I just finished my first year of college. I go to a great school but one that is not known for physics and has a small department. I placed into "sophomore" math (multi and linear) and physics (modern physics and math methods) with AP scores. I did well in math and very very average in physics. Even with an As in my math classes I still feel like I lack the inherent problem solving ability necessary to pursue degrees in these two fields. Perhaps I've been trying to learn things the wrong way for many years, but I still find myself relying on strict memorization instead of being able to apply concepts and think of the best way to do something. I'm pretty good at computation, but the setup of many problems is what gets me. If I am given a slight prod in the right direction I can generally go from there, but this ends up meaning (in physics mostly) that I do well on the homework sets, but when it comes to tests I end up trying to eke out as much partial credit as I can, and can never fully apply what I've learned. It's definitely partly anxiety, but also I might just not be working hard enough to nail down the material. I know I'm not a "math genius" but I always thought I was at least pretty well above average, but struggles in high school bc calc and recently in physics have shaken me. I've been very interested in physics for the past few years, but now that I think about it maybe more of a romanticization of it than anything. Do you think working harder can truly make me into a "real" physics and math student? I can't tell if my mind is working the right way or if I am just relying on my good memorization skills. I'm not sure I have the drive to continually pore over physics equations and lessons, so maybe inherent ability is key. It's hard to frame this question but any advice would be appreciated.