Stressed over nothing?

  • Thread starter misskitty
  • Start date
  • #51
34
0
I posted an interesting account of an encounter I had with a university student seeking math help in another thread. He could answer calculus questions, but he couldn't deduce what simplified to, or how to plot . That is not "understanding."
Without help he probably would have got the wrong nanswer. These wrong answers would probably lower their score. I don't believe you can use somebody who could not figyre out how to simplify a problem for his homework. For good grades the answer has to be right. At least at the schools I have been to, we did not recieve an A if we just trued.

Last week I made a pair of silly mistakes on a test. Certainly, I was annoyed with myself afterwards. But it didn't matter, because I still understood all of the material with perfect clarity, and my professors and TAs are perfectly well aware of it. Once you start university, you will discover very quickly that being able to answer practice problems correctly is not what wins you credit. Understanding and attentiveness is. Getting used to concentrating on your grades and not on understanding at the high school level will, as far as I have observed, only force you to make an extra adjustment when you get out. This is precisely why the top schools in their fields have so many criteria beyond grades.
What grade did you come out with? I would assume a B possibly an A.

I'm still afraid that a person who makes a C on a test does not thoroughly understand it. I'm still failing to see the logic that people could make a C on the test and then say,"well, I understood it all perfectly".
 
  • #52
658
2
miss kitty, here's what happened to me, i hope it gives you a little perspective:

ook... its sorta a long story, but i'll try and sum it up as painlessly as possible, and if you're interested, i can explain more.

highschool GPA- 2.6 (and thats with rounded optimistically)
I took honors classes and even AP calc/phys junior year, but my grades were always very mediocre.
SATs- 1460, 800 math 660 verbal (i like tests...)
most of my teachers hated me cause i was a smart ass who wouldn't do any work and would consistenly ace their tests anyways. I was also so audacious that i actually helped other kids in class with their hw, and even tutored though i was getting C's and D's.
I BOMBED AP's, i mean hard core bombage. of course, i didn't really go to calc/phys, so it wasn't surprising. (if you're interested i got a 2 on physics mechanics, and a 1 on calc BC, a 2 on the AB subscore.)

Gah ok, i edited again, it was getting long, starting over.

So, i end up in Calc3 at a local college regardless of my calc grades and AP scores. then i decide to graduate early. My guidance counselor informs me that i basicaly "suck" and i won't get into good schools, so i should really consider ****ty schools instead. But even though she assures me i likely won't get in, i apply to Umass. She says i suck some more, and i decided applying to Umass was a waste of money, and now i'm just praying i get into one of the really small local schools, and i don't apply to UNH. Then we have some issues over retaking that history class i failed, and sometime while the whole thing was happening, i get a letter from Umass. I got in! i'm like, wtf, she said i wouldn't get in, wtf.... i look at umass' site, they accept GED's, so i go to my guidance counselor, and i'm like, "look, i got in, and i'm pretty sure i can still get in even if i got a GED, and if not, i'm certain i can get into a ****ty school with a GED and eventually transfer anyways, so i'm dropping out unless something awesome happens," (with regards to the history class.) So, cue the prinicipal. She's all like "oh no, but you've got high SAT scores, if you dropped out, it'd give the school bad statistics... can't we make things work?!?" miraculously, an online course shows up, and the school is suddenly willing to allow it, and everything's cool.

So, i get to Umass, and things are still weird. I show up to sign up for classes, and they don't make me retake mechanics or Calc's 1, 2, or 3, my advisor says he'd "hate to slow me down." So, everything worked out, i guess.

Anyways, its a really really weird story, i'm not at all conventional, but i certainly assure you that a 3.7 won't keep you out of good schools. Umass is a great school, (like somone said, states schools have really caught up with ivy leagues.) and sides, they have a 5 college exchange programs so i can go to these 4 other really great schools for free. I only had a 2.6, but ya i had high SATs, i also had one decent recomendation letter, and erm, a good essay? my dad said my essay sucked, but eh, it basically explained my highschool career... which i think probably helped. Maybe it helped that i'm only 17, and female, i dunno.

i think probably the biggest factor for getting any where in life is determination anyways. Ya, i got ****ty grades, but i was determined that it wouldn't matter, that i could take honors classes, that i could start college early, ect. Really just be certain that you know who you are, and what you're capable of, then don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

erm, this was way longer than i wanted it to be, sorry, its just kinda hard to get my point across with few words... heh...
 
  • #53
737
0
mathwonk said:
A wise person once told me "attention will get you teachers". Do you understand this?

After hearing this i never again paid a dime to get the best instruction in the world. I went to some of the best schools on grants provided in part by the professors themselves.

So work hard, but do not worry too much.
That is some of the best advice I have heard yet. Sir, thank you very much. I have had many teachers give me advice, there are few I remember. This shall be one of them.

I do indeed know that by showing your teachers your attention they will want to teach you and help you achieve your full potential. I know because Ihave many years of experience at it, starting from my first year in primary school to my junior year, now.

I can remeber that. Thank you.
 
  • #54
737
0
Gale, suddenly I feel so much better to know that there are people out there who I can relate to. I TOTALLY get where you're comming from. I've had quite the uphill battle this year, (as you know), and I've been feeling stressed and depressed. Thanks for typing that because it really uplifted me. :smile:

Data, thanks for what you typed. It was good to be on the receiving end of advice rather than the giving part...when do you learn to take you own GD advice? :smile:

Zach, the MIT essay prompts are a big help considering I still couldn't find them. You just cut my worry down a size.

It really makes me feel much more secure and at ease knowing there are people who have the same worries about the same things. Especially knowing someone elses had/s a gudiance counselor who told them they will amount to nothing. (:wink: Gale) This advice youu guys are giving is excellent. I'm almost tempted to ask one of the administrators to set up a new Sticky thread for college advice...this should go to everyone who is applying or about to apply to colleges....I certainly am not the last student who worries profusley about such matters. You are all wonderful. :smile:
 
  • #55
658
2
I've actually talked to a few people who really stress about college and GPAs and all that stuff, and really, the stress totally sucks, cause its not even productive, it just makes people tweak out. I'm at least glad that the stupid stuff i went through helps me to talk to other people about it. People need to understand that sucess depends on a variety of factors, and even though throughout school they tell you that your grades and test scores are the most important factors, they aren't, really. There are reasons some do well on tests, others do poor, some have good grades, others don't. The important thing is that you know why you've got the scores you've got, and that you can explain it to people. Even if you have a high GPA, colleges still want to know why, what you did, the process is what matters.

On a side note, and i think its important to say, but again, there are a lot of factors for sucess. We all learn different ways, and the most important thing is that you accept who you are, your learning style and everything else, and learn how to work with it best. I know there are a lot of kids out there who work really hard for their grades and still don't have the highest GPAs and that its frustrating to see other people brease by. but really, there are so many other important aspects of life, don't stress.

and ya.... guidance counselors aren't payed to like you... don't let anyone convince you that you aren't good enough.
 
  • #56
375
0
I don't want to be a Debbie Downer - but there are no easy platitudes or solutions, because life in itself is complex. Every person has different personalities, interests, goals, abilities, and external circumstances like money, family, geography, etc. Advice that is great for one person may be totally irrelevant or useless for another. I could say: "Don't worry, do X [not the drug :smile: ], and everything will work out OK" - but I'd be lying because things don't always work out great, despite our best efforts.

We can offer you our understanding and sympathy though. Life can be stressful and rough sometimes. If you can set realistic goals for yourself - that's for the best - but you are who you are, and it's not always easy to be less ambitious.

But you will find as you get older and change, that things that were important to you at one stage in your life becomes insignificant at another stage. That is not to say that decisions and actions you make now don't have a major impact later on in life, because they can.
 
  • #57
136
0
My little story, as long as everyone is sharing theirs...
I have never been that great a student. My grades are good enough to get by, as in no one's going to look at them and worry I haven't learned anything, but they're never going to make me stand out of the crowd. Yet despite it all everyone assumes I am one of those kids who makes the honor roll, asks me for advice on whatever problems crop up, and since I give their problems my best shot they'll come back later for more advice. Even more interesting is the fact that many a prof who knows my transcript's details full well has asked me to work with them in their research despite being a first year student.
I used to half-wonder why this was until I mentioned it in passing to a friend, who responded by telling me that I am the type of student who is in college because I like doing all the learning, not because I want to use it to do something else, and people notice. Upon reflection I think she's right: one of my guilty pleasures of university life is going to physics colloquiums every week, for example, despite being the only undergraduate on occasion. It's also worth mentioning that all the profs who have asked me to work with them have also noticed me at the colloquiums!
Life is a weird thing and you never know where it's going to take you: some places will be awesome and some places are not ones you'd want to be. But when you make sure to not get your schooling get in the way of your education it all becomes much more enjoyable!
 
  • #58
344
2
Zach_C said:
However, he spent too much time on his own projects and experiments. He went to a local university. Not a bad one.
Im in this situation as well. Frankly, I find college applications a real nuiscance, id much rather be learning new things than filling out forms and forms and more forms.

Data said:
Grades may get you through high school, but only understanding will get you through life.
Yeah, unfortunately high school sucks at this. Im one of the few who actually wants to learn the material for the sake of learning it, and even then I don't have the highest scores (because invariably I do make mistakes). It just seems like right now, in high school, understanding the material isn't nearly as astounding as "Wow! A 4.0 and 5's on the AP exams!" In a way I feel left out, and I often stress over when I finally will be in an atmosphere that embraces learning, instead of trivial banalities such as who got the highest score for what. Like for instance, I see these people getting awards, they are awesome at answering questions but never give second-thought to the inner mechanisms behind what they are answering. They never seem to want to talk to me about the philosophies behind it, or anything else for that matter regarding the subject. One time, one of them actually said to me "Why are you even asking that question" when I asked my calc teacher becuase I was curious in what might happen if a solid of revolution had a non-linear axis.

I just want to feel occsionally that my philosophy towards actually understanding the material is justified and at least partly recognized by others, because right now in the high school environment, it isn't, and im the only one in my class who seems to realize it.

It seems to me that the entire grade/test score fiasco is trying to instill one type of value in a "successful student", that being that those who score the best on tests will invariably succeed while everyone else who doesn't do as well (such as myself) on these tests will be left behind and will never be able to learn any of the higher-level interesting material because they are "not smart enough." That can be pretty difficult to handle at times.

Even if I do go to a smaller state university, I don't care anymore. I just want all of this to get over with so I can actually start learning something and not waste anymore of my time trudging through forms and applications. In the end, I will find my own success. It may not be at the "best university" or anything like that, but my passion for understanding will keep me going no matter what.
 
  • #59
136
0
I think the idea behind the whole grading system is let's face it, if there wasn't the threat of failure perpetually looming most kids would get incredibly apathetic incredibly quickly and not learn anything, nor would they ever get the skills you get from hard work. It's just that everything comes with a price and in this case the price is too much rote memorization, which doesn't help anyone that much, and frustration on the part of ppl who will learn just to learn.
It's times like these I'm reminded of one of Richard Feynman's stories about when he was in Brazil and discovered none of the kids who were going to become "scientists" knew anything that wasn't force-fed to them. He then flat-out told the Brazilians that unless they changed this they will never be good in science. Now I don't think American academia is at that level (a few other countries come to mind first), but I still sometimes worry over what's to become of us.
 
  • #60
737
0
There's a little something for everyone here:

I'm just going to go down the list in no particular order, :smile:

For Gale: When I read your post (#55), I couldn't help but think to myself: That is so true its ridiculous. Stress is a huge problem for many high school students who are looking towards what they want to do after high school. Adults put so much pressure on us to know everything that we are going to do, how were going to do it and pay for it, not to mention where we are going to live, work, and get ourselves from point A to point B. After high school, your grades do nothing for you. It's hard not to stress about them when there are a million and one things you need to be thinking about and decide how to get them all accomplished and done properly. Your comment about stress is very true. It does nothing for you, but people still manage to convince teens otherwise so they work themselves into the ground. They are burnt out before they even graduate. Its really sad.

For Juvenal: Your comment isn't depressing hon. Its a reminder reality still exsists even though there are many times I would like to forget it does. It's true: what you experience in life and how you cope with it shape you as a person. At one point or another I've wished someone could tell me what to do and how to do it because its difficult. I don't/didn't want to do it but I went through with it because I had to. Nobody ever said life would be a cakewalk, you just reminded me of that fact. Life happens, deal with it. :smile:

For Mortai: I understand you completely! :biggrin: I have the same mentality about the education situation. Most of the time, the responce I get when I ask a question like the one you used as an example, is "See me after class. I want to talk to you." When I meet with the teacher, they basically look at me like I have nine heads and I'm completely daft for asking...usually they never actually answer my question. Some of the teachers have a horrible view on their jobs...they ar there to teach what's in the text. Nothing More, Nothing less. I thought the job of a teacher was to help you learn about the world, how it works, the people in it, why thing happen, what happend to make other things happen as well as answer the questions that aren't in the book so you can expand your knowledge. Also, my situation is ridiculouly similar to yours, the one you mentioned in the third paragraph of your post. Don't fret, you're not alone. :smile:

For Andromeda: I agree with your last post (the first one too :wink:). It does seem like that is the only purpose of the grading system. I'll tell you that I think its aweful! I moved from one school to another before I hit high school. The whole district had a different system than the one I was used to. I had a 10 point grading scale (you know: 90-100 = A, 80-90 = B, etc.). The new school has a 7 point scale. Which does nothing but convince some of the brightest students (most of them are friends of mine, not CLOSE but still friends) they continually work themselves into the ground because they feel there is no other way to suceed. That's not what school is about at all!
Your first post also goes back to something someone (I don't remember who! I'm sorry! :redface:) had said earlier. It was along the lines of paying attention and working towards your potential and trying your best will get the attention of your teachers. Rather than the student who has the highest grades and doesn't care enough to try. Thats what I thought of when I read your first post. Hard work and perserverance go further than just getting the answers right. By the way, could you please explain what a colloquium is? I have no clue what it is. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, my dictionary doesn't really provide a good definition of what it means. :blush:
 
  • #61
737
0
Wow, that was a bigger post than I thought! :shock:
 
  • #62
I'm a failure. Got bad results today. :cry: Can't continue as a Math Major! :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:
 
Last edited:
  • #63
66
0
take it easy man, descions pop-uped and conlcued in moments are not wise :wink:
 
  • #64
How ironic, Moses himself is giving me advice! :rofl:
 
  • #65
graphic7
Gold Member
450
2
Why are you so concerned about getting into a prominent undergrad school? Contrary to the popular opinion, it doesn't matter all that much. You'll graudate with a Bachelors' degree like we all will, and possibly apply for graduate school (I assume you are, since you're interested about MIT and such).

You'll be able to get into almost any undergrad school with those grades, which will give you that Bachelors' degree; therefore, giving you an almost definite admission into tons of graduate programs. Not all undergrad programs have the same classes or focus, but that's moot for the most part. The undergrad program I'm in is short of a PDE class, complex variables (actually, offered as a special topics course this semester), and a few more. I don't feel too worried about this, though. I'll have a chance to take these courses in grad school.

I had around a 3.25 GPA when I entered as a freshman. Has is it effected me in anyway? No. Do I plan on going to graduate school? Yes. Will my high school GPA effect my admission into the program at all? No.

Edit: This seems to be closely related with the issue of students and AP classes. I've seen too many times a student whose transcript is riddled with AP-this-and-that, 4.0 GPA, 36 ACT score, etc etc, who 1) has no "real" comprehension of the subject material 2) has no real "passion" about the subject, either. It's quite sad.
 
Last edited:
  • #66
737
0
Graphic7, this is unfortunately true. Especially at my school. It doesn't help anyone if the guidance department approaches these kids to tutor other kids in the same subject they have as an AP class. For example, a senior in AP physics who is tutors a junior in Cp physics. This happens FAR to much. It also doesn't help that the school board could careless about this issue.

OptimusPrime: its ok to get a bad grade! It happens to everyone at some point or another. You'll bounce back! Just don't stop trying! :smile:
 
  • #67
136
0
Misskitty- a colloquium refers to basically a semi-regular event where people get together to exchange ideas in some field. Usually what happens is a speaker is invited to share his knowledge about a topic in the form of a PowerPoint presentation, and then there are a few minutes for questions. They're really cool and I recommend going to them in uni because you can learn a lot! There's usually free tea and cookies too... :biggrin:
Regarding APs- my school had a rule about them that if you were going to take the AP class you were required to take the AP test. My friends at college think this is incredibly odd until I pointed out to them that AP usually stands for "Admittance Preference" more then anything: have two kids with the exact same application but one has more APs written in front of his classes and that student will be let in. Doesn't matter if the kid learns anything, most kids at the public school in my district got 1s on the rare occasions they took the AP, but it's considered impressive (those kids, by the way, got automatic As for enrolling in AP courses but were not required to take the tests). The only thing a kid learns from such a policy is that life can be BSed and cutting corners and essentially cheating has its rewards. I can't phathom why any university would want to admit such a student.
 
  • #68
737
0
Earning grades is more important than being given them because you enrolled in a course. I can agree with what your saying.

I can tell you there is no such policy in effect in my district. People who enroll in AP courses are informed and prepared for these classes because of how rigorus they are. Students must have the permission of their parents, advisors, and the teacher of the course. Otherwise they are not admitted into the class. Students are required to learn adn apply the knowledge they gain from participating in the class.

I do agree with what you're saying. I'll have to check out the colloquiums when I go to college. They sound awesome.
 

Related Threads on Stressed over nothing?

Replies
12
Views
2K
Replies
6
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
2K
Replies
8
Views
922
Replies
4
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
22
Views
987
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
14
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
456
Top