This is a website for professional research mathematicians so I think nothing can be the best option else this site to ask my question. But, still I am apologizing for asking this question as it's not directly linked to this site.

For personal info I would say that I have no IMO medal or such stuffs which stands for academic excellence in the field of mathematics. But nevertheless, I fell a quite nice allure towards this knowing that not all can succeed or achieve ground breaking results in this field. I think I am quite average standard student but still aspiring to achieve something. I know there is no certain parameter regarding this still I am asking for your valuable suggestion and personal experience in the long run. The most annoying part for me is the expectation towards my own and time $-$ this might be not a matter if I belong to some well off family but not being so, it some time creates fear and frustration about thinking. What if I am not be able to be successful (although it's a quite respective term)

If, you please share your thoughts and give some advice I think I will be greatly flourished.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ By the way, although there might be a correlation between IMO medals and (later) achievements in mathematical research, IMO medals can - almost by their very definition - not "stand for academic excellence" since they are for pre-college students. $\endgroup$ – Jochen Glueck Oct 14 at 11:09
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Many people who get a PhD in mathematics never even went in the IMO, and even disliked competition mathematics altogether. $\endgroup$ – David Roberts Oct 14 at 11:44
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ It is literally impossible to tell whether a high school students is or will be capable of doing research, olympiad winner or not (with the very rare exception of some who already do). It is even very hard to tell whether they will be a good university student! So there is only one way to find out, namely by trying it. And, sadly, we all have seen too many talented students who were slowed down by anxiety and self-confidence issues. So proceed anyway if you like mathematics — a mathematical education never harmed anyone! $\endgroup$ – Andrei Smolensky Oct 14 at 12:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You do not sound like someone inclined to devoting oneself to pure research. Striving for achievement is one thing, giving math research the top priority is quite another thing. If you do not feel like making math itself rather than your career the main preoccupation of your life, please don't do it. As a matter of fact, if it would be other way round, then I believe you would not even have these doubts that you express. $\endgroup$ – მამუკა ჯიბლაძე Oct 14 at 13:26
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I think the previous comment is unnecessarily harsh, even if it is meant well. I would agree with @AndreiSmolensky $\endgroup$ – Yemon Choi Oct 14 at 15:28

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.