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Falling out of Love with Engineering

  1. Jun 12, 2009 #1
    Hi Everyone,

    After browsing for a bit and finding this forum to have some very smart and helpful people, I have decided to post my query here.

    After completing my A-Levels in English, Maths and Phsyics (U.K. Education) where I got a B,A and A respectively. Thereafter I worked in odd jobs for 2 years before deciding to pursue a Meng in Electrical/Electronic Engineering to improve my career prospects. I am now 21 and have just completed the 1st year of my EE course, and another 3 years of torture awaits. Overall I have mangaged to do well in all aspects of the course, gaining an average of 67% for the whole year, but every week has been a struggle. My social life is now worse than when I was working, I have little time for any extracurricular activities and most importantly, I no longer have the passion and desire I had for Engineering as before.

    I have three options now.

    1. Start again on a New Course, first choice is a joint honours degree in Physics and Philosophy. Both subjects interest me a lot and I still love Physics. I have enjoyed learning about the scientific priciples behind EE but have struggled with the engineering aspect. The physics department is willing to accept me into this course too.

    2. Force myself and continue in the currrent EE course, hopefully keeping the current grade. I have been advised by the careers office that with a good EE degree I can move into other fields not related to Engineering.

    3. Leave University. I really really do not want to take this option.

    I've been struggling with the decision for the past 3 weeks and have about a week before the Physics & Philosophy option closes and I'm stuck with 2.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 12, 2009 #2


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    EE is one of those engineering degrees that is mostly about physics.

    And in order to get anywhere with physics and philosophy you'd probably have to go and get a masters and or phd in either of the two.

    Im not sure how philosophers make money but with physics your only options are basically research and professorship. And if EE gives you a headache...forget a career in physics.
  4. Jun 13, 2009 #3
    Have you considered a different field of Engineering?

    I'm in my second year of mechanical engineering right now, and while it is getting pretty rough, I find it extremely interesting. I've done an engineering 101 course on electrical principles and whatnot, and i'm amazed that there are any people out there studying electical engineering - It's just so boring! I think I like mechanical because I can visualize the problems better, especially the materials/dynamics component of ME.

    Anyways, not to discourage you, but from what I generally gather about engineering, its one of those things that if you're not truly passionate about, the workload will end up weeding you out.

    Then again, i'm just second year student, so my opinion doesn't hold much weight. Best of luck mate!
  5. Jun 14, 2009 #4
    I think you should do physics and philosophy, you are much more likely to succede if you enjoy what you are doing. If the first year of engineering courses was that brutal (for some people the style of work is a bad match), the subsequent years are likely to be unbearable / will crush your spirit until you become a shell of a person (I'm not exaggerating, I have seen this happen).
  6. Jun 15, 2009 #5


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    It gets better. I hated the first two years of my EE degree (circuit analysis, hardware labs, and required calculus, physics, and chemistry courses). I think this stuff is offputting to MANY engineering students; you're hardly alone in that regard.

    By the 3rd year, at least in the US, you start taking courses in your specific field of interest, and it can be a night-and-day difference.

    In my case, I chose digital signal processing and communication systems, along with some software/algorithms and more advanced (and interesting) math courses. I pretty much never touched hardware again.

    On the other hand, students I knew who went into hardware or power or whatever spent most of the rest of their academic years in labs. So you can have rather drastically different experiences depending on what path you choose.
  7. Jun 18, 2009 #6
    One of the biggest issue for me has been balancing a reasonable/good social life with the work required to get a good degree. I worked my *** off this year and only got 67%, and this is just the qualifying year.A lot of the students who got 70/75+ spent a huge proportion of their time just studying, and I admire their dedication and resilience but I'm not made for that.The real tough stuff begins from the 2nd Year, and I am now sure I won't be able to continue and even if I did I would be unhappy and consequently do poorly in the course.

    Lately I have also been looking at career options available from a joint Physics and Philosophy Degree, and was surprised to find considerable opportunities in varied fields. Moreover I enjoy Physics a lot and have a deep desire to learn about Philosophy, hence I would do well in it over the course of 3 years. Therefore I have requested my course be changed.

    Thanks to all of you for your Replies. I have great respect and enormous admiration for Engineers. Good Luck Engineering!
  8. Jun 20, 2009 #7
    Good luck! I think it's never a mistake to follow your interests. But what happens if your interest in physics and philosophy also wanes? You might find some very bright people taking a course like that. What of you start getting less than 67%, and still have no social life? You might hit Kant and Quantum Physics in your second year and start begging to be let back on the EE course...
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