thoughts of fall 09 first years after one semester

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slugger
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2008 2:12 am

thoughts of fall 09 first years after one semester

Postby slugger » Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:30 pm

I seem to remember seeing a post sometime last year about what folks thought after their first semester...or maybe i am mistaken...but i got home a few days ago and my grades were finally posted this morning and the semester is completely done and i can imagine a lot of people are feeling the same way as i am--burnt. I can honestly say i have never worked harder in my entire life than i did this sememster--i slept less, showered less, smoked more, and drank more coffee than i ever have in my life and i still wound up getting a B in quantum. And its not like i had the most difficult course-load either.

I would be up late at night sweating over QM and EM, and the student in the next office was bitching about GR and QFT. I remember hearing someone say that in graduate school you learn as much from your peers as from your professors. I could not agree more--without our study group probably half of our problem sets would not have gotten finished.

Other than that I met with a few professors, I am excited to be joining a group next semester, and after being home 3 days i am already getting bored and ready to go back to urbana.

Oh and i hear they might have discovered WIMPs. right on. What about the rest of you guys. How were your first semesters?

CKtalon
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:25 am

Re: thoughts of fall 09 first years after one semester

Postby CKtalon » Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:12 pm

Well Jackson EM (not really) and Baym's QM is definitely taxing :P
Next semester's QM on Goldbart should be pretty relaxing :)

Rob Leigh's QFT is definitely worth bitching about especially with their 6 point function feynman diagrams :lol:

What classes are you going to take next semester? There's no Stat Mech offered..(I would recommend Nigel's Phase Transition class)

Kind of miss the days in LLP cursing and swearing at problem sets..good times..
Can't wait to get into grad sch!

slugger
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2008 2:12 am

Re: thoughts of fall 09 first years after one semester

Postby slugger » Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:00 am

ahh...shoot. to reply or not to reply. i am really curious about getting people from OTHER depts thoughts...not make this an UIUC thread, but what the hell. baym was brutal (at least for me, i am sure a few people would beg to differ) but its over now, and EM was a breeze thanks in large part to having a lowsey grader who only took off 2 pts the entire semester, but i didnt really learn anything useful for the qual, so i am leaning toward goldbart next semester, and the other class is a toss up. its either going to be undergrad stat mech (because, as you said, they are not offering grad) or else possibly classical mechanics because i never took one and someone said it was really good. The thought had crossed my mind to take the biophys--esp since i will be getting involved with the aksimentiev group this spring--but i would rather take classes that might actually clue me into solving qual problems, plus i already have a masters in computational biology.

You are an undergrad? Where are you applying? No one on the third floor thinks its cool how you guys stole our lounge.

CKtalon
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:25 am

Re: thoughts of fall 09 first years after one semester

Postby CKtalon » Thu Dec 24, 2009 10:13 pm

I graduated last spring, taking a year off
I took QM1 under Goldbart, and truthfully, I didn't learn anything, but I learnt a lot in QM2 under PP. Was Thanksgiving fun with your take home midterm? :lol: I'm not sure how taking those courses would help the qual though..
I guess just working through all the past year quals would help, with the study groups and what not through the summer; hence, I'm not so sure if taking the undergrad versions of those courses would help. However, if you never took a Classical Mechanics course before, it might be a better idea to take one then. I'm not sure if the professors teaching those classes are good or not. They seem pretty new in the teaching scene.

I never really used the lounge. Isn't there a grad student lounge too? I was always hanging out on the 3rd floor too, struggling with problem sets late into the night, and sometimes staying overnight to finish up my QFT problem set, with my fair share of cursing and swearing. Although the material is the same, it still seems like a huge leap with the introduction of Green's functions appearing everywhere in physics (and stupid Bessel functions too)

I'm not sure if it's just the UIUC Physics department that seems real tough in terms of problem sets, but when I compare it to other schools' problem sets, other schools seem more manageable...but I can't say much since I never experienced them before..




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