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I would love to get back at life (disappointed, confused, and a bit tired )

  1. Jul 8, 2008 #1

    I have been to these forums a lot in the past year or so and I have learned a lot and asked a lot. But recently my past year has just been a drag - it is my first year in university and I know that some or maybe even majority will say it is only first year. But I don't think it is that, I think it is the fact that I have done pretty bad in certain courses that I never have before which has only caused me to feel depressed and starting to feel confused (sometimes) for some odd reason.

    I have always been pretty good at Math, Chemistry and Physics and Biology. I tend to love biology more though which is why I wish to do a Biotech/Biochem degree and then move on to industry. What I noticed this year though is my very small and finite amount of knowledge and understanding in most of the Math oriented courses. Chemistry I did fine, but Calculus I and now currently taking Physics I are both hurting me a lot. I believe it is because as a kid I never paid attention to my studies a lot but I still did well enough to please myself. In essence I WAS one of those students who just studied hard, got good grades, and then forgets everything in the end - and the cycles continued every year.

    With University though I have noticed how bad this tactic really hurt me, and I would have loved to relive my past 5 years. But since I can't I wish to in a way renew my past knowledge and strengthen it. Although some might say I do not need it, I would love to do it for my own self in order to increase this last amount of self-confidence that I have left with me.

    So basically I would like to review most of my math knowledge which would help me understand Physics and Chemistry better. I have been thinking of starting from Pre-Calculus, then moving on to Calculus and so on to higher topics as much as I myself can learn. I would love to power-learn or learn quickly although it is still best to go slow I assume. So I was wondering what are some good books to use as review for pre-calculus? I have found a book written by Schaum, not sure if that is an author. So if you guys have any advice on what to use would be great.

    Sorry for the long post, and if it was a bit boring but I just had to ask someone.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 8, 2008 #2
    Try reviewing algebra and trigonometry. Thats where most Calc problems happen.
  4. Jul 9, 2008 #3
    First thing, calm down. Your situation is probably not really as bad as it might look to you. For biotech/biochem you do not need to be as good in math as, say, a theoretical physicist. If you make it through calculus I guess you will soon see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    And Schaum is a series of textbooks, each with a lot of exercises (and answers). Just what you need now. OK, I don't know of the specific book you have in mind but Schaum sounds like a good idea.

    Edit: Have a look at this thread from the PreCalc Learning Materials Forum, perhaps its usefull: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=231716
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2008
  5. Jul 14, 2008 #4
    Ok thanks for the advice and link.
  6. Jul 29, 2008 #5
    Ok I am back here again. Sorry for bringing up the post but I have another problem somewhat. I am about to finish up my second Physics Intro course Intro Physics II which deals mostly with SHM, E&M, Waves and the last topic will be Relativity.

    I did my midterm and one quiz (there is only one big Quiz) and for both I did not pass. for the midterm I was two percent from passing. the midterm is worth 20% and the Quiz is worth 10% of my grades. I haven't had time at all to do most of the homework which is why I am not even doing well in that, although I plan on finishing the last one fully. My lab mark is 20% and I hope to achieve at least a 14 or 15%.

    My final is worth 40% and I somehow calculated with assuming some bad marks that I should have about 33% or so before the final. Meaning if I get a full mark on the exam (very very unlikely unless if I study 24/7) I could get 72%. Or I can try and pass the exam at least and get at least a pass mark in final grade.

    My question though would be if I should risk it, I have until Monday August 4 to drop the course without academic penalty and get back 50% of my money. Or should I sill stay and try hoping not to fail? I am pretty disappointed in myself but I still have not found the troubles to my study habits. I am not sure as to why I can't force myself to do well even in this one course. I don't know if it is because I am tired after 4 tough years in high school pushing myself to achieve high grades or 80's and 90's or if it is something else.

    Any advice is helpful...

    I have started to develop thoughts of asking my school if I could somehow redo my first year, that is re-enroll into my school. Or try and take a year off. But I find both ideas frightening and think that these actions might disappoint certain people in my life.
  7. Jul 30, 2008 #6

    Andy Resnick

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    Have you talked with the course instructor at all?

    What I mean is, your grades are not a secret from him/her. If you are having trouble and not seeking help, the assumption is that you just don't care. A Student not caring about intro classes is not unusual- face it, intro classes don't count for anything, expecially if you get decent grades in the more advanced courses.

    You can't re-do your first year, nor should you want to. Look forward and try and improve rather than carry regret about the past.
  8. Jul 30, 2008 #7
    I woke up today in the morning and I had a change of attitude as I got out of bed. I just told myself I would have to look back at all the wrong things I did in all my classes and try to rebuild my study habits from there.

    I know that I can not re-do first year, and I really do not feel like re-doing it because most of my intro classes were boring, that is except for Chemistry. My fear I think is that I believe most employers will have a hard time seeing my first year grades, or that I haven't achieved a lot of academic awards because of my mark which will ultimately not grant me a good job. I plan on doing Graduate school (course based though) and then going into the industry to work. From your experiences (that is everyone at PF), do employers give a lot of thought to first year grades or is senior level courses and grad school more important to them?
  9. Jul 30, 2008 #8
    Look BioCore, I've noticed in a lot of your posts you keep bringing up how you regret messing up first year. The fact is, this happens to a lot of people. This does not in any way mean these people are inferior. All people come from different backgrounds, and so first year (and I would even say second year) are melting pots to get people up to speed. It is not healthy to be so hard on yourself and look dimly onto the future. It is over and done with, nothing can be done. What needs to be adressed is the issue of WHY your performance was bad and HOW you will improve it.

    For example... did you perform poorly because you lacked sufficient background? If so, take action to get up to speed - even if it means staying an extra year (depending on age, that should not be an issue). Or was the issue with study habits? Ie. are you spending too much time on TV than on homework? If so, cancel cable or take actions to prevent this. Maybe you were not interested in the subject manner? If so, consider changing majors into something you really like. Is an addiction getting in the way? etc. You need to reflect on this and address it before the next year.

    Assuming you passed all your first years, it is safe to move on but take a light course load. You don't need to MASTER all the first year material, you should just have a general knowledge of it. I remember you asking if it was okay to take a lot of intensive chemistry. I would not advise you to do this, unless you are certain to cope with it. Taking analytic, inorganic, organic, physical, and biochem courses in one year seems too much. Get rid of inorganic and do something easy and interesting that is not related to science. This will give you more time to devote to your science courses and improve your study habits. It looks like you are trying to compensate for your poor perfomance in first year by going hardcore in second - a very poor tactic. Frantically enrolling in all the physics and math courses coupled with a biochem degree is only going down hill.

    Employers don't really care about first year performance as long as upper years are good. As long as you can get a 3.0+ GPA, which is still possible with 3 years of undergrad, they generally won't ask questions. Similarily, grad schools put emphasis on third and fourth year. You can still be a medical doctor or a biochemist, whichever you want. If you have Ds in first year and As and Bs in second/third/fourth, your degree is still outstanding. Realistically address the issues, and you can still be top of the class. I have seen this again and again.
  10. Jul 30, 2008 #9

    Actually, I was browsing by the forum and looking for a topic like this one since I was feeling a bit unsure and apathetic towards my upcoming Fall Semester.

    I agree withe Howers. There are times when things are going bad and we may feel like there is little we can do. However, there's always a way to get back in to the swing of things so to speak. Personally, for me overcoming that block takes a reminder of not why I can't do something but the call of "how can I not?" How can I not push myself? How can I not motivate myself? How can I not push through my mathematics and physics problems. How can I not...etc.
    Understand that you can come back from this and that what is needed most here is not despair but a change of perspective. Reassess the situation honestly and from there you'll see where to go.


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