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Homework Help: I'm struggling in first year engineering

  1. Oct 8, 2005 #1
    Hello, I'm 25 and have been out of highschool for about 6 years. Last month I started my first year in engineering after working as an electrical apprentice and I'm already falling behind in my math and physics courses. I've had one test in math and failed it and I have my first physics test next week and I don't feel prepared.
    I'm so overwhelmed and stressed out that I can't get on track.
    I've always wanted to become an engineer but to be honest I've always been average in math and the sciences. I completed all of my prerequisits at night school after working 10 hour shifts so I have the determination but I'm starting to think I don't have the brains for it.
    Can anyone offer any advice?
    Is there hope for me, or am I just delaying the inevitable?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 8, 2005 #2


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    I know what it's like going back to school after the layoff. It can be really tough. The only thing, other than hang in there, that I can tell you is to look into the possibility of dropping a class or two to lighten your load so you can concentrate on the tougher classes. It may add a semester or two on to your planned stay at school but it will save your gpa and your sanity. It's pretty early in the term yet, so you may be able to do it at a reduced cost. Other than that, search out your profs, your TAs and anyone else who can sit down with you and hash out what is giving you the problems. You may also have to look into how you are managing your time. A big part of my undergrad was learning how to really manage where I spent my time.

    Good luck.

    P.S. I almost forgot...don't forget to use this board when it comes to technical or homework help when you need it.

    Good luck.
  4. Oct 12, 2005 #3
    Thanks for the advice. After to talking with a couple of professors, I decided to withdraw from a course and pick it up in the summer. Hopefully thats enough to get back on track.

    Oh and I was wondering why there isn't a civil/structural engineering forum on this board? Are there many of you out there?
  5. Oct 12, 2005 #4
    I suppose there isn't enough discussion of only civil engineering to create a sub-category for it.

    And welcome to PF! :)
  6. Oct 12, 2005 #5


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    Keep in mind we also have a https://www.physicsforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=35 [Broken] here with forums where you can ask questions about assignments, homework and other coursework related stuff.

    There's even a brand new forum just for Engineering homework now! So, when you find yourself struggling to understand something, you can head over there and get some help. :smile:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  7. Oct 12, 2005 #6
    Thanks, great forum!
  8. Oct 12, 2005 #7


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    A thing I did to help get myself back into school (I took about 3 years off) was to get into a study group. It's remarkable how much easier understanding concepts is when you have two or three people to bounce ideas off of.
  9. Oct 12, 2005 #8


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    Another option to consider is tutoring. Having been a tutor a little bit, it was amazing how many times a very minor misunderstanding would be the difference between a correct answer and a stumper of a question.

    And having been on the flipside trying to work full time and struggling, it was again amazing how something tiny missed in class or as a tacit asumption by the prof or textbook made things near impossible. I was in a study group of what I'd consider bright guys and we'd really struggle with our dynamics class, visit the prof and we'd feel like we were doing simple math after getting clarity. One kid purchased a different textbook and had some luck getting a different perspective on some topics.

    My physics II prof was quite upset that no one seemed to know how to solve his problems well and as a response bascially taught our study group calc I & II in our late night sessions once a week in the student union. We'd just look at each other and wonder what our GPAs and freetime would have been like if we'd had such a good teacher initially for calc.
  10. Oct 13, 2005 #9
    No kidding. I remember in freshman chemistry we did several experiments involving pressure, temp, and volume of gases. We wrote a paper on the ideal gas law...however, I somehow was under the impression that we had to determine the "Ratio"...so I was freaking out and couldn't finish the paper. 30 seconds after class one day solved the dilemna: we didn't have to determine the ratio!
  11. Oct 13, 2005 #10


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    Not much structural discussions here, Well i'm here :smile:
  12. Oct 13, 2005 #11
    funny, I always thought civil was one of the more common engineering disciplines!?
    Anyway thats the route I'm going, I've always had a fascination with bridges, tunnels and any sort of massive structure:bugeye:
  13. Oct 13, 2005 #12


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    Same here!, :biggrin:, i especially like Bridges!.
  14. Oct 14, 2005 #13
    Hey unidentified, it's normal to get rusty after such a long period...I dropped a year after my 1st nuclear engineering term, because i had some issues to deal with, and then when i was back i ahd really hard time to get along with the courses that i've excelled at before...

    So don't worry, it's gonna get much better by time, after several tries to concentrate, if eel better than ever, and even my professors have noticed it..
  15. Oct 15, 2005 #14
    thanks man! I feel a bit better knowing I'm not the only one that struggles. Theres a lot of young guys straight out of highschool that just breeze through this stuff, its pretty intimidating.
    I really have a passion for engineering so I hope that'll get me through the program.
  16. Oct 15, 2005 #15
    I love bridges:!!)
    Its awesome, ever since I began my program, I've looked at everything in a new light. I'll stop and stare at a bridge and just think about all that went into the design and construction of it. Its hard to picture right now that someday I could be involved in the creation of something that big...hopefully

    Cyclovenom, what area of civil do you work in?
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2005
  17. Oct 15, 2005 #16
    U W, but i'm a girl:biggrin:
  18. Oct 15, 2005 #17
    sorry, no offense or anything. I call everybody man, bad habbit:biggrin:
  19. Oct 15, 2005 #18
    U remind me of a dear friend, he has the same bad habit :D
  20. Oct 15, 2005 #19


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    :biggrin:, meh i am just an undergrad like you, but i have done some interns already basicly helping out with the design using applications such as ETABS, SAPS and SAFE. I'm a junior.
  21. Oct 29, 2005 #20

    Don't worry, you are not alone. I just turned fifty and "should" graduate in May. Math is still hard, but the difference is I am more accustomed to it and less fearful. I will be taking a course in vibrations and I am dreading having to re-learn Fourier series, but I know the professor and what kind of help he offers during his office hours. As far as your schedule is concerned, what matters is that the end result gets nearer, not how slow the end is approaching. What started out (I thought) as a six year program working part time has turned into a ten year program. I had to retake differenial equations twice, and I still get confused at times.

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