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Some complaining about the way it is

  1. Jan 26, 2010 #1
    I study physics, and it sux.

    My expectations were big - i find math & physics very interesting, and hoped that university will be place that helps me to develop my passions.

    But it's not.

    Nobody treats physics students as persons who actually like physics - they treat us as people who want to get document that confirms they knowledge, to get related job in future - and curriculum reflect this.

    All we do simplifies to this - learn some algorithms and learn to detect which algoritm should be used to solve particular problem.

    Is this problem about cows? use cow algorithm. etc

    As well i could learn random chinese words without knowing they meaning, or be memorizing first 100 numbers of PI.

    I don't see how this have anything to do with sience, or atleast with what i though sience is.
    I saw it as something similar to art, where creativity and open mind counts most.
    But university don't meet my image at all.

    I feel like i made bigger progress when was learning from books by myself and i wonder - isn't university huge waste of time?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 26, 2010 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Which level of physics are you studying right now? Introductory courses (high school or first year of college/university) do tend to be like that, unfortunately, because most of the students in those courses aren't physics majors. They're just taking the course as a requirement for some other degree, they just want to know how to do well on tests, and their attitude tends to rub off on the instructor.
  4. Jan 26, 2010 #3
    It's first year of university, and in my country there's no minors or majors - me and all other people who attend class are goint to be Physicists.
  5. Jan 26, 2010 #4
    I haven't seen your course, but from the sounds of things you're simply being unrealistic.

    There are some skills that you just need to learn: at your level you need to accept that. At your stage, physics is not similar to art, there is little room for creativity - because you don't yet have the foundations.

    Having said that, unfortunately some courses are just focussed on a 'passing the exam' type approach, and you're right, this isn't good for your future career. If you're not happy with your course, go through the staff-student liasons to express your feelings. If you feel that some part of a course is a waste of time, approach the lecturer and ask about practicalities in learning this particular area.

    I've no doubt that a lot of the things early-level undergraduates complain about and see no use in does become very important in later years: I did it myself. When you're tackling what you believe are pointless examples the thing thats difficult to realise is that it isn't the problem you're learning: it's how to think like a physicist.
  6. Jan 26, 2010 #5


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    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    I took a course in novel writing once.

    We covered all sorts of stuff like grammar, the fundamentals of story structure, character building, writing effective dialogue, and even talked about the publication process itself.

    At no point did I write the next Harry Potter novel.

    The key is that the courses show you the building blocks of the science you're studying, but in the end it's just a course. No one is going to show you how to conduct ground-breaking research. There is a lot of learning that takes place outside of course work. That's not to say the courses are useless. They give you a framework to build up from. But they won't teach you everything.

    Also, if you're unhappy with the direction of your course, you have the right to speak with your instructor about it.
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