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First Time w/ Bachelor's Level Class Load Question

  1. Jul 28, 2014 #1
    Hello PhysicsForums Community! I have several questions regarding some possible class load schedules for this Fall 2014 term at the University of North Florida (UNF) for a double major in Physics and Mathematics. First, here is a little background about me:

    I am 19 years old and have completed an A.A. degree along with college algebra, trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus 1-3, intro to physics, general physics with calculus 1-2, and general chemistry 1-2; all of which was earned at Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ). I still maintain a 4.0 college GPA; I have earned A's in all classes taken at FSCJ. I have also had chronic wrist tendinitis for about a year and a half now, which makes writing/typing/etc. very painful; especially last Spring term at FSCJ where I was taking Physics with Calc 2, Calc 3, and Chem 2. Now I am heading into a university to take bachelor's level physics and math courses and need some help figuring out what loads are best for my situation.

    So here goes:

    I am planning on taking Modern Physics (with lab), Ordinary Differential Equations, and a Physics for New Majors seminar class (required for my major, but I don't think it will have any course work as it is only 1 credit). So one question is, would the load this term be too high if I added Linear Algebra to that plan?

    If I decide not to take Linear Algebra this term, it will have to be taken next term along with Foundations of Mathematics (Proofs, logic, etc.) and 1 to 2 upper-level physics courses like (but not limited to) Classical Mechanics, Mathematical Physics, Electricity and Magnetism, etc. So, my second question is, would next term's load be too high if I didn't take Linear Algebra this term?

    I am asking these questions because I have no idea what the workload on these upper-level undergraduate physics/math courses is like.

    Please consider my wrist tendinitis when answering my question.

    Thank you!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 28, 2014 #2

    Student100

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    No, you should definitely add linear algebra to this semester’s worth of work. It will only benefit you for the rest of your required course load.

    As far as your medical condition, I don’t know if you tried to use speech recognition software to ease the pain when typing, at least for wordy documents. Things like math you may find easier to work on a large white board so you don’t have to manipulate your wrists as much.

    Anyway, that sucks, especially with math heavy work. Speech recognition software wouldn’t help much.
     
  4. Jul 28, 2014 #3

    verty

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    Do you have tendonitis in both hands? If not, perhaps learn to write with your other hand, it may be worthwhile. With regard to the computer, as someone who has type a LOT, I have 4 bits of advice:

    1) Try the MS Natural Keyboard 4000, it is one of the most comfortable keyboards readily available.
    2) Place the mouse on the left of the keyboard and mouse with your left hand (and choose the button order you prefer).
    3) Get a height-adjustable chair if you don't have one.
    4) Learn the Dvorak layout, use the program Dvorak Assistant to switch layouts in Windows with minimal fuss, you can always download it on other computers, there is no install and 4 mouse clicks is all it takes, 2 to load it, 2 to switch to Dvorak (or back again).

    Best of luck.

    PS. Definitely take Linear Algebra now, the following semester will be very heavy otherwise.
     
  5. Jul 28, 2014 #4
    Ok, thank you very much for the reply/advice! Now I just have to hope I get a seat in the class:P! I have a big white board in my room actually:D, and it has really helped.

    Is there anything specific I should really brush up on for Linear Algebra? I've heard it can be pretty difficult.

    And, just in case something goes wrong, like I don't get a seat in Linear Algebra, how bad would the load be next term as I described above (just hypothetically)?

    Thanks again!
     
  6. Jul 28, 2014 #5
    Ok, thank you for the advice! I do have tendinitis in both hands unfortunately. Ok, you answered my question about next term... Looks like I really need to get a seat in Linear Algebra! But, there are only 2 seats left and I can't even register until Wednesday, and that's only true if my holds get cleared by then, lol! Anyway, thank you all!
     
  7. Jul 28, 2014 #6

    donpacino

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    To brush up for linear algebra learn matrix arithmetic.
    As well as how to find the determinant and inverse of a matrix.

    If you do that you will be more than prepared for linear algebra.

    disclaimer: I never took a full blown linear algebra class. It was embedded in two of my undergrad EE classes
     
  8. Jul 28, 2014 #7

    donpacino

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    If you cannot take linear algebra I would recommend getting another class out of the way if you can. Maybe a GenEd?
     
  9. Jul 28, 2014 #8
    Ok, awesome thank you. Yeah, I am very rusty when it comes to matrices. I will definitely review that then. Thanks again!
     
  10. Jul 28, 2014 #9
    And, yeah, I might be able to do an elective/contextual course or something. I'm just concerned because my advisor said I have to complete Linear algebra and Foundations of Mathematics before Fall of 2015, and those courses are not offered in the summer, so that means I would have to take them at the same time next term if I don't take Linear this term, and that sounds awful, especially taking physics classes on top of that...
     
  11. Jul 28, 2014 #10

    verty

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    But try to do it without actually writing anything; calculating determinants and inverses is going to kill your wrists. I would learn it on a conceptual level only, for example understanding inverses from the algebraic point of view, how one can left-multiply or right-multiply by the inverse. And for determinants, focus on the theoretical point of view as eg. discussed here (although this is too advanced) - area/volume and all that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
  12. Jul 28, 2014 #11

    donpacino

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    Good point!
     
  13. Jul 28, 2014 #12

    donpacino

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    No problemo
     
  14. Jul 28, 2014 #13
    Good point, thank you!
     
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