Visiting the house I grew up in this past holiday season, I had the strangest experience. I found my old notebooks from when I was about 14...and couldn't understand the contents!
I had been a math prodigy, entering college when I was 13. But, after a couple of years as a good college student left for social reasons to become a pretty mediocre high school student. Over time, I ended up focusing on other things and the math skills deteriorated.
It was a strange experience seeing incomprehensible work written by my own hand and yet, holding the notebook, I could feel some of the warm memories from those adolescent years. I really loved problem solving and I'm not completely sure why I changed my focus to psychology and then foreign languages when I went back to college at the normal age.
One thing is for sure, though. This stuff sure came to me a lot more easily than foreign languages did and it's not too late to get back into it.
I have MS in math and I consider those 6 years of study total waste. I liked math in high school but for whatever reason I didn’t enjoy studying math at university at all. That study wasted time and it also drained energy preventing me from doing other things I like: programming, learning English etc.
Decade later I studied IT at institute of technology and really enjoyed it. I liked programming since I was a kid and studying IT gave me exactly the same feeling of enjoyment. I wish I went to institute of technology after high school instead of pursuing math degree in academic university.
It’s pretty amazing what we can forget. After my BS in math and engineering, I was in the Navy for five years. When I returned to grad school, I had forgotten a lot, so the first two or three months were mostly relearning what I had forgotten.
I imagine that as a young child in college, your brain was more malleable, so you would forget more quickly.
PS: I really enjoyed your comment on Scott Young’s blog.