Week III of Physics I

My lab TA cannot teach. She is in her own physics universe, and is probably brillant, but she has NO people skills, and not a lick of common sense. As we say out in the country, “Couldn’t pour piss out of a boot with the instructions written on the heel.” I spent 6 hours writing my first lab report, and my content, definitions, calculations and concepts were all perfectly correct. I got a 77 because she ripped it apart on format and details that were impossible to figure out that she would have wanted on there - I guess we are supposed to be mind readers. Everyone else in the class, including super bright science kids, are equally dismayed. No one knows what she wants from us. This week’s lab was a BOTCH. No one at my table could figure out what she was asking for. Thank god for the kid with the scientific calculator, as he was able to manufacture SOME sort of data for us. NO ONE could get anything entered into EXCEL correctly and NO ONE was done at the end of the lab period. She was no help at all and was completely unable to explain to any of us what she was looking for. This is making me REAL angry, because I am not failing Physics, I am failing mind reading, and my grade is not going to fairly reflect my actual knowledge. I worked HARD with a great tutor this week and finally have mastered the math of two dimensional vectors. But I never would have learned it in class or in lab. To top it all off, I was in a bad car accident on Tuesday, was t-boned and my car was totaled. I missed lecture Wednesday and was off work Wednesday because of how lame and bruised I am. Thankfully nothing was broken. Now I have no car. I am feeling tested by lab and the universe right now. I am upset that I am not going to get a med school quality grade in lab because my TA is such a whack job. Gonna have to study double and triple time this weekend. Back to work tomorrow (via bus). Hopefully the insurance company will help me get a rental (SOON). Just feel kinda wore out and discouraged. BUT NOT giving up!!!

If your really think your lab-TA is out of line, you are well within your rights to go to her boss or the professor listed for the lab. I’ve had people do this for some of my classes and when the TA actually was unreasonable, things were changed. If they don’t know they can’t fix it.


I know how you feel - it was well-nigh impossible in my post bac program to get an A in physics lab. I had to take a B and be ok with it. Somewhat different problem but that’s the way it was. All you can do is all you can do.

Hang in there! Hope you recover quickly from your crash!


It sounds like you have to jump through hoops, regardless of your knowledge of the subject. From my experience, consider it practice. Every class I take has hoops to jump through, and managing the hoops seems to be equally if not more important than the material itself. It sucks, but it’s a good preparation. PS: I am dying in Ochem II (my last pre-req) for similar reasons… but I am getting to be a world-class hoop-jumper.

Glad you’re ok!!! Maybe you can use your new knowledge in physics and do an extra credit project detailing your actual experience with physics… Car (a) is traveling at 32mph weighing 2,400 pounds and collides with car (b)… F=MA!

I actually wrote my Physics professor the day I couldn’t get to class and joked that “a body in motion remains in motion until it meets an opposing force” and he cracked up. I am on the mend and ready to put in a tough weekend catching up. Thanks to all!!!