Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What is wrong with me?

  1. Oct 18, 2007 #1
    What is wrong with me???

    I'm attempting to major in physics at Cornell University. I'm an undergraduate. It's my junior year. I have done alright in school so far (I have a 3.62 GPA here, I've been taking the honors physics sequence, I have A's and one A- in all my physics classes so far.)

    This semester though, I am failing horribly. I'm spending every waking minute I possibly can on school, either studying or doing homework or going to class. I'm only sleeping a couple hours a night on weeknights, with more on the nights before exams and on weekends. Despite this, I can't seem to pass my classes.

    I'm taking Advanced Honors E&M, elementary spanish, a class on electronic circuits, and a class on mathematical physics. Of those, the only ones I'm passing are E&M (doing somewhere around the mean, it's curved to an A-) and Spanish. I'm failing circuits and math, and I don't know why.

    I've been doing okay on the homeworks, and spending as much time as I can possibly spare preparing for each test. I just got back from the circuits midterm, and I went into it honestly thinking I would do fine - I read the book twice, re-did every homework problem and breezed through them, and studied all my notes. But when I got to the exam, I wasn't able to find a complete answer to a single problem. And from what people said afterwards, they didn't find it to be that hard.

    What is wrong with me? I can't work any harder. Why did my brain just stop working?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 18, 2007 #2

    Dr Transport

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Kick back ,relax and go out. You're spending too much time worrying and working.
  4. Oct 18, 2007 #3
    Your a jr. in physics and your only taking E&M now? I thought all the physics/engineering/comp sci people take E&M sooner than that. I took it my 2nd semester I think.

    Circuits are a tough class, I remember spending hours and hours (Circuit Design) on the homeworks and over studying and doing worse on the exams and I couldn't understand why. I just stressed myself out way to much and that hurt me when it came test time.

    It sounds to me like your over studying, then panicking on the exams like I did, take some time and relax, do something you enjoy other than studying. Switch it up.

    So i'm basically agree 100% on what Dr. Transport is saying.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2007
  5. Oct 18, 2007 #4
    I'm failing out of school, that's a pretty solid thing to worry about :frown:

    I already took the normal honors E&M, this is "advanced" E&M (at the level of Marion & Heald.)
  6. Oct 18, 2007 #5
    ahh I see, that makes sense then :)

    Are you spending too much time on Spanish and E&M and not enough on the classes your failing out on?

    I remember putting all my efforts into 1 class, and soon finding out my other courses were suffering, so I had to balance it out, sure I didn't get all A's but it only lowered my GPA a little (much less than a F would have done)
  7. Oct 18, 2007 #6
    our working to much, there are days where I could spend hours staring at my work and going over things and then fail miserably, wheras on other days I'll brease through it in an hour.

    out of curiosity do you smoke? I find that if I don't get my usual dose of nicotine my brain stop functioning.
  8. Oct 18, 2007 #7

    I'm the same way, except my addiction is coffee/tea/red bull in that order in fact I just opened a red bull right now and I'm not sure why because its 10:42pm :bugeye:
  9. Oct 18, 2007 #8
    Can't say I've taken those classes, but I'm done for if I don't get 7 hours of sleep. If I don't, I can't stay awake in class & then if I study that day, I can't remember much the next day...
  10. Oct 18, 2007 #9
    No, I don't smoke.

    If I was smart enough to get through the first two years, should I be able to get through the rest, too? Am I approaching this wrong somehow, or have I simply hit my limit?
  11. Oct 18, 2007 #10
    how are you failing out of school? i highly doubt you're facing some kind of insurmountable challenge and i doubt your brain is "failing". either you're exaggerating how much you're working or you're studying incorrectly. probably a little of both
  12. Oct 18, 2007 #11
    Oh, for goodness sake! Do you really think that sleep depriving yourself is good technique for studying. Seriously, it's no wonder you're not passing. Go to bed! Eat breakfast. Exercise. Or, you're going to burn out. Fast.

    You're taking too many classes. Give yourself a break for a term. Why would you need to push it so hard? Are you antsy to get out there and start working?!? Enjoy school while you're there or you're going to regret it when you're out.

    Don't ever listen to how other people say they did on an exam. The only thing you know is how you did, and what does that have to do with anyone but you? Talk to the instructor and see what he/she can do for you, that's what they're there for. Although I think a lot of them would disagree. Have you formed a study group or, like most kids, are you trying to go at this by yourself? I guarantee you that most of the kids who said they didn't have a problem with the exam... Yeah, they did. And I'm sure some of them would like to have partners to study with.

    Nothing is wrong with you. And, no, you are not failing out of school. How does having ONE off term qualify as failing? It sounds like you have a skewed idea of what studying is, and you're too damned hard on yourself. Keep it together, man.
  13. Oct 19, 2007 #12


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Get more sleep. Staying up late and studying is not going to help you retain information. If your brain is too tired you are not going to remember information as well. Study during the times when you are awake and alert. You will retain information best during those periods.
  14. Oct 19, 2007 #13


    User Avatar

    Everybody's saying it...

    Seriously, get some proper rest -- you need as much rest as you do study for stuff to sink in.

    Take breaks away from your study room -- go for a walk around campus -- and don't study through the night!
  15. Oct 19, 2007 #14


    User Avatar

    Does anyone else think the mean being equivalent to an A- is ridiculous?

    Like everyone else is saying, you're working yourself too hard...
  16. Oct 19, 2007 #15
    bear in mind that this is only in really challenging honors physics classes. The thinking is that anyone in there could have dropped down to the non-honors version, which is curved to a B- or something, and had a much easier time with respect to the curve.
  17. Oct 19, 2007 #16


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I'm going to chime in with all the others here...get some sleep! Seriously. If you're sleep-deprived, it's going to be impossible to adequately pay attention in class, and everything you study is going to go in one eyeball and out the other (or in your eye and out your ear?...um...you get the point). Take this entire weekend off from school work, get to bed early, sleep in late, treat yourself to a few good meals, do something fun and restful, and see if things seem a bit better on Monday.
  18. Oct 19, 2007 #17
    That still seems a bit strange. What if a large group of poor students enrolled in the honors class? Also, shouldn't the mean in a regular class be a C?
  19. Oct 20, 2007 #18


    User Avatar

    For my upper-division classes the mean is supposed to correspond to something like a B or B-. I think having the mean be a C is too harsh on the students. We all know a C is *not* a good grade to have on a transcript.
  20. Oct 21, 2007 #19
    You claim that you are "failing out of school" because you're getting an A- in honors advanced E&M? You're kidding, right? Just relax and enjoy your studies, and concentrate on studying for the fun of it, and not for grades.
  21. Oct 21, 2007 #20
    No, because of the D I'm getting in math, and some similarly bad grade in circuits.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook