It’s interesting how I often hear other students say something along the lines of, “I can’t wait until we are done this course, because I can then forget about X.” I’ll also admit that I’ve been prone to saying these sorts of things as well. However, it’s interesting to me because it shows us how we place our knowledge into silos. It reminds me of something my mathematics professor said after one of our tests, “Yes, I put a physics question on the test. You’re all grown up now, so we don’t have to keep our meat and potatoes separate.”
I reflect on this often, but I keep coming back to the same conclusion: mathematics, or physics, or any other science is not as difficult as people make it out to be. When non-science people roll their eyes as I tell them that the ideas I’m working with aren’t that difficult, I’m not just trying to be modest and say I’m not smart. That’s not the point. Instead, what I want to convey to them is the idea that mathematics and physics is like any other field. By working hard to understand what you are doing, you can become great at these subjects. It doesn’t take some innate ability to be good at physics or mathematics. It just requires patience and determination.