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Do I just stop worrying about my performance?

  1. Mar 5, 2014 #1


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    I am an engineering student and finding that I am overwhelmed and frustrated. Between some of the exams being basically impossible, quizzes that are extremely hard, mind numbingly difficult labs with prelab sections, and the non-stop barrage of problem sets that are also difficult with less time given in between sets, I am getting very stressed, and worrying of course about how I will perform and the bottom line, my GPA.

    I am going to a top 10 university in the USA, and sometimes I wish I would have just gone to an [insert state] university where I wouldn't have all this trouble. I mean, whats the point of going to the best university, getting a 3.0 or maybe less, and then your chances of getting a job probably aren't as good as someone who got a 3.5 at a lesser known school, all with less problems to deal with.

    So my question is, do I just try to learn as much as I possibly can, not think about my grades, and what I get is what I get? For example, lets say there is a problem on the homework and I just cannot for the life of me figure it out. Do I just turn it in uncomplete, rather than go all around the place to try and find someone who did the problem to copy them (not academically honest). For my EE class, most of the problems I cannot figure out on my own, but I go on PF as much as possible and use tutoring, office hours, etc. to get as much help as I can, but no matter what it never seems like it is enough.
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  3. Mar 5, 2014 #2
    Hi there!

    I feel like I'm in a similar situation with regards to having a hard time with everything. I'm a math major and I'm also at a pretty competitive university. Since I have much less background than a lot of my peers, I end up taking forever to pick up things and have a lot of difficulty with things that other people would find pretty easy or intuitive. Often this is really scary and I'm sometimes frustrated about how often I need to ask other people for help understanding things (lecture/homework) or even understanding the point of problems on the homework.

    I guess it depends on how much of a priority your subject takes. For me, I never really found anything else I enjoyed a lot before or spent a lot of time on, so I'm just putting up with it and hoping it gets better in the long run. And sometimes it pays off and it feels great when you finally understand something and don't screw up on things or you get to experience working on cool projects. The problem is that I basically had to throw anything not math-related out of the window when it comes to time I don't spend socializing or doing homework. The other thing is that my situation seems pretty fragile and I'm always scared that everything will fall apart if I get sick or something else unexpected happens.

    So, the most important question could be the following: Why are you studying this subject?

    Some others to consider: Did you have appropriate background from high school? Have you tried preparing for the courses before taking them? Perhaps there are some fundamental holes in your background that you need to take care of before taking certain courses.

    More practical advice: Check that you're actually prepared for the course and just try your best to understand what is going on.
  4. Mar 5, 2014 #3
    Physics/Math double and EE minor here, I go to a public ivy and I certainly understand your frustration. However keep in mind that while your GPA is important, coming from an ivy/public ivy does have an effect on how people view your GPA. A 3.0 from MIT/Stanford/etc. looks much better than a 3.5 or higher from a community college, so at least there is some benefit in that.

    I can just tell you what has worked for me, but you'll have to find some happy medium for yourself. I personally aim for complete understanding of the concepts and theory (at the appropriate level of course). I have found that once I understand a concept or technique very well, most of the coursework comes very naturally, and good grades follow.

    For your specific example, I would probably go to other resources. i.e. office hours and work with the professor, or maybe find a friend who's doing well and ask them to explain (this especially, collaboration has helped myself and others enormously). I would as an absolute last resort copy the answer without understanding, and even then I would prefer to turn it in incomplete. But no matter what, make sure your understanding of the fundamentals is impeccable, I have seen many very intelligent classmates fumble with very easy questions only because they did not understand the concepts behind it.

    If you don't mind my asking, what EE classes are you having trouble with?
  5. Mar 5, 2014 #4


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    I'm taking the introduction to circuit analysis, if you look through my post history you'll get an idea of what topics are covered. We do the methods of circuit analysis (nodal, mesh) and Op-Amps so far
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