Grad school help, please. I did really bad in my concurrent classes in high school.


I second the idea of seeking out a different major. Physics is all-math-all-the-time, and if you struggle in basic Calc, that may not be the major for you.

Yes, physics not the right major and I am wondering what the grad school plans were - more physics?

I agree that you’re putting the cart before the horse. First of all, there are ways to come back from poor performance in undergrad, especially poor early performance. Second of all, not getting into graduate school (or not getting in right away) won’t “ruin your life.” There are millions of things you can do with your life, many of which don’t require going to graduate school (either right out of college or at all).

But I also agree that you should re-evaluate your major plans. If you failed calculus I, on the retake got a C, and then failed calculus II and are also on track to get a C on the retake, one of two things is happening: you’re not studying effectively and are not showing off your full potential in math/science, OR this area is really not for you. I think unless you’re doing something really egregious, the first option seems less likely than the second, since at this point it’s a sustained pattern.

Are you understanding the calculus? If you sit down and really spend a lot of time on it, do you understand it, or do you have the barest grasp of the material (which two Cs after two retakes tends to signal)? And even if you do understand it…eventually, how long does it take you to get there relative to the rest of your class and where you are in the coursework?

It’s generally true that upper level coursework is more important. However, graduate school committees will also take note of foundational lower-division coursework if there’s something that gives them pause. Failing two foundational courses - ones that literally give you the background for everything else in the major - and only getting a C on retake will raise some eyebrows unless you have some truly excellent upwards trend that shows it was a fluke. But if you have mixed performance on later classes, professors may conclude (and perhaps accurately) that you don’t have a good enough foundation in the basics to succeed at the graduate level.

Jumping to the conclusion that physics is the wrong major is premature here. Performance in math courses is not an immutable quantity, and OP certainly has the ability to improve in that realm provided they are motivated to do so and find a study strategy that works. The important thing here is that this seems to be a pattern, so their previous approach to these math courses is clearly ineffective and they need to make a change.

Also, I will second what @juillet said about looking at foundational courses. When recruiting graduate students for my lab (aerospace/mechanical engineering), I don’t so much care if they got a C in, say, thermodynamics or solid mechanics or something, but a series of Cs in calculus is more of a red flag, despite it being early in the academic career. It’s not an instant killer, but there is going to have to be some indication that you eventually figured it out later.

Thank you so much for replying. I forgot to clarify that I am still currently in high school, and I started the calculus mess my junior year. Does that make a difference in the severity of my grades?

Hi, thank you for the reply and taking your time to write a lengthy explanation. I forgot to mention that I am still in high school and I started the calculus journey my junior year. I do understand calculus if I put in the time. This semester on the calculus 2 retake, I’ve gotten a 99 and a 93 on two of the chapter tests, so I think that shows I can do it if I put my mind to it.

My problem is motivation. I am not motivated to study, and it’s due to a lot of problems, including my social anxiety, depression, internet addiction, and me just feeling down and lazy. The thing is, I don’t want to stop fighting because if I do I feel like I’m succumbing to the bad side of me. The depressed, pathetic side of me. I really want to make something of myself, but I’m just not finding the motivation or strength to.

Sorry for being over personal. I just feel so lost and alone. Any advice about studying or success or life would help. Lol. Thank you.

What about companies? Would they look at my calculus grades, even though they are taken when I am in high school?

Hey, thanks for the reply. I forgot to explicitly mention that I am currently still in high school and the calculus journey started my junior year. I understand physics is going to require a lot of math. That’s why i decided to take calculus early. I wanted to prepare myself earlier and stand out to colleges. The problem is that I wasn’t ready for the rigor and I crashed and burned.

Most of my failures are attributed to my internet addiction, which has grown immensely since 6th grade. As a kid, I was the one out of my siblings and cousins who wouldn’t really care for playing games or going online. However, the internet became a way to cope with my social anxiety and depression because as I grew up I got depressed from social anxiety. In addition, i wasn’t aware of how bad it is getting because it was an escape from reality, and I was chasing the internet high. Things went unchecked and now I am here, fighting a battle between my depression/social anxiety/internet addiction and my desperate aspirations to become somebody/not give in to my bad side/do space research.

Any advice would help, honestly.

Thank you.

Thank you for replying. You’re right, I shouldn’t focus on grad school. I was just thinking that it’s best to prepare myself for the worst by considering the fact that I may go to grad school. In a dream land far, far away, I have this crazy idea to be an astrophysicist. I know, I know, I am definitely not on the right track. But I still have four years ahead of me and I don’t want to throw all dreams away yet.

My poor grades in calculus is due to my lack of motivation to study because of my internet addiction, social anxiety, and depression.

Any advice on studying, mental health, life would help.

Thank you.

For grad school, as others said, likely no issue. Not gonna matter for most jobs either as they’ll likely just want your graduating college transcripts and you’ll likely have time to deal with the issue if they want the whole ball of wax.
For professional schools, yes, it can be an issue. They tend to ask for ALL Of your college courses and the GPA they calculate can include those courses. That’s why on this forum, you’ll see warning to kids taking college courses here and there to be careful because those grades can carry over.

What is professional school? My far away dream is to be an astrophysicist or something that will allow me to participate in space research. I was thinking that graduate school is the key to that.

Professional schools would be graduate schools in Engineering, Law, and Medicine.

Business school (MBA) is also a professional school. Teaching masters programs are another example.

I generally agree with boneh3ad, which is why I suggested re-evaluating your plans rather than deciding that physics is the wrong major for you. It sounds like you have already identified your issue - lack of motivation, potentially due to mental health problems. It’s possible that you could be really good at math and physics if you could get these issues solved.

Can you see a mental health counselor? You can start with your school; likely your school or district has a school psychologist that you can talk to.

Many (most?) jobs don’t actually care about your transcripts and won’t request them.

Hi, hi thanks for reply again. I ended up getting a B in the calculus II class after all! Just got my grade today, and I know it’s a measly B, but I’m still really happy about it.

I’ve seen a psychologist. It didn’t seem right for me. It was too time consuming, expensive, complicated, and I’ve decided to simply try to pick myself up by myself. I’ll exercise and eat healthy and try to be productive in order to hopefully stimulate a better mental health.

The thing is, I emailed UCSB, and they said that “graduate schools and jobs will very unlikely look at my grades prior to matriculation at UCSB.” Also, my high school counselor said that jobs barely care about the transcript, let alone high school transcript, and that graduate school really just care about undergraduate GPA and test scores. So I’m assuming that’s the case for my future.

Your college transcript will show any credits that were transferred into the program. That includes dual enrollment credits. So, while a graduate program will not give even half a rat’s behind about your high school grades, they may care about those that were transferred in to count as part of your baccalaureate. That will probably be not only program specific, but specific to individual professors.

For example, when I look at the records of students I am considering hiring into my lab, I do look at what their scores were in the math sequence specifically. If they had dual enrollment credits, those get included. I can’t really say exactly how heavily I weight that, but it does get factored into my appraisal of a prospective mentee.

As for your high school counselor, I don’t know where he or she gets off making blanket statements like that. Getting into a professional graduate degree program like an MBA or MD will be almost entirely based on GPA and test scores. Getting into a more traditional graduate program like a PhD is going to be a lot more holistic and test scores are usually a pretty small factor.

Thank you for taking time to reply and providing your input! I will keep that in mind.

Let me give you the perspective of a physics professor. It is good that you got a B in your Calculus 2 class but you should consider the possibility of taking both Calculus 1 and 2 again at UCSB. They are foundational courses for physics and having a strong base will help you in your later classes. You have taken them twice already and maybe you won’t want to give them a third go-round but at least consider it and discuss it with your academic advisor.

What I actually plan on doing was spending this summer hammering my math, starting with precalc. I plan to review and do practice problems up to calc 2. If I do that, should I still retake it? UCSB said I will get the credit for those classes but the GPA won’t transfer, so I wanted to take those credits and jump ahead. I’m fully aware the immense importance math has for physics.