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A Little Guidance?

  1. Jul 4, 2006 #1

    I'm currently a rising senior in high school and super-interested in physics. I'm entering university next year as a college sophomore (about a quarter away credit-wise from junior standing due to dual-enrollment):cool: but was hoping you guys might be able to help me decide if I'm really cut out for physics.

    The thing that's making me rethink majoring in physics, is that I have to work really hard in class. I'd say in the intro. classes I've taken so far, it takes at least 10-15 hours a week for me to get comfortable with the material. I spend a lot of time watching lectures on MIT's OCW, reading the text, and doing sample problems. I don't mind doing the work because I find it really rewarding when I finally get it, but I guess I'm just afraid that if its taking me so much time to even understand the intro. classes, I might end up in way over my head next year with the upper level ones. Do you think this is a valid concern? Are the upper level classes considerably harder?

    Another concern I have is courseload. I've been trying to plan out my schedule for next year and am a little unsure about if the combinations of classes I've chosen is too rigoruous. Fall quarter I am planning on:
    -Intro. Physics: Waves (5)
    -Thermodynamics (3)
    -Math: Calc 3 (5)
    -Astro: The Solar System (3)
    Does that look okay? I have heard Thermodynamics is hard, but I feel fairly confident about the others. The school I will be attending is a large, public university with a top-20 physics program. I am a pretty serious student, but want to make sure I don't overload myself with classes. I have read that grades (and research) are very important for grad school.

    Thanks in advance for any input you guys might have
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 4, 2006 #2
    I wouldn't worry about the fact that it takes you a long time to have a good grasp of concepts. I am a junior in an engineering program (with a good G.P.A) and it takes me time to understand concepts. However, once I get them I can utilize the concepts. One of the things I felt the intro classes were doing was making me think differently. They were teaching myself how to analyze and solve problems. Once I had a pretty good grasp of that the concepts came easier.

    As long as your willing to do the work I don't think that schedule is too rough. I say go for it as long as you are willing to put in the hours hitting the books instead of going partying with your friends. Also do not be afraid to use your teacher and TA's as resources. Their office hours are there for a reason! So I say go for it!
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