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Engineering advice

  1. Aug 19, 2008 #1
    Hey everyone,

    I'm heading into first year engineering. I have a few concerns, maybe some of the experienced members could help?

    reasons for choosing engineering:
    - I'd like to become a pilot. Having a degree is a requirement. Engineering is relevant to the field.
    - I love the sciences. I find them rewarding; I can study them without a lot of willpower.
    - Engineering naturally draws me.
    - Free tuition (almost)

    - Is the pain worth it?
    - Should I push through if people discourage it?
    - There are easier options. I have people skills, should I bother with the tough academics?
    - Do you have to be gifted at math to make it through? I'm not especially talented, I have to work for my marks.
    - Can you enjoy life under the workload?

    Have you thought about quitting? Any advice would help a lot.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 19, 2008 #2
    I'm a pilot, but not professionally. Being an engineer was a major advantage in understanding what's going on. It's not like learning to drive a car. You have to understand the physics of what's going on to get your licence.

    Yeah, that's a good reason - seriously.

    If you like it, yes.

    I don't know what you mean by 'people'.

    "I work with the software engineers so they don't have to deal with the customers. I have people skills. I'm good with people. What the hell's wrong with you people!?"

    Sorry.......had an office space moment there for a second....

    No, but you have to work hard to understand it or you are doomed.

    Straight answer, if you want to be good at it........no. It's a serious undertaking that requires almost absolute devotion to get really good at it. If you just want to get by and move on to something else, then yes. If you really want to master it, it's going to take hours upon hours of continual dedication.

    Hell yes. Most people get majorly burned out around the end of junior/senior. Basically, its homework/project/test/presentation non-stop. Lots of longggggggg nights. I'm not going to lie, almost everyone hates their last year.

    But you also have a starting salary of 50-55k with only a BS. Most people graduating with only an undergrad dont get nearly as much.

    Keep in mind, a lot of pilots in the military are engineers. A few of my friends in school are going to flight school once they finish up.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2008
  4. Aug 19, 2008 #3
    -For me yes, for you I don't know.
    -Yes, you should.
    -If you want to be a good pilot, you need a solid knowledge of vector mechanics and fluid dynamics. So yes you should bother.
    -No you dont, but it definitely helps. About 90% of engineering students at my school needed to take calc II and III, diff eq, and linear algebra at least twice. About 20% had to take calc II three times.
    -Like said above, if you want to be good or work while in school then no you can't. If you just want to get by then yes you can.

    And yes I thought about quitting many times. Everyone does. By the time your done with your junior year, flipping burgers at Mcdonalds looks like a very attractive career move.
  5. Aug 19, 2008 #4
    1) For me, it definitely was. Though there were a lot of sleepless nights, I could not have been happier with my choice and will follow it through to the PhD level.

    2) People skills are actually rather common among engineers - more common than movies like Office Space will have you believe. Perhaps many years ago only the basement dwellers were engineers, but nowadays, I've noticed most people at my job have either strong people skills or are actually well spoken.

    3) 'Gifted' - I don't even know what that means. You just need to have the dedication and desire to learn. Just like Cyrus said.

    4) Yes, you sure can. The workload can get very heavy, but it does lighten up at times. Make sure you capitalize on those lulls and go out with some friends.
  6. Aug 19, 2008 #5
    Yes, I have been studied engineering at least 1 year, and now I start to think about of switching this course.
    It wasn't that I incapable to overcome the burden of homeworks, but I just find that Physics course is more and more fascinating me... :smile:

    However, for salary sake, I came to think over about it...:uhh:
  7. Aug 19, 2008 #6
    What do you mean "Free tuition"....?

    From what I understand there is no such thing as a rich engineer....unless you invent something.You will just be upper middle class
  8. Aug 19, 2008 #7
    A guarantee at upper middle class doesn't sound half bad, my friend, especially if you're doing what you love to do. That sounds like the best of both worlds.
  9. Aug 19, 2008 #8
    Thanks for all the replies.

    @ cyrus, by 'people' I meant peers, friends
    @ whiteknights, I have a tuition waiver because a parent works at the university.
  10. Aug 19, 2008 #9


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    You have free college education?! Lucky guy.
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