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Aspiring physicist

  1. Jun 30, 2015 #1
    I'm entering my freshman year at community college (money reasons) and I'm planning on transferring once I get my AA. So I needed to decide on what to major in. Because of my strong fascination with the universe and celestial bodies, I chose to major in physics to eventually pursue a career in astronomy, perhaps astrophysics. I thought it wasn't such a bad idea because I did fairly well in my science classes. However, I quickly remember just how much math is involved in physics. And I reeeeaaaaaalllllllllllyyy hated math in highschool. I just never excelled in the subject. In fact, I was god awful at it. That being said, how difficult is a getting physics AA going to be for me? Have I made a mistake? Also consider that I've never taken a calculus or precalculus class.
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  3. Jun 30, 2015 #2


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    Well, you're going to have to learn to love mathematics, there's no way around it, really. Physics, astronomy and astrophysics all require a good deal of mathematics, both in university and in your career.

    However! Not all is lost. You need to examine why you "reeeeaaaaaalllllllllllyyy" hated maths in high-school, and make steps to change your learning and studying practises. An important thing will be to dedicate plenty of time to learning maths during your AA, and to ask for help when you need it - no-one will think badly of you, and I can't emphasise enough how important this is. It's the students who don't put in the time and don't ask for help that fail.
  4. Jun 30, 2015 #3


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    You will need one semester of Trigonometry and three semesters of Calculus, for an A.A. degree in Physics. You will also need that same Mathematics credit continuing into Bachelor's degree in Physics.
  5. Jun 30, 2015 #4


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    Did you dislike math or did you just struggle with it? Not liking math isn't a good characteristic for someone majoring in physics. There is certainly a lot of conceptual and qualitative understanding involved in physics, but it ultimately comes down to mathematics. However, many students dislike math in high school and later find that there were outside factors contributing to it, rather than it being some kind of inherent dislike.
  6. Jul 1, 2015 #5
    Well, you don't need to love math when doing physics. For most physicists, math is just a tool. But absolutely hating math is not good since you will use it a lot. A lot of students tend to hate math because they're bad at it. So maybe if you put in some effort to try to learn it well, maybe you'll end up liking it? There is no physics without math though.
  7. Jul 2, 2015 #6
    Are you a mathematician or a physicist micromass?
  8. Jul 3, 2015 #7
    Math almost killed me when I majored in Physics. I hated it. I almost changed majors to avoid it. But I persisted and succeeded.

    You really need to love physics enough to handle the math. I eventually served as a Math Prof for 4 years at the US Air Force Academy.
  9. Jul 4, 2015 #8
    I think one of the main reasons I hated the subject was because I never really understood any of it. I was a huge slacker throughout middle school and high school so I barely ever did any homework and especially never studied. In fact, there was a point in my junior year where I'd be skipping math class more often than attending it. As a result, I never grasped the concepts. So when I'd show up to class one day after missing a week and a half, I would have absolutely no idea what was going on. And my stupid brain thought that the best way to fix that problem was to just continue skipping as opposed to just showing up and trying to learn. I think if I surround myself with studious folks and work on my study habits, I can understand math and perhaps even end up enjoying it. I'll definitely be getting plenty of tutoring in college, that's for sure. Also, the fact that I actually have to pay for college will definitely give me an incentive to pay attention and learn what I can from my classes.
  10. Jul 4, 2015 #9
    So there's still hope for someone like me! xD I definitely love physics. I'd watch physics documentaries when I was in elementary school. I even enjoyed my high school physics class. It's just the math that's getting to me.
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