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Age, future, anxiety.

  1. Jan 5, 2014 #1
    I am 20 years old, I am probably going to enter a engineering program not next fall but the one after it. As I understand it, biomedical, computer science and pretty well any engineering degree will be good for the future.

    What do you guys think about being 20-21 and entering a program? What do you guys think about the future as well? in terms of engineering occupations.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 5, 2014 #2
    Honestly, these kind of posts come up fairly often and what you end up getting is a lot of facepalms and head shaking.

    What do you mean about being 20-21 and entering a program? Do you mean as opposed to being 18-19 and entering a program? Come on, you dont honestly think that a 1-3 year difference is important do you? I suppose that when you are young single years do make a lot of difference developmentally. But when you are an adult two people 1-3 years apart in age are effectively the same age.

    Start bringing up different decades of age, then there certainly are issues to consider. Im in my early 30s and starting out in an engineering degree. Certainly its doable for me, but also I certainly have different circumstances and issues than somebody your age would normally have. Somebody in their 40s, 50s+ might have even more family issues or health concerns or income expectations that most young people wouldn't have.
  4. Jan 5, 2014 #3
    I hate seeing people talk about their age maybe being a factor in how well they do in school. If you're in your 30's, I could understand questioning it, but 21? Come on. Even if you were 40, any minor handicap you might have in learning would be vastly overshadowed by how much and how properly you're willing to work at it.
  5. Jan 5, 2014 #4
    I started an engineering program when I was 22. Im 26 now graduated and work fulltime as an engineer. IMO you will be fine. There was a pretty broad age range of students in my program starting with the standard 18 year olds to people in their 50's looking to start a new career.

    The most important factor to determine if you will succeed is how hard you are willing to work not age.
  6. Jan 5, 2014 #5


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    Your age is fine. Being a tiny bit more mature will be an asset, if it makes any difference at all.

    As for the future, who knows? Study what you're passionate about because if you are really good at what you do you will be more likely to have work. And you'll enjoy yourself day-in-day-out.
  7. Jan 5, 2014 #6


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    Once you're into adulthood, I tend to think of age more in terms of life stage and goals.

    Doing your schooling through your twenties isn't likely to make much difference. That stage of you life is about personal investment, growth and exploration. If you're talking about a four-year undergraduate degree, whether you start at eighteen or twenty-six, it's not going to make a whole lot of difference on average at this stage of life.

    When you get into your thirties you're looking at long term commitments - getting married, having kids, getting a mortgage on a house. These come with substantial variation for everyone and some people don't ever chose to enter such a stage in life, but the point is that this stage of life presents different barriers to a full-time education than the previous one. You have responsibilities that you can't put off to pull an all-nighter for.

    In terms of getting hired, sometimes a few years of maturity can be a good thing.
  8. Jan 6, 2014 #7
    I haven't graduated from uni. I took up an engineering course, but I realised after 1 semester that it's too bleeding early. I was 19 then. I'm 23 now, I live on my own, I have 2 jobs and fortunately or unfortunately not committed - to each their own. As far as life goes - it's all good. There's no reason to get anxious over something - if you get anxious, it means you are not in control of yourself. How could you decide something in your life if you don't know yourself at all?

    The biggest shock to me is how people are looking for others' consent about what ever they decide to do. It shouldn't be like that. You have to decide for yourself, nobody else can do that. If you mess up, well that's when you learn.. to be honest, that's the only time we learn.
  9. Jan 6, 2014 #8
    If you have the prerequisites to get in to engineering, then being a few years older will probably help you rather than hurt you. First year engineering students at my school, especially the ones coming straight from high school, tend to be pretty cocky just because they're in engineering. I shared in that attitude somewhat, and it's definitely hurtful to both your academic and personal success. Having some maturity, humility, and a good work ethic goes a long way, and the "old" students who start in their twenties rather than coming straight from high school seem to have those qualities more often. Especially if you've had to work to support yourself for a few years, you're probably more ready for engineering than the high school students.
  10. Jan 6, 2014 #9
    Very helpful guys, hugely insightful. I just felt a bit anxious seeing my old friends already successful engineering students. These were people who I greatly related to. It feels like a missed the train. But I realized I'm better off competing against my own self, instead of others.

    I am starting to see my age and my experiences as positives though, can't change the past, but I can sure as hell learn from it.
  11. Jan 10, 2014 #10
    I am in the same situation as yours but you shouldn't base your life on others.

    In our country, most of us start college at age 16(some 15) because we only have 6 years of elementary and 4 years of high school. I got in the top university in our country but got kicked out in my third year(Age 19). Now my family is migrating to Canada(I am 21 now btw) and I was told that my college units will most likely be not credited. This means that I will be starting college AGAIN in September when I will be 22 and most of my peers are going for law school,med,a job, grad school and some are still enjoying the "rest period after graduation". I was feeling down every time that I thought of this but after reading in this forum, I realized that my situation is not that bad because there are some that start in their mid 20s. So what I plan on doing now is just do my best :)
  12. Jan 11, 2014 #11
    Think about it this way in 4 years you are going to be 25 with or without an eng degree. Which do you prefer more?
  13. Jan 11, 2014 #12
    When you're 30 you'll look back and realize what a silly question this is.

    Study hard and good luck.
  14. Jan 12, 2014 #13


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    If one wants to be an engineer, then do an engineering program. All engineering fields have room for competent/proficient and creative engineers. It sounds like one may have taken some time out from school/academics.

    As bp_psy indicated -
    If engineering is one's passion, go for it.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  15. Jan 18, 2014 #14
    I'm 23, planning on starting my Engineering program just after a year from now. I already have an A.A. and after this semester I'll have most of my Engineering prerequisites (calc, phys, chem). So I'll be starting the 'third and fourth years' of my degree when I'm 24-25. I have had the same doubts and anxiety as OP, although I am continuously encouraged by friends/family/loved ones that It is possible. Although seeing encouragement from other engineers/smart-people-on-the-internet, really adds a layer of validation!

    I can definitely agree with the part about having a few years on your classmates. Most people in my courses are unmotivated and distracted. Others lack the study skills / college experience needed really grasp what it is they are learning. I am SO glad that I'm more concerned about my coursework, instead of being tied up in social drama - IMO this is a HUGE advantage.
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