Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

In need of advice

  1. Apr 15, 2010 #1
    hello, I just wanted some ideas as what I should do given my current situation, I've been in college since I was 18 (now 23), I had a hard time studying the things I thought I was interested in and have many repeats on rudimentary classes ( calculus for example) a few semesters ago I thought I'd gotten my act together and gotten on track to graduating, I had set my sites on a physics major but wanted to graduate earlier than was available with that major so I chose between electrical engineering and mathematics and decided on EE as I saw it as a combination of interests as well as having a sound financial future with that degree,

    I've been in the engineering department for one year and have so far taken material science, solid state device physics, electronics, circuits, signals and systems, logic design, c programming, applied electromagnetics and was taking a 2nd course in circuits as well as power systems this semester; I don't believe I have learned all that I should have with these courses though I was capable of getting A's in a number of tests and coursework my practical knowledge is seriously sub par compared to what seems like most of my classmates however the first time I have been given an actual project to do for power systems specifically I completely failed this project and believe I will be failing the course and the same might happen with another, I am supremely shamed at myself for this and also that I have been a huge financial burdgen on my parents who've been generously paying for every penny recently they have the money to do it but I don't think they should at this point

    I've been very depressed lately and have considered dropping school or taking a leave of absense and joining the military or rotc so I will not be a burden on my parents anymore, I truly do want an education but I'm not sure whether to stick to ee after this pitiful semester (which I'm afraid I'd still not know anything even if I graduated, switch to something I might enjoy more (I've been enjoying my partial differential equations class this semester greatly so I was thinking math or physics but that might not be as practical later down the line) and should I use the military option to continue my schooling? I want to like what I do and myself again I'm sorry for the complaining but I would most appreciative for some advice, thank you very much
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2010 #2
  4. Apr 16, 2010 #3
    If you're close to graduating, I would finish up and get my degree. If you need a break for some soul searching after that, fine....but at least you have something tangible (the degree) to thank your parents with.

    However, if you're really in a bad place with school and dread each day of classes....maybe a break would help.
    Personally, I'd really want to finish the degree to show appreciation to my parents for their help.
  5. Apr 16, 2010 #4
    I wouldn't be soul searching really I would probably try and work full time somewhere and review my basics for a while, my gpa isn't failing but its mediocore however I believe it will fall alot after this semester and I don't want to take their money anymore (which is why I was considering the military, I've always thought of serving the country anyway), I've enjoyed most of my theoretical engineering and programming classes which is why I think physics is a better fit other classes I do approach with a certain sense of dread, but I know people who pass classes they hate just fine so your point definetly applies, if I didn't have to retake another class I could potentially graduate in the spring 2011 if I did a number of classes this summer, I believe your stance is probably the more correct one
  6. Apr 16, 2010 #5

    You have to do what's right for you in the end, but no choice is the 'fun' choice.
    No matter what you do, some portion of your life is going to be spent doing things you don't really want to do in order to reach some long term achievement you do want.

    If I had to make an absolute statement, I'd say that you can expect to spend a higher percentage of your average day doing things you don't enjoy at a job that doesn't require a degree than you will while in school working towards the degree.

    All things being equal, the further you take your education, the more likely you are to be able to spend most of your days doing what you 'want' to do.
    Things obviously aren't always equal, but I'd have to guess that the average college graduate would rate his job enjoyment level higher than the average person that doesn't have a degree.
    The average PhD would probably rate how much he 'enjoys' his job even higher.

    Again....that's a very gross generalization, but everyone has to find a way to support themselves (or find a way to work the system so others support you....), and you're probably going to spend your days with less "I hate my f'n job" thoughts if you complete the degree.

    Another non-specific generalization....I know a lot of people that took a 'break' from school for a year to work.
    I know a LOT less people that returned to school to finish their degree after that 'break.'

    *I tried to make it obvious that I realize there are exceptions to the 'stay in school' to get a job you enjoy bit.....because the typical response to this is someone replying with "So-and-so quit school and is now a billionaire and spends each day deliriously happy. So you can't say that it's always better to stay in school!"
  7. Apr 16, 2010 #6
    I don't want to quit school as I disagree with those kinds of statements about bill gates and things like that I just believe I've made the wrong choice to do something I don't enjoy too much to graduate a little earlier and now that plans gone to hell and I feel as if I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place, thank for taking the time though mr harris (PL fan), it has been giving me some good things to think about
  8. Apr 16, 2010 #7
    I advise you to stay away from the military if you're depressed. The military can easily cause such a condition to worsen.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook