Hanging by a thread

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andyfrench
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Hanging by a thread

Postby andyfrench » Mon Apr 06, 2009 1:40 am

Hi I come to you with my first post and it is a desperate one.
I've been struggling heavily to keep focused on my physics major. I got all Bs in my math classes and right now im failing differential equations and chemistry 2

My question is there a chance I can make to graduate school like this? or am I pretty much toast? I still have all the all the higher level physics ahead of me, if i can ace those would that help?

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elzoido238
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Re: Hanging by a thread

Postby elzoido238 » Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:25 am

If you're currently failing differential equations and Chem 2 (wtf, this is an easy course), what hope do you have of acing upper-level physics courses? It's one thing if there are some extenuating circumstances that are causing you to perform poorly in these courses, but life still happens once you get to those upper division physics courses. I'm not trying to discourage you (really), I'm just trying to give you a realistic, honest opinion of your situation, which I think will be a lot more helpful then sugar coating it and saying "it's okay, you're doing great; you have an excellent chance of acing the really hard courses even though you struggled through the fundamental courses.

A couple of bad grades is not going to keep you from going to graduate school in physics. Just look at my profile, I don't have the most stellar gpa, and I made it to graduate school (but then again, I never failed any physics or math courses.) You may not get into any Ivy-league schools, but you can get in somewhere (as long as you do ace those upper-division physics courses.)

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noojens
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Re: Hanging by a thread

Postby noojens » Mon Apr 06, 2009 11:18 am

The path to being a physicist is a long one with little material reward along the way. Think: finish your undergrad (2 more years, presumably), do a PhD (5-6 years on average), do 1-2 postdocs (2 years on average), work your ass off in the tenure review process (5+ years), and then, if everything goes well, you might find yourself with job security and an income in the range of an entry-level engineer's salary.

IMO, the only thing that can sustain a person through that process is a passion for your research. If you find your interest in physics wavering already, I suggest you start exploring other options (talk to engineers and other science majors in your physics/chem/math classes; look at department websites for research that interests you). I think you'll find that the analytical skills you've developed will be a valuable asset wherever you go.

And if you look around and decide that physics is still what sparks your passion, then go for it. You absolutely still have a shot at top physics programs - especially if you get involved in research now.

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grae313
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Re: Hanging by a thread

Postby grae313 » Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:49 pm

andyfrench wrote:My question is there a chance I can make to graduate school like this?


"Like this"? With B's and F's? No, you can't make it to graduate school if you continue in your current form.

If you find the motivation, however, it's not too late to turn it around. You'll have to work your ass off, but it's possible. Like others have said though, if you are not motivated now you aren't going to make it through. Option a) realize that this is your last chance and light a fire under you ass. Option b) find something that excites you more and motivates you to give your best. Option c) live a life of mediocrity and die with regrets.

andyfrench
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 1:36 am

Re: Hanging by a thread

Postby andyfrench » Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:48 pm

elzoido238 wrote:If you're currently failing differential equations and Chem 2 (wtf, this is an easy course), what hope do you have of acing upper-level physics courses?


That's the problem though im not doing badly because the course are hard ... There are issues beyond my control I'm trying to get help with. When I find it possible to study for those course I find them extremely easy... on my diff eq class i've been able to maintain a C average without doing any homework ever just reading the book whenever I can.

I really hope things will change for me by the fall when I am taking upper-level courses, but i don't know :(
maybe I should stop going to school and get help then try to go back? do you think that would be better than getting bad grades right now?

grae313 wrote:
andyfrench wrote:My question is there a chance I can make to graduate school like this?


"Like this"? With B's and F's? No, you can't make it to graduate school if you continue in your current form.

If you find the motivation, however, it's not too late to turn it around. You'll have to work your ass off, but it's possible. Like others have said though, if you are not motivated now you aren't going to make it through. Option a) realize that this is your last chance and light a fire under you ass. Option b) find something that excites you more and motivates you to give your best. Option c) live a life of mediocrity and die with regrets.


@_@ omg you just sparked an anxiety attack. damn. I find that when i put it in the work I get A's pretty easily I don't think I will have a problem with physics courses. There are other problems though.

noojens wrote:The path to being a physicist is a long one with little material reward along the way. Think: finish your undergrad (2 more years, presumably), do a PhD (5-6 years on average), do 1-2 postdocs (2 years on average), work your ass off in the tenure review process (5+ years), and then, if everything goes well, you might find yourself with job security and an income in the range of an entry-level engineer's salary.

IMO, the only thing that can sustain a person through that process is a passion for your research. If you find your interest in physics wavering already, I suggest you start exploring other options (talk to engineers and other science majors in your physics/chem/math classes; look at department websites for research that interests you). I think you'll find that the analytical skills you've developed will be a valuable asset wherever you go.

And if you look around and decide that physics is still what sparks your passion, then go for it. You absolutely still have a shot at top physics programs - especially if you get involved in research now.


Thank you. I once interviewed the head of the physics department at another university for newspaper article (i was sci/tech editor) and he basically said what you said about the progression in the physics field. it is daunting.

nathan12343
Posts: 249
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:34 am

Re: Hanging by a thread

Postby nathan12343 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:24 pm

andyfrench wrote:That's the problem though im not doing badly because the course are hard ... There are issues beyond my control I'm trying to get help with. When I find it possible to study for those course I find them extremely easy... on my diff eq class i've been able to maintain a C average without doing any homework ever just reading the book whenever I can.

I really hope things will change for me by the fall when I am taking upper-level courses, but i don't know :(
maybe I should stop going to school and get help then try to go back? do you think that would be better than getting bad grades right now?


If it's so easy, why not just do the homework? I think this sort of mindset is very common in high school, you can do the work without much effort and still get A's. Sadly, in college, especially in science, math, and engineering, the classes absolutely demand that you put in a large chunk of time outside of class in order to fully understand what's going on.

If you want to begin succeeding in physics you need to begin taking this stuff seriously. If a prof assigns reading - do it. If they assign homework, do the problem set. You will only be able to graduate with good grades, let alone get into graduate school, if you stop blowing off the courses, sit down, concentrate, and do the work!

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grae313
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Re: Hanging by a thread

Postby grae313 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:20 pm

andyfrench wrote:maybe I should stop going to school and get help then try to go back? do you think that would be better than getting bad grades right now?


You might be interested in the last post of this thread: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1093

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elzoido238
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Re: Hanging by a thread

Postby elzoido238 » Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:45 pm

For the record, I did not write that, andyfrench did (you erroneously added a quote from me grae313.)

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grae313
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Re: Hanging by a thread

Postby grae313 » Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:08 am

elzoido238 wrote:For the record, I did not write that, andyfrench did (you erroneously added a quote from me grae313.)


Fixified. My bad!

andyfrench
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 1:36 am

Re: Hanging by a thread

Postby andyfrench » Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:19 am

nathan12343 wrote:
andyfrench wrote:That's the problem though im not doing badly because the course are hard ... There are issues beyond my control I'm trying to get help with. When I find it possible to study for those course I find them extremely easy... on my diff eq class i've been able to maintain a C average without doing any homework ever just reading the book whenever I can.

I really hope things will change for me by the fall when I am taking upper-level courses, but i don't know :(
maybe I should stop going to school and get help then try to go back? do you think that would be better than getting bad grades right now?


If it's so easy, why not just do the homework? I think this sort of mindset is very common in high school, you can do the work without much effort and still get A's. Sadly, in college, especially in science, math, and engineering, the classes absolutely demand that you put in a large chunk of time outside of class in order to fully understand what's going on.

If you want to begin succeeding in physics you need to begin taking this stuff seriously. If a prof assigns reading - do it. If they assign homework, do the problem set. You will only be able to graduate with good grades, let alone get into graduate school, if you stop blowing off the courses, sit down, concentrate, and do the work!


well i actually did the work in high school in my AP courses. something changed in college though... im gonna go to the clinic on campus. I want to do what you're telling me and you're 100% right i just don't think I can just will it.

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grae313
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Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Hanging by a thread

Postby grae313 » Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:38 pm

andyfrench wrote:well i actually did the work in high school in my AP courses. something changed in college though... im gonna go to the clinic on campus. I want to do what you're telling me and you're 100% right i just don't think I can just will it.


Also, it's not just about getting the grades, its about learning the material because you want to learn the material. I've got A+'s in plenty of courses without learning a goddamn thing--I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. I'm sure we're all very good at aceing the test and then forgetting everything two weeks into summer. It's not hard. I wanted my education to mean something though. I wanted to be an educated person and I wanted to know and understand physics, and there is no way to do that without putting in the time. So you need to ask yourself what you really want to get out of the time you spend in college.

a bucket
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Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:02 am

Re: Hanging by a thread

Postby a bucket » Fri Apr 10, 2009 9:11 pm

grae313 wrote:So you need to ask yourself what you really want to get out of the time you spend in college.

A piece of paper with your name on it.




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