Physics Help – You Don’t Have to Be a Genius to Be Successful
Physics Help – You Don’t Have to Be a Genius to Be Successful We all know the physics student stereotype: geeky book worms zealously committed to completing assigned problems without assistance while doing experiments in the lab wearing white coats. The myths can be even more bizarre if you are part of the first generation to go to college in your family. The myths can definitely exist if there are no engineers or scientist in your personal network of family and friends.
The truth is all types of people from all types of backgrounds take physics courses. The fact that many science-related majors require a year of General Physics insures that there will always be a varied student composition. It is common to see the same people take the same classes simultaneously (like a Calculus Class and General Physics Class combination).
Look, there is nothing magical about people who attend college. There is nothing inherently special or smart with the people taking a course in Physics. These courses are simply a part of a curriculum that students take to achieve a bigger goal. This is an important point: very few students will stay in a Physics Program as a career choice.
So how does this myth continue to perpetuate? Aside from movies and television shows, it is the determined behavior of students and the perceived power of the subject matter.
The truth is… most of what is taught in a general physics class is subject matter that as been around for centuries. Yes, it does take time to manage through the material and students appear to be always busy with physics (remember, there is usually a weekly physics lab component). But many students in other study programs are business too. In fact, I am in awe of artist-they are trained to get inspired and produce a product almost daily.
I believe that the vocabulary of physics and the power of the concepts is the primary source feeding the myth.
What do I mean by this? Consider life at the beginning of the 20th Century. If you were one of the lucky few who had the luxury of a University education, you were already in an elite class. If you were studying Business, then you were studying an exciting new field of study. The mystique of business was represented by the Carnegies and Rockefellers. In general, the masses would extend this limited understanding of business (the wild successes of these families) to you and your abilities, earned or not.
I think it is similar with Physics. The mystique of rockets to the moon, computer chips, nanotechnology, etc are transferred to people who take Physics, even though little in the first year will enable you to be more than someone with a larger vocabulary and an ability to apply the scientific method.
Let’s summarize, people in physics classes are varied. They come from a wide range of backgrounds, ability, and experiences. The commonality between students in physics class is that their major requires then to take this course. Few, very few, will continue with courses in the Physics Program. Most students in Physics are completing a requirement for them to achieve a larger goal.