Burn Out & Boredom: How to Keep STEM Learning Fun

  • Thread starter gibberingmouther
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In summary, I experienced burn out in learning physics, but it is similar to how I experience burn out in other creative activities, like programming. I find it hard to motivate myself to do hard learning, but I can force myself to work for 10 minutes without being distracted.
  • #1
gibberingmouther
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My post is about burn out in learning physics, but could apply to many creative activities, for example in programming I've experienced the same thing.

So like a month ago maybe I started working through my college physics textbook (I took the course before but I was overloaded and ended up withdrawing from it; the good thing is that I have a fantastic physics textbook now, great for self study).

Before this last study session, a while ago I went through and did a bunch of problems from the textbook, so this time I didn't do too many problems and focused on understanding the theory. I focused on understanding where the formulas used for solving problems come from (i.e. I would do the derivations, trying to understand algebraically/intuitively why the formulas hold true, and I used the internet to help me find the build ups where necessary).

I got side tracked by a game called "Arx Fatalis", which I wholeheartedly recommend if you're into that kind of thing. And then I wanted the magical escape from reality to continue so I downloaded Fallout III. I'm almost done with that, so I will return to physics. It's really the only thing that brings me pleasure (STEM learning in general), besides my other hobby of game development and watching Dragon Ball Z Kai/Super every week. Also I will play Ultima Ascendant when that comes out, probably, but the kind of video game I can lose myself in only comes out every couple years or so. Anyway ...

Even without being side tracked by video games, I find it hard to motivate myself to do hard learning a lot of the time. I worked through the first 8 chapters of my physics textbook in just about a week (just doing the derivations for the formulas and skipping what I already knew).

How do you guys keep your mojo going? Is there still more fun physics to learn even after many years of this?
 
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  • #2
gibberingmouther said:
I find it hard to motivate myself to do hard learning a lot of the time.

I think it is different for different people. For me, the first 10 minutes is the hardest. If I can force myself to be immersed in something for 10 minutes without being distracted, I find that I often can continue working for substantially longer. I find that being somewhere without access to a computer or phone helps.

gibberingmouther said:
IHow do you guys keep your mojo going? Is there still more fun physics to learn even after many years of this?

I am 57, and I still love reading about physics and maths. I have three "projects" on which I want to work to today, one of which is studying for fun the book "Mathematical Gauge Theory with applications to the Standard Model of Particle Physics" by Mark Hamilton (400 pages of abstract maths followed by 240 pages that "apply" this abstract math to particle physics). The other two projects are work-related, writing a small section of a paper for which my colleague has been asking, and learning material on quantum computing, so that I can stay ahead of the student that I am supervising in a self-directed learning (for the student and for me!) course.

All this stuff to do, and, here I am procrastinating on Physics Forums! Proof that I cannot ignore a computer that is in front of me!
 
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  • #3
George Jones said:
being somewhere without access to a computer or phone helps.
"Hear, hear!"
 

Related to Burn Out & Boredom: How to Keep STEM Learning Fun

1. What causes burnout and boredom in STEM learning?

Burnout and boredom in STEM learning can be caused by a variety of factors, such as repetitive tasks, lack of challenge or engagement, and high levels of stress or pressure. It can also be a result of a lack of variety in learning methods or topics.

2. How can I prevent burnout and boredom in STEM learning?

To prevent burnout and boredom in STEM learning, it is important to maintain a balance between challenging yourself and taking breaks when needed. Additionally, incorporating a variety of learning methods and topics can help keep things interesting and engaging. It is also important to address any sources of stress or pressure and find ways to manage them effectively.

3. Can burnout and boredom affect my academic performance in STEM?

Yes, burnout and boredom can have a negative impact on your academic performance in STEM. When you are feeling burnt out or bored, you may have difficulty focusing and retaining information, leading to a decrease in grades or performance. It is important to address these feelings and find ways to stay motivated and engaged in your studies.

4. How can I make STEM learning fun and engaging?

There are many ways to make STEM learning more fun and engaging. Some ideas include incorporating hands-on activities, group projects, and real-world applications. You can also try gamifying your learning by setting goals and rewards for yourself. It is also helpful to find a mentor or join a study group to keep you motivated and accountable.

5. Is it normal to experience burnout and boredom in STEM learning?

Yes, it is normal to experience burnout and boredom in any type of learning, including STEM. It is important to recognize these feelings and take steps to address them before they have a negative impact on your learning and well-being. Learning how to manage and prevent burnout and boredom is an important skill to have in any field of study.

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