I need to rant about how disappointed I am with my physics department, and need some perspective, excuse yet another long rambling post.
I am in intro physics, its going slow and is absurdly easy now that I got that hang of how physics problems work. There's no honors level so I am stuck going at this tedious pace. The test questions where all plug and chug besides one question that had to do with some obscure stuff we barely covered, didn't really demonstrate understand of material either. There is no way to differentiate yourself in the class because the professor doesn't give any legitimately hard or interesting problems. The teacher takes time out of class to teach calculus concepts, very poorly at that, even though this is supposed to take a calculus based course. Class is graded on a curve even though there is nothing to curve, because nothing is hard!! and I am worried it will pull down my grade. In grading they don't seem to be worried about how well you conceptually understand the material, just plugging in number and getting the right answer seems to be all that matters, so even if I show I understand the concepts clearly and use the right equations if I make a slight error in calculation I get the same grade and someone who doesn't understand it at all.
The lab is even worse, we don't even do anything besides do tedious simple measurements and do statistics, it doesn't help our understanding of the stuff we do in class at all, you can tell they just don't feel like putting in the work to make the labs worthwhile for the students. It's just all busy work. Grading is horrible, there is no continuum of grades you either get an A or if you make a silly mistake like leave out a unit, miss a decimal point, forget to put the scale on your graph, word something weird or anything at all; you get a B, nothing in between. They seems to grade on a scale too but the criteria is unclear, as far as I can tell and what the TA told me, is that if someone did "better" than you can't get an A. I am not sure how a lab report containing the same things can be deemed better? Should I use more flowery language? Do some calligraphy?
My school doesn't have a strong physics department and has very few undergrads, at this points I realize the material is fun and will get better but I can't stand the way they grade because it seems to highly penalize the type of student I am, someone who get everything does well but might make a mistake, more severely than I think can be justified?
I don't see how they way there classes are conducted can leave anyone with anything but a bad taste in there mouth for physics. I wonder if this is a result with them realize that almost no one in the classes are physics majors?
I'm sure some of you professors will think I am just another complaining undergrad but I really went into this with bright expectations. I feel very frustrated that I don't have any opportunities to show my professors and TA's that I get the material very well and deserve the top grades, since all the stuff they assign is so facile and is nearly more of a class in bookkeeping than science.
Thanks for reading if you did, and leave a comment I need some feedback.
ps. The blue eyed girl from Cornell, sorry I'm too lazy too look up your handle, thanks for your advice on critically thinking about equations, I am breezing through the material now, I seem to have hit my physics "stride" using your techniques!