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Academic Guidance Academic Guidance - Academic guidance for those pursuing a college degree... what college? Grad school? PhD help?


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January 25th, 2012, 01:42 PM   #1
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Am I in the wrong path?

So, my name is Diogo and i've 17 years old i was in Arts last year 11th and i changed myself to Science and Tecnology so i've lost like 2 years of school because of that..
Here i have the most dificult math and physics, these are the only ones that are making me strugle.
I don't know how to take good grades because this year we are revewing the 9th year for me its been 3 years since my 9th and i don't remember anything really...i'm pretty weak, my grades are horrible..
I can sort of try to memorize in the class the stuff they are doing but when they ask me "Why does it has that name?" "What does it means?" i can't asnwer..
I do want to learn math but its been hard..
I can say that all my 9/8/7th grades were horrible because of my class mates, they were those kind of people who would make teatchers get depressed or end the class away sooner and send everyone to somewhere ect..
I just couldn't learn a thing, in that time i didn't worried so much, but now i do...
And i'm kinda lost here...i do not want to lose another year nor take bad grades, just math and phyisics are strugling me...
What should i do? My study is not enough...i don't know how to study math properly either...i just read all the formulas but i can't understand them, so it makes it dificult when a question comes up you don't know what formula to use because theres just so many...
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January 25th, 2012, 08:11 PM   #2
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Re: Am I in the wrong path?

Quote:
Originally Posted by heltei15
i just read all the formulas but i can't understand them, so it makes it dificult when a question comes up you don't know what formula to use because theres just so many...
In respect to this issue specifically, this is from memorizing formulas but not truly understanding what they are for, why they're used, the concept behind them. Just a few hints for this:

One, try to rip the formula apart yourself and see what it's saying. Formulas can look daunting. I think even calling them "formulas" scare people off, so stop calling them that. Instead of seeing it as letters and symbols on a page, try to visualize what is in that formula in parts and see what it means. (What I mean by that is if for instance you have a formula that's a fraction and you have something in the numerator -- look at just the numerator first and try to decide what just that one part means. Or look at just what's in parenthesis and figure out what that means. Etc.) Try to visualize the relationship of what's in the formula in your head, or on paper, like draw things in relationship to each other.

Second, if you're not getting out of class (or from classmates) what the meaning is behind this, you can come here and ask. Many classes are taught from a memorization standpoint rather than an understanding standpoint. This is not uncommon at all. (In fact, entirely too common.) You can try asking the instructor and just see how much help you get. If that doesn't help, ask here or somewhere else.

Also pay close attention to the instructions of what the problem is asking for. A lot of people get hung up there - not knowing what it's asking. You can post that here as well.

Now, as to the rest. It sounds like you have the interest to switch directions, but that now you're behind on everything. My question is if you're 17, does it matter if you make this decision now? You may be able to take some of these courses in college and kind of catch up then. It's going to depend on whether the school will accept you if you don't have these classes, and on whether the school has high school level stuff. I don't know where you are, but here we have schools that have high school level courses, but either do not get college credit, or they do but don't really count towards your major. But they do exist so that you can take them and catch up to college level. Those are usually the open-admission public schools. Private schools can be different but sometimes they have them too. If you can transfer, you can maybe just start at a place that has this sort of thing and then transfer somewhere else you like better once you have the catch-up credits you need.

That's just an option. Since you're already 17, it sounds like you might not have time to catch up while in high school, unless you have a lot of extra time. But I know the feeling - I changed majors in college like 5 times. And trust me, some of those majors had very little in common.
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January 25th, 2012, 08:18 PM   #3
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Re: Am I in the wrong path?

I guess I did not address whether you're on "the wrong path." That is not really for me to answer. While I don't think it's a good idea to pursue something you are not good at, most people can learn things if they do like them and really want to. The stuff I'm terrible at are also the things I generally don't like anyway. So if you like them, you can probably find a way to learn them.

It might feel right now that you're on a wrong path because you're having to backtrack and are behind in that particular area. But that doesn't mean it's not the right area. You're only 17 - the world will still be there tomorrow. (And I believe it'll still be here in 2013. )
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January 26th, 2012, 04:47 AM   #4
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Re: Am I in the wrong path?

@Erimess

Thanks alot, actually i live in Porto (Portugal) and i don't know if i can do what you said here, i can try searching and asking but even if i do i doubt i will be able to change now, its already the mid of the second period and we have 3 and as far as i know you can only change till the start of the 2nd period..
That option for me is unavaible right now, i know i'm only 17 but...you know all of my classmates are 15 and my mom doesn't want me to throw away another year and its also painfull to me to have kids all around me and with one more year on the 10th grade they will be 14-15 and i will be 18..

I will be sincere, i do hate maths, i freaking hate them but thats because i can't understand them, because i do want to learn but its so hard, on the class my teatcher does not even care about it.
I don't know how can i study maths..and phyisics goes in the same away because they're all formulas and calculation (which i'm good at) but i was not prepared for this..
I want to understand math so i can do what the exercise asks me to do, because i can just memorize the exercice 11 (example) and do it again correctly because i know i have to do that formula for it.
I Can't do any exercice or almost any by myself...
I'm strugling because i can't go back and choose other course, nor i can go back at my younger times and take the classes more serious, I'm betwen you do it or your screwed.
My grades are :

Math : 7
Physics : 7
Phyisic Education : 16
Portuguese : 16
English : 18
Philosophy : 14

As you can see my worst grades are these two.
Right now i'm learning the "Vectors" ect..
Whithout searching anything of it i know what is a vector :
Vector : Its a strengh that is made with a Direction, Size and a way. but i don't know what does it means...
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January 26th, 2012, 08:55 AM   #5
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Re: Am I in the wrong path?

Quote:
Originally Posted by heltei15
its also painfull to me to have kids all around me and with one more year on the 10th grade they will be 14-15 and i will be 18.
It's common to feel that way, but frankly you're at an advantage. The extra maturity will help you do well in class, trust me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by heltei15
I don't know how can i study maths..and phyisics goes in the same away because they're all formulas and calculation (which i'm good at) but i was not prepared for this.
Yes, physics will be very hard for you because you're behind in math. If you improve the math, you will 'magically' get better at physics.

In my case the situation was reversed: I was in a physics class when my math was 2 years above the expected level (Calc III instead of precalc) and most of physics was just an obvious consequence of the math. (It sounds odd, but it's true!) So I wouldn't worry too much about physics -- you struggle not because you have trouble with physics but just because you're behind in math. Fix the math problem and the physics problem will probably go away.

(It's like this: suppose you grew up speaking, say, Guaraní and knew only a little Portuguese. You'd have trouble in physics because it would be difficult to understand the teachers. In that case, I might say, "Study Portuguese and you'll get better at physics.". After all, in a real way, math *is* the language of physics...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by heltei15
I will be sincere, i do hate maths, i freaking hate them but thats because i can't understand them, because i do want to learn but its so hard, on the class my teatcher does not even care about it.
It's pretty common, especially as you go to higher and higher levels of schooling, to have teachers not care about your progress. The motivation that the factor once provided can essentially be assumed to be gone; you'll have to find other ways to keep yourself interested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by heltei15
Right now i'm learning the "Vectors" ect..
Whithout searching anything of it i know what is a vector :
Vector : Its a strengh that is made with a Direction, Size and a way. but i don't know what does it means...
Probably what you need to do is go back through some of the things you were supposed to learn before and learn them now. That will give you the foundation you need to understand what you're doing now and hat you will be doing for the rest of the course. It sounds hard, but trust me, you can do it -- I was able to tutor a high-school student who was about a year behind in her studies up to her level (to the point that she became excited about math and was doing well) in just two months (~3 hours per week). You can surely get the same results studying an extra hour a day (or maybe half an hour, depending on how far you need to go).

Vectors are just the combination of a direction and a distance. Maybe you can think of me as a vector if I push things 1 meter southwest: it's a direction plus a distance. A one dimensional vector is a direction (+ or -) and a distance (say, 1 unit). A two-dimensional vector is an angle and a distance. A three-dimensional vector is an angle in one plane (say, a compass direction), an angle in the other plane (say, degrees of elevation above the horizon) and a distance.

It's often convenient to write them as points rather than angles. So you might write a two-dimensional vector as (4, 3), making that it starts at the origin and goes to that point. You can use the Pythagorean theorem to find the distance -- sqrt(4^2 + 3^2) = 5 -- and trigonometry to find the angle, but often you just want to keep it in this "rectangular" form.
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