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A third year physics university student

  1. Feb 6, 2016 #1
    I don't really know how I got to third year but I'm here and I'm a bit disappointed in the fact that I've learnt stuff but at the same time feel like I haven't really learnt much.

    I would love going through books and reading in depth about what my lecturers are teaching me, like I like looking at proofs and seeing all the nitty gritty things but I've found at university there isn't really much time for that.

    Anyone else at university feel the same way? Any people who do learn things from books and go lectures and study and complete your problem classes....how do you do it?

    Any general advice on how to do well would be really appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 6, 2016 #2
    It's funny, I'm in my last semester (4th year) and feel the same way. I've spent the last 4 years learning things but still feel like I just walked out of high school.

    One thing I recommend is doing research. The rate at which you learn new things in classes is nothing comparable to the rate at which you learn new things doing research.
  4. Feb 7, 2016 #3
    Yes, in the past I've felt as if there's so much course material to cover in some classes I've taken that more "abstract" learning objectives like knowledge of full derivations and proofs are brushed aside for a more operational knowledge of the subject (at least, this is my experience in undergrad engineering). I found myself having to put aside a lot of extra time during both my semesters and vacations reviewing and re-performing derivations myself until I understood the inner workings of the concepts and equations we were using. I feel as if this prejudice towards operational knowledge over conceptual understanding comes with the territory of having a lot of ground to cover in a relatively short period of time, as is the case with many STEM majors.

    However, a graduate program will likely provide the rigor that you seek. In many graduate classes, there is a heavier emphasis on proofs and derivations, and often times, an expectation that by the end of the course you have a full understanding of them. Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
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