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Giving up on Engineering major, struggling in math

  1. Jul 14, 2011 #1
    I haven't reached Calculus yet and I'm already scoring low on Trig exams. I think I may have to reconsider my options of becoming an engineer. Well the majority of my errors come from careless mistakes and even when I'm careful I make little errors which accumulates. I like the idea of becoming an electrical or maybe computer engineer but I lack math skills. I've struggle on math courses throughout my life, I can calculate fast and it gets easier to solve problems when I practice however it never ends, there's always going to be more math. Plus learning new materials takes time for me then I end up behind and frustrated. I really want to become an engineer. Should I quit and major in something in the technology field? My interests are in the field of computers, electricity, space, airplanes and vehicles. Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 14, 2011 #2


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    Depends. If you love math, you should do fine in engineering/CS. If you hate math, I would avoid these fields. Have you considered computer technician?
  4. Jul 14, 2011 #3
    What? How can you already suck at math? Just more repetitions man. Like literally do 4+ hours of practice every day for your math class. Go back to the fundamentals if you have to. JUST DO IT! It's not even a matter of you sucking cause anybody can improve on math.

    You could just be rushing. Don't rush and go slow. Review your work. Logically think about the steps.
  5. Jul 14, 2011 #4
    Thanks man! Just what I needed some words of encouragement. I think I'm going to literally just stick to it and study straight hours! I don't like quitting doesn't get you anywhere, I might regret stuff when I hit a certain age if I just decide to quit now. Eventually I'll grow to love math anyway! Love, sweat, blood and tears! No pain no gain wooo!! I'm going all balls out!
  6. Jul 14, 2011 #5
    If it makes you feel any better CrossFit415 --trig was much more difficult for me to learn than calculus. ]= I'm actually thinking about taking a trig course again next semester along with calculus III as a refresher and for mastery. Calculus is just mindbending fun :biggrin:
  7. Jul 15, 2011 #6
    While it is not true that everyone has the exact same aptitude for some subjects, it is true that anyone can excel at virtually any subject. I, for instance, have dysgraphia. This limits my ability to understand symbols simply, but I have compensated with other abilities to adapt to learning math. It is incredibly hard and takes an enormous extra effort, but what is work if you don't love doing it. Most likely, if you don't want to do something it is because you do not love it. Who can argue with that? That fact is, those who want to do something will simply find a way.

    If you love physics then there is a necessity for quantifying geometric conditions explainable by calculus. If you want to avoid this, it is possible to do so as an amateur. However, I feel for your detest of the matter and recognize that a great deal of analytical minutia is complicated by the discipline. I am sure you are not in the market for redefining the subsequent rules of algebra necessary for re-orienting the polarity problems facing mathematicians in the field. After all, every discipline has its paradoxes. Who knows, maybe you will make it easier for everyone.
  8. Jul 17, 2011 #7
    Trig almost made me quit engineering! I'm glad I stuck with it though, Calculus was way easier for me. I've also been tempted to go back and retake Trig, but when flipping through my old text I think I have acquired all the knowledge during the Calculus series that I didn't pick up during Trig.
  9. Jul 18, 2011 #8
    Personally, I think all those that state in finite terms, something along the lines of "If you are not good at math you should not become an engineer" are really providing a disservice to aspiring engineers. Can one obtain a degree in engineering without being a mathematics superstar? YES. Will they be as good as an engineer? That is subjective, and it depends on the position and type of work the person is performing. Not ALL engineering positions involve the use of mathematics. Is mathematical savvy a benefit? Sure. Is it always necessary? Not in my opinion.

    Perhaps, similar to other posts, words of encouragement should be the preferred route.
  10. Jul 18, 2011 #9


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    I can see what you're saying. I should probably elaborate.

    I said nothing about not being good at math. I believe as you do. I was saying that if you don't like math, engineer would probably not be a good job choice. If you don't like math, there's a pretty good chance you'll hate your job, unless you land an engineering position that doesn't require much math.

    Judging from the OP's posts, I'd guess that he likes math. If that's the case, he can always improve his math skills.
  11. Jul 18, 2011 #10
    Thanks for elaborating. I used your post as an example, as I have seen other similar posts. Again, I was also only offering my opinion. I know, during my B.S., I did not "like" math, however, I loved the engineering. I got a degree, and have done well. However, having said that, I believe my problem was not being able to really appreciate the applicability of mathematics [hard to imagine] to particular disciplines/problems. It really is not that hard to imagine though, just ask a few SW engineers, or HW engineers, how much math they use. Probably not that much. But ... I believe if you really want to work more along the lines of a research scientist, or similar, one had better be well versed in mathematics, because one will need to quantize everything. Is isnt possible to submit a solution or design idea for a proposal on the grounds of "Well, my idea is ideal, well, because I think so." ;)

    To the OP, hopefully as you progress, you will see the bigger picture, and how pertinent the math is to solve the engineering problems, which hopefully, your desire and interest in will bring the mathematics along for the ride. Cheers!
  12. Jul 18, 2011 #11
    It depends on what you define as math. The math that engineers practice isn't really that heavy when compared to the mathematician and the physicist. If you define math as anything with equations than sure there's lots of math, but if you define it as rigorous math proof or derivation or even modeling based math than its relatively light.
  13. Jul 18, 2011 #12
    That is the right attitude. If you live up to your name, CrossFit415, you should know the meaning of perseverance despite discomfort in order to grain greater rewards at the end. Just like physical challenge, once you are past that threshold, it all becomes much more enjoyable.
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