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Mechanical Engineering student about to lose his mind!

  1. Mar 30, 2016 #1
    I am a second year student at Salt Lake Community College. About to finish my associates of science pre-engineering. I transfer to the University of Utah in the fall to start my junior year and I am kind of freeking out. I have worked my tail off. I work a full time job and take night classes at 3/4 time (3 classes a semester) and maintain a 3.4 GPA.

    Lately I feel like I haven't learned a thing. I am taking classes now that are starting to draw on knowledge gained from previous courses. An example would be, my strengths of materials class is requiring a lot what I learned in statics. Only now, I have a hard time applying what I learned in statics because I can't remember how to do it. I feel lost and confused sometimes. It only takes a few moments to look up the information to remember how to do it but I feel like I should know this stuff. Like it should just role of the tounge or flow on to paper with ease.

    I don't know. I guess I'm trying to reach out to people and see how they felt as engineering students. Is this kind of thing normal? Feeling lost in a field of study you have so much interest in? How the hell am I supposed remember thousands of different equations, properties and..... things?

    Ugh... Brain fried.. Going to sleep.

    Thanks for listening,

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2016 #2
    I would say it's completely normal, and it's something you get used to over time. I've gone months without using things i've learnt in past classes and then all of a sudden had to go and 'dig out that old textbook' (never throw out/sell your textbooks!). It's all part of the process, and you do get better at it.

    The most important thing is that you understand the new material and content presented to you in your course as best you can. This step is paramount (my opinion) to being able to easily revise old content in the future.
  4. Mar 30, 2016 #3
    It is definitely normal to feel that way. I felt that way when I was an engineering student. Its easy to forget methods that you learn in classes if you don't use them on a daily or weekly basis.

    It seems that you have retained a good understanding of how to apply these methods because when you reference or review a topic it coms back to you quickly.Just look back to when you first learned statics concepts/methods. It was probably much harder to apply those methods at first because you had never used them before. Now that you have some experience using them, all it takes is a quick reminder of how the system works. that is a good sign. That shows that you have an understanding of the topic.

    Being a good at solving engineering problems doesn't have anything to do with memorizing things, it is more about being able to find the answer using your resources. Which you seem to be able to do.

    -Civil engineering grad
  5. Mar 30, 2016 #4


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    Gold Member

    I'm in the same situation as you, although perhaps a bit further along. I'll be finishing up my junior year after this semester (after 6 years of school and full time work), and I still forget about specific details wrt to many of my previous courses. I honestly can not count how many times I've had to revisit good old Trina Van Ausdal's youtube physics videos for things that should, at this point, be fully ingrained.
    The crossover doesn't stop either. I think this is exactly why universities have so much overlap on these subject is precisely because this continuous repetition makes it finally sink in. You're doing statics in Mech of materials, just wait until you have to fully revisit Mech of Materials in a machine design course. It gets a bit monotonous, but keep at it and use whatever resources you have. Structurefree is a great YouTube channel for Mechanics of Materials and Dynamics.
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