grae313 wrote:The problem is that many times in life, to be successful you have to get some things done that you don't find amazingly interesting and enjoyable, and you still have to do them well. Few people find the block sliding on a frictionless wedge amazingly interesting. Getting good grades in your remaining upper division physics classes shows that you are mature, responsible, consistent, and have a good work ethic. If you want to get into a top university where you have access (with exceptions) to the best professors and the best research, you need to have the all around package. Sure, your excellent research will help, but if you can buckle down and get the grades too, you'll have a much better chance. Remember, when you apply to graduate school you are competing against a great number of people who are just as smart or smarter than you, but who also worked hard to get good grades. 3.4-3.5 isn't bad, but it depends a lot on what school you're coming from. In general, you want to have top grades in your upper division physics classes.
If the coursework itself doesn't motivate you, find something else to get you through it. Personally, I made it a little competition to get the best grade in the class on every exam, and motivated myself by thinking of graduate school. If you get annoyed when textbooks simplify problems and leave out the difficult stuff, get more advanced text books. If you think you're hot ***, while you're taking the undergrad class, concurrently teach yourself from the grad texts. Learn E&M from Jackson, and get all the Landau and Lifshitz texts. But whatever you do, get those grades, because they show you know how to put your nose to the grindstone and get the job done. You can also push through your undergraduate courses as quickly as possible and then start taking graduate physics courses at your current institution.
My main question is do you think an "ok" GPA, with great publication(s), make me a potential applicant for great grad schools where I can get my ideas heard?
I'm also worried about TA-ing and teaching if I do end up getting a PhD... my mind is just so different to other students I've worked with. How do you get hired to do only research? Don't you need to be some genius to be paid to think?
It's good to note that I also have medical issues and have to take medication that really lowers my heart-rate and sometimes alters my thinking abilities, which has effected my GPA (I've gone through 2 surgeries in 3 years).
grae313 wrote: If you think you're hot ***, while you're taking the undergrad class, concurrently teach yourself from the grad texts. Learn E&M from Jackson, and get all the Landau and Lifshitz texts.
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