1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Am i too old to start an E.degree?

  1. Nov 21, 2007 #1
    Well my age, and the fact that i've messed up my first year of university by achieving some very low (embarrassing, well what i consider to be) grades.
    I'm going to be 20 years old beginning of next year and all my friends are going into either their 2nd or 3rd year of their university degree while i'm still stuck at point one, and they're all going to finish before me because i've always had it in my mind that i want to finish something early so i can 'get a move on' with 'life'. I started this year in a usual arts degree, i could have gone straight off to do engineering at another university, but i want to do engineering at the one i'm now and they're entry score is higher to get into (hence why didn't start off here with engineering), and to get to the point, i messed up the year badly by allowing other problems to creep into my studies and my plans to transfer to the Engineering degree for the following year are ruined because of my lack of commitment and problems.

    So now i anticipate that i will be admitted into an IT degree where i can start most of the Engineering courses (i want to do Electrical/Electronics), but i'm wondering, seeing how it will (eventually, hopefully) take me 2 years (this year already and next) to get into that Engineering degree, i'm going to be 21 and with subjects done in another degree taken over to the Engineering degree, is it worth it?? I mean, will i still get the 'same' degree/diploma as everyone else who started out fresh in the Engineering degree? Will companies look at me different because i did two other degrees before i went into Engineering?

    And i want to finish 'earlier', like i was hoping i'd finish by 22 or 23, but it seems a 4 year degree will take me to 24-25? But to be honest i can't see myself doing anything else other than something related with electrical engineering and i just want to get it all right, i hate how i have to now drag along...i mean i could do subjects next year unrelated to engineering and start 'fresh' in the following year, but then i'd take an even longer time to finish! I don't know who else to speak to, i don't feel comfortable (nor confident) to speak to some academic adviser at my university so the internet forum is really my only 'option' to seek advice.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2007 #2


    User Avatar

    Never too late, I know a person who graduated when he was 49 in law
  4. Nov 21, 2007 #3
    There were tons of people older than you in my undergraduate classes, though I'm guessing most of them were on the GI bill. I have a good friend who transferred from junior college to here and he's 23 with 2 years to go in engineering. He didn't even get accepted into engineering until this year actually, and yeah he took a bunch of engineering courses while he was still a statistics major. He's doing great and I can't see why employers would know or even care which degree you started in as long as you did the work.

    It's of course up to you to decide if it's worth it.
  5. Nov 21, 2007 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Too old to start a degree?? Dude, you're only 20!! You have plenty of time to persue you degree.

    Most employers would probably prefer a slightly older graduate.
  6. Nov 21, 2007 #5
    Um...if you're too old, then I'm ancient. I'm not going to graduate until I'm 28 or 29 (maybe even 30!). Do what you love, no matter how long it takes or when you do it. Follow your dreams. You only get one chance anyways.
  7. Nov 21, 2007 #6
    It sounds like you have a very rigid university system where you live. In the US it is possible to be so good that you can finish in 3 years.

    Why do you want college to be finished and over with it? Figure out whether its because you want money, or freedom, or you plan on starting a family, whatever. The point is that it is dangerous to treat your education as a means to an end, rather then as an end itself. If you are always looking forward to the end, you won't be as "present" as it takes to make good grades and enjoy yourself.

    Most of all, it sounds like you have heavy future anxiety. There may be very good reasons for this, but most likely you want to get past this relatively bad point of life and on to a better one. Of course, the best thing to do is start enjoying your life now, since true happiness comes from within.
  8. Nov 21, 2007 #7

    awesome post!!

    life's about the ride, not the destination.
  9. Nov 21, 2007 #8
    Do not make your life decisions based on what others have done (especially where you are not considering getting an education because others are ahead of you). Age is just a number.

    We have a mid 30 to 40 year old in our EE program... I'm 19 and he has a wife, kids, and a home. You are not old. Go get that degree.
  10. Nov 21, 2007 #9

    Ben Niehoff

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    You're only 20...that's not too old at all! Go for it!

    I'm 25 and I'm just now trying to get into a PhD program in physics to start in 2008. I finished my undergrad in 2004, so I have basically a 4-year gap...so, doing the math, that's the equivalent of starting at 22. So, in an equivalent sense, you're 2 years ahead of me! And I was always the kid in school who was ahead of everybody else...in the end, none of that matters; it only matters where you end up.

    As for who will employ you with what degree, don't worry. Engineering employers honestly don't care what you did before you got your degree, and it generally doesn't even matter where you got your degree, as long as it's some reasonably-well-known place (of which there are hundreds). Even your GPA doesn't matter much, as long as it's at least 3.0.

    Although, if you want to consider going on to get a higher degree in engineering, you definitely want to maintain a higher GPA (and it may help to know that getting a higher degree in engineering will open the doors to get into the "sexy" design stuff sooner...a 2-year masters program can accelerate your career path by about 4-6 years, a PhD by 8-10).

    But you shouldn't get stressed out about it. Any life path is possible to attain; you just might have to put some time and effort into it. If engineering is your dream, then find out ways you can participate in engineering projects at your school---research and lab work. This sort of thing is much more impressive on your resume than a high GPA. If there is a project you're excited about, ask around and find a way to get involved in it.

    Overall, remember that life isn't a race. I mean, look at what the prize is, when you get to the end. :P
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2007
  11. Nov 22, 2007 #10
    Wow, you're absolutely right. I can't believe i haven't ever seen these things, this way.
    I live in Australia and from what i have experienced, the college/university systems here (at least in my state, Queensland) are a bit traditional, and there is that view or 'belief' where if you plan on going to university after high school, you go straight into it once you graduate and finish by 22-23.
    Me wanting to finish early would have to be the freedom, but like you said i have a heavy future anxiety and i think it's this that has lead me to see it all this way. But honestly, reading that, that it's dangerous treating my education as a means to an end...i realised how much i've been walking backwards at the same time while on the right path. You certainly opened up a lot of things for me there, so thanks a lot! :)

    That's something i told myself in high school, but i don't know how i got into it now. I think it's the view that most people have here and my friends.

    I've thought about things like that, and I really want to go on further, maybe masters (we have an honours year before masters), but it all takes time and reading these replies i realise there's still enough of it:)

    Thanks though everyone who replied. In Australia, in my state, there seems to be a common view amongst most students who graduate from high school and continue onto university/college, that everyone else going there is your age and just finished high school too, something like that. It's probably also some of my friends who were boasting just a few days ago how 'proud' they feel that they're going onto their third year of university. I think i see it that 20 is 'too old' because most other students would be 17/18 in the year. It's never too late like you guys have said, but i'm trying to get out of that view that you're 'supposed' to finish when you're younger, or that i'll be different from everyone else coz i'm older than most students in the courses.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook