligible for a NWS position, but I'm interested regardless. Any idea what kind of job opportunities that it could bring though? I'm assuming this would be limited to TV/broadcast careers, or careers not remotely related to meteorology?

Also, do you have any information on technician/Information technology positions with the NWS that would be good for me to be aware of? Thanks 

 

12 hours ago, Panes and Portlets said:

Military

It's crossed my mind but it's now or never. 

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5 hours ago, Buckeye05 said:

It's crossed my mind but it's now or never. 

If you want to be a professional forecaster and can't grasp the math then military is as good as it gets. They pay for your training then you are placed into a operational forecaster slot. Again, no math required. 

You could play the system since you said you are bout to finish your 4 yr degree and enter as a officer. I'm pretty sure the Air Force just waived the requirement that one must have a met or atmo degree to be a wx officer. Now if you went that route you would be more in a admin/supervisor/figurehead role instead of forecasting but the pay would be a lot more.

If you are interested just cut me a PM.

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I had the exact same problem when I was in meteorology school at NCSU. I was so terrible at math, even with tutors, to the point that I had to either give up my decade-long dream of becoming a meteorologist and switch majors or carry the weight and risk flunking out of school altogether. It was a depressing predicament. I brainstormed other areas in which I could excel and ultimately made the difficult but pragmatic decision to pursue an English degree instead. To be honest, my college experience was much more enjoyable after that as I didn't have the stress of math to worry about and could focus on my skills as a copy-editor and writer. Liberal arts degrees get a lot of flack and your talents might be better suited for more technical fields, to your benefit. But as long as you get your foot in the door while you're in school (for example I worked part-time at the school newspaper and for a local author) you'll be prepared to enter the real world with a degree, any degree. And there's nothing stopping you from staying interested in meteorology, as I certainly still am.

I can't offer guidance to your questions about IT-related jobs among meteorologists, but just wanted to let you know others have faced the same crossroads and have turned out okay -- well, for the most part. :) Whatever your decision, best of luck to you.

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I don't believe that you can't eventually pass, or even master, a calculus class - at least a "basic" calculus class.., the kind that say econ majors take. Calculus classes aimed at students in the physical sciences are harder.., and i might agree that not everyone can succeed in them.

If you are having trouble with algebra, even with a lot of effort, my guess is that your pre-algebra training is insufficient - i think you just need to find out where your weaknesses are and go back to that point and start there. 

the lower level calculus classes taught in college have a very "cookbook" approach - mostly, all you need to do is follow the steps and you will solve the problems. not much in the way of real mathematical thinking is required for these classes.

i even took a differential equations class that was very "cookbook" oriented - one of the easiest A's i ever got. the thing there was that i took the diffeq class in the engineering dept (i am not an engineer) rather than in the math dept. there was almost no abstract thinking required.., it was just "here's the problem.., and here's how to solve it"...

anyway - i don't think you should give up on learning enough math to do calculus.

 

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On 12/31/2016 at 10:56 PM, huronicane said:

That's only the geosciences classes. The actual degree (http://distance.msstate.edu/geosciences/bomp/degree_requirements) requires a minimum of 6 hours of math, and without calculus/differential equations, it's not a meteorology degree that would be accepted by the NWS. As the name of the degree states, it's a geosciences degree, with a meteorology emphasis. There are jobs that would be available to you with this kind of degree, though.

 

Please share!  I have such a degree and have found nothing in years.  I'd suggest to the original poster to take calc in a school that values how it's taught and how the students learn it.  Lots of practice outside homework assignments is key.  It took me way to long to realize that. 

I struggled mightily at a local university through differential equations.  Algebra for me was also not a strength of mine even though I have loved math my entire life!  It can make your calc life very difficult if you're slacking just a little in both algebra and trigonometry (nobody mentioned yet)!  It took me 8 total semesters to get through college level math that most engineering students can do in 4.  I had multiple college professors tell me that I should freshen up on my algebra and pre-calc/trig.  One of them basically scolded me in doing so after I went to scheduled office hours for guidance.  I felt so offended.

My last semester as an undergraduate was brutal while straggling through a final semester of elementary diffeq, upper level physics, lower level chemistry, and a research project.  Don't let that happen. 

Several weather buffs have similar stories I'm sure. 

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On 1/12/2017 at 1:56 PM, jgf said:

 

I don't believe that you can't eventually pass, or even master, a calculus class - at least a "basic" calculus class.., the kind that say econ majors take. Calculus classes aimed at students in the physical sciences are harder.., and i might agree that not everyone can succeed in them.

If you are having trouble with algebra, even with a lot of effort, my guess is that your pre-algebra training is insufficient - i think you just need to find out where your weaknesses are and go back to that point and start there. 

the lower level calculus classes taught in college have a very "cookbook" approach - mostly, all you need to do is follow the steps and you will solve the problems. not much in the way of real mathematical thinking is required for these classes.

i even took a differential equations class that was very "cookbook" oriented - one of the easiest A's i ever got. the thing there was that i took the diffeq class in the engineering dept (i am not an engineer) rather than in the math dept. there was almost no abstract thinking required.., it was just "here's the problem.., and here's how to solve it"...

anyway - i don't think you should give up on learning enough math to do calculus.

 

Seriously? Did you even read my posts. I'm sorry but these sort of posts are just borderline infuriating. Trust me, everything you have suggested, I have tried. I've spent way too much time, money, and tears trying to get to the root of this issue and retrain my brain to get through these classes, and I know for certain that it just isn't an achievable goal for me. But you "don't believe" that's the case despite the fact that you don't know me or what lengths I've gone to to try to make this happen. 

When you are about average to decent at math, you aren't going to be able to see how out of touch you come off as without being in my shoes. Sorry for the defensiveness, but I've had this conversation so many times with people and they just don't understand the extent of my math deficit until they witness it in person. It's extremely frustrating.

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