By Samuel Makarovskiy ‘16
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so putting in more effort pays back better results.
Struggling in physics is not abnormal. Physics is not just a math class with a problem and a variable to solve for, nor is it a typical science class where information is simply memorized. Instead, formulas are applied to problems based on logical applicability at which point a mathematical solution is derived. Mathematics and logical reasoning had formally been separate during most students’ academic experiences until physics came along. Confusion is perfectly understandable and nothing to be ashamed of.
Physics is not a subject that skips around from topic to topic, but builds on itself. For example, understanding the beginning topics of vectors and kinematics is essential to the understanding of forces and conservation of energy. Confusion early on can snowball into major problems as the year progresses.
Starting early is better than just saying, “Oh I’ll study before the final,” or, “I’m sure it’ll be fine,” because you would simply be lying to yourself.
Material from not only physics, but also from other classes, takes time to relearn and can’t be done overnight. Some can’t just sit down and study with their notes and a textbook, but there are other ways to study.
Teachers are almost always open to helping students when they can in a one-on-one setting. Mr. Kennard is happy to help students during his free periods almost every single day when they need a more in-depth explanation. Only so much can be taught in a short 45-minute period to a whole class of 34 students.
Alternatively, Dr. Riemersma runs physics tutoring every Tuesday during ninth period, and almost a full class shows up consistently for help. Students ask questions about homework or concepts, and he answers them clearly and effectively.
“Dr. R answers my questions and helps me out,” said Jian Ching Chang ’15.
At physics tutoring, students are welcome to work with their peers leading to thoughtful discussions; these reaffirm knowledge better than a simple explanation because not only is a potential process described, but an explanation of why it works is also presented.
Reading up on a topic online, watching a YouTube video, or finding more practice problems to do are all valid ways to study and get out of school help free of charge.
“When I needed help, a friend helped me over skype and made it much clearer,” said Jerry Lu ’16.
Different people learn differently, but any class, especially physics, requires time to be put in whether by learning with a friend, asking a teacher for help, studying by oneself, or simply paying attention in class. Just don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it because you’d be surprised how many people there to help you.