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Other I'm nervous about university

  1. Apr 7, 2017 #1
    Hi. I'm completing high school this year and lacking confidence when applying to courses at university. I'm an average student. My teachers tell me I'm good enough to do whatever course I want but I doubt my abilities. My fear is not being able to cope with the workload or work complexity at university. Any advice, reassurances or reality checks would be greatly appreciated. My passion is physics. I wish to do mechanical engineering (for the money and little passion), civil engineering (for the money) or astrophysics (my passion).

    Note : My grade 12 first term results were
    Physics : 72% (physics 84% + chemistry 60%)
    Maths : 87%
    Life science : 80%
    English : 85%

    Thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 7, 2017 #2
    Nothing to be nervous about. A little bit of stress and anxiety is actually healthy. Helps you keep on top of things.

    All I can say is that if you're committed, you've got nothing to worry about.

    Most first year subjects won't appear to be any more work than year 12. It's just they're more highly weighted. But again, if you're committed, no stress at all.
  4. Apr 7, 2017 #3
    O yes, look at my avatar all the university professors are like that.

    But to speak seriously do what you must, and come what may
  5. Apr 7, 2017 #4
    ACT scores are standardized and easier to interpret than grades that are often gifted by local teachers.

    Laziness and beer will kill your dream.
  6. Apr 7, 2017 #5


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    Your description means you should start with an aim toward Engineering and Physics. Adjust as you determine your goals. Be sure to not shortcut the Mathematics. You may still need remedial level courses until ready for Calculus 1 or Trigonometry. If you are afraid of being overloaded in courses, then try fewer courses or fewer "units" and see how things progress. Just be aware, fewer courses per term means more terms of study. Study hard, everyday!
  7. Apr 7, 2017 #6
    All college freshman should be given a t-shirt that reads this.
  8. Apr 8, 2017 #7


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    Well, university is generally a level up from high school. The material is more advanced. The professors can be less forgiving than teachers. And in many places they're hired for their research skills with varying emphasis on teaching and in most cases have had far less training in how to teach. On top of that, if you're looking into physics or engineering programs, your peers will largely be made up of people who did well in physics and mathematics in high school and who have at least some kind of passion for these subjects. So you will have to bring your A game - so to speak.

    Of course all of this can be intimidating - particularly if you haven't been leading the pack in high school. But it doesn't have to be.

    If possible, try to adopt a positive mindset. You have an opportunity to study something that you love - most people in the world don't get this opportunity. You have the opportunity to be surrounded by other like-minded people, many of whom will share your passions and dreams and be happy that you share theirs. You'll have the opportunity to be taught be people who are doing cutting edge research in their fields, to ask them questions, and maybe even get involved with some projects they are working on. Sure, it will be a lot of work, but just about everything in life worth earning requires a lot of work.

    You can also try to adopt a hard-working mindset. Some people believe that intelligence is innate - that you're born with a certain capacity that can't be increased. People with this mindset tend to do well until they are really challenged and then often fall victim to the believe that they have reached their innate limits. Other adopt a mindset that sees intelligence as more of a muscle - the more you work out, the stronger it gets. These are the ones that tend to do better in the long term, in my experience.

    Finally, remember that you can always back down if you find you've bitten off too much. Balancing a full course load, a part-time job, extra-curricular commitments, and taking good care of yourself can be tough. If you really find it overwhelming there are things you can do to mitigate the stresses: drop classes, reduce hours at your job, drop an activity, etc. They all come with consequences, of course, but don't feel as though you have no options. Try to take good care of yourself though: get enough sleep, eat properly, exercise, socialise, etc. This will help you deal with any of the stress that you face in the long term.
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