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I'm Great at Theory but Suck at Application? Am I cut out for EE?

  1. Nov 17, 2014 #1


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    Gold Member

    This is a question I have always wanted to ask but was too nervous to.

    I am currently a EE and Math dual major at an engineering university. I really like EE and thoroughly enjoy the subject and the physics behind it. However, I noticed during lab I tend to struggle more than the other students.

    It's not that I don't enjoy lab, I just have a hard time building circuits and visualizing "this wire carries current here which then goes here" and so on. When I understand it I find circuits lots of fun, and I can solve them relatively easily. I usually finish the lab on time and understand it, I feel like I have a harder time with it than most students.

    I have noticed, however, I am great in theory. I'm only a freshman and I have taken Calculus I-III and linear algebra and I am ODE's right now. I know more math than most freshman, so I can relate to the theory a lot more than they can. I am also in Physics II right now and I have an A without a problem. I also really enjoy that class and I like the physics point of view of EE.

    So my question is, am I cut for EE or am I just being paranoid? How long does it take to get used to things like circuit building? I like it, it's just harder for me than most people. What should I do?

    I know this is pretty long but I thank you for reading and I appreciate your input.


  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 17, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    There was an old story of a philosopher taking a boat across the river. He asks the boatman if he knows any philosophy and the boatman says no. The philosopher goes to say it's so wonderful then you've lost half a life by not learning it.

    Just then a storm appears and the boat is in jeopardy of sinking and the boatman asks the philosopher do you know how to swim...?

    In EE it's critical to know both things because once you design a circuit then you might have to test it and that's where the details get in the way of theory complicating things dramatically.

    If you work as a chip designer then theory and software tools are more important for the job. Other engineers will take over the manufacture and rest of the chips you design...
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