Going back to study physics after long time hiatus + some illness

In summary: I do feel like I'll need a lot of support. I guess that's what forums are for!Welcome to PhysicsForums.
  • #1
jasonbored
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Hello all,

I studied physics in undergrad aspiring to become a physicist, but I couldn't handle the stress I put on myself to succeed on top of problems I had such as emotional immaturity and bad life habits, etc. I suffered depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders which took me long time to recover, even having tried many different kinds of jobs on the way, but I am convinced I want to go back and give it another try at my dream.

I'm not as sharp as I was, in fact although much better, I am still suffering from repercussions such as brain fog. But also I gained a lot from time spent in hiatus, such as learning to love and take care of myself, experiences in jobs unrelated to physics, etc.

I'm set to go back to university next spring, but its been frustrating because studying feels a lot more difficult because of how long it's been and the stuff I am going through.

I am wondering if there's other people who had similar experiences and would like to hear how you went through it, or advice for those starting late & restarting studying physics. Btw my goal is to get a masters, and get a job in the quantum computing industry as a researcher/engineer.

Thank you all and stay safe!
 
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  • #2
Welcome to PhysicsForums. :smile:
jasonbored said:
I suffered depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders which took me long time to recover, even having tried many different kinds of jobs on the way,
Have you been able to seek professional counseling for these issues? It would be best if you and your doctor/therapist agree that this transition back to school has a good chance of working, IMO.
jasonbored said:
Thank you all and stay safe!
Thank you. :smile:
 
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  • #3
This is actually really similar to my story. I had left university for three years due to mental illness. I thought i'd never go back as I'd lost my sharpness and ability to focus. But let me tell you, it comes back after about a semester or so. Atleast that's what happened with me. The worst part was that when I decided to go back to school, I had forgotten all of the math that I had learned (calculus, linear algebra, differential equations), so I started by reviewing caclulus. I was able to completely review Calc 1 and 2 in about 2 months. But when I got to Multivariable Calculus I really had trouble. Then I discovered professor Leonard on YouTube. He helped me so much and I couldn't recommend him more. He has full course video playlists based on each course, and is currently working on more. But the point is that you need to review all the math you've learned atleast a few months before you go back. You're going back in spring, so that should be plenty of time. Reviewing everything is really the hardest part. And once you've taken a semesters worth of courses I can almost guarantee your mental abilities will return.
 
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  • #4
berkeman said:
Welcome to PhysicsForums. :smile:

Have you been able to seek professional counseling for these issues? It would be best if you and your doctor/therapist agree that this transition back to school has a good chance of working, IMO.

Thank you. :smile:
Hi, thank you for your reply. No, I haven't received professional counseling. I've met doctors along the way, and honestly they haven't been helpful that much, but I will consider meeting a therapist.
 
  • #5
rtareen said:
This is actually really similar to my story. I had left university for three years due to mental illness. I thought i'd never go back as I'd lost my sharpness and ability to focus. But let me tell you, it comes back after about a semester or so. Atleast that's what happened with me. The worst part was that when I decided to go back to school, I had forgotten all of the math that I had learned (calculus, linear algebra, differential equations), so I started by reviewing caclulus. I was able to completely review Calc 1 and 2 in about 2 months. But when I got to Multivariable Calculus I really had trouble. Then I discovered professor Leonard on YouTube. He helped me so much and I couldn't recommend him more. He has full course video playlists based on each course, and is currently working on more. But the point is that you need to review all the math you've learned atleast a few months before you go back. You're going back in spring, so that should be plenty of time. Reviewing everything is really the hardest part. And once you've taken a semesters worth of courses I can almost guarantee your mental abilities will return.
Hi, thank you for replying. It is encouraging to know there are people who have had similar experiences and overcame them. If it is not too much to ask, may I ask what were your illnesses and what steps you took to overcome them during the three years of recovery? I will check out professor Leonard, thank you for the suggestion.
 
  • #6
jasonbored said:
If it is not too much to ask, may I ask what were your illnesses and what steps you took to overcome them during the three years of recovery?
That's probably not a good discussion to have in the open forums. Probably best if he pings you via a Private message (PM -- he can click on your avatar and Start a Conversation). Best wishes.
 
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  • #7
jasonbored said:
Hi, thank you for replying. It is encouraging to know there are people who have had similar experiences and overcame them. If it is not too much to ask, may I ask what were your illnesses and what steps you took to overcome them during the three years of recovery? I will check out professor Leonard, thank you for the suggestion.

Private message me if you want to know more about my mental illness how I was able to mitigate it. Or like berkeman said, "ping" me, whatever that means.
 
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  • #8
Hey, man. I can recommend you some sources for reviewing mathematics and physics. I was in a similar position to you, so I sought out a bunch of books to refresh my knowledge.

This book will help you get back up to speed on first-year physics.
Classical Physics by Karaoglu

Calculus 1 and 2 refresher
Calculus Refresher Notes

Calculus 3
Div, Grad, Curl and All That by Shey
Multivariable Calculus by Woolsey

No need to go back through entire textbooks. Just go through these short books and make sure you do all of the problems in them. After that, you should be set. Good luck!
 
  • #9
It would be great to have someone that gives us a daily task.
 

Related to Going back to study physics after long time hiatus + some illness

1. How can I prepare myself for going back to studying physics after a long hiatus?

It is important to start by reviewing the fundamentals of physics, such as basic equations and concepts. You can also try practicing with online resources or textbooks to refresh your knowledge. Additionally, it may be helpful to reach out to your peers or professors for advice and support.

2. Will my previous knowledge of physics still be relevant after a long break?

While some concepts and equations may have changed, the core principles of physics remain the same. Your previous knowledge will still be valuable in helping you understand and build upon new material. However, it may take some time to reacquaint yourself with the subject and its updates.

3. How can I balance studying physics with my illness?

It is important to prioritize your health and well-being while studying physics. Make sure to communicate with your professors about your illness and any accommodations you may need. Additionally, try to create a study schedule that allows for breaks and rest periods to avoid overexertion.

4. What resources are available to help me catch up on missed material?

Many universities offer tutoring services or study groups for students who need extra help. You can also reach out to your professors for additional resources or clarification on missed material. Online resources, such as videos and practice problems, can also be helpful in catching up.

5. How can I stay motivated to continue studying physics after a long hiatus?

Remind yourself of why you chose to study physics in the first place and the goals you hope to achieve. It may also be helpful to find a study partner or group to keep you accountable and motivated. Take breaks when needed and celebrate small accomplishments to stay motivated and positive.

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