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Is it all downhill from here?

  1. Oct 25, 2012 #1

    MacLaddy

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    Hello all,

    So I am currently at a crossroads between my community college, and a four year university.

    The question that I would like to ask is virtually the same that I had asked in this thread,
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=471943
    but with a few slight changes.

    Basically, I have completed (or will soon complete) all of my undergrad math, physics, and chemistry classes that are required for a Mechanical Engineering undergrad degree. (I have changed my major from electrical to mechanical, as seen in the other thread)

    So even though it doesn't matter that much, and I will be going through all of it regardless, what are the hardest classes I have left? Is it all downhill from here, or do I have hours of grueling and sleepless nights remaining?

    I know this is subjective, and depends on the school and individual, but I am still curious as to everyone's opinion.

    Thanks again. I'll probably be asking a version of this question in another 2 years.

    Mac
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 25, 2012 #2
    I transferred from community college to electrical engineering at a university, and it's definently not all down hill. the material doesn't get that much harder, but they will work you to the bone. also you'll probably be taking some engineering math classes (for mechanical, i think you have to learn fluid dynamics, fourier transforms and maybe some complex analysis). the work load gets a lot heavier, 15 page lab reports, problem sets that take you hours and plenty of studying. just bite the bullet and know it will be over in two years and you'll be on your way to an awsome career making lots of money. good luck!
     
  4. Oct 25, 2012 #3

    MacLaddy

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    That's definitely not good news, but I appreciate the input.
    Two years is an absolute pipe dream. I'm three years in already at the CC, and with a full time job supporting my family I am looking at at least four more years for completion.
     
  5. Oct 25, 2012 #4
    if you've made it this far with a full-time job and a family, you can make it through the rest. hats off to you.
     
  6. Oct 25, 2012 #5

    lisab

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    I did my first two years in four years at a community college :redface:. Well, I didn't go to high school, but that's another story.

    I was shocked at how much harder the upper division classes were! But jtpope2 is absolutely right. Those lower division classes are no picnic, and if you've made it this far you can do the rest of it. Just don't go into it thinking that now it's all gravy.

    Oh I wasn't an engineering major, I was physics. WRT class difficulty it's probably about the same, I would think.
     
  7. Oct 25, 2012 #6

    MacLaddy

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    I MUST make it through the rest, otherwise I'll have to pay off these student loans early and that is not an option. Thanks for the compliment though.

    I dropped out when I was in the 9th grade, and missed basically everything. That definitely is another story, and if I ever remember that year and the following decade I'll let you know. :yuck:

    I'm mostly trying to pin-point which classes will be the major time-sinks. My wife doesn't work and raises our daughter (which is a full time job), plus we're planning another child as we are not getting any younger.

    I need to figure out how to find and work a full time job that will accommodate almost full time school. We have been downgrading our lifestyle for a long time now in preparation, and there are a lot of things to figure out.

    Anyway, any advice is appreciated. I've heard dynamics and thermodynamics are two that I should watch out for, and with this thread I'm wondering if I should do one more semester at the CC to knock those out first.

    Thanks,
    Mac
     
  8. Oct 25, 2012 #7

    MacLaddy

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  9. Oct 26, 2012 #8
    To be blunt, raising a child is not really a full time job (unless your daughter has a disability, for which I am sorry). Ideally your wife should be working while you kill two birds with one stone and watch your daughter while studying (with breaks, of course). I only say this because a couple of my classmates are [successfully] doing exactly this.
     
  10. Oct 26, 2012 #9

    MacLaddy

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    :rofl: :biggrin: :rofl: :rolleyes:

    Ahh, sorry... That was a good one!!
     
  11. Oct 27, 2012 #10
    Listiba, you might have misinterpreted what he said. "Full time job supporting my family" sounds like he is saying that he has to work 40 hours+ in order to support the family financially.

    Am I right in this interpretation MacLaddy?
     
  12. Oct 27, 2012 #11
    Hi Macladdy,

    It sounds like you're concerned about having the experience of being shocked by difficult concepts that you'll encounter in the classroom and the experience of having a heavy academic workload. This is a valid concern. The classes that I had trouble with were always the classes that I didn't prepare ahead of time for. So listen up :)

    (1) You've listed two potential universities. (If you haven't done so already) Go to the websites of each university and prepare a class schedule from now until graduation. Take note of the science, engineering and math classes (or simply the classes you believe are challenging).

    (2) For each of these challenging courses, you want a corresponding syllabus and textbook. (2a) Much of the time, you may find sample or old syllabi on a department's website. (2b) Or you may obtain the syllabus for a particular course by emailing a professor who has taught the class. (2c) If you don't receive a response from the professor, it usually means that their email accounts are swamped with junk mail. So if it's convenient, you may want to stop by either university to speak with a professor and/or the department chair. They should have no trouble giving you sample syllabi. (2d) Lastly, you can simply google the syllabi for a particular class. You'll probably end up with syllabi for other universities, but that should give you a hint about the topics that are covered and the textbooks that are used for a particular course.

    (3) Once you have all of the syllabi in order, you can begin to work and read ahead. Use your spare time to familiarize yourself with concepts and work end-of-the-chapter problems. This way you will rarely (if ever) be shocked by the material you will encounter. Hope that helps!

    By the way, congrats on going to school while taking care of a family. That definitely is a full-time job. I admire your tenacity, keep up the good work!
     
  13. Oct 28, 2012 #12

    MacLaddy

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    Yup, more or less.

    Lucky for me I'll be done with all Physics, Math, and Chemistry courses by the time I make this transfer.
    You make many good points here, and I will keep them in mind. It's tough, nay impossible, to make a schedule without knowing where or when I'll be working.
    Many people in this thread have made many good points and posts. However, I'm really just looking for something along these lines.
    "Hey Mac, Dynamics will kick your butt when you get to it." Or "you better watch out for that Trampoline Relativism class." Things of this nature.

    Both school schedules show that I will be COMPLETELY done with all 4 credit courses when I make the transfer, so I'm just wondering if that means the hardest classes will be over?

    Thanks all,
    Mac
     
  14. Oct 28, 2012 #13

    russ_watters

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    There is a huge difference between time consuming and difficult. And you're still in for both. Remaining hard courses that require advanced math (some are electives) include:
    -Vibrations
    -Heat Transfer
    -Control Theory
    -Mechanics of Materials
    -Aerodynamics

    In addition, you will be having more project-based courses such as a senior design project. These aren't difficult, but will definitely cause sleepless nights leading up to major submissions.

    That said, the courses are not going to be as uniformly hard and time consuming as they were before. You'll likely be carrying fewer credits and throwing in the occasional non-engineering elective.
     
  15. Oct 28, 2012 #14

    MacLaddy

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    Great information, thanks Russ.

    It looks like these are mostly broken up throughout the four years I plan to finish, so this is definitely do-able. I am done with about half of my non-engineering electives, so those shouldn't sink me too much.

    I'm hoping that by the time my senior design project comes around I'll be well adjusted into that life, and have a much better idea of what I'm doing.

    I appreciate the assistance,
    Mac
     
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