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Studying HS physics

  1. Apr 12, 2015 #1
    Hello everybody,

    is it worth studying much in high school even if your position in a university is granted? I simply cannot study properly because of my severely limited interests so that excludes physics too, even though I would like to dedicate my life to it. This happens because I cannot do something whilst knowing there is something else that needs to be done (e.g biology, literature...).

    Is it a bad idea that I am unproductive or should I simply relax until university begins? I have no clue as to what I should do during this phase of my life, as much as I would like to study physics now (in high school) I simply can't because of this pressure.

    I honestly think that studying right now is benefitial due to neurplasticity, but I might be wrong because university differs greatly in comparision to hs.

    Any recommendations would be appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2015 #2

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    Why do you think this problem is going to go away when you get to college?
  4. Apr 12, 2015 #3
    Because I am not obligated to do work that I do not enjoy, when I know that physics/maths is my only task I will enjoy it immensly.
  5. Apr 12, 2015 #4
    If you are in the US, this is not true. You will have electives, which will take up some of your time. You could theoretically ignore the electives, but those grades are important in their own right. Would those prevent you from studying physics?

    Moreover, you can't guarantee you'll enjoy every aspect of physics. You may hate writing lab reports, for instance. Will those stop you?
  6. Apr 12, 2015 #5
    The only part of physics/maths I dislike at the moment is anything involving statistics but that is still tolerable. Also I'm in Sweden, I don't know anything about the electives.
  7. Apr 12, 2015 #6
    If you go to a US University you are required to take classes not related to your major like English and Philosophy and whatnot. Also statistics are very important to Physics in Statistical Mechanics and Quantum Mechanics, which are both necessary for an undergraduate to be proficient in, and for QFT which is a major research area. Not liking statistics may be a problem, though I imagine your statistics class in high school will have focused on general applications and not the theory or physical applications, which will probably appeal to you more.
  8. Apr 12, 2015 #7
    There's a big world out there, besides just physics and math. Try to expand your view on the world by actually trying in classes that you think that you won't like.
  9. Apr 12, 2015 #8

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    This is a very good point. A very good point.
  10. Apr 12, 2015 #9


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    It sounds to me like you're asking us for permission to relax until the end of high school, or at least to validate the idea the work done between now and then doesn't matter.

    I can understand the frustration that can come in high school when you essentially have material that seems forced onto you that you don't really care all that much about in the moment, and that may not seem relevant to your long term goals - particularly when its "busy work" or comes from someone who has only a superficial understanding of the material to begin with.

    But one of the things I've found in my career is that a physicist is a scientist first. So studying subjects like biology can end up having a lot of value later down the road if you ever collaborate with someone from outside your field or need to draw on data from outside your field and need an appreciation for the methodology.

    If I were in your shoes, if it turns out that marks don't matter much at this point, this might be a great time to turn towards developing your understanding of the fundamentals. Take on some extra-challenging problems. Get your hands on a first-year university textbook and start working through a few problems. Read up on the stuff that really interests you. Or start a new project.

    Taking a break can be good. But one of the issues that comes with allowing yourself to slack off is that it can be very difficult to get out of habits that you develop in that mindset.
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