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I resent my education

  1. Oct 31, 2007 #1
    i feel like i'm going to school and learning nothing. i feel like my classes facsimiles of a real education. don't scoff but it never occurred to me to look at other textbooks than those assigned for my classes and now that i have i realize how ****ty the ones i've learned from have been. i feel like i want to drop out immediately, restudy all the classes i've taken using better textbooks and never settle for a subpar education again. but of course this isn't really feasible. yes from now on i can and will do this but i feel like my foundational classes were terrible and resultant education is poor.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 31, 2007 #2
    As long as you have friends with the proper text, I see no problems using the best text you can find from now on,
  4. Oct 31, 2007 #3
    I suppose if you feel that way, all you can do now is to review those classes during breaks (e.g. winter, summer). You could also try to do it during the semester, though that never seems to work for me as I'm too busy with current classes.
  5. Oct 31, 2007 #4
    hence my resentment. i'm made to jump through hoops and meet standards that are way below mine but not coincident with mine. so if i wanted to stop reading my assigned calc book and study from another one i would be screwed
  6. Oct 31, 2007 #5
    out of curiosity what school do you go to? and are you sure that the new books you found were for the appropriate level? for instance if you were looking at a junior level mechanics book your freshan book would look horrible.
  7. Oct 31, 2007 #6
    Are you in the US? Things should get more focused in the upper-division courses for your major (I assume we're talking about math, science or engineering here). The lower division courses can be somewhat superficial as they are aimed at a wider audience (i.e. they are service courses for other majors.) Some schools have lower division courses exclusively for majors in that subject, but really only some of the better schools can afford to do that. You should talk to an advisor for your major.

    I don't know if this lower/upper division split applies in the UK, EU, India, etc.

    You really should get used to the idea of studying subjects on your own and setting your own goals anyway.
  8. Oct 31, 2007 #7
    I know exactly what you're talking about. I'm not sure how far you're into your education, but I was fortunate enough to grab myself right after calculus and introductory mechanics. After I found Courant and Kleppner and Kolenkow, I felt outright deceived by my teachers; from then on most of what I've learned has come from my own will. Find time between your homework for your personal study, and use your breaks happily. After a while, it should be okay.
  9. Oct 31, 2007 #8


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    To be honest, I think it serves you right for only using books you are told to use. I remember in my undergrad days we had a few "recommended books" for each course, but I used to go to the library and take out loads of different books-- especially if I found that one text was not to my taste. I don't see how you can blame teachers for picking books you didn't like: afterall, no one book will suit every student.
  10. Oct 31, 2007 #9
    Well, I meant reviewing those old courses during the semester. Certainly, you usually have to use the assigned book no matter what. However, it is not generally that hard to fit in time for another one or two for a course.
  11. Nov 1, 2007 #10
    You're lucky, then, because I haven't had any books besides the required ones for class recommended to me by profs as part of the class.

    Even if I didn't understand a lot of what happened, I am relearning it now in other classes.

    Everything tends to go in cycles in my school. I learned the Mathematical Physics series, and now I'm learning parts of it over again specifically for QM and E&M.

    Oh, but I guess I do use outside sources when the book fails to explain things well enough for me. I use Wikipedia a lot and frequently just Google the term I am trying to learn about (i.e. Hilbert space, Stoke's theorem, whatever). I just don't have the money to buy extra books (not that most students do) and I never like borrowing books from libraries because then I have a time limit that I can't stand.

  12. Nov 1, 2007 #11


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    How am I "lucky"? I went to the library to look through other books in the same section as the recommended text. Note that, throughout my whole 4 year degree, I bought around 3 books, and used the library for the rest. Are you telling me that you don't have a library at your university?

    You use wikipedia to fill in gaps that your textbook may have? :rolleyes:
    This is just an excuse for laziness: one can renew library books, or go and take out other books when the ones one has expire. I never understand people who only use the book they are told to use. Furthermore, I do not see how they can complain about this when there is a library full of alternative textbooks waiting to be read.
  13. Nov 1, 2007 #12
    Several, but did you always borrow the books and take them home or did you do your homework and studying at the library?

    I've never had a textbook that had gaps. Their explanations might suck, which is why I consult the internets, because other people might explain things differently. I mean, what kind of gaps did your books have?

    I agree. All of the people in class should go and borrow the 3 copies of the book at the same time. That'll work great!
  14. Nov 1, 2007 #13


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    Nobody remembers going to used-book sales at public and college libraries? You can find some common and a few uncommon but known alternative instructional textbooks on sciences and mathematics. Also, prices are often extremely low; like 1 or 2 dollars per book.

    Anybody try to ask their teacher or professor if he has a particular copy of a book, or if he knows another professor who may have the particular copy? Maybe ask a graduate student or former graduate student if he has some particular alternate book?

    My best advice is to check college and university library used-book sales, which should have formerly shelved books, and even donated books.
  15. Nov 1, 2007 #14
    If they did have those sales (haven't heard of them at my school) I wouldn't mind buying alternative text books for a few bucks a pop. That's a good deal.
  16. Nov 1, 2007 #15


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    is there a question in our future, or is this just a diatribe?
  17. Nov 1, 2007 #16


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    The point I was making is that there is not simply one book that you can use for each course. The narrow minded students will go out and buy that book, or go and take that book out of the library. However, you will find that very few students will actually look at another book that is not on their reading list. Given that there are a plethora of books available for more or less every course, there should be sufficient choice.

    And no, I never studied in the library until my final year, so all the books I took out went home with me.
  18. Nov 1, 2007 #17
    Most people can do fine with just the assigned book. "Fine" meaning passing comfortably.

    Also, the reason I don't go and do it is because I have about 2 days to do my homework. I started doing it yesterday, got a lot done, and am finishing today, and am stuck. I live an hour away from school so I can't borrow another one right now. I'll get done by tomorrow and not have to borrow it anymore. So there's never really a reason to go out and get it unless I have a lot of time and really don't know what's going on. Which isn't usually the case. Even if I'm clueless, I'll usually make the leap and suddenly understand what the book is talking about and move on.
  19. Nov 3, 2007 #18
    I have to agree with the general sentiment of the thread. If you refuse to accept resources avaliable to you such a library then I don't think you have anyone to blame. Personally, the first thing I do when I sign up or start a course is get ahold of a few other textbooks. If you can't figure out how to do that then just ask your prof and I'm sure he/she would be happy to point you in the right direction or lend you one of his own.
  20. Nov 3, 2007 #19
    what are you people arguing about? i don't even know :confused:
  21. Nov 5, 2007 #20


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    What year are you in? It could be that you just haven't covered the material in enough depth yet, but your personal curiousity craves that depth. If you're still in your first year or two, you'll get to more depth soon.

    It may just be that your learning style doesn't fit with the lecturers styles. Realizing you can do independent reading to expand your knowledge in the areas that interest you is always a good idea. That is a large part of the college experience...taking responsibility for your own learning.

    There's also a chance that there was nothing wrong with your classes, but you've just had one of those "Aha!" awakenings of intellectual development of your own that you are now ready to absorb material at a level that you didn't notice was being presented before.

    :rofl: I was just talking with another professor here about precisely that. He was preparing for a lecture he had to give today, and commenting how he had so little time to cover the subject that he felt like he was lying to the students in order to simplify it enough to fit it in the time they have. We DO lie to student in the introductory classes; we have to. I try to point out when I'm doing that so it doesn't leave them bewildered later, but the reality is that we sometimes have to teach with the "and then a miracle occurs and you get...." approach because you need three more courses before you'll understand all the steps in between. There's a lot of working back and forth in the undergraduate years, getting a superficial survey of a subject, then getting more in-depth education that requires you know what the start and end points are from the intro course so you understand why you're following all those steps in between, then going back and putting it together and then going into more depth on some of those other in-between steps, etc.

    Think back to how many lies you were taught in elementary school. They told you there were all sorts of rigid rules for things, and then a few years later, they told you about all the exceptions to those rules. There's really no way around this.
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