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Engineering Applied Physics, Engineering or something else?

Howdy! A little background info: I am a soon-to-be high school graduate from an eastern european country (Romania). Since things are not so good as far as higher education is concerned in my country, I am looking into going to study abroad, specifically in Holland.

However, I have a very hard time choosing my field, for a couple of reasons: I don't particularly like maths, and I have very little natural inclination towards it, so I struggle with some concepts. I haven't yet begun Calculus, but I am fairly certain it's gonna be a very hard uphill battle. Physics are fine, but I really don't enjoy memorizing formulas and such by heart, sitting at my desk for hours trying to memorize them.

I have been tinkering with things my entire life: I know engines, gearboxes, hydraulic systems and such (the physical aspect of their functioning anyway), metals and materials and many other such as that very well. I also have great passion as far as the English language is concerned.

Because of all of this, especially my struggle with math, even though I would be very excited to choose either Applied Physics or Engineering, I am very reticent of taking such a step, because I am aware to some extent of the role Maths play in such degrees/fields.

My question is this, for anyone kind enough to answer: should I continue on my intented, but fairly frightening path of Engineering, or should I start looking into Economics, Business and Management, or even Political Science? Thank you for reading this and for your help!
 
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If you don’t like math then you are unlikely to enjoy engineering, physics, or economics. Business should be OK, and I don’t know about political science.
 
If you don’t like math then you are unlikely to enjoy engineering, physics, or economics. Business should be OK, and I don’t know about political science.
To be honest, I enjoyed maths when I understood it, when I understood how the exercises were solved. Nowadays, for some reason, I find it hard to do well in tests or oral examinations. I really think that if I somehow managed to understand maths once again, I could consider going for Engineering. Business maths, however, don't really look as daunting to me, but then again I could be wrong. Please correct me if this is the case, but thank you for responding either way.
 
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I'd have to say that math is the key to both physics and engineering. Without a good handle on math, you just cannot do it. At the same time, much of math makes more sense when considered in the context of a physical problem. I would suggest that you enroll as an engineering major, start down that path, and see how it goes. If the math overwhelms you, you can usually shift majors to business, etc.
 

symbolipoint

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This from Dr. D is the best advice so far:

I'd have to say that math is the key to both physics and engineering. Without a good handle on math, you just cannot do it. At the same time, much of math makes more sense when considered in the context of a physical problem. I would suggest that you enroll as an engineering major, start down that path, and see how it goes. If the math overwhelms you, you can usually shift majors to business, etc.
Understanding Mathematics or doing well in it, usually needs an earlier start - not a later start. When and where I studied, there were "Pre-Algebra" and then "Introductory Algebra" or "Elementary Algebra" or "Algebra 1". The meanings for these latter three titled courses were really all the same course and meant, "Basic Arithmetic Using Variables". The one called "Pre-Algebra" was a condensed survey course of study of "Algebra 1" and was used as a way to help prepare students for study of "Algebra 1". I was a fairly poor Mathematics student in my early teenage years but the sequence of Pre-algebra and Algebra 1 HELPED ME VERY VERY MUCH; and the result here was that, instead of remaining a poor Mathematics student, I became an average Mathematics student.

YOU - Inquire about the options WHERE YOU ARE, and decide what courses you may enroll into, in order to start learning Mathematics better. You may already have the advantage of some practical skills and knowledge dealing with mechanical things, so down-the-line, you may have an easier time with "Laboratory" exercises compared to some students.
 

StatGuy2000

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To the OP:

You had stated that you are a high school student from Romania, and that you are, in your own words, you find math "hard to do well in tests or oral examinations".

Have you looked into what areas of or subjects in mathematics you are experiencing the most difficulties? I knew several students from Romania during my university days, and my experience was that they had far more advanced background in mathematics upon graduation from their equivalent of secondary schools prior to arriving to university, compared to Canadian students. So if you are looking into engineering programs in Canada or the US, you may not actually be that far behind from high school graduates here.
 
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My mathematics was always weak, and it caused me to struggle in physics as an undergrad.

However, recognizing that fact helped me perform better as a grad student. I would never have done well in theory, but I believe I had a good chance to be a solid experimentalist.

Since you already recognize this as a deficiency, you might be a step ahead of me. Get help; double down on studying for your math courses; put in the work. I bet you have a shot.
 

DEvens

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I wonder if business is the place for a math challenged individual? As I understand modern business, it's got a lot of fairly challenging math as well. It's not all just ledgers and double-column book keeping. Futures and derivatives and margin covering and risk models and a variety of other things. Lately, the high-end math types have been getting lured into various business activities. One of my coworkers (a PhD in physics) was busy last year doing a Bayesian model that would predict which of our clients would give us contracts, how much they would be for, and when they would pay the invoices. This eventually informed our finance department about things like how much cash we had to keep on hand, how many employees we should recruit in the next six months, and whether we needed bigger computers to do the analysis.

Math involves both a skill and a talent. There's not much you can do about the talent part. Somebody who is not destined to be a Fields Medal winner will probably break their heart trying. But the skill part can be improved. It means practice. And it means getting a teacher or text book that matches your ability. I have had a lot of progress by starting with something like a Schaum's outline.


After I read one of these then I go find a harder text. It's a question of putting in the hours.

If math really isn't your thing, then engineering is going to be tough. But since you say you have tinkered with things, a question. You might be a good technician. You might search for something like this. Radio College is a 1 or 2 year diploma. You would come out able to build or repair a wide variety of electric and electronic equipment. Tuition is a lot lower than typical universities. And you can get paid a lot in the right area. And if research activities are your interest, every big lab has many technicians on staff. The techs often know a lot about the experiments that the profs are completely innocent of.

 

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