I have no background for my undergraduate studies

In summary: I currently have.In summary, the student had a tough childhood and is now doing well in college despite not having much mathematical or physics knowledge. He is struggling with understanding some of the content and would like to find ways to enjoy it more.
  • #1

Felipe Lincoln

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First I want to say that I had a tough childhood, I always had a job since 14 yo, got out of my mom's house at 17 yo, never been stimulated to study and almost quit school, I'm not blaming parents or so, I had a lot of rich experiences living this way. But hard times has passed, I'm 22 yo now and got my way to self taught the basics to get admitted at a good university and I'm living my dream now.

I'm going to the 4o semester of bachelor in physics and I have to say it's being an amazing course although painful. By painful I mean, I came to the university without much knowledge of mathematics and physics, I merely feels like I can only read and do some operations, but I'm putting 100% effort and getting good grades and learning A LOT.

My point is, I'm able to learn and get along with the course, but I can only learn the basics, can't get more than this because I'm already putting my 100% into this basics, I'm always surrounded by people smarter than me and it surprises me how much they can learn about the content is being taught.

I get amazed when new insights come to PF but when I start reading I always feel uncomfortable and sleepy because I can't get much of what is being presented, I also had no experience in reading books, besides didactic books I have read 0 books in my whole life, so I'm not used to it. I think it makes reading a bit tough for me.

In the vacation between semesters I spend most of my days studying what will be taught next, to make less painful to learn everything when it all begins.

Let me conclude. I'm happy with my learning, but I would like to find a way to enjoy the content I'm learning, learn things a little beyond, understand better the math behind all the theory, be able to read an insight post, and be able to participate the discussions that casually happens in the class. Have you some advice ?
 
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  • #2
Felipe Lincoln said:
Let me conclude. I'm happy with my learning, but I would like to find a way to enjoy the content I'm learning, learn things a little beyond, understand better the math behind all the theory, be able to read an insight post, and be able to participate the discussions that casually happens in the class. Have you some advice ?

Just keep doing what you've been doing. I find that nearly everyone wishes they understood things better than they currently do, no matter how well they're doing in school. And that probably continues to be true no matter how far they get. There is so much knowledge out there that you will always wish you knew a little more or could get something a little easier. Don't sweat it.
 
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  • #3
Drakkith said:
I find that nearly everyone wishes they understood things better than they currently do
You touched the point, I totally agree with you.
But do you think there's something I can do to supply my lack of basic knowledge or will it come naturally after a while of immersion on all the subjects?
 
  • #4
Felipe Lincoln said:
But do you think there's something I can do to supply my lack of basic knowledge or will it come naturally after a while of immersion on all the subjects?

I'd say a lot of it will come to you naturally as you continue your studies. If you are doing extra work on the side then you're even better off, as there are a huge number of mathematical tricks and relationships that can make things much easier to grasp that you can get just by working through extra problems or doing extra reading. Unfortunately there is no checklist to go by, so I can't say, "Do this and you'll learn trick X, then do that and you'll learn relationship Y".

Your best bet is probably to keep track of things your struggling on and figure out why you're struggling and how to correct it. For example, if you're having trouble with understanding angles when working problems (such as when you have to decompose forces on a block on a ramp), then you may need to revisit your trigonometry.

I wish I could be of more help. Perhaps others have more advice for you.
 
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  • #5
Working on what I'm struggling is a good advice.
Thank you for your time friend.
 
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  • #6
There will almost certainly be people on the course that aren't getting good grades or even acceptable grades so don't feel everyone is cleverer than you.
 
  • #7
CWatters said:
There will almost certainly be people on the course that aren't getting good grades or even acceptable grades so don't feel everyone is cleverer than you.
sure, there are indeed a lot of people that began the course and discovered this was not the course he/she meant..
I have to say guys, joining the university got me out of depression...
 
  • #8
Felipe Lincoln said:
In the vacation between semesters I spend most of my days studying what will be taught next, to make less painful to learn everything when it all begins.
I have noticed that when people in my field (mechanical engineering) run into difficulty in advanced courses, it is usually due to weakness in the basics. You might be better off to look at the prerequisites for the next semester's courses. Review those, even if it means going as far back as trigonometry or algebra.

And relax. You are getting good grades, therefore you are learning the material well enough. There will always be somebody that knows more than you. Ask them to help you understand.
 
  • #9
There's no good substitution for struggle.
 

1. What are the potential challenges of pursuing a career in science without an undergraduate science degree?

The main challenge is that you may have limited knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and methods, which can make it difficult to compete with individuals who do have a science background. Additionally, many science-related jobs require specific degrees or certifications, so it may be more difficult to find employment in certain fields.

2. Can I still pursue a graduate degree in science without a science background?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a graduate degree in science without an undergraduate science degree. Some programs may require you to take prerequisite courses to fill in any knowledge gaps, while others may offer alternative paths for individuals with non-science backgrounds. It's important to research and reach out to different programs to see what their requirements and options are.

3. How can I gain a strong foundation in science if I do not have a science background?

One option is to take courses at a community college or online to gain a basic understanding of scientific concepts and principles. You can also participate in internships or volunteer opportunities in a science-related field to gain hands-on experience and exposure to different areas of science. Additionally, self-study and reading scientific literature can also help build a strong foundation.

4. Are there any specific skills or qualities that may be helpful for someone with no background in science pursuing a career in the field?

Some skills that may be helpful include critical thinking, problem-solving, attention to detail, and a strong work ethic. These skills can be developed through various experiences and can be valuable in any field, including science.

5. Can I still make meaningful contributions to the scientific community without a science background?

Yes, it is possible to make meaningful contributions to the scientific community even without a science background. There are many roles within the scientific community, such as science communication, policy, and administration, that do not require a science degree but still allow individuals to contribute to the advancement of science. Additionally, with dedication and hard work, individuals with non-science backgrounds can also conduct research and make significant discoveries in their field of interest.

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