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A piece of advice

  1. May 22, 2007 #1
    Hi, although I discovered this forum some time ago, this is my first post, so Hello!. I just want a bit of advice. I'm an spanish student, and i'm on my first year of telecommunications engineering (I'm 18 years). For what i've been reading, it's quite simmilar to your electric engineering. The educational system here is really different, you have to choose what you want to study at the first beginning, no gpa,.... Well, the fact is that i'm starting to hate university a bit, let me explain it. Till the end of high school It did not concern me the fact we just did cookbook approach. I said myself so many times: when i'll enter university it will change. But here I am, and all remains the same. My first year is divided into two periods of four months each one. I did well on the first, where I was taught "calculus", algebra, lineal circuits, c programming and elemental physics. But another time, all calculus I did, was just using formulas, no thinking and at all, the same happens with physics and algebra. The fact is that we haven't done any real maths. Likewise, we do quite a lot of labs, but it works the same way, you have to hurry to finish on time, without really learning anything, with no time to real experimenting. And now, on my second half of the year, i'm doing vector calculus, differential equations, digital systems, circuits and physics (elecricity and magnetism). (Another big difference here is that profs don't use a book, the majority just rely on her notes, they recommend some (awful) books the first day, but they do not follow anyone). The fact is that i'm sure that just passing the exams is not my goal, i want to really learn, and i say it fully hearted. Some time ago I left my confidence and motivation, but then I come across physics forums and i recovered my faith on maths and physics as I saw other people struggling with the same problems. For that reason, i 've tried to find a solution, i've search the best books books for self-study i've been able: in amazon and here, in the forum, and i've found some interesting that please me ("ordinary differential equations" by Morris tenenbaum, "Physics for scientists and engineers" by Serway, Digital Systems: Principles and Applications by Ronald Tocci, i'm also trying to get a copy of "div, grad, curl and all that" by Schey...), but the truth is that as i want to understand the concepts that in class simply use, i'm falling behind of my classmates (they thing that just passing is the important, but that's not my goal), and i'm getting a bit nervous. I don't know if i'm doing right. But the truth is that when i read those books, i really enjoy myself, i find that that's the way it must be done, but when i'm in class, i feel a bit angry: they just put the formulas, no insights into, no applications, I end up tired of 6 hours of classes and i arrive home just willing to continue with the books. Moreover, i'm not the class learner type, so i'm not able to learn anything till i face up alone at home. So, i want to go to class, but i'm beggining to hate it, and i don't know what to do. Please give me some advice.

    Thanks to all (it helps a lot to find a place where people talk in a vivid way of maths, physics, engineering, it really makes me feel better)!

    (Sorry for my english, i'm trying to improve it)

  2. jcsd
  3. May 22, 2007 #2
    :biggrin::biggrin:...Wellcome to our club!!

    I'm studying EE in Egypt...it's no way better!!...may be worse!

    It's much more awful here...you have to memorize everything to pass, for no one here is ready to explain anything to you...

    The result is that we graduate without even understanding our basics:eek:

    But what can we say?....Here, I just have to accept the fact...If you have ideas, share them with me please!!

    Here is an advice I'm using recently....Buy as much references as you can, and when you come back from classes, read the lesson you just took there from the references...Those references are way much better than our doctors..And they will make you feel like a smart human!!

    Oh...Another advice, once you take a lesson in your class, just read it after getting home, and never postpone any (it's my greatest fault ever!!)

    Don't be negative about this whole thing, instead, try living with the fact..

    And hey, engineering is tough, so never expect to pass without really hard working...and good luck with your first year :smile:
  4. May 22, 2007 #3


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    I find that generalization very hard to believe. Let me tell you i know a spanish physicist, a spanish engineer and a spanish transfer student (civil eng from Politecnica de Catalunya to my college), and they tell me a different story!. However, there are bad teachers, and in worst case scenarios bad universities.
  5. May 23, 2007 #4
    Let me rephrase this, there are awufull teachers and awufull universities!!

    (I'm really sick of my university these days, so I'm being hard on it!!)
  6. May 23, 2007 #5
    Well, yesterday i was a bit angry, so perhaps i overdid it a bit. It seems that first year it's like a jungle, you're alone, nobody helps you and you have to struggle with all. It's a big change between high school and university and you are willing to do well, and sometimes you need to explain problems to others.
    I'm not on a bad university, so you might be true, and I hope that next year will be better.But I don't if it's bad luck or what: Yes, there are some good teachers, but for one good you find three bad(I think this second half are way better than the one's i had on the first half though). It's possible that in more advanced courses teachers will be better and more interested, but i was complaining about the courses i've done, not the ones i'll do. And what I say about the labs is a fact, labs are not used to help you think and understand, and you usually do labs about things you haven't done in theory (for example, when I was doing electricity we were doing labs about electromagnetism).

    I agree with you Dark Night, I always try to read my notes and then i look on the internet or in books to understand what was trying to explain me the teacher. It helps a lot. Doing lots of problems helps a lot, too.
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