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Other Going to Uni for astrophysics but I'm kind of scared

  1. Jun 10, 2017 #1
    Hi! So, I made into all the unis I applied to, for astrophysics and astronomy, ended up choosing the one not as well ranked only because I made it into their concurrent education program with astrophysics, chose a professional program over a Bsc here. I'm scared, I love astronomy and physics but I'm scared. I had an 89 average all throughout highschool, so it was already bad, and this year, my marks went down the gutter, I thought it was just first semester, but this semester too, I had a 91 in calc which dropped to an 81, 86 in bio (idk what it is at right now), and a nice, solid 77 in chem which I brought up most likely from thermodynamics, but I think my equilibirum test cancelled that out, not sure where I am now. My overall average so far is an 82 :'( . This whole year has just been a disaster and I dont know why. Im always sleepy, or bored in class, and I'm scared that I'm not fit to do physics at the uni level. I'm really not sure where this is going, this is basically me expressing everything i've pent up I guess. To anyone doing engineering, or physics, or chemistry, have you seen people completely screw up their senior year of high school, but go on to do exceptionally well in university? I have like 0 confidence too, mostly after teachers going on about how some of their highest scoring students are barely scraping by, or my physics teacher who says bio is the easiest subject and is more fit for me, even though I despise it.
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  3. Jun 10, 2017 #2


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    Fear is perfectly natural and most people experience some level of fear when dealing with major life events like this. The important thing is to not let your fear control you. Acknowledge your fear but don't let it overwhelm and control you. If you need to, talk to a counselor or someone else who is trained in this area and can help you deal with your transition between high school and college.

    Sleepiness is usually a sign that you're not getting enough sleep. This is extremely common. I don't know how much you're getting, but if it's not at least 7-8 hours then it's almost certainly not enough. If you are getting about this much sleep then I recommend trying to get another hour every night and possibly seeing a doctor, as there are many things which could cause sleepiness.

    First and foremost, you haven't completely screwed up your senior year. Your marks are lower than you'd like, but this is a far cry from "screwed". An average mark of B is still a good score and shows that you made a solid effort, even though you may have had a few problems. Just keep trying hard in college and you should do fine.

    I'd bet that most people who had high marks in high school and are now "barely scraping by" in college are probably taking a large number of courses and are overloading themselves with schoolwork. Either that or they have a hard time transitioning from high school to college, where you are fully independent person that has to run everything in your own life. That transition is hard for some people. Just think of all the people who party hard instead of study hard.
  4. Jun 10, 2017 #3


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    This might be a good time to take a hard, critical look at your study habits.

    What can often happen to students who get good grades easily is that they start to rely on their intelligence to get them through everything. Earlier in high school, your probably managed to get good grades without putting in a lot of effort. Now that you're being challenged more, you're probably relying on the same study skills that worked in the past. That's not to say that you're not putting any effort in, but that the type of efforts you're making might have to change.

    It's difficult to tell you everything that you would need to do. People on these forums can certainly help with specifics though. Some of the more common things you can do to help you develop better skills include:
    1. Play with the amount of time you're putting into your studies. If you add an extra hour every day, does that change your results?
    2. Look at how you study. Are you just doing assigned problems? Do you ever try extra ones to make sure you understand the material and aren't just racing through it?
    3. Do you need to review fundamentals? In particular with physics classes a lot of students get tripped up on the mathematics. It can be tough to learn new stuff when you're struggling to learn the old stuff.
    4. Do you feel you understand the material, but struggle with exams? Maybe you to work on test-taking strategies, or figure out ways to reduce test-anxiety.
    5. Are you taking good care of yourself? Feeling lethargic (needing sleep) can be the result of not eating well, not getting proper exercise, stress, and as pointed out already, by simply not getting enough sleep. Maybe you need to bolster some of these pillars in order for you to stay alert in class.

    With respect to your teacher's comments about bio being a better fit for you, I disagree. Just because something is perceived to be easier, won't make it a better fit, particularly if you don't want to study it.

    Lot's of students successfully get back on track after a bad year. There's no reason you can't be one of them.
  5. Jun 11, 2017 #4
    Thank you so much for your advice! Now that I think about it, I do get 7-8 hours of sleep, except it doesn't feel like enough, and I think the carb filled diet I've had for some months now, is also to blame for my sleepiness. I guess I didn't completely screw up, I just wish I could start senior year over again :/ As for the study habits, now that you point it out, last semester I didn't do any course but English, really, because there were around 3 assignments due a week, and English is my weakness + bad time management. I had physics, advanced functions, and philosophy that same semester, so it was not a fun semester.

    This semester is a lot lighter due to my spare. I have calculus, chemistry, and biology. Except, other than calculus, or the thermochem unit in chemistry, everything bores me. I also don't really know how to study. For calculus I just do the example problems and review tests online as well as in the textbook, same with the math based units in chemistry, but other than that, I don't know how to memorize, or have what i've learnt, stick (our bio teacher was talking about how it takes 10hrs of sleep to "copy" information from shortterm to long term memory, maybe that hs something to do with this :p).

    Thanks for mentioning the uni workload! I was planning on not taking summer school after first year at uni, but if I dont, i'll have :
    1 full year physics course (F/W)
    1 Astronomy course (W)
    Calculus 1 (F)
    Calculus 2 (W)
    Linear Algebra (F)
    CS (W)
    Chem 1 (F)
    Chem 2 (W)
    Teaching course (F)
    +3hrs of commuting/day +astronomy club at the university (and probably a martial arts)
    If i can, I'm thinking of moving linear algebra to the summer and a chem course, and i'll take a second year astro course -not sure if this is a good idea or just as bad as taking it all in the regular year ?
  6. Jun 11, 2017 #5
    Pointing out the effort issue, I don't think I've been putting in my best, I concentrated a litttttle too much on my extra curriculars (was in 8 different things throughout the year). I want to ditch my tablet to study, exceot everything is online so I need it to study :'(
    Thankfully, I haven't had much of a problem with the fundamentals because before starting anything, my physics teacher works on those, it's that whole boredom, sleepiness thing that carries over - I slept during part of the exam.

    This probably isn't test anxiety, but sometimes I blank out and confuse stuff I've studied for the test or I make stupid mistakes. I could have done really well on my vectors test last week, except for the only thinking question I had (our tests are split into categories), I drew one of the given angles in the wrong place on my diagram- followed the correct process, but with the angle on the wrong side (didnt read the question carefully), making everything after that incorrect. As for our relative velocity question, I set up my daisy chain, rearranged it and ended up with a subtraction, but I flipped the wrong vector by accident, I misread what I wrote. :(

    Really hoping I can get back on track with school next year, I just want to pretend this year didn't exist.
  7. Jun 11, 2017 #6


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    You could try getting an extra hour of sleep, but I wouldn't try to blame your diet for any of it. Determining what effect your diet has on your body is notoriously difficult and the overwhelming majority of nutrition and dieting "facts" your hear are nothing but nonsense. If that extra hour of sleep doesn't seem to help, then I'd recommend visiting your doctor. Your fatigue could be due to illness, an undiagnosed disorder, mental or emotional issues, stress, or one of a million other things. Trying to diagnose it yourself is almost certainly going to result in failure.

    Well, it's certainly true that an adequate amount of sleep is best and getting less than this is detrimental to your memory. As for learning strategies, I'm afraid I don't have much to offer. I essentially do what you do and also have severe problems memorizing anything.

    I can't really answer that. You have 5 courses per semester right now, which will require almost all of your time to get through. It's difficult to put in that much time and effort for a prolonged period of time, but it certainly isn't impossible. Many people do it, but then again, many people don't. I certainly don't, so you'd be putting in more time than myself!
  8. Jun 11, 2017 #7


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    Did you get a decent amount of sleep the night prior to the exam?
  9. Jun 11, 2017 #8
    No :/ I got 3 hours (slept late, woke up early)
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