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Freshman at my local community college

  1. Jan 8, 2013 #1
    Let me start this off by informing you a little about myself. I am a Freshman at my local community college. I am majoring in Biological Science (that's the only science major of study here; kind of covers it all.) I am majoring in Physics as my field of study, however. Physics has always interested me but it took me a long time to get the courage and drive to chase my dreams. I was home-schooled by Accelerated Christian Education, so one can very well guess the kind of education I had. (no offense to Christians; it's just the "The Earth is 6,000 years old and was encased in solid ice!" portion of my texts that got to me.) All of my studying and interest of Physics led from my general enjoyment of science and mathematics and of course the Science and History Channel documentaries, specials, and TV series'. At this time, however, even though I was interested in Physics, I wanted to work a blue collar job like the rest of my family and my community in general. Consequently, I didn't take my education seriously, finished my homeschooling with B's and C's, and scored an 18 on my ACT. (Didn't study, answered "C" to everything almost, required to take for community college enrollment.) After completion of all my proper requirements to enroll, I went to school for a semester, majoring in Automation and Controls (Industrial Maintenance) under the digression of my good friend. I dropped everything except for two baby-tier classes and finished with a 3.something. I then went to work for a year and generally just started to find myself during that time. Under the constant encouragement and scolding from my long time girlfriend, persistent reading of Wikipedia articles, physics today, /sci/ board on 4Chan, and this forum, I came back to school. I just finished my second semester here and I'm now on my third. I was able to finish with a 3.8 (I was devastated, believe me) and got into PTK. Right now I am taking Engineering Physics I, Chemistry I, and Trigonometry. I am just getting started, I know this, I am just seeking advice on my future. I have a drive to succeed in this, and admittedly, although I do have a very long journey ahead of me, I have come a long ways from where I started. So please, I am seeking guidance my academic career ahead of me. Any tips or studying tricks would be helpful too. Thank you all in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 8, 2013 #2
    Re: Guidance

    What, exactly, are you asking for?

    Also, I went to a Catholic school and got a phenomenal education. Just because *your* school was unreasonable doesn't mean that all Christian schools are - just as not all public schools are full of violence and terrible teachers.
  4. Jan 8, 2013 #3
    Re: Guidance

    Welcome to the forums, hrodger.

    I'm not certain what exactly you need guidance with!! Do you have any specific problems or questions??

    Anyway, I think the most important thing is to get good in the mathematics. You're only in trig, so you have quite some more courses to go. Try to stay at your community college and take some more basic math classes. Furthermore, take as many General Education classes as you can. Getting those Gen Ed's out of the way in community college is a good thing. You don't want to transfer into a good college where you have to pay very much just to take classes unrelated to your major.

    Also, try to self-study as much as you can. Try to get ahead in mathematics and physics. This will help you tremendously. I suggest getting "Basic Mathematics" by Serge Lang and working through that. After that, you might want to study calculus or linear algebra. Another good book to go through are of course the Feynman lectures (but those can get pretty advanced!).

    If you're able to self-study then this will be a big advantage to you. You should never rely only on your classes. The classes teach you a minimum of material. But it is your responsibility to dig deeper.
  5. Jan 8, 2013 #4
    Re: Guidance

    I am sorry. I left out my actual questions as a result of revising my last few statements. (Hence the jumbled mess that they are) My actual questions sounded a bit unconfident and that really wouldn't support my claim of having motivation or a "drive" consequently, I didn't ask them. At last, my questions that I originally deleted are; "Am I too late?", "Do I even have a chance?", and "Even if I do have a chance at succeeding, what are the prospects for getting into a reputable university?". Also, as I stated earlier; "I was home-schooled by Accelerated Christian Education, so one can very well guess the kind of education I had. (no offense to Christians; it's just the "The Earth is 6,000 years old and was encased in solid ice!" portion of my texts that got to me.)" once again, I am not meaning to offend. I believe in a god myself, and I do not want to start a religious argument as that would lead on until we both perish and I would not ever receive my answers. Thank you for acknowledging my post. And thanks in advance for any response following.
  6. Jan 8, 2013 #5
    Ah! Thank you! And I will be here until June of 2014. I will be going through the summer mini-terms. After Trigonometry, I am scheduled for Calculus I-IV and Differential Equations to finish it up. (I will post a copy+paste of the rest of my schedule after this reply.) And those are some good suggestions for mathematics! If I had an Internet connection at my house, which I may soon, would you recommend Khan Academy along with those? And for physics, my physics instructor whom also happens to be my advisor lent me his Conceptual Physics by Paul G. Hewitt and I love it. He advised that it is very important to understand the concept of physics first (specifically, Newtonian Physics) and to apply the math which will come later. (I'm guessing he told me this since Physics I isn't calculus based, or not heavily based, and since I am required to take calculus I-II before I take the succeeding physics course.) How does that sound to you?
  7. Jan 8, 2013 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Guidance

    It looks like he didn't go to a school at all, but was home-schooled by his parents, apparently using fundamentalist-oriented textbooks.
  8. Jan 8, 2013 #7
    Re: Guidance

    Khan academy is a good resource, but should never be used as a primary resource. You actually do need textbooks and you do need to work through (challenging) problems. Khan academy will help you understand a topic, but it won't give you a deep and rigorous understanding. For that, you need textbooks and you need to put in effort yourself.

    Another good resource is MIT's OCW. See http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm Again, a good secondary resource. Coursera might also be benificial.

    Understanding the concepts of physics first is a good idea. But be sure also to focus on math. Both are very important. If you manage to self-study both, then you will gain a big advantage!!

    Anyway, to answer your questions:
    No. It's never too late. We have quite some people on this forum who started studying science at a later age.

    Studying science is very challenging, whether you are young or old. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. As you are older, you are probably more motivated and take your education more seriously. You are probably also less intimidated by professors. However, you are "competing" against students fresh from high school who already know calculus and maybe more. This might not be good for your confidence. Try not to let it get to you though.


    Low. But that is true for everybody. You can never be certain of getting into a top university. It doesn't matter much anyway. Your education depends on you, and not on the reputation of your university.

    If you do well enough in your community college, if you ace the SAT or ACT, if you perhaps manage to do some basic research, etc. then your chances are getting bigger. But you can never be certain to get in.
  9. Jan 8, 2013 #8
    Re: Guidance

    I'm working on my Trigonometry as we type. (hence the reason I am just now replying. ha ha) I'll be sure to check out OCW, and thank you for the clear contrast between what primary and secondary sources are in mathematics. Are there any habits I need to avoid or any that I need to form to prepare for Calculus, while I am in Trigonometry? I asked my Trigonometry teacher (also teaches Calc. I-IV and DE) the same question and his response was that I would be totally prepared once I finish his class.

    You're right. And as long as I do what you mentioned in the preceding post, "Understanding the concepts of physics first is a good idea. But be sure also to focus on math. Both are very important. If you manage to self-study both, then you will gain a big advantage!!", I think I may be able to survive and make a name for myself against the competition.

    Whew.. good. That question has been troubling me for a while.

    Thank you. I guess I need to retake my ACT then, eh? How late can I take it? I think I might rather take another semester or two here before I retake it, plus buy the study book.
  10. Jan 8, 2013 #9
    I don't think you need to spend time on the ACT or SAT unless the school you want to transfer to requires it. Typically if you've completed 60 college credits or an associates equivalent, I don't see why a school would require ACT/SATs from an entering junior (but some do, or highly encourage it). I haven't yet seen any research programs that require an ACT/SAT submission, just an unofficial transcript.
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