I cannot follow at my university's pace

  • #1
Felipe Lincoln
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I am an undergraduate student in physics.
I am doing poorly in all the subjects I am taking. It Always feels like I am late and can not be where my teacher is in the current topic. I can sumarize a feel things I think could be the problem:
1. In almost all the content I study I have to spend so much time to understand it, so it makes me waste time and progress in a low pace.
2. Sometimes it is only given us the material with theory and no exercises and for some subject matter it's not easy to find some good exercises with resolution or even just the answer resulting in bad tests scores.
3. Each semester we have five disciplines and I always feel overload by the much of information I have to learn in so shoirt time and I inevitably end up by not learning much.

The above are the three main reason I think is making me do bad at university. Combining these three problems my routine at university is basically spend much time (like one or two days) trying to understand a few thing in one discipline and when I finally understand I move to the next thing and spend more few days, the exam gets closer and I have only the weekend to stop studying even if I didn't finished the theory to start doing a few exercises, and because I did no much exercises when the exam cames I do bad at it.
How can I revert this situation?
 
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  • #2
Stephen Tashi
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How can I revert this situation?
The first thing to decide is whether you should continue your current course load or reduce it - perhaps even exit from it for a time. (Universities usually have ways for people to drop out honorably and return later.) So decide whether you are "in over your head". The typical hints for how-to-study won't be sufficient if your course load is overwhelming. In making this judgement, don't be influenced by how well or poorly others in the class seem to be doing. Decide whether you yourself are utterly behind, not whether the whole class is having problems.
 
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  • #3
Felipe Lincoln
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But I do not think it will be worth since every semester is equal. I do not feel that I am somehow "out of my head", I am just not being as productive as I should be for the course.
 
  • #4
Stephen Tashi
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nd I have only the weekend to stop studying even if I didn't finished the theory to start doing a few exercises, and because I did no much exercises when the exam cames I do bad at it.
You can attempt exercises before you have a complete understanding of theory. Many students master certain types of problems "by rote" without having a complete understanding of theory.

It is more comfortable to completely understand concepts before doing exercises. Some people feel it's "a matter of principle" or a "moral obligation" that they will understand all concepts involved before doing exercises. That method only works for students who have enough previous experience and skill in the subject matter.

I notice you've asked questions about problems in classical mechanics. There is cultural aspect to such problems. The have traditinal components - massless strings, inclined planes, wheels that slip, and wheels that don't slip. Learning how to behave when you solve such problems is somewhat like going to a wedding conducted by an unfamiliar religious denomination. You have to observe examples of behavior ( Do they kneel when they pray? Are you expected to say "Amen" ? ). You can't expect to comprehend the entire doctrine and traditions before the service begins.
 
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  • #5
symbolipoint
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You can attempt exercises before you have a complete understanding of theory. Many students master certain types of problems "by rote" without having a complete understanding of theory.

It is more comfortable to completely understand concepts before doing exercises. Some people feel it's "a matter of principle" or a "moral obligation" that they will understand all concepts involved before doing exercises. That method only works for students who have enough previous experience and skill in the subject matter.

I notice you've asked questions about problems in classical mechanics. There is cultural aspect to such problems. The have traditinal components - massless strings, inclined planes, wheels that slip, and wheels that don't slip. Learning how to behave when you solve such problems is somewhat like going to a wedding conducted by an unfamiliar religious denomination. You have to observe examples of behavior ( Do they kneel when they pray? Are you expected to say "Amen" ? ). You can't expect to comprehend the entire doctrine and traditions before the service begins.
Felipe Lincoln,

Can you pick fewer courses each term to reduce your work-load?

How do you feel about confusion when attending lectures and during reading & studying?
 
  • #6
symbolipoint
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After looking at the topic title again, in case you are locked-in to your program's course schedule, you may need to plan on changing your major field. You say you are doing poorly in all subjects. I assume you mean, at least all Physics and science courses. "Poorly" means, letter grades of C or lower. You may need to think about your future plans on your own as well as get good advice from your department and other people whom you know. Maybe switch to something related to but not the same as Physics; or maybe something in Mathematics, computer science, or something else entirely. You need good advice from someone.
 
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  • #7
Felipe Lincoln
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Felipe Lincoln,

Can you pick fewer courses each term to reduce your work-load?

How do you feel about confusion when attending lectures and during reading & studying?
Yes, I can.
I am actually already doing this, I am taking less courses than I have to get and still strugling.
And I do feel a bit confused in the classes and when studying.
 
  • #8
Felipe Lincoln
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After looking at the topic title again, in case you are locked-in to your program's course schedule, you may need to plan on changing your major field. You say you are doing poorly in all subjects. I assume you mean, at least all Physics and science courses. "Poorly" means, letter grades of C or lower. You may need to think about your future plans on your own as well as get good advice from your department and other people whom you know. Maybe switch to something related to but not the same as Physics; or maybe something in Mathematics, computer science, or something else entirely. You need good advice from someone.
When I first started doing physics I was amazed and very excited to everything, but then I started to get involved to the academic area, I saw how a physicist works and I am a bit confused if it is really what I want to me since I usually do not get to much interested in reading scientific article and I even get bored and sleepy when reading some scientific journals.
I am considering to start a brand new bachelors next year. I am thinking in Statistics since I started learning a bit of machine learning and I realised that I am only getting good grades at computing and lab courses. I am already working on a scientific reasearch purely on machine learning and I am enjoying this more than every thing I did in my course. What do you think about going to Statistics ?
 
  • #9
symbolipoint
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Yes, I can.
I am actually already doing this, I am taking less courses than I have to get and still strugling.
And I do feel a bit confused in the classes and when studying.

Good; so you have some options for change in course quantities and course and major field choices.

Note carefully, although you say you feel confused, I asked HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT CONFUSION...?


When I first started doing physics I was amazed and very excited to everything, but then I started to get involved to the academic area, I saw how a physicist works and I am a bit confused if it is really what I want to me since I usually do not get to much interested in reading scientific article and I even get bored and sleepy when reading some scientific journals.
I am considering to start a brand new bachelors next year. I am thinking in Statistics since I started learning a bit of machine learning and I realised that I am only getting good grades at computing and lab courses. I am already working on a scientific reasearch purely on machine learning and I am enjoying this more than every thing I did in my course. What do you think about going to Statistics ?
You are beginning to find yourself; what you may be suited to do and study best. So something in Mathematics, Computer or Computation Science, or Statistics would be for you.

You still have not studied enough yet, for the many articles you have tried to read to be easily understood. Something you should do is pay attention to bibliographic references which you find in your textbooks. Some of them are helpful in support of the textbook discussions you study from, and those references might also be easier to read and benefit from.
 
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  • #10
Felipe Lincoln
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Note carefully, although you say you feel confused, I asked HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT CONFUSION...?
Oh sorry.
I think it is part of the learning, I do not get bad with it.
 
  • #11
Charles Link
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@Felipe Lincoln I didn't read this entire discussion, but I did read your original post, and I think this is quite typical of many universities, and hasn't changed since I was in college 1974-1980. For me, the semester was a major test in stamina, and there was always one class or more that had an hourly exam, and most of the time I was a week or two or more behind in my studies. I pulled quite a few all-nighters, (studying and working on homework sets all night), particularly in my sophomore year as an undergraduate. In some cases, the material wasn't presented as well as it could have been, resulting in extra and enormous effort on the part of the student. In hindsight, I think they could have taken a slightly slower pace. If they emphasized the key fundamentals more, it would have helped in some cases.
In any case, I wish you luck in your studies. Physics is a good subject to study and to gain proficiency. Don't expect the university studies to be easy though=it seems to be designed so that you need to give it 110%, and hope for the best. ## \\ ## Edit: Meanwhile, I'm retired now after having worked 30+ years, and looking back on the college days, the exceptional pace they like to go at, like there is no tomorrow, is a little shortsighted. You have many, many years ahead of you. You don't need to learn everything in the next 10 weeks. LOL.
 
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