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Other I want to study astronomy...

  1. Jan 5, 2017 #1
    Hey!So, I applied to some universities for Physics and astronomy before I ended up with my grade 12, first-semester mid-term mark of a 74 in physics. I had an 87 last year with the same teacher. I've been accepted everywhere I applied, which is great, but I'm scared that, because I'm not doing well now, I won't do well in university.

    At the same time, I don't want to give up on it either. I know if I put in the work (I'd want to put in the work because I like it) I probably can succeed. I know there's always the option of going into something else and then pursuing physics on the side but what are the chances that I'll even have time later in life to do that? They're pretty slim.Maybe a minor would work but it depends on if my parents will be okay with me doing that.

    I really don't want to make excuses for my performance in physics but I've had a pretty heavy semester with English, Physics, Advanced Functions and Philosophy. Most of my concentration went into English because we have like 3 assignments due for English every week. So I haven't really been concentrating on physics or advanced functions for that matter. Philosophy isn't too bad.
    I also almost lost my dad twice in the duration of this semester and then my house got robbed (lol my life is great).
    There's also the fact that I'm in 6 different extra- curriculars - I don't know how I'm surviving, but I am.

    I had 2 and a half weeks of physics homework pending before the winter holidays, which I sat down for 7 hours yesterday and completed.What I noticed is that the homework came naturally to me, I understood everything- didn't even have to refer to my notes because everything made sense.
    My physics teacher gives us questions from the homework - similar ones- but with different numbers and I mess up.

    I don't know if it has to do with my confidence issues and always second guessing myself but I do horribly when I know I can do much better and this is what I'm afraid is going to carry on into university.
    I'm scared that even if I end up with my degree, I won't have a high enough GPA to get into teaching.

    Is loving something a good enough reason to pursue it? I've gotten into life sciences at a university too, just in case I chicken out from what I want to do but I really don't like life science. I can do well in bio and chemistry but it's just not the same.

    What sucks even more, is that I've made it into one of the best North American universities for engineering, physics, and mathematics (for their physics and astronomy program), but I don't feel worthy of it looking at how poorly I'm doing right now. I'm so stuck.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 9, 2017 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    I think you have a lot on your mind and need to unload some of it and manage your time better. I can see focusing on your English but it shouldn't be to the detriment of your other courses. Since you've been accepted already just hang in there at school. Many seniors get senioritis around this time. They want to break the yoke of highschool and begin going places and doing more exciting things.

    With respect to your physics, I would rework those problems that you did poorly on and see exactly why you made your mistakes. Is it in the check (ie second guessing because you did the check wrong) or in the actual problem? Also, ask your teacher for help, really! Perhaps the teacher can point out the reason you made you mistakes from the experience of having taught for so long and seeing other students make the same mistake.

    With respect to your Dad and your family, hang in there. This can be very tough and you need to be there for them. Tell your teachers your situation and perhaps they can give you extra time to get things done or reduce your assignments a bit.
  4. Jan 9, 2017 #3
    Indeed, that isnt an excuse. You'll be expected to work very hard in university too. Now don't be too hard on yourself. You can work for 7 hours straight when necessary. That won't happen a lot in university, but it's good that you can do that because a strong focus is absolutely necessary.

    You absolutely need to know why you mess up. Otherwise it will haunt you throughout university and you might get less grades than you deserve. So this is something you need to figure out.

    Of course. Try to focus more on the love for physics, and the desire for new things. Don't focus so much on the pressure. Easier said than done, I know. But realize every second of the day that you're learning more about nature and the universe, and that's pretty damn cool.
  5. Jan 9, 2017 #4
    Thank you so much for the advice! I've noticed I don't ask many questions in class now that you bring that up. Mostly because I'm scared of looking stupid - some of the kids already think I'm stupid though so oh well, I guess XD. My teachers are really big on preparing us for university so they go a little easy but don't provide extra time but that's alright, I can live with the lighter marking! Honestly, I just need to take a break, maybe get out of some of the extracurricular activities I'm in too! I like and enjoy physics way too much to let go and maybe, uni might be better for me! I do best on self-taught courses so I usually take summer school courses online and university involves teaching yourself a lot so I hope it works somewhat in my favour. I spoke to my physics teacher about my plans for university and what I want to do and he says he thinks I'll make it, that i'm just worrying for no reason. I really hope he's right :P.
  6. Jan 9, 2017 #5

    The last part really helped me be more sure of what I'm doing. I've being told by friends and stuff that I'm probably not making a right decision, doing something just because I love it, but honestly, why would I want to do something I don't like and be stuck with it for however long, if I have the chance to go into what I really want, from the start. I know I can get somewhere with this if I stop stressing and ask for help => really need to work on doing that! Thank you! :)
  7. Jan 9, 2017 #6
    Albert Einstein wrote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”.
    Not sure if Einstein actually is the source of that or if it is an urban myth, but hmm ,makes sense.
  8. Jan 9, 2017 #7


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Depends on what you are after:

  9. Jan 10, 2017 #8
    there should be few doubts and more of a concrete plan. A concrete plan.

    courses are hard at university level, it is more about managing your time and dedicate time constantly to study. It helps to have groups of students to work with.
    I have seen many posters on here say that it is difficult to be introduced to the material for the first time when you're in college, ie you should always try to learn some stuff beforehand. I tend to agree with this statement but obviously its not possible for everything.

    I think for sure you would want to work on your mathematics as pure physics requires good understanding of mathematics. About losing your parent almost, I have already lost one when I was 14 and my father is in similar condition to yours, its very hard to study effectively in these situations if you can't control your emotions. Depression will not help.

    I also saw your other thread where you said your parents aren't supportive of this decision, this is not good, you must tell them to support you and not be negative about it as it will affect you (my parent used to taunt me and mock my choice for economics as a major, it did not help believe me).

    Lastly, do not go into any major you do not have a passion for, no matter what anyone says because I am sure you will end up getting a subpar gpa anyway. Make a practical plan for your life after the degree. Do not listen to other people as much because they are not YOU.

    I see a lot of issues and personal stuff going on, also, why are you focusing on English when physics is your aim? :-) Maybe take some time off other subjects and focus more on maths and physics as this is your aim. (Think you've already been admitted to the program based on your old grades right? will your english grade determine university admission anymore or not? ). No matter what, all problems have some solutions and we all things we shall have to live with, be strong, honest and work smart/hard and you will be fine.
  10. Jan 11, 2017 #9
    That is true, everyone is a genius. Unfortunately, I don't excel at anything so I guess I'm an exception.
  11. Jan 11, 2017 #10
    I've somehow managed to convince my parents for astronomy ... okay not really. Someone else told them that a physics degree was a great idea so they started supporting me after that :|. But now I have their support! So, it's great! My mom told me she thinks I'm smart enough to make it for the first time ever !! So, that's a plus! I have a really bad habit of worrying and stressing out over little things. I really need to learn how to relax (luckily that school has therapy dogs!).
    I've definitely heard about uni being really hard. The kids at my school that are doing physics (specifically the ones in the program I'm joining) said that they find it easy because they're doing the exact same stuff our teacher taught in grade 12 (maybe that's why my school finds physics hard). People at my old school are talking about how it's the easiest of the 3 sciences ... but I don't think it's supposed to be as easy as they're making it out to be, at least according to my physics teacher.
    I definitely don't have a passion for anything else. As cliche as it sounds, I've been into earth and space science since I was in junior kindergarten. My mom wouldn't let me bring home books about it so whenever my class had a library day, I would sit in the aisle and read as much as possible. I love it way too much to let go of it and I'm willing to push myself through the hell hole I'm about to enter next year. I'm so close to getting where I want to be, giving up because of my fears as an 18 year old seems kinda dumb to me, especially since I've planned for this since... forever really.

    Yeah about English, I'm almost done! ( So close!) It's my last exam this semester so instead of concentrating on that, I'm going to bank on math and physics big time. On the other hand, unfortunately I got pushed into an extra curricular I do not want to do because of another extra curricular ( tutoring science) that I have planned for next semester - I need it for the other part of my application (I applied to a bachelor's of concurrent education WITH physics and astronomy). So, yikesss. I'm going to have to find a way out of this.
  12. Jan 18, 2017 #11
    Hey! Thank you all so much! I know no one asked for an update but I'm just so happy! My mark went up 8% in physics!! :D
  13. Jan 18, 2017 #12
    Why wouldn't your mother let you bring home and read books about outer space?
  14. Jan 18, 2017 #13
    I really don't know, I never asked because I found a way around it. :/
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