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Other ChemE going into Junior Year... Help me get back on track.

  1. Aug 18, 2016 #1
    Academically, I look like I slacked off sophomore year at UIUC. On the other hand, living in a really bad situation and losing focus during that year can do a number on you, but it's my fault I let it affect me.

    Here's where we are, everyone. Over the course of a year, I have gone from having a 3.90 with my math classes having my best performances to a 3.53 with my math classes having my worst performances (sadly, flat C's in Calc III AND Linear Algebra, not proud at ALL, but the B+ in Diff Eq was... somewhat alright). On positive notes, I'm out of that horrible situation, and my discipline (or pressure to want to succeed) has returned. Additionally, I look quite good on paper after completing a biological research program over the summer at the University of Pittsburgh and having done previous biology research projects in high school.

    However, while we may be human, I cannot deny I have always pressured myself to get a high GPA in order to counter algorithms or GPA requirements. So, as failsafes, tutoring will be used and mentoring will help me focus. Some have suggested resources on campus to help me deal with any emotional trauma I may have suffered. Additionally, while it would have been better to start last year, I am using my research experience to attempt to get into some labs on campus. Finally, becoming even more involved in a rocketry club on campus (thanks to more freedom with time) can allow me to look good for a potential internship involving propulsion. NASA may be a very far reach at this point, and I probably won't be an astronaut or anything, but it's always been a dream. I should definitely be spending more of my time doing that instead of acting in plays, which albeit can be quite fun.

    Simply put, do I look ready to get back to getting 4.0's or close by working my butt off? I know I can do it, and there's nothing more I want to do, really. What suggestions would you have?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 18, 2016 #2
    It sounds like you're on the right track. If you did have a difficult life situation and if it is still affecting you, or if you just want to get it off your chest, I do highly recommend speaking to your school's mental health professionals. I don't know any situation in life where people those are more readily available than when you're in school.

    It is good to join clubs, not just for the experience of the club itself, but also for the connections you make in the club. You need to be close to people who have already taken your courses; they can be lifesavers.

    Finally, a 4.0 in engineering simply comes with not knowing when to give up. You probably know by now (especially so) that sometimes it's difficult to keep working on a problem or studying because you're not getting anywhere and your time for sleep is drastically draining, but you have to keep working.

    Also remember that a 4.0 isn't everything. Grad schools and I assume industry will care FAR more about how those research experiences went than your GPA, provided you have a solid GPA (and 3.5 is solid).
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