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Looking For Academic Guidance - I'm struggling a bit

  1. Feb 28, 2014 #1
    Looking For Academic Guidance -- I'm struggling a bit

    Hello, I am currently hoping to obtain a physics degree, but I am just a little shaken up by my last two tests I took in Gen Phy 2 E&M. I try really hard and would go as far to say that no one in my class works as hard as I do to learn and understand the material, granted I do not attend a school where there are many physics majors, none to be exact. But, at the same time here I am actually wanting to go on and study the subject only to be outdone by Bio, Chem, and engineering majors. I may just be overreacting but I feel like nobody wants to do as well as I do and that feeling you get when you see other kids' test scores and they're better than yours it just really puts a damper on your day. I did get the highest score on last semesters C.M. final so maybe I should just take this and use it to push myself to get a better grade on the next exam. I do not know what it is I expect to get out of this post, maybe just venting a little, but really any advice will help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 28, 2014 #2


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    I was in a similar situation in my second semester of physics. I would study constantly and go to the teacher's office to ask for help and still not understand very well/get mediocre grades on the exams. I was also the only actual physics major in the class. The key difference is, however, that my exam grades were still better than most of the others in the class. I still felt like I was doing pretty poorly getting C's on some of the exams, but the fact that most of the others were doing even worse on average cushioned my fall a little.

    The others may have naturally better physical intuition than you, or maybe just better study habits. Not, sure, I don't know you. But they don't see in the subject what you see in it. They're not planning on making a career out of it. To them it's most likely just "one of those tough classes I gotta take." That's generally the attitude I see. You shouldn't let it discourage you.
  4. Feb 28, 2014 #3


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    Don't worry too much about how other people are doing. You don't know what their situations are.

    Particularly with first year, for those who had rigorous high school courses with good teachers a lot of the material is likely review.

    Also - some people are just plain smart. They can drink every night, skip lectures, spend ten minutes looking at a textbook and ace the exam. This can be extremely frustrating for anyone who has to work like sled dog to make any progress.

    Something else that may help is to remember that in high school you were in a pool with the general population. Now you're in a pool of science nerds. It's okay not to be the best. When you need to aim for is the best that you can be given your personal circumstances. If that's not sufficient to advance you to where you want to go, you have to re-examine either your methodology or your goals. If it is... then you have nothing to worry about.
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