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University vs High School

  1. Dec 12, 2011 #1
    Which of the two did you find harder? Which did you enjoy more?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 12, 2011 #2


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    University. And University.

    Whilst university is orders of magnitude more difficult (I spent most of high-school physics refining my origami), university is way more fun.
  4. Dec 12, 2011 #3
    Ugh... really? I'm already running out of time, and I'm still in high school. D:
  5. Dec 12, 2011 #4


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    Heh. People say that the last year of high-school is the hardest, but that's a total lie.

    However, with the hard work comes the rewards. You learn more and deeper, and get to do things you never get to in high-school. At the moment I'm playing with femtosecond pulsed lasers. That's some cool stuff. I've also gotten to run a linear accelerator, been paid to work on a telescope... Also, university is more flexible. Can't get up in the morning? Fine, skip a lecture. The flip side, is that it's your responsibility to be in charge of your education. But that's ok.
  6. Dec 13, 2011 #5
    Speaking in terms of physics, university is immensely harder than high school for two main reasons.

    First, the course material is quite a bit more difficult. Many students in high school, myself included, benefited a lot from having a good "physical intuition". It's hard to describe what this is, but if you have it, you'll know what I mean. You can make fairly accurate predictions about a physical situation without too much need resort to a pen and paper. As you progress through higher level physics courses, you'll find the problems can become very abstract, and that there's little your everyday experience can do to help with understanding. After all, humans' brains are evolved to understand things that are very big and very slow. Once things get very small and/or very fast, math is your only tool. You'll also find yourself working with more and more quantities that have never mattered in "real life", like a partition function or a Brillouin zone.

    Secondly, and much easier to explain, everything is covered faster. You're expected to apply a concept with fewer examples and less explanation.

    Best of all though, I'm almost finished my degree, and physics doesn't seem too much harder to me now that it did in high school. Of course it IS harder, but you slowly adjust to the difficulty level, and your brain "learns how to learn", things start getting easier.

    To put things in perspective, I think the hardest course I've ever taken was my 2nd year classical mechanics course. I'm taking the second half of senior-level quantum mechanics right now, and although the course material is obviously much more difficult than classical mechanics, it doesn't seem that way, for the reason above!
  7. Dec 13, 2011 #6

    Chi Meson

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    I'm going to use this in class during one of my "wait til you get to college" talks.
  8. Dec 13, 2011 #7
    You're going to wish you're an high school drop out haha, but yeah maybe not. I'm still in first year, the pacing is really quick, after frosh week you're going to get hit hard, maybe not as hard at first but it's going to hurt. I found once I bought my books I gained some footing, it could get disorienting having no one lead you around, material wise. Oh and you're going to lose out on sleep. Finals are coming up and I noticed that the way I study for exams should be the way you study everyday throughout the whole term.
  9. Dec 14, 2011 #8


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    University is more difficult, but exponentially more fun and interesting. I really enjoy meeting people who love to learn and hearing their perspectives about things.
  10. Jan 9, 2012 #9
    Thanks, I'm flattered!
  11. Jan 9, 2012 #10


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    university for both questions. my high school experience is filled with having to deal with egotistical morons
  12. Jan 9, 2012 #11


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    The level of competition as you move from HS to Uni ramps up quite a bit. Don't expect a smooth progression. Ain't gonna happen, especially in math and sciences.
  13. Jan 13, 2012 #12

    I like Serena

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    Uni... finally around people who are motivated and enjoy studying math and science.

    Great improvement over being around people that are just sitting HS out waiting till they can be rid of it.
  14. Jan 13, 2012 #13
    College was more difficult academically because I wasn't properly prepared for it via high school. College was much more rewarding in many ways, but I really liked high school a lot also. Tough choice.
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