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-   -   Advice - Learning Abilities (http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=57612)

Kippras Dec23-04 05:56 AM

Advice - Learning Abilities
 
I need some advice. I'm currently rather depressed about my lot as a Physics major. Don't get me wrong - I'm happy to be in the field and there's nothing else I would rather do. However, my problem is: I don't feel as though I'm really learning anything at my university. I'm into my Junior year, but in all honesty, I don't feel as though I've really learned anything - just been given introductions to the concepts. In my first few semesters, I made B's and C's in my Physics courses, however this semester I made As in both classes I took (E&M I and Stat. Mech). Thing is: I don't feel as though I deserved those As. The Stat. Mech. class was the most confusing class I have ever taken in my life taught by a professor who is a really nice guy, but he doesn't teach the way I feel I learn best. I feel I learn best by understanding the concepts involved and then the math - he teaches just the opposite. He focuses on the math to teach concept - and I honestly don't think that way. Problem is he'll be teaching the remaining courses - Mechanics and QM (1 semester of each is all we get!) and I'm scared that the same thing will happen - I'll do the work, but not really feel as though I've learned anything at the end of those either. On top of that, I currently have 160 Physics problems I need to finish relatively soon (mid-January) and when I keep starting, I almost freak out or get really depressed about my ability because they're really hard and I have no clue on what to do! I honestly feel like a fraud at times - and I'm scared that I might be just that without trying. I'm also afraid to really tell anyone any of this because I'm afraid that they will think less of me because of it and that hurts more than anything. I want to do well, but I also want to learn the material. I'm in a study group (kinda) that gets together for all the major tests in our classes to discuss things, but I don't think it really helps me because I'm slow to learn this material and they're always ahead of me, plus I tend to procrastinate - something I'm going to rectify this next semester. I just don't know what to do. I don't have any graduate students to go to for help - and I really wish I did, but we don't have a Physics graduate program so there's no one here who can help me learn this stuff and I don't think I can do it on my own. On top of all that, I'm feeling the pressure of the subject GRE coming up in the next year (I"ll be taking in in December to coincide with Fall applications for grad school) and I'm scared that I will completely flunk it. Yes, it sounds as though I'm freaking out, and I kinda am, but I'm just really, really worried... Anyone have any advice?

ktpr2 Dec23-04 01:05 PM

I would check into student counsoling services at your school. In the meantime I would make a list of everything you don't understand and take it to your teacher like once a day (after googling the item for the day and making sure there's no way you can understand it further from your perspective). The idea is to open an intelligent dialog with the teacher, not ask him/her to spoon feed you. If you are unwilling to commit to signficant change I would question your willpower to really change the situation you're in. Sometimes the only way out is through.


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