I am doing M.Sc. in Mathematics from a reputed college in India. But I have a humble background in mathematics. At my undergraduate college most of my batch mates were not interested in mathematics, and the teacher taught in a way that we could sail through exams. But I tried to learn on my own from online courses like NPTEL and OCW lectures and somehow I got a position for doing master's. At that time I used to study for just an hour and manage to understand, and I didn't solve any problems.

But here, the teachers are extremely good and they take 3-4 hours of lectures (i.e., one hour for each course). But now I am not able to grasp the concepts (develop intuition, visualization, looking at the big picture, etc.). To understand what my teacher/course instructor taught takes me 2-3 days of work and I am left behind. If I include memorization time then almost a week or so.

I am becoming overweight and suffering from lower back problems. If stay late up at night then I don't get sunlight giving vitamin D deficiency.

I don't know but I know I want to do research.

But how should I deal with this, I have 6 (5courses+seminar under professor).

And here we have to write an exam and be in the top 100 percent to get admitted for PhD from a reputed college with proper funding.

Please guide me, help me. How can I maintain my health and study?

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    Does this answer your question? How to cope with the change from easy undergrad. to difficult masters?
    – GoodDeeds
    Sep 11, 2020 at 9:54
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    Do you actually know (e.g. from serological tests) that you have a vitamin D deficiency? If so, I observe that the symptoms associated with vitamin D deficiency can include slow information processing and problems with working memory (see, e.g., Annweiler, 2016, Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. **1367**(1):57-63). (But if you're trying to do something about it, be careful: some vitamin D supplements on the market give far too high a dose, and vitamin D excess can be nearly as dangerous as vitamin D deficiency.) Sep 11, 2020 at 11:39
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    Math is initially hard. This is normal, especially if you didn't have enough initial background. But what is "memorization"? There is no thing like "memorization" in math. There is little to memorize. You have to practice, and ultimately understand. If you feel you need to memorize, you are likely doing something unsuitable. Sep 11, 2020 at 12:41
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    @DanielHatton Clearly OP is struggling. Memorization does not work for them. But perhaps understanding does. Sep 11, 2020 at 14:07
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    @littleO For me it was precisely the opposite. It's not that I couldn't in principle understand the big picture - but this always felt wobbly and uncertain knowledge, almost like cheating. So I worked very hard to understand all the nitty-gritty details meticulously. Then I could feel my way forward as one feels the way forward in a dark room where one recognizes the surface textures, but does not know the layout of the room. Until the room layout suddenly appeared in front of me in addition to the details. There are very, very different learning styles. Sep 12, 2020 at 2:28

1 Answer 1


It's all about time management my friend.

You need to learn how to adapt and the first step to start adapting is to set your timing schedule. A time schedule for the day with clear tasks, for the week..etc. You need to start working out or at the very least walk/squat for 5 minutes from time to time while you are doing a task for every 30 minutes, it will help your back a lot.

You need to use a good chair and use pillows behind your back to set your spine as vertical as possible. Since you are a mathematician and you'll need to set a lot to solve or prove you must check your pose while sitting despite having Vitamin D deficiency, sitting in the wrong pose will hurt your back, you'll lack focus and you'll have a headache.

You must treat your vitamin D deficiency by prescribed supplements. Depending on your deficiency level you might need high doses.

I hope that helps you.

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