I absolutely feel your concerns too. Fortunately, I'm already settled into Princeton though classes don't start until 9/8, I have a nice apartment with a cool apartmentmate and for the first few weeks here I'm just expected to converse with as many physicists as I can and get an idea for a first year experimental project. There are 78 physicists at PPPL, tons of engineers and technicians and the atmosphere is really awesome. I've had problems driving up and down Route 1 without getting lost but my GPS helps me out.
But yes I'm also worried.
noojens wrote:I've had a great summer, but haven't put any thought into physics stuff since May (the calm before the storm, I suppose).
Same here, though I haven't really done anything since the GRE last October. I was pretty good about reviewing for the GRE but after that I figured nothing mattered anymore in undergrad in terms of applications. I was so worried about getting in for a while that I didn't even keep up with physics since I might not even be doing it next year anyway. And then once I got in I was too caught up with the idea of enjoying the last months before grad school that I still didn't do anything. And then I ended up just vegetating all summer and watching movies lol. So I'm kindof concerned not only that I forgot a lot but also that I didn't try to bridge some of the gap between what I learned at my school vs. Princeton's.
noojens wrote:I'm a little intimidated by the imminent switch to grad classes, not only because they're probably tougher than undergrad classes in general, but also because Cornell is a gigantic step up, in terms of reputation and most likely rigor, from my undergrad institution
Yeah same here, grad class material is extremely hard though some say that the profs are easy with grades so students might get by without doing great. But yeah anytime I've opened up a grad student's textbook just to take a glance it was very intimidating. Equations that take two lines on the page and have nested summations, integrals, vector operators, all combined into some contorted formula of torture. I decided the first thing I should to is try to understand more firmly the math we'll be using so often, so I've looked at proofs of divergence and stokes theorems, fourier series, calculus stuff etc... That way I'll hopefully be able to follow the steps in these advanced physics derivations more easily.