Jump to content

college isn't as easy as I thought


StarLily
 Share

Recommended Posts

Wow seems like this forum has all kinds of topics.

 

I have a problem. I'm a sophomore in college who, until recently, realized that I am not as bad at math as I seemed to be in High School. I got a B in Calculus I with no effort (that's why it was a B, not an A And thought that it was so awesome and that I would do just as well in Calculus II. I need both maths for my major, Biology.

Anyway, I find Calculus II to be a lot harder than Calculus I. I don't know why. No matter how many hours, and I mean hours I put into it, I just cannot do it. I failed my first test, and I think I will fail my next one. I was thinking about dropping and taking it again, but I feel so ashamed. It feels like quitting to me. I am not a quitter and don't want anyone who is close to me to think that.

But I also don't want a 5 credit F or even a D in my GPA. I was supposed to raise it this semester, not lower it. Calculus takes so much time that I don't have all the time I need for my other classes. I had to quit my job so I can do it all, but I still can't. Help? Is there a shame in dropping a class?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some poeple have an apptitude for certain subjest, some don't. Likely what you're finding out is that there is quite a difference between "math" and "arithmetic", the later being what most poeple actually think of then they talk about math.

 

Mathematics can be an extremely intensive and rather dry area of study. If it interests you, and you have the correct inclinations then stick with it. If on the other hand you feel as if what you're really learning is that you're not a true blue math tpe person then there is not a great shame in dropping it. Part of what happens in post secondary education is that you find our where your real strengths and weaknesses are.

 

I'd have to think if you're putting a lot of effort in for little gain then maybe it is time to look at another stream of study. Nothing wrong with that, it just may mean you're at college slightly longer that you first anticipated. It happens. Quite a bit in fact!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I lived in Cali I'd help you out... I was in the same situation. I went through high school pretty much struggling with math and during my senior year I barely passed pre-calc. I'm in my junior year of college now and so far received A's in Pre-calc, Cal I II and III, Linear Algebra and Differential Equations... I was really surprised when I found college math classes easier than those I took in high school

 

Cal II is a completely different animal than Cal I and Cal III... if you can get over the hump of Cal II, Cal III really isn't bad at all. Hit me up if you have any questions, but I'm not sure how much I'll be able to remember from Cal II

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm having a similar problem to you. I have been getting A's in all of my humanities and social sciences, but I've been getting C's and one fail in the sciences. I just find it SO hard to think mathematically. It's so frustrating because I'm really interested in getting into the public health field, but I struggle with the core requirements. I guess I'll just have to be another sociology major

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What do you do to study? I'm a physics major with a strong inclination to mathematics, and I found that simply working lots of examples is how I made A's on my tests during calc 2. Are you working with Taylor polynomials and infinite series right now?

 

Edit: If you have any specific questions on calc 2, feel free to PM me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is no shame in dropping a class and retaking it. If that's what you need to do, then do it. Next time make sure you take advantage of the tutors to help you out.

 

I had a good friend who was majoring in mathematics, and HE was having hard time in Calc II. Don't sweat it, ok? Just make sure that next time you are more prepared and take full advantage of the tutoring options at your school.

 

Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you got Cal1 then you can just as easily get Cal2. Yeah, it's more advanced. But it doesn't have to be any harder. What is your strategy?

 

I don't know how it works at your school, but at mine they offered about 10 Cal2 classes, each taught by a different professor. But the midterm and final were written by one specific professor. Usually it's been that same guy who's been writing the exams for the last few years. So:

1. Find out, by asking other students, the math secretary, or even a professor, who is actually writing the exam. (Or get hour hands on previous exams, and check who wrote them. It should say on the question booklet.)

2. Instead of attending the class you registered in, take the class taught by the guy who's writing the exam. Usually the questions on the exam will be almost identical to the examples he gave in class. So take really good notes, and photocopy the previous notes you missed from other students. Don't just look them over - memorise them! If there are any of the examples that you don't understand 100%, go to your professor and make him explain it to you. Don't worry about being annoying. The objective is to ace the class, not to be liked!

3. Get your hands on previous midterms and finals. This is the MOST important part. They don't change much from year to year, so you should be walking into the final having memorised the previous finals for at least the last 5 years. Then it will be a breeze for you. (Sometimes your school's copy center will have them available for all students. Sometimes you have to work harder by asking you classmates, asking people who took the class in previous years, or there will sometimes be underground stores where you can score them. Trust me, they are out there and you MUST find them )

 

In my Cal2 class, there were several of us who got 100%. The exam was so easy for us, we finished it in less than 1/2 hour (instead of 3 hours). And that's not because we're smart. It's because we had strategy and had memorised the previous final exams. More than half the class got C or less. Not because they weren't good at math, but because they didn't have a good strategy.

 

Of course, you should also do the questions in the book. Don't just do the ones that are assigned for homework. Do every single one, starting at the first question in the chapter. It will take time, but you need to do that. You can't just start at question #15 because it was assigned... you won't get it. If you've carefully gone through all the questions, attended classes, took good notes, and studied your notes - and you still don't get the material, hire a tutor. Some teachers are just really bad at explaining and graduate students can do a much better job of helping you understand.

 

Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see no shame in dropping a class, but if your parents (or someone else) are paying for college, talk to them first. Dropping is better than failing.

 

If Calc II is dragging you down, it sounds like a summer class subject to me, so you can learn it with little other competition for study time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is no shame in dropping a class and retaking it. If that's what you need to do, then do it. Next time make sure you take advantage of the tutors to help you out.

 

I had a good friend who was majoring in mathematics, and HE was having hard time in Calc II. Don't sweat it, ok? Just make sure that next time you are more prepared and take full advantage of the tutoring options at your school.

 

Good luck!

 

I agree! If you can, drop this class, but keep attending the lectures and continue studying. Then, take the class again next semester, and keep studying, and get a tutor. I know you can do it if you put your mind to it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm having a similar problem to you. I have been getting A's in all of my humanities and social sciences, but I've been getting C's and one fail in the sciences. I just find it SO hard to think mathematically. It's so frustrating because I'm really interested in getting into the public health field, but I struggle with the core requirements. I guess I'll just have to be another sociology major

 

Don't switch majors. Do what you're interested in. These stupid courses will only be torturing you for the next year or two. Being stuck in a career you don't like will torture you for decades to come!

 

Have you tried getting a tutor?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Calc 2 is particularly nasty. Its one of those classes that you have to pass to graduate, but you will never need to use after you finished the class.

 

You need to take a look at your situation and see how likely it is to get a C. If youre confident you can get a C, then go for it, pass the class and get it done with. If it really looks like its gonna be impossible, then just drop it. I made the mistake of being too proud to drop a class and it has hurt my gpa and I had to retake the class anyways.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow thanks guys for so many replies!

 

What makes me sad is that this is the last math course ever that I have to take for my Biology major.

 

I do problems from the book that are assigned, but I do them several times, and still don't get it. I might memorize how to do it, but there is just no time for that with all my other classes. I guess I really should start doing problems from the beginning, though I found that even when the prof. assignes problems from the beginning, I still don't get it. The textbooks don't explain things well, in my opinion.

 

Right now we are on techniues of integration, you know integration by parts and all that stuff. I seem to get the concept but some of the problems they give us seem impossible. Even if I think I can do them, I get a wrong answer. Then I look at the answer book and the way they do the problem totally shocks me.

 

I've considered getting a tutor, but all the past times I've had one, I felt like I was stupid if I had to ask a questions a million times over. I have no money to pay for one either. I think my school offers them for free, but like I said, I am too ashamed to ask the same questions.

 

Yeah I fail to see why I would need calculus for Biology.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i think you are just going to have to get over it, and ask for help. some classes are just harder than others, and some classes, you can have a harder time, even if it is easier for others. you've gotta know when to ask for help and when to get it. take advantage of office hours and TAs! that's what they are there for. form study groups with your friends. sometimes, I've gotten extra points just because the TA or instructor knew I was trying so hard and putting in so much effort!

 

doing the problems and memorizing isn't always enough, as you see. you've really got to understand what it is you are doing! so yeah, drop the class now if you can, and just keep studying. keep showing up, keep learning, get a tutor, it is worth it. i know you will get there! and chances are, you may just wind up using that math later in your career.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sit at a desk and push paper for lawsuits can tell you I've integrated things for cases.

 

If you get a tutor, try to find someone that really struggled with the class and then got it. I struggled with trig for years, even after I had gotten an A in Calc II and an A or A- in Calc III. Then when I was helping a friend with something I got I saw him using SOH-CAH-TOA, and had no clue as to what it was. A bunch of math after trig, I finally had someone I was helping so me what it was all about. My trig teacher in high school was terrible, and I got lost.

 

Integration is really a fancy way of finding changes in sums, whether they be areas, volumes, or whatever.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Way more people in college go for help outside of class than you think. In a lot of cases, it is necessary to get extra help to do well. If your school has free tutoring DO IT! Trust me, it's not worth the stress of trying to struggle on your own if you can go and have someone else explain it to you. Not all professors are good at teaching and the more places you can get information from the better. Don't give up! Sequences and series and all that junk in calc II is confusing and a lot of memorization. I hated it and I love math and want to become a math teacher later in life! Don't let it get you down.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

for my calc classes (2 years in college), I bought extra text books. "Schawm's notes" or something like that. I did all the practice problems and they helped me a lot! the books explained the concepts really well.

 

(Edit: on a side note, I met a ton of men in college math and physics classes! it's really a great way to meet hot smart guys!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dropping the class should definitely be a consideration because integration by parts and those other integration techniques are really just the tip of the iceburg in Calc II. If you're struggling in the basic techniques, you're going to have an even harder time in the application component of the course.

 

In the future, maybe you should consider taking extra time in mastering those integration techniques prior to taking the course -- this way, you maximize your chances of fully understanding all aspects of the course before you even take it. This also ensures that you may even enjoy the course since you've mastered the key techniques already!

 

Also, it's not the end of the world if you withdraw, but if you risk failure, that failure will always be on your record. That would be a mega ouch!

 

One last thing. If you've still got your pre-calc textbook, you'll find that you'll be referring to it often enough, so hopefully you haven't trashed it yet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't worry about asking questions to a tutor. If they think you're dense, or treat you like you are, then they're not doing their job and they are the ones who should be ashamed. I used to tutor and sometimes I would get these straight A students who knew everything and just came to get tutored so they could get 100% instead of 98% on their exams. They were so lame. I couldn't stand them. A good tutor enjoys helping students who don't get the material at first glance. And about the money - it's alot more expensive to drop a course and take it over than it is to pay for a couple hours of tutoring per week. Not to mention the time you've already invested.

 

As far as studying on your own, start at the beginning of the chapter and work through every single one of the example questions. Then start at #1 and do all the odd and even numbers. You won't necessarily understand everything, but doing any less is selling yourself short. Do this BEFORE you learn the material in class. The classes will make alot more sense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In addition to a tutor, dont be afraid to ask others in you class about something if you dont understand it.

 

I used to do everything by myself, go to class, not talk to anyone, go home and do the homework alone, study alone ect. This really hurt my grades in some of my engineering classes, as if you dont understand something when your studying or doing homework, theres no one there to help. Consider getting in with some of your classmates and working on the homework together and studying together.

I am doing much better in my coursework now that I know many people in my classes and can study with them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a general note: I know there's a lot of uncertainty about choosing a major but take some time to think long and hard about what you want to do (and when you think you've got it, THINK SOME MORE!!!) These four years have been the worst four of my life. Whoever said college would be the best years of one's life must have gone to clown school... I am at a pretty competitive university majoring in econ (models, formulas & math are not my strong points but I appreciate the field nonethelesss.) Never, and I mean NEVER have I felt so DUMB!!! The program and the courses have sucked the life out of me til I truly wish to have zero attachment to this school once I am finished. I even contemplated writing the department a rather nasty letter after I graduated "thanking" them for such a miserable time....... Oh, I am so angry, I can't even finish this post - I am beside myself!!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...