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Sleep-deprived graduate student

  1. Feb 21, 2015 #1
    I am a new member to Physics Forums, actually I browse the site quite often, so I thought it was time I officially joined.

    I am a former high school AP/IB physics teacher, now a 2nd year physics graduate student finishing my classes and prepping for qualifiers. I'm currently taking Classical Electrodynamics (semester 2), Statistical Physics, and Quantum (semester 2). Electrodynamics (with the infamous Jackson textbook) is extremely humbling. If you've been there, then you understand.

    Always looking for ways to increase my productivity and efficiency and appreciate advice from those who've been through physics grad school. My biggest hurdle is truly retaining what I "learn". We cover content so quickly it is a wonder that I process any of it at all. Re-learning isn't efficient, however with time constraints, it is my reality. As a former educator, I find this very frustrating.

    Thanks and I look forward to making a positive contribution to Physics Forums.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 21, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    I had a similar experience when I went back to grad school. I lost my math edge and had to review everything and couldn't keep up with the younger grad students fresh out with a BS degree.

    Eventually, I decided to combine what I knew from experience and what I did on the job to become a CS grad student. It was a good practical decision but I still wish I had continued although I know I probably wouldn't have succeeded.

    It was just too much to learn in and too short a time until the qualifiers for someone who was still working full time. You may fare better having taught AP/IB physics and have something to fall back on ie a good intuition for problem solving and better math skills.

    Maybe you can form a study group with other grad students to prepare for the qualifiers. We did that once in EM class. The prof handed out a worksheet of 60 problems and said that five would on the test. Our class of 12 got together, divided up the problems and shared solutions. I was the lucky one though, I got the two special relativity problems which were the hardest to do and both were on the test. Go figure.
  4. Feb 21, 2015 #3
    Thanks for your reply. It's good to hear that others have been through this. Your first two sentences are spot on. I do have a great group that I work with, so I am lucky in that respect. And luckily, I'm not working. I just keep keep on truckin'.
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