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Community College student,I need some help,feeling depressed.C+in math

  1. Dec 20, 2013 #1
    Hello, so I just finished my first semester of community college and I did not expect what was thrown at me. I am 18 and had a 1.8 in high school so I figured now that I am in community college, this was my time to shine. I decided to take hard professors because I wanted to learn a lot, but soon found out that hard does not correlate to actually learning the subject matter. I really want to be a math major at a really good UC. (thinking LA, and UCB, but if I shoot high then I am sure I will be able to go somewhere good) I feel like the C+ in math should make me just want to give up math...but I have always loved it....I participated in competitions for it in Middle School and have just loved it so much. Makes me feel at home I guess. My family situation is/was really bad and I would always lock myself in my room and read about math and do practice problems.

    I took 14 units this semester and here is how it all played out.

    4 TRIGONOMETRY----- C+ (non UC transferable)

    3 Economics-----------A- ( I actually really like econ and considering math/Econ)

    3 Art History-----------B (hard professor, but this is just an excuse)

    3 US History------------B (maybe a B+, hasn't come out yet. I literally learned nothing from this online course)

    1 Intro to engineering-----A

    UC GPA 3.31

    Basically, do you think I can go anywhere good? Is it normal for my first semester to not be so good? Considering I had a 1.8 in high school I definitely feel accomplished, but at the same time I feel like this is not going as well as I need it to.

    Also, is the C+ in math a indicator I should just give up on a math major? The Only majors I am considering are Math, Physics, Electrical Engineering, Economics and possibly like geology or something like that.

    Next semester I am signed up for 16 units of Anatomy, Pre-Calculus, English, and Music appreciation (classical music).
     
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  3. Dec 20, 2013 #2

    Physics_UG

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    That's much better than my first semester of college where I had a 2.6. I was able to get my gpa up to 3.5 by the end of my degree though. Just do better if you can next semester.

    Also, is it necessary to take pre-calc? I thought pre-calc was just a review of algebra and trig, which I assume you have already taken. You might be able to go right to calc 1, but you may not want to if you got a C+ in trig.
     
  4. Dec 20, 2013 #3
    Yes, for my community college, it is a strict pre requisite along with Trig, Unfortunately. Also, Iv'e never really taken much algebra so I will need it. I am just really worried I will not get into anywhere good, I am also worried that I will not be cut out for math because of the fact I got a C+ and was trying really hard. The exam I had on proofs and identities I got a 89% on though...which makes me feel a lot better.
     
  5. Dec 20, 2013 #4
    Can you tell us why you got a C+ in trig?

    I don't think you should give up so easily, but you should definitely take a step back and re-evaluate your study methods, etc. You don't want grades like that to be a pattern.
     
  6. Dec 20, 2013 #5

    Student100

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    He got a C because, if I had to guess, he struggled with the algebra. You should have just done college algebra then trig. :p

    No big deal, you cover both again in precalc.


    To the poster suggesting he go right to calculus one, wtf man, that's horrible advice. ;)
     
  7. Dec 20, 2013 #6

    esuna

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    I gave up on physics and switched majors last semester when I got a B in the second semester of University Physics. Which I think was a stupid over-reaction. I've given it a lot of thought and am now planning to transfer next year with a declared major in physics, studying junior level physics texts on my own at the moment.

    I had this idea in my head that whatever subject pertains to your major, you should naturally excel at it because that's what you have decided to do the rest of your life. But I think now this is not the case. It's not about finding what you're just naturally good at, it's finding what you're really interested in and passionate about and MAKING yourself good at it, through study and practice.

    There are a lot of factors that contribute to not making the desired grade in a class. Not just your aptitude for that subject, but also course load, personal life, etc. If you love math as much as you say you do, then do not give up on it. For majoring in Math or Physics or any type of engineering in most universities that I have looked at, they don't really even count Trig anyway.

    So if your Trig class isn't able to transfer, you passed it, I would just go on to pre-calc or Calculus, whichever is next for you, and try your best to get a good grade in that class. Go to the teacher's office hours whenever you can if you have questions. Being interested enough to ask the instructor for help often usually goes a long way. Try not to take a big course load, maybe even save the tough math classes until after you've completed most of the core, if you have enough time. Plus I'm sure you have tutors at your CC that can help you with at least anything pre-calculus. Your success in a major, especially math, physics, or engineering, just depends on how hard you are willing to work and what resources you have/are willing to use.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  8. Dec 20, 2013 #7
    I lacked the algebra so badly. My professor did tell me I should be one of her A students if it wasn't for the fact I lacked both algebra and geometry. No biggie though, I will learn the algebra in pre calculus and then learn the geometry on my own.

    Reasons why I got a C+:
    1. The professor is the (second) hardest at this community college, but I am not one to shy away from a challange, she teaches very well, and grades hard.

    2. I had some girlfriend issues which got the best of me, but seriously, I made excuses for my self all my life. I failed high school not because "it was stupid" as I used to say, but because I didn't try. (along with family problems) now this is my chance to grow the **** up and do the best I can. I am still young and run into that problem when I catch myself hanging out with my best friend instead of studying.

    3. I decided to study a lot more for my Econ final because it was a deciding factor for a A or a C... Also, trig is non transferable, so I didn't care as much about trig as long as I didn't fail.
     
  9. Dec 20, 2013 #8

    Student100

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    Kracken it sounds like you already know the answer and what you need to do in the future.

    I would recommend the REA problem solvers algebra book for you. It's one of the cheaper resources.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0878915087

    Work through it cover to cover during your break, it'll ensure you do well in precalc.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  10. Dec 20, 2013 #9

    AlephZero

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    The take home lesson from this is that more than some other subjects, learning math is cumulative. You keep building higher on what you already know.

    Be positive about it - it's much better to learn that lesson early, than to crash and burn later on!

    If you are really serious about a major, Math, Physics, Electrical Engineering, Economics, maybe you need to take your time and learn the basic stuff like college algebra and geometry properly, rather than hope you can pick it up as you go along or self-study. If it makes the difference between a As and Bs later on, it's a good investment IMO. And it could also mean you get through the more advanced work quicker, because you don't make so many "small" mistakes and are generally more confident at what you are doing.

    Talk to your college staff and see what they advise.
     
  11. Dec 20, 2013 #10

    bcrowell

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    I'm a community college physics professor. What you did this semester is a big improvement over what you did in high school. You seem to have a realistic evaluation of yourself and of what you need to do, so just try to keep on that upward trend. You need to watch out because the most common trend in math, as people move along through the sequence, is that performance drops rather than increasing; this is because the later courses depend on the earlier ones.

    Why are you taking anatomy? That's a very demanding course, with lots of emphasis on memorization, that is typically taken by nursing students. (Undergrad students in other allied health fields, e.g., premeds, usually don't take it.) It will use up all the time you need to devote to math, and it won't do you a lick of good. Chemistry or physics would be more relevant to your intended majors. I'd suggest chem, which would probably be an excellent workout to help you develop your math skills. Given that you're still trying to catch up with algebra, physics would probably slaughter you at this stage. AlephZero's suggestion of taking geometry or basic algebra is also a good one, although I don't know if your school will let you do this if those were prereqs for trig, which you've already taken.

    The decision about your major isn't one you need to finalize at this stage. The main thing is that all your possible majors are heavy on the math, so you need to move along in the math sequence and absolutely *own* every math course you take.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  12. Dec 20, 2013 #11
    If somebody has a C+ in trig, then suggesting to skip precalc might not be the best recommendation...
     
  13. Dec 20, 2013 #12
    Hello Bcrowell! I appreciate your helpful advice. It is nice to hear from a community college professor. I plan to sharpen my math skills the best I can. I know I can succeed, I just really need to find the motivation to do well and study hard.

    I plan to take anatomy because my friend is joining the Nursing Program and it covers my biology GE requirement. I am heavily considering dropping the course and just taking my 12 units so I can focus on learning all the math I am missing. Or would you recommend me still taking around 16? I could take a geology course or intro to chem course (would be a high school version since I never took chem in high school)

    For everyone else, thank you very much!
     
  14. Dec 20, 2013 #13

    bcrowell

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    That sounds like a much better plan to me. There are easier ways to take care of a biology GE, and you have your work cut out for you catching up in math.
     
  15. Dec 20, 2013 #14

    lisab

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    Kracken, I hope you realize now that passion isn't a substitute for prerequisites. You *must* take time to learn the basics before you go to advanced material. What's the sense in rushing, if it results in failure?

    Am I understanding you correctly - you have never had algebra? I'm not sure pre-calc alone will properly prepare you to be a math major. You absolutely need to be very good in algebra in order to succeed in higher math.

    Don't be embarrassed that you need to take high-school level classes. I had to start there too, and I got my BS (eventually :smile:).
     
  16. Dec 20, 2013 #15

    Student100

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    I've been trying to talk some sense into Kracken and help him since he started posting here. He definitely is trying very hard to get to a advanced level of math very quickly, which is good, but may not be in his best interests.

    I doubt he will go back to a remedial level of mathematics at this point, or could even find an open class for remedial math or college algebra. Most likely he will do the precal, and I hope he takes my advice to not do calc one during the summer.

    Still, I feel he can get to the algebra level for precalc on his own, if he actually self studies the resource I posted earlier, and goes through purplemath.com or something on his break. At the minimum you should learn logs/complex fraction manipulation/simplification/quadratic formula/ranges and domains for functions/basic algebra techniques/complex numbers/expansion of functions/synthetic division. Precalc will review most of these, but it really has more of an emphasis on function analysis.

    So if you're basically locked into precalc kracken, take the steps now to ensure you succeed.



    Edit: you should also learn how to deal with roots and their properties, which should come before complex numbers, as well as the basics of set theory, mixture tables, and inequalitys. There I think that is everything from algebra 2.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  17. Dec 21, 2013 #16
    What book is your cc going to use for pre cal?. If they use stewart or larson. Buy the bool but buy pre calculus by cohen ( a problem solvong approach I believe is the name). The excersise problems in stewart and larson are extremely easy. Cohen steps it up a notch. Can be found for 5 dollars.
     
  18. Dec 21, 2013 #17

    Student100

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    I fail to see the benefit in this advice, he's struggling from a lack of foundation in algebra- he doesn't need to step it up a notch.
     
  19. Dec 21, 2013 #18
    Hello Student 100, I like to would like to thank you. I will definitely look into getting that book and working through it. I have decided that I will just take my 12 units this semester and focus on learning the foundations and focus on the good grades. I will then take the three year path to a UC and maybe I will become studious enough to qualify for UCB. We will see. If not, there are plenty of great universities and maybe this time will help me decide on a major, I would just hate to have to take any more than 3 years at a community college (for financial reasons, Financial Aid only lasts so long)
     
  20. Dec 21, 2013 #19

    Student100

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    Three years should be good, use the rest of this year and summer on getting up to speed. Start calc 1 during next fall and go from there. Make sureeeeeeee you go through some Alg2 resources before pre-calc, I don't think you're incapable of studying what you want, I just think you tried too hard too fast.

    Have a target list of schools and a major idea after summer and before enrolling in fall, this will help you focus on those prereqs so you can transfer after the remaining two years, unless you decide to do tag.

    Good luck! Hope to see an A in precalc there buddy.
     
  21. Dec 21, 2013 #20
    Hello, I am in a slight pickle at school. I am currently taking an online class, and the professor is absolutely horrible. He does not respond to any of my emails of forum posts (we have a forum for the online class) anyways, I expected my grade to be a B which it should due to the math. But in his grading (we can see it all online) he didn't give anyone in the class points for something and took out two of the quiz scores. This may have been on accident, but he refuses to respond to all of the complaints on the forums about this. This may not seem like a big deal, but this means he is giving me a B- instead of a B which is what I should get according to his syllabus. I thought a syllabus was a contract between the student and a professor. Should I, if he does not fix my grade, go to the dean and have this dealt with? This is also affecting if I get into the honors society at the school. With a B- I am .1 below the requirement and a B means I am in range.
     
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