I don't know whether this is the right place for my question but I didn't find any other SE website to which I may ask this question.

I am currently enrolled in a college in India. But the problem is that in that college there is a strict requirement of attendance (approximately 75%) in each part-1. Major, 2. Ancillary, 3. Compulsory and 4. Foundation Course.

I don't find any interest in any other subjects because the teachers are so boring (except one ancillary teacher)! Even in Mathematics there is only one teacher whose teaching I really enjoy whereas others just come and right bunch of formulas on the board and when asked for its proof, they just say that, "Proof isn't required in your examination. Tell me whether you understand the method?". It is disgusting for me to sit in those classes. But the attendance requirement compels me to sit in those classes. I have tried to tell the Principal the whole problem but he only said to me,"Are you some kind of Ramanujan?". And of course I amn't and so I had to go back.

Is there some way by which I can transfer to some other college even if already 3 months have been passed in this college?

N.B.-If this question doesn't seem suitable for this site, please let me know where can I get an answer for it.

  • 5
    What are you asking? If you stay at this college, then you have no choice in the matter. Are you asking for advice about transferring elsewhere? About how to handle having to do something you neither like nor value? About whether choosing to fail your courses would hurt you in the long run? – Anonymous Mathematician Sep 28 '14 at 18:24
  • 2
    The question about whether you can transfer to another college mid-year has nothing to do with the attendance issue. I suggest you remove it from this post and ask it in a new post (if that's really your question), since all the answers here are about the attendance thing. – ff524 Sep 29 '14 at 3:45

I don't think there's much you can do here. You don't like the way the classes are taught, but the university compels you to attend if you wish to graduate. Basically, you have two options:

  1. Attend class and participate to the best of your ability.
  2. Find another institution which does not have the same compulsory attendance policy that will admit you and transfer.

However, I would also caution you that just because you don't find anything interesting other than mathematics right now doesn't mean you shouldn't be exposed to those topics. A broadly based education can only help you in the long run (and act as a "life preserver" for those days when the math just isn't working the way you expect it).


What should I do?

Go to classes, or don't pass the course.

A 75% attendance requirement seems quite reasonable to me, and you wouldn't be a very well-rounded graduate if you only took mathematics courses. Variety is good. Naturally, it's rather common to dislike some of the courses you must do, but that's life. There's no alternative but to find another university whose curriculum and lecturers you like better.

  • 3
    I think the but that's life part it worth emphasising. Now is a good time to learn that in life, there are things you must do even though you don't like them. (Although I would argue that not having learned it before the college years is the result of bad parenting.) – fkraiem Sep 28 '14 at 16:26
  • Exactly this, you are there to get an education - if you don't feel fulfilled by the teaching styles, nothing is stopping you from challenging yourself about proofs. The attendance requirement is what it is for that college, and as Moriarty stated, 5 in very reasonable. – user21984 Sep 29 '14 at 10:42
  • 1
    I gave a +1, because I think this answer is practical. But I strongly disagree that 75% attendance is reasonable. If a student can ace the course at 5% attendance, then a 75% attendance policy is only encouraging them to waste time that could be better spent educating themselves further outside class, earning money to pay for the course, or taking well-deserved relaxation. Rules and requirements should be goal oriented; what goal does attendance support? – Nicholas Oct 20 '14 at 14:39
  • @Nicholas I don't necessarily agree that there should be attendance requirements. I think it depends on the course. My point is that if there were an attendance requirement, 75% is a pretty reasonable one. – Moriarty Oct 27 '14 at 14:09

Bottom line: Go to your non-math classes, but think about it more positively and constructively...

If you're really serious about being a mathematician and want to publish original research, you will inevitably have to practice your ability to read broadly in a wide variety of seemingly unrelated subfields and find the missing connections.

Think of your non-mathematics classes as an exercise in how to gain broader perspectives and how to see patterns in seemingly unrelated facts, concepts, ideas, etc... Even if the subject matter is not mathematics, you can gain a lot from practicing the search for the hidden/important structure behind any subject. If you become good at doing this in a non-mathematics field, imagine how aweseome a mathematician you'll become!

  • +1 for "as an exercise in how to gain broader perspectives and how to see patterns in seemingly unrelated facts, concepts, ideas, etc." - needed in so many facets of the modern world. – user21984 Sep 29 '14 at 10:43

The following advice may or may not be appropriate at your school, but it has worked for me: buy an MP3 player, sit in the back of the class with your headphones on and quietly mind your own business. This allows you to sign the attendance list while still spending time on useful things.

  • 2
    This is plain rude for the lecturer of the class and counterproductive for actually passing the course. – Alexandros Sep 29 '14 at 4:01
  • 2
    Not only is it rude and distracting for the lecturer, it can also distract your classmates and set a bad example. If you refuse to pay attention, take some work to do on pen and paper (no laptop / tablet / phone / MP3 player!) and quietly work at the back. This is the best (and most polite) alternative to you paying attention. – Moriarty Sep 29 '14 at 11:17
  • Rude, yes, but it sounds like it serves this professor right. – Joshua Feb 10 '15 at 18:59

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.