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ChemE undergrad work

  1. Apr 21, 2008 #1
    I will be a freshman ChemE student next fall and I understand that it is a difficult major, but I was wondering just how difficult it was. How many hours a week did you spend studying in your undergraduate years? Were the tests for some of the courses impossibly hard(i.e. the tests were so complex and the material covered so much that it was nearly impossible to get and A)? I'm an above average student, and I consider myself capable, but I just don't want to get in way over my head.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 22, 2008 #2
    define above average student.

    how are you quantitatively? SAT math section is a good indicator.

    if you are good at math and science then you will be able to get the chemE degree, however, it is very tough and yes, there are exams that you have no chance of getting an A on. I have taken classes where the exam average is ~40%, sometimes even lower. that is not to say that the professor failed everyone though.

    you will have to study everyday if you want to make good grades. to come to class prepared, homework completed, energized to take notes, etc. is a daunting task. on the other hand if you are satisfied with average grades, you can just cram for tests and do well enough to pass the classes. either way, be prepared to pull many "all nighters."

    this degree is the hardest thing i have ever done in my entire life. is it worth it? yes and no. i feel like my time could have been better spent, but i can't think of anything else i would have done. i definitely think differently about things now that i have been trained in engineering.
  4. Apr 22, 2008 #3
    If you don't mind me asking, why wasn't it worth it? Do you not enjoy your job?
  5. Apr 22, 2008 #4
    ah, perhaps i have misled you. i am graduating this semester. this is my last week of classes. i don't have a job lined up yet, but there are countless things i could do with this degree and i am grateful for that.

    ahh the stress.. too much to do, never enough time...

    ok ok i guess it is worth it because i will have a pretty good job, right?
  6. Apr 22, 2008 #5
    Yes, I definitely thought you were already employed. That changes everything. I knew the course work was horrible, and if I had to guess, I would assume that most ChemE students get a little set back by the hard work at some point in their academic endeavors. Good luck with landing a job! I'm sure it won't be too difficult, as you said, the degree is very versatile.
  7. Apr 30, 2008 #6
    The coursework for me wasn't that bad. You should find out what ChE organizations (AIChE, for example) there are at your university, join and get involved, because there are many who have taken the courses you will take and can definitely provide you with the help you need to do well in tough classes.
  8. May 1, 2008 #7
    I've actually looked into that before and there is a AIChE group at my school. Wouldn't a group like that take a lot of time away from my studies though?
  9. May 1, 2008 #8
    No, it won't take a lot of time away from your studies - though it is your choice how active you choose to be in the group. I have peers who attended conventions and competed in events (race car project, for example, and won first place) and still do well in their classes. While keeping up with your studies is important, networking will help you get an internship/job in the field. And sometimes, if you're lucky, your interviewer may just be someone you know! Also, you may know that AIChE isn't just a local organization at your school.
  10. May 2, 2008 #9
    AIChE sounds like it would really be beneficial not just while in college but even after. I'm seriously considering joining next fall. I could use a good social network in a school with 20,000 + people.
  11. May 15, 2008 #10
    I am currently studying towards a ChemE with additional physics (and mathematics) in sweden. (You could call it ChemE with a lot of theory).

    Some tests are impossible to get the highest grade on, that is true. But it all come downs to one thing, namely time spent on the subject. A grade is only a grade. A good grade is nice, but it isn't the most important thing. The most important thing is your total, that will be your EC's (extra curriculars) and your grades. Besides being a social person :smile:

    I usually spend around 55-60 hours a week doing my EC (head of purchasing at a local pub) and studying towards my master in ChemE (my major will probably be material physics or nanotechnology).
  12. Jun 9, 2008 #11
    Wow, impressive. Spending 55-60 hours a week studying and doing EC's is pretty extensive, I suppose Fearless is a fitting name. I believe EC's are less important (though still important) here in the U.S, at least when compared to research and experience in the workforce. But your point still stands, grades are not everything.

    Oh, and I could work on the whole social aspect as well.

    Good luck with your studies. But from the sound of it, you don't need it.
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