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High Expectations

  1. Apr 19, 2007 #1
    Does anyone here have problems with high expectations? I am an engineering physics major and I find that I have this problem. I expect myself to solve any problem in a textbook; when I can't solve a problem I get frustrated and work on it for days and it can eventually become a drain. Does anyone have any advice for dealing with this? Is it unhealthy? I think I might be taking things too seriously.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 20, 2007 #2
    Sometimes I do the same thing. I keep myself really busy to prevent overworking a single problem.
  4. Apr 20, 2007 #3


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    Sometimes it is better to put a seemingly insoluble problem aside, and comeback to it later. In the meantime, move on to other problems and accomplishments.
  5. Apr 20, 2007 #4
    I have high expectations too... unfortunately, when I find I can't solve a book problem, I just don't do it!
  6. Apr 20, 2007 #5


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    Many undergrad students come from high schools which did not seriously challenge them. They often get slapped in the face pretty hard by real university-level course work, and sometimes it turns into a sort of self-esteem issue.

    My best advice is just to realize that you're in school specifically because you don't yet know everything. That's the point! It would be silly to waste your time there if you knew it all already. It's okay to be clueless sometimes, it's okay to bomb a test sometimes, and it's certainly okay to not be the best in the class sometimes.

    You should go talk to your professors if you're stuck on some problems, but definitely don't allow yourself to use your academic success as your sole gauge of self-worth.

    - Warren
  7. Apr 20, 2007 #6
    True, it could definately be a self-esteem thing.
  8. Apr 21, 2007 #7
    Yeah, next time you're stuck on a problem with no progress for hours - ask for help or ask what others did already. You can also work in a group, though it's better to find a group that helps do advance more than it distracts you, if you know what I mean. Don't spend days on problems where you could ask for help, get it, and do something better with your time like go out have a drink and meet some gals. :wink:
  9. Apr 21, 2007 #8
    well said areostud, but sometimes I work problems because I'm curious(not for school) and those ones can drive me crazy.
  10. Apr 21, 2007 #9
    Well, you can still ask for help? I know a few people who do math problems for curious and fun reasons, so i'm sure you can find some people like that too. Working in groups is one of the best thing you can do. A lot of times, people can see those random steps missing when you are to blind to see them yourself. In my field, working alone is the same as not trying to pass.
  11. Apr 23, 2007 #10
    I dont mean to hijack this thread, but you say that you are an Engineering Physics major....what does that entail? What do you want to do with that? I am interested as I have seen this major before, but I dont recall what it is. But I am torn between Physics and Engineering (as a major) and this sounds like a possible solution.
  12. Apr 24, 2007 #11
    Its funny because I was exactly in your position not too long ago. I couldn't decide to study physics or engineering. So I found this awesome program
    Here's a good link to maybe answer your question: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineering_physics" [Broken]
    What I want to do with it I am not sure, but the degree offers lots of flexiblity so there are lots of open options I've been thinking about.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  13. Apr 24, 2007 #12
    If you are stuck on a problem, try this.

    Prepare to post your problem to this website or write an email to your professor asking them about it.

    Put as much detail as you can into the problem description, exactly what you are having problems with and what you have already tried.

    I can almost guarantee that you will hardly ever have to send or post what you write.

    Going through the procedure of explicitly explaining the problem and your trouble with it and what you have already tried will tend to make you think about the problem in a much more logical way and may present options that you haven't thought of yet.

    Just typing in the required equations often takes more concentration on your part they writing them by hand does, because of that, you might spot something about the equation that will lead you to a solution.

    Last semester, I must have typed up over 20 problems like this intending to post them to the homework forum or email them to my professor. I think I actually emailed 4 to professors, the rest of the time, the answer popped into my head as I was preparing the document.
  14. Apr 24, 2007 #13
    I often find myself in the same situation. It seems to be a big problem for many students, much to the frustration of the teachers - even though at the front of my mind I don't see an issue with asking for help, I almost never have. If I ever have a problem, I'll read the notes then consult the textbooks, and finally go online until I manage to work it out. Sometimes thats better, but I feel that I'd be much better off if I just went to my tutor.
  15. Apr 25, 2007 #14
    Many times the simplest answer is the correct answer. Try to think of the problem differently. As others have said, finish the other problems first, then come back to it. Spend a lot of time trying different things, and if you can't get it, ask for help. Many times you'll be surprised at how simple it is, while you are thinking of how to do it in a more complicated way.
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