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Is this schedule going to make me lose my mind?

  1. Jul 16, 2013 #1
    I'm taking Calculus 3, differential equations, linear algebra, physics 3, and a putnam exam preparation class (self study under an adivsor). I will be expected to take the Putnam this December. I could take Computer Programing I instead of one of the math classes and the Putnam class. Is this schedule good idea or a bad idea? I will be working 5 hours a week.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 16, 2013 #2
    It depends on you. I'm working 40 hours a week and taking 4 classes. I'm also self studying instrumentation to prepare for it before I take it.
  4. Jul 16, 2013 #3


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    That sounds like a fairly standard courseload for someone majoring in math or physics to me. Why would it be a bad idea?
  5. Jul 16, 2013 #4
    I suppose I should be more specific. How bad is the stress level going to be? I do have some amount of a disability, and I normally try to limit the amount of chaos in my life to help with that. I was also told by one professor that I was biting off quite a lot, so I guess I just wanted to make sure I wasn't completely screwing myself.
  6. Jul 16, 2013 #5
    I took Calculus III, Differential Equations, Linear Algebra, Physics III, Introductory Astrophysics, and General Chemistry II in a single semester and did fine. Although, I did have to stay awake late to finish/study some things here and there. The math classes complement each other well. Physics III is still at an introductory level, so you won't see too much rigorous mathematics. Just ask around and see how the lecturers for each of your classes are in terms of course load.
  7. Jul 16, 2013 #6
    Often testimonies are better to find out the time commitment for a class than the credit hour system. In addition to mmm_pasta's comment, I suggest you talk to prior students of the class. Then, build your weekly schedule hour by hour. Ask yourself: is X hours/day of free time something I need or want? will I burn myself out on a certain day of the week? how much sleep do I need to work efficiently? did I leave time for lunch? is there wiggle room for a taxing project/assignment?
    Basically, you should identify your priorities and see if your schedule matches what you want to achieve.
    Living with stress can be hard. This doesn't mean you have to go at half the pace of everyone else, but you may need to reserve an extra time slot to relax and recuperate (tea time, yoga, reality TV, whatever you need).
  8. Jul 17, 2013 #7


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    You will be expected to take the Putnam? Let's just put this in the correct context; it is VERY unlikely you will solve 5 questions to get in the top ~100. Most likely, you will solve 2-4 questions and be pretty happy with that. My point is, don't be unrealistic about how difficult that competition is. I would treat it as strictly for fun/enjoyment.

    Then, it may happen that there are times when you feel drained. I would cut down on the Putnam study in that case, rather do well in your main subjects.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
  9. Jul 17, 2013 #8
    I second what verty said about the Putnam. It's cool to "study" a bit for it, do some old Putnam problems, but definitely don't sacrifice your coursework for the Putnam.
  10. Jul 21, 2013 #9
    I'm more than aware that Putnam is extremely difficult. I've always wanted to take it, and my friend and decided to take the class together. We'll see how it pans out. Thanks for the advice guys. Guess I'll just give it a 100%, and if it is too much for me personally I'll just take less classes in the spring.
  11. Jul 21, 2013 #10
    Putnam is always a good experience and it really helps you work on problem solving skills, which is instrumental in proofs and mathematics in general. It's always good to hear people are taking it and it can be a lot of fun. Of course, when push comes to shove- your classes will take priority.
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