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[Engineering advice] What field is right for me?

  1. Jan 25, 2012 #1
    I'm a student coming into my second year of university. My first year course was the general engineering/science program (maths/physics/programming/electronics/materials/intro engineering).

    Now I need to chose my major, I'm looking at either electronic or mechanical engineering.

    Background info:
    I had planned on studying physics/and or math but have decided against it because I don't really have a deep drive that would be necessary. When I try to balance my interest in physics/math vs. the possibility of not actually working in my desired field/not even having a decent job, physics loses. I'm really afraid of finishing my degree, walking away with debt and having to teach highschool physics to survive.

    So I guess I'm looking the (almost) default career path for mathematically and scientifically able students: engineering.

    This is how I perceive my choice:
    I'm really interested in cars and mainly F1 - I guess you could call it a passion. But I have basically zero practical experience with mechanical tools/processes. I know mechanical engineering is a VERY broad field and the automotive/aerodynamic side is small.
    I didn't mind the metallurgy and materials classes I did this year but I do not enjoy the statics/dynamics section of the physics paper (this is not to say I did poorly, I recieved the highest overall grade in the class), I just find the statics problems tiresome and boring.

    Electronic engineering would allow me to take more physics and maths classes (compared to mechanical) this does excite me. My favourite section of the physics I have studied so far has always been E&M.
    But I did not enjoy my intro to electronics class very much this semester. I can't exactly say why but I think it may be because we did not use a textbook and relied on the professors brief powerpoint presentations, in the labs I had no idea what I was doing half the time but again that could be because we had no pre-reading assigned before each lab. I know I was not alone in feeling lost during that class. I guess I like to have a more thorough/rigorus presentation and explanation of concepts rather than "this magical box does this so we do this etc etc". Maybe the more mathematically rigours second year electronics classes (analogue electronics and digital electronics) will enlighten me further.
    I don't really have any non academic interests in electronics, but this is probably my own fault - I should buy some small project kits (we did play around with a boe-bot in highschool, it was a lot of fun). I don't really enjoy the programming I have been introduced to either (forms based c#).

    Other choices
    I have thought about applied mathematics, but I don't know if the career prospects are very good where I live (New Zealand). CFD modelling (and related) seems very interesting - but I guess this falls under mechanical engineering also.

    Wow that is really TL:DR, if anyone has actually read this far - thank you.
  2. jcsd
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