Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

I feel like i'm going too fast!

  1. Nov 9, 2005 #1
    so, i just turned 18, and i'm a soph at uni. currently i'm a math and astrophysics double major. i'm mostly horribly umotivated, but trying to be.

    i've takem calcs 1-3, diff eq, linear algebra, and am currently in complex analysis and fundamental concepts of math, (which is like, intro to group theory and sets ect.)
    i'm retaking mechanics and i'll retake e&m next semester. i dunno what math i'll take next semester yet, i hope abstract algebra, and maybe something else...

    SO, i feel completely overwhelemed. i went to get advised, and there's basically no way i can keep both majors and take fewer than 4 math/science classes a semester, every semester, till i graduate. this means, at most i can take 2 electives a semester, and that'd be giving myself a full course loads every semester... i'm not sure how many electives i need yet.

    ugh, anyway. i feel like i'm getting worse at math as i take more classes. like, i don't think i'm absorbing anything even though i've been getting mostly decent grades. in physics, i dunno, i think i'm even worse, but maybe not. actually, i can't even tell how well i'm doing any more. i feel just so lost. my grades can be good or bad, and i'd know everything the same. its a mess.

    i feel like i want to take a semester off, but i can't. i'd have to start paying off student loans, and i can't afford to do that now. i could maybe try for a whole 'nother year in school, but that means more money, and i want my degree asap.

    so i dunno. i'm obviously overwhelemed, and i have no idea what to do about it. i could drop the phys major, and i may. but i still feel like i've been missing all my math... and i dunno what to do to feel like its all sunk in. and the more i do, the more overwhelmed i am. so... i dunno...
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 9, 2005 #2
    I'm surprised you can even fit a double major in in just four years at your uni. its impossible here. Even for majors with as much overlap as physics/mathematics it would take at least an extra year (which was my motivation for dropping the double major idea).
  4. Nov 9, 2005 #3
    heh, i'm trying to fit a double major into 3.5 years. i had two years up on my math major when i started though. thats the only way its been conceivably possible.
  5. Nov 9, 2005 #4
    My eyes boggled at the 3.5 and then i read the next sentence. Fie on you people and your educational systems that don't work against you.
  6. Nov 9, 2005 #5
    How can you NOT fit math and physics into 4 years or less? You would have to take like 10 or less credits a semester.
  7. Nov 9, 2005 #6
    No thats not how the curricula work here. its not possible to take both class sets in 4 years. There are 12 extra classes you need. So either you take 20 units a quarter and have no leeway for error, or you take the extra year. Of course, the average graduation time for single majors here is something like 4 years and 2 quarters.
  8. Nov 9, 2005 #7


    User Avatar

    My physics major is 132 credits in 4 years, 16.5 per semester, and that doesnt even include a bunch of fun advanced physics courses.

    Dual majoring in physics and maths would probably be around 180 credits, 22.5/semester for 4 semesters, and again wouldnt include a lot of fun advanced courses in either.
  9. Nov 9, 2005 #8
    First off I would say not to take a semester off. Secondly, you have to ask yourself how much do you like math and how much do you like physics? Have you thought about engineering, that is a good mix of physics and math and its only one major. If you really love math and dont mind spending some of your free time working on math, then a math degree is for you. On the other hand if you breezed through most of your math classes and didnt have to work very hard outside of class and you still got A's, then you might be in for a rude awakening when you get to abstract algebra and analysis. Im not saying that its not impossible to breeze through those classes, im just saying that for most people they require a lot of "outside of the classroom" work to get a thourough understanding of the material.

    another thing, if you can pass the math classes that you are in now then you are still not too far gone to be a math major. It sounds like that you feel that you have missed too much math stuff to be successful in the upper level math classes and that is simply not true. In abstract alg/analysis classes they assume you know a lot of stuff from your prior math classes but its usually just the main points, like how to do proof by contradiction. They dont excpect you to know every little detail and whatever isnt clear you can ask questions.
  10. Nov 9, 2005 #9
    I would continue what you are doing and see what you like when you get a little higher. I thought I would love pure math at the start of the semester, so I signed up for Analysis and Abstract Algebra. After a few weeks I dropped Analysis, and I am still taking Abstract Algebra, and I absolutely hate the class. Not saying that this will happen to you, but I would continue both until you take those pure math classes. Also, you will probably need a minor, so you can always minor in the one you like the least.

    Here a double major in math/physics requires 4 or 5 math classes plus the b.s. in physics.
  11. Nov 9, 2005 #10
    here, the math major requires 15 math classes and the astro major requires 10 physics classes, 3 labs, and 7 astronomy classes. in addition to this, i need to take 4 foriegn language classes, 2 english classes, 1 bio science and 6 social science classes. all of which are 3 credits apeice. i currently have 7 maths remaining, 9 physics, 5 astro and a bunch of those gen eds i need to do.
  12. Nov 9, 2005 #11
    So, i'm looking at everything i have to take, and its looking like i HAVE to at least 4 math/sci classes next semester, though i could take 5. i HAVE to take 5 math/sci classes next fall. at least 4 the following spring (possibly 5 if i don't take 5 next semester) 4 the fall my junior year, and 3 that spring. i don't even have much leniency as to when i can take most of the classes.

    i think that sounds insane. i need to fit in most of those gen eds as well.....
  13. Nov 10, 2005 #12
    Here in australia you can do a double major in just 3 years.
  14. Nov 12, 2005 #13


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Gale, most math/science majors require about double the credit hours that a art/social science/humanities type major requires, so when you talk about double majoring in math plus a science, it's like 4 of those other majors. Plus you still need to take the other courses for your college graduation requirements that fall outside your major. My experience is that it's physically impossible to do a double major in math and/or sciences without either 1) overloading your credit hours every semester...if you're already struggling, this is not a good plan, 2) taking full-time summer/intersession classes, or 3) adding at least a 5th year of college. You sound like you need to back off on credit hours rather than load up more...it seems like you barely have time to do your assignments let alone actually study and learn them well. Can you drop one of those majors down to a minor and reduce your course load that way? That way you'll get some feeling for the other subject, but without committing to a full major.

    I'm not sure what your future plans are, but if you intend to go on with graduate school, or get a job in one of those fields, it's more important to learn one subject well than only have a mediocre understanding of two.

    You've also mentioned the motivation problem previously. Try taking some of those gen ed requirements sooner than later, maybe even as summer courses. Maybe you're just trying to push yourself to do something that you don't enjoy that much. You might find some other courses in other majors that really grab your interest better, and it's best to find that out as early as possible so you have time to switch majors if it's desireable.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook