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Hello all- my introduction/ my plea

  1. yes

    3 vote(s)
  2. no

    2 vote(s)
  1. Mar 1, 2006 #1
    Hi! My name is Annie and I am a freshman at UW-Whitewater. I am currently in the introduction to astronomy class. In high school, I took physics and loved it. I even got the 2nd highest grade in the class! This is even more telling when you know that it was a predominantly senior class and I was one of the few juniors. Although I have a learning disability (ADD), I always score well above average on standardized testing. I even tested out of math for college because I did well on my ACT (without special accommodations I might add). Basically, school has been boring for me and I am used to not doing much and still getting reasonably good grades. If for some reason you are still reading this, then I guess I am getting to the reason for my presence. I am very concerned that I will not pass this 5 credit (that's huge, most classes are 3) astronomy class. I do not exactly understand it. In class, I understand things and am frequently called upon by the professor. I realize one problem is that the professor (Juliana Constantinescu, lol) is Romanian, which usually makes her difficult to understand, but for the most part I can figure out what she is saying. :surprised I better wrap this up because I have another class starting in about half an hour. Yesterday in class, we got our first exams back. I was more than a little upset to see that I got a 51%. I cannot stop thinking about it! However, there are more pressing matters whose outcomes are not yet decided. Our current assignment deals with math. I used to feel so comfortable knowing that I did so well (especially because she told us we would only be doing middle school level math... for an example: did you learn logs- don't worry, I do understand logs, it's just my example- in middle school? I know I didn't! Maybe that's when they teach that in Romania...), but now I cannot help but question the validity of my feelings. I am lost and feeling hopeless. I meet with the professor weekly and we are meeting today- in about 2 hours. I think perhaps I will print this post (or bring it up in her office) so she can see what I am thinking. I do not even know what kind of response I am expecting- hoping is a little more appropriate- to get. This is actually starting to look more like a blog, oh well. I still would appreciate any feedback I could get. I am going to attempt to do a problem or two before my other class, but feel free to IM me (monkeybudd on yahoo, BookWorm257@hotmail.com for MSN, and monkeybudAA7 at AIM), send me an email, or respond here! ~~Annie
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 1, 2006 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Well, begining astronomy has some math in it and can be tough. Mine was about a third math, a third history, and a third learning about the night sky in the planetarium. All I can suggest is keep plugging and come here for help!
  4. Mar 2, 2006 #3


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    Gold Member

    There's people here who like to help with astronomy homework. You'll get the best responses if you try to do the problem and post what you've done showing where you are running into trouble.

    The log stuff will be easy, even if you need a quick 5-minute refresher in logs. You'll either be converting between brightnesses and magnitudes or you'll be computing absolute magnitudes of stars. They're simple 2 or 3 line problems.

    Ask for help here, and there's no reason you should get another 51%. Post some of the questions from the exam you got back so we can steer you in the right direction. Your future exams may build upon this stuff, and your final exam will probably cover contain it too.
  5. Mar 2, 2006 #4

    I think you're probably over-reacting to this comment. She probably just meant its all algebra, no calculus.
  6. Mar 2, 2006 #5
    sorry, I forgot that it's sometimes hard to convey humor online... on the first day of class she specifically said it's only going to be about 7th and 8th grade level math. I don't necessarily have a problem with the math being too difficult, only that she said it would be of a different level than it is turning out to be. Thank you everyone for your feedback, it's good to know that people really are out there to help! ~~Annie
  7. Mar 2, 2006 #6
    All of these suggestions are greatly appreciated! Unfortunately, she only lets us review the tests, then she collects them again. I certainly hope I don't get another 51% because there are only a total of 4 exams all semester! http://academics.uww.edu/physics/courses/Astronomy_112J.htm" The link goes to the online class syllabus, just in case you are very bored and would like to see what I have and some class specifics. Some notes that I made are that formula sheets are available for the exams, the final exam will consist of multiple choice questions and short essays, but no math problems, and that in the on average about one third of the students are excused from taking the final. Well, I think that's about all for now, I'm off to go study for a quiz on the sun that I have in just under 3 and a half hours. If somehow I manage to do that in a reasonable amount of time (not likely, but possible because I have a computer program that reads my text to me), then I can work on EVERYTHING else... you know, do a pre lab for astronomy (even though the lab was the past Monday), do the lab and lab report so, I might be back, lol, I have I think 5 plays I'm supposed to have read for my English 102 class because we are starting to look for sources for our research papers today (the papers deal with the plays), I haven't even cracked the book for my World of the Arts (WOTA) class, although I'll be taking the midterm tomorrow, I must also contact my WOTA professor to tell her that I'll take the midterm tomorrow, attempt some more astronomy: I could finish that assignment with the math problems, for my Individual and Society class I have to read a novel and the text and catch up on 2 quizzes and a test, I have to finish my renewal FAFSA, oh, and shower- wonder what the chances are of me finding that kind of time this morning. Me... stressed?? no! Wow, I forgot to mention that I have to write 2 essays for English 101 (from an "incomplete" I received last semester... it's complicated...) and I have to take 4 essay tests for Contemporary Moral Issues- another incomplete from first semester. omg, and on March 13th I have another class starting! It is "Personal Health and Fitness for Life," gag, but it's required... I know I just wasted a lot of time writing that (actually, less than half an hour which isn't bad for somebody with ADD), but at least now I have it all written down! Well, it's everything I can think of anyway... sorry for taking up so much space... someday I'll give in and actually keep a blog, but for now, the idea worries me... I think it would be too distracting (hmm I can't imagine what would make me think that:rolleyes: lol) and probably more than a little addicting... well, I'd like to depart with some good news (which is truly amazing for me...): I found out that our Tutorial Center (which offers FREE tutoring) is now offering help for my Astronomy class Tuesday and Thursday from 5 to 8, and Wednesday from 6 to 8! Yay! ok, it's been 45mins now... ta! one more random comment: Sweet! I just remembered why I woke up (almost 3 hours ago)... My mom is coming to visit me today! Even better, she's bringing 5 boxes of Girl Scout cookies!!! I woke up so I could send an email trying to determine to whom I should write the check... better go do that, that could take another hour at this rate! ~~Annie
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  8. Mar 3, 2006 #7
    I took a look at your course syllabus. Wow. It does not sound like the usual "Intro to Astronomy" class I had. For one at my school what you cover is taught over two semesters and meets only two days a week. There is a lab that meets before or after the class and a dark skies field trip.
    If you need any help I can try to answer your questions. I'm a physics major with interest in astronomy. I give public lectures at the local planetarium and I do public outreach for JPL's Cassini Mission. Hang in there!
  9. Mar 3, 2006 #8


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    Sounds like you didn't do enough exercises prior to the exam. In math it's not enough to know, or understand. You really have to do practice exercises. You'll do better if you do exercises and don't understand what is going on than you would if you did understand but did not get any practice with it. Sad but true.
  10. Mar 8, 2006 #9
    Darn... I've always believed in the philosophy of "quality not quantity," but I think I agree. This time it seems like we're getting a lot more practice though. Now I think my problem is going to be the massive amount of content covered. We not only have to know everything that the professor's ever said but we also have to remember a ton of information for which she didn't have time! I just found out yesterday (Tuesday, March 7th) that I am part of a group doing a presentation on main sequence stars that will be presented on Thursday- you know, TOMORROW. So, I basically have to know that forwards and backwards. She will be using the information from everyone's presentations on the test as well. It's just going to be a free-for-all. Last night, I went to my first tutoring session. It certainly didn't make me feel any better. First of all, I only got about 3 or 4 problems done (even though I know they're easy! That has a lot to do with my ADD though, trying to keep my place and not "get lost" in the numbers) in something like an hour and a half. It didn't help that the environment was very distracting and my pills are all but worn off that late. I guess my other issue was with the tutor himself... He made several comments that I would consider as "inappropriate," especially given that he is there to help me and make me feel more comfortable. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a prude or anything, but I just thought it was a bit awkward when he jokingly (I hope!) said things about how "we just might have to work out some other type of payment plan" and then minutes later talked about his problems with his girlfriend. I don't know, maybe I'm just being too sensitive... well, I should get going, my to-do list hasn't changed that much! ~Annie
  11. Mar 8, 2006 #10


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I've moved your question into academic and career guidance. Even though your specific example is an astronomy course, I think the general question/problems you're having are not unique to you or that course, so the discussion didn't need to stay in astronomy.

    On the most minor point of the issue, yes, logarithms are taught in middle school, or at least they should be. It might be something you forgot having learned then, or that got skipped over by your teacher for some bizarre reason, but that's the normal time to learn them.

    As others have pointed out, and you've already acknowledged it's a good idea, practice makes perfect. In any class that requires problem solving or use of math skills, the ONLY way to get better at it is to keep practicing. Looking it over and saying, "yep, I understand that" isn't enough. It's easy to understand it when someone else has done the work; you'll find out what you really know, and thus what you don't know and need to learn better, by actually trying to do problems for yourself, and lots of them.

    A third issue is clearly that things are complicated by having ADD. Are you working with any sort of specialist at the university who can help you develop strategies for learning that will allow you to adapt to having ADD better? I'm not a specialist by any means in that area; if a student has special requirements, I rely on the advice of the specialists they deal with to inform me of their needs in my class, but, two big things jump to mind. First, getting re-evaluated to ensure your medication is working and is at an appropriate dose; in college, your schedule changes, your stress levels change, your eating habits change, you're body is developed more to an adult physiology than a teen or child physiology, so all of that can affect the way a medication works for you...if you haven't recently been evaluated, you probably should get that done soon to ensure you're working at your optimal levels. The second thing is that it's not unusual that someone with ADD needs more time to complete work; you're distracted more and that slows you down. So, aside from this astronomy course, which sounds like a doozie, I don't know how heavy of a course load you're taking. Even a student without any additional limitations is going to spend a long time doing the work for a full-time course load. There may not be enough time in the day to make that any longer, so the other option is to take less courses at a time, so you have the time to focus on the few you do take. Yes, it will take longer to get through college that way, but with the trade-off that you'll do better and get more understanding out of each course.

    The last issue is something you mentioned in your last post regarding getting tutoring. I think you should find a different tutor and schedule a different time for your tutoring sessions. If your tutor is not staying focused on the work and is instead making inappropriate comments, especially at a time of the day when you're more prone to distractions, then whether he was joking or not is aside from the point, he doesn't know how to tutor someone with ADD. If that is not a good time for you to be studying because your medication is already wearing off, then it's also not a good time for tutoring. Get tutoring during a time of the day when you can focus on what's going on during the session. Also, try to find a more mature tutor, someone who can appreciate the need to stay on-point when working with you.

    The overall thing to remember is everyone hits bumps in the road, it's just a matter of how you now deal with solving the problem that determines what your success will be.
  12. Mar 8, 2006 #11


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    Staff: Mentor

    I think all colleges and universities in the US are required by federal law to have policies for making appropriate accommodations for students with learning disabilities such as ADD. I regularly get memos from our Dean's office advising me that specific students in my classes should get specific accommodations (e.g. more time on tests, taking tests in a separate room from the rest of the class). In order to take advantage of this, students have to notify the Dean's office of their disability and submit a professional medical evaluation.

    I hope icehockeychick is taking advantage of these policies. It's not a good idea to try to hide something like this.
  13. Mar 8, 2006 #12
    ...there are field trips in thes intro to astro clases in the US?? man i feel jipped in canada.
  14. Mar 9, 2006 #13
    That is ridiculous. It may not be something you want to deal with, but I would make a brief comment to whoever his supervisor is. The tutor may try to just laugh it off, but making comments like that is not okay and he needs to know that.
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