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In need of some overall adivce.

  1. Sep 22, 2007 #1
    Hey, Ive been browsing around just trying to research about engineering etc, and this forum seems like a really nice friendly place with some good topics and answers knocking back, so I thought I'd ask something, Im not sure if this is right place to ask but Im gonna try anyway.

    To put you all in my situation, Im 17 and at the stage in my final year of 6th form where I need to select which Universities and what I want to study etc, with my final exams coming up soon. but this is exactly where the problem falls.

    Through my life, Ive seen a Hercules up in the sky and thought, awesome I'd really love to be way up there flying that thing, or watching Stargate on TV and seeing Daniel Jackson translating Egyption hyroglyphs and wishing I could do that; but never, did I really set something in cement that I wanted to do, or be and Im not sure if thats the reason for my main fault.

    We're now being pushed to make our choices, quite a few people have already made their personal statments and already applied to the Uni's they've chosen, and Im sat here still clueless on what I want to do, and as I see it, if I dont have a clue what I want to do how can I even choose the right Uni, let alone the right degree.

    The subjects Im currently learning are Maths, Physics and Biology, Im also considering taking an AS level in Further Maths and trying to complete that befre my years over, Im in Britain by the way incase some things dont add up in terms of doing things differently, different names for exams etc. Im pretty happy with my subject choice, I really do hate biology alot though but I enjoy Physics (with the right teacher) and Maths I like going to, but I have a big draw back, and thats my lazyness.

    My dads told me I have an intelligent brain thats trapped inside a bone-idol body, and I guess thats true, I have the ability to do all of this, but I let myself down by not putting the effort into work, be that in or out of college. Im soneone who just drifts away from the real world whenever I loose concentration for a split second; its like I may have a piece of Math homework due in the for next day but I'll end up just sitting and thinking, not doing anything, and I can do that for countless hours, getting no work or studying done, and not even playing a video game ... I just think. Even when Im interested in something Im listening to I may end up day dreaming and I really dont know why it happens.

    With my personal problems out of the way, I was trying to say that Im taking the subjects that will lead to tough degrees, and can get the grades I need in them, but dont feel I myself will be able to cope with the work load degrees related to my current subjects will give.

    My dad, who did electronics engineering at uni is trying to push me in the engineering direction , by pushing I mean hes doing a load of research and everytime I try to mention doing a different degree he will work out some way of making that one sound terrible and going back to engineering, like he says I shouldnt do archaeology because thats a hobby degree, I dont really understand that. And like I really like Ancient Greek Myths and things like that, but I cant pursure that because I didnt take History at A Level, and I didnt do that because the only choice for that was modern history, and I dont like that at all.

    But my problem is, which Im too worried to talk to my dad about, is what if I hate engineering, what if Im not born to be an acedemic sort of person, dunno what hes gonna think of me, I know its my choice, but I know I cant make the right one.

    I flick through books from Uni's, I search through their websites looking at all the degree's on offer and none are catching my eye, and Im really starting to worry, how can I not like everything, surely there must be something.

    So my question to you guys, is what would you do in my shoes?, whats engineering like in terms of enjoyment, work load? Are there major differences between the different aspects of engineering?

    I know theres alot of rubbish in this post, and Ive realised Ive written quite alot but I just wanna make sure you all know my situation.

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 22, 2007 #2
    Hi, I'm pretty much in the same state as you and have to decide university next year however I have a pretty good idea where I'm headed, and that is engineering haha.
    Anyways from what you're saying it sounds like your dad is really pushing you towards engineering, I'm not sure what to say there, you should research for yourself what seems most appealing to you and if thats engineering go for it. I think the most important thing though is what you enjoy to do most, doesn't matter if its not engineering as long as you enjoy and like what you do. The way I figured it out was looking at what has a lot of opportunities, a good amount of demand, and has great traveling opportunities (hence cause I love to travel), which led me to Petroleum Engineering. I read up a bunch about it and what goes on, what they do etc, and it really appealed to me so now I'm focused on getting there but at the moment am trying to focus on bringing my physics marks up so that I can get to the university I want for it.
    Engineering has many different fields which can vary widely, if you're going to become one theres a lot of hard work and dedication to it involved. I would suggest maybe reading the sticky topic at the top of this forum (https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=15898) Should I become an Engineer topic, and maybe if you are considering engineering, read up about the different kinds and find out yourself since it is you who has to decide for yourself. Again though I would probably decide myself about what to do rather than have someone push me into it. Like you said, what if you hate engineering once you're in the program, thats no good at all.

    Don't know if that answered much for you but its just a bit of insight for ya..
  4. Sep 22, 2007 #3
    I can't really answer your question for you, but what I will say is this: I think when you are young it is more important to choose the path that gives you the most freedom to make choices later in life. It's totally normal to know know what you want at age 17! Even if you did know you'd probably change you mind later.

    The one thing that matters is to keep taking courses that let you use your mind in different ways. Some people never take another math course after they leave high school, others go in to such intense technical programs that later on when they decide that they would rather be... oh a reporter or something, they can't make the change.

    Take a hard math class, take a class about science, try hard and you'll see what you love.

    It sounds like you need to look for a school with solid math and science courses, but also a place that has a pretty good "liberal arts" program.

    You don't need to declare a major in your first year of university anyway.

    You should tell your dad that this is your plan, let him know that you don't know what you want to do yet and **take your time to think about it.** (It's worth it!)

    After a year or two at university you will have better sense of what might be right for you. Just try to keep your options open.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2007
  5. Sep 22, 2007 #4
    Let me give you this piece of advice: If you really do not like engineering, do not do it. You will hate your life all throughout university and after. Do not let your father force you into engineering. Tell him you have really considered engineering, but you do not feel it is for you. If he is a reasonable person then he will have to understand.

    I can sort of understand the fact that he does not want you to go into archeology, but if that's really where your interest is, then that is where you will do best.
  6. Sep 22, 2007 #5
    Thanks for the swift replies.

    And yeah, Im gonna try and keep up as much research as I can, as this is quite a big step I have to make sure Ive chosen the rigth thing etc etc.

    Its not that I dont like engineering, meh Ive never even experienced what it could be like, its just after reading what it involves and stuff Im not fully convinced its what I want to be involved in, but it may well be, I just cant decide. My worst fear of taking engineering will be that I wont end up keeping up with the work load, as some people have told me there is ALOT of work involved at Uni for it, and I feel that I may screw up in that section.

    so if I feel this way, does that mean I shouldnt even consider engineering? Its just, I know life doesnt work like this, but I would love to be able to find a course that allows me to use the skills I have in math and physics but with a moderate work load that wont over power me.

    And futurebird, you say after a year at uni or so I could see what will be right for me, does that mean if I possibly end up choosing something Im not completly happy with its reletivly easy for me to change that around? I guess Im worried that once Ive chosen something Im sending myself down an alley and getting trapped.

    Im now sort of looking quite happily at Systems or Architectural engineering, Ive got my head around what the architectural involves, and with a few more defintions Systems is looking quite interesting but I havent really found a site thats put it in plain words if you get my meaning, if anyone could sum up what Systems will involve that would be great.

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