Springs on Springs on Springs

Looks a lot like my notecard from Physics 135

When most people hear the word spring, they think about flowers blooming and birds chirping.¬†However, over the past two semesters, we’ve become conditioned to think of something else. In our minds, we hear the word spring and we wonder what the constant k is, and how large the mass is hanging at one end. We ask ourselves at what natural frequency does it oscillate, and whether or not it is damped (is it over or underdamped?!). And you might think that we’re kidding in our title, but we’ve seen problems with springs on springs on springs. We’ve taken physics together since September. Five days a week. McKay, Zochowski, and Tomasch, whether we liked it or not, whether we understood it or not, have inelastically collided physics into our brains. We weren’t physics people. Math wasn’t our thing (and judging by our scores on exam one, it still might not be). But when we hear the word spring, we pull out our pencils, pull Hooke’s law from a distant corner of our brain, and start calculating. Maybe, once spring is over, and summer arrives, we’ll be able to think about something other than physics.

In physics love,

Matilda and Melissa

2 thoughts to “Springs on Springs on Springs”

  1. The second I saw the picture of Hooke’s Law, I cringed a little bit. One year of honors physic and a year of AP Physics left me with a bad taste in my mouth whenever physics is mentioned. Not that I don’t think physics is useful by any means, but I am not a science person at all. I did well in honors and decently on the AP test, but I do not enjoy memorizing equations and cranking out problems at all. I can only imagine how daunting “springs on springs on springs” can be, especially if that shows up on an exam. Props to the both of you for keeping up the positivity during that course, but I’m sure you can’t wait for summer to be here and to stop thinking about physics for a couple months.

  2. Dear Matilda and Melissa,

    Luckily, springs are over and now we are moving on towards waves!

    That’s really all I wanted to say. I completely understand how you feel though. While I do think physics is one of the more interesting topics I’ve learned about in college, I have been nothing but relieved to be done with some of the other classes I’ve been required to take as a pre-med student..

    Sometimes, as I’m stressing out and cramming for an exam in a class I completely hate, I wonder if it’s all worth it. Am I really going to need this in med school? Because I definitely won’t remember it. When am I ever going to use this in real life? When I was learning about quantum mechanics in my pchem class, I may have asked myself those questions literally more than once a day. After taking that class and being confused or frustrated every day, I realized that it was no longer worth it for me to waste my time and energy on classes I was not interested in. Sure, I had to get the pre-requisites out of the way, but after that, I was free to take whatever classes I wanted in whatever topics interested me. This explains why I switched from being a biochemistry major to a biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience major. I am so thankful that I changed my mind because I have absolutely loved all the upper level psych and neuroscience classes that I’ve taken so far and I feel like I’ve gained a lot more from these classes than I ever did in my pchem class.

    I think that it helps to look at the big picture and the end goal. I’m sure that there will be more times in the future when I am stuck doing something I don’t really want to do, but if it’s required, then it’s just part of the process to achieving what I ultimately dream of doing.


    p.s. I miss seeing you both in my class!

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