Quantum Physics can be Demotivating

Mar 24, 2015 • Matthew Bourque

My demotivating experience occurred during my Quantum Physics class in the third year of my undergraduate degree. On the first day of class, my professor (who was known to be somewhat of an intimidating person) told the class that, due to the way he curves, only two students would receive a final grade of an “A”, a few more would receive a “B”, the majority would receive a “C”, and that the worst handful of students would inevitably fail the class. At the time that I took the class, I felt that there were several of my fellow students that were above me intellectually, and so I immediately felt destined to be one of the “C” students. This did not motivate me to try harder, rather I accepted my fate early on in the semester. It turns out that I indeed ended up with a C in the class, the worst grade of my entire undergraduate degree.

This was the only class I took in which, no matter how much effort was put into the class, that the final grades were so pre-determined. I feel like the professor could have graded more towards effort and knowledge, rather than grading towards a particular curve that he wished to achieve. Additionally, it probably would have been better if he didn’t tell his class of his intentions in regards to the final grades; this would have at least given the perception that I could have received a good grade given adequate effort and knowledge.