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I'm a bit concerned for my future.

  1. Oct 25, 2012 #1

    I'm a third year ME student, and I seem to have hit a major wall. I've been doing okay for a while, but now I'm struggling much more than I have been in the past. My GPA is dropping before me and even when I work hard, my exam grades tank. I'm a terrible test taker, and I feel it is hindering my ability to complete my goals. I really want to finish, and I'm considerably close. I have a lot of interest in the courses I'm taking and I couldn't see myself doing anything else. I guess I'm here for reassurance. I'm direly afraid of failure and I'd like to know that I'm not the only one.

    What sort of things can I do to improve myself? Am I being silly? Do you or anyone else know any successful engineers who struggled?

    Thank you for reading.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 25, 2012 #2


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    Gold Member

    OUmecheng, Thank you for placing your confidence in the members here on PF to assist you with your difficulty. Most "normal" students struggle with maintaining GP averages sometimes and lots of talented engineers have "tanked" on exams now and then. So, you are not alone.

    Surely some members here will offer you valuable suggestions and encouragement moreso that I can. Does your college/university have an academic guidance counselor? Seems to me that person would be trained in assisting students to deal with exactly what is causing you trouble. If yes, is there some reason you've not asked for advice? You mentioned that you are a ME student. Does that mean Mechanical Engineer? If so, do you know any graduate ME who is now employed that you could consult with? Oftentimes one who is already at the level we are striving to achieve can offer important insights for our guidance.

    We build our self-confidence when we recognize those successes we've accomplished. Do not let your self-esteem diminish. Try dating (or befriending) someone with a high GPA. Make a list of your accomplishments and stick it on your refrigerator to remind yourself of your own advancements over time. You do have the capacity to continue onward to the completion of your degree, I am sure.

  4. Oct 25, 2012 #3
    Test taking involves two parts.

    1. Knowledge of the subject
    2. Ability to recognize the question

    You should already be pretty good a tests since you are smart and in college, but if you need some polish, there may be tutors at your school who can help you.

    Another thing you might not be doing which could help is exercising. Working out and getting sleep help you with tests and life in general.

  5. Oct 26, 2012 #4
    Make sure you're taking care of your physical needs. Eat well. Exercise. Meditate. Take vitamins. All of these things contribute to your well being and ability to retain information. Exercise can be the crux or key: As, this will cause the rest of the list to happen, more or less automatically.
  6. Oct 27, 2012 #5
    Having been in a similar situation (back in the Stone Age), here is how I recovered and got back into the game:
    • Realized my method of taking notes and otherwise absorbing the information presented in the classes was inefficient or ineffective. I found a better way to take notes. I became one of those irritating people who sat back, calmly listened, absorbed, asked questions, occasionally challenged the Professor, and recorded pertinent information into my notebooks. Then found time to review, organize, and further research/validate my notes when I did not understand completely. This involved taking advantage of one of my tuition-funded benefits: Professor's Office Hours. They began to hate me for showing up every day.
    • Dropped the "Party Student" lifestyle and morphed into "Dedicated Student". For the most part. I came to the conclusion that there will be time enough to party, later.
    • My days started at 600AM and ended at midnight or later, 7 days a week. I learned to take 10-minute power naps to stay energized. I stopped work everyday at 330PM and went for a 50-minute run. With stretching, running, cooldown, and shower, I usually hit the cafeteria at 500PM still wet and puffing.
    • I went to Mass on Sundays for spiritual renewal & repair. I prayed faithfully and regularly for help. And received it.
    • I stopped being so much of an introverted engineering nerd and developed a network of study-buddies (most of which were foreign nationals who needed American explanation & interpretation for mutual benefit). Nothing like hearing someone else's perspective on a problem solution to clarify your thought processes and gain a deeper understanding of the concepts. Nothing like seeing folks who's native tongue isn't English, but still bang out A's in class, to motivate one to be better.

    "Luck" has little to do with your results. Your improvement results will be a direct result of the effort you apply to the situation. Decide to do it, or don't.

    "Fortune favors the prepared mind. Louis Pasteur"
  7. Oct 27, 2012 #6
    Lots of great advice here, I am sure, I'm only a 1st year EE student myself. I'd speak to a professor that seems like a likely motivator, or contact the college administration for advice on who to speak to. Unless you know where to find a student councilor, I am sure you have some, I'd just go directly there.

    Or speak to other students in your class, perhaps they have gone through the same thing.

    Whatever you do, do not despair though, that is pointless.
  8. Oct 27, 2012 #7
    Thank you all for the kind words. I think I'll just have to work on my time management skills and maybe reevaluate my priorities in studying. The councilors here at my university aren't much help, I'm on my own as far as advice goes.
  9. Oct 31, 2012 #8
    There is more to life as an engineer than your undergrad GPA which tends to drop for engineering majors in their 3rd and 4th year. Its common for engineering students to doubt themselves a bit at this time. After all, most were use to grade school/high school/general ed courses where achieving top marks required minimal effort.

    If you are struggling with your classes, assess your workload. You might have too much on your plate (work, school, etc.)
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