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Engineering Seemed to hit a brick wall in Engineering

  1. Mar 7, 2012 #1
    I am a Junior Level Mechanical Engineer. It feels like I have hit a brick wall in my Engineering classes. I have a 2.75 cumulative gpa (major is 2.6).
    During my first two years I didnt have many problems in my classes. I finnished Calc 1,2,3 + DiffEqus (with a grade of B or better) and Physics 1,2,3 (Physics was one of my weak spots, never took an introductory class only AP Physics B in high school before going to college). I have taken Mechanics of solids and materials without too much trouble. Now I am doing Dynamics and ThermyDynamics and it seems like I have hit a brick wall. I dont seem to understand any of the classes. I also don't find them very interesting at all.

    I fairly enjoyed my math classes but didnt like my physics courses.

    Is/has anyone else gone through this or felt like this? I guess Engineering is not what i though it was? Are Dynamics and Thermodynamics weed out courses? Do the classes become more easier and applied after them?

    Is Mechanical Engineering more Physics dependent or Math dependent?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 8, 2012 #2


    User Avatar

    Seriously? You expect classes to get easier as you move through an engineering curriculum?
  4. Mar 8, 2012 #3
    i had the same problem, i switched from ChemE to Chem early on, and for one of the same classes (engineering thermo). unlike you though i trudged through that class and wasted another year.

    i just did not understand engineering thermodynamics. i got a C. it wasn't the math. the math in thermo isn't challenging, its the setting up of the problems in the "engineering way". in fact i think for engineering, the math is only the first barrier, and the easiest to get over. the hardest is the "engineering mindset".

    chemical kinetics and reactor design was even worse because it built on engineering thermodynamics and was more of the same type of thinking. i cant describe it, but i remember not being able to even move my pencil, yet the answer sheet was so simple. just horrible. it sucks being surrounded by people who "get it" and you're the only one that doesn't. i got a B but resolved to quit ChemE because of that class. it was like being forced to chew glass every day.

    but keep in mind that if you switch to any non-economics major you will be making less money. you have to think to yourself, how important is money, and how good are you at math?
  5. Mar 8, 2012 #4
    I haven't quit. I'm taking dynamics and thermo right now. I'm being tutored over the weekends and I'm relying heavily on the tutor.
    I want to do well. If I was to switch I would switch to economics. But I know the benefits of a engineering degree are irreplacable in todays economy.

    is it alight if I have a low gpa? Do emplyers hold it against engineers? (even non engineering companies)
  6. Mar 8, 2012 #5


    Staff: Mentor

    I think many people hit that wall as a junior. I did in Physics. The first year was a breeze as I had learned the mechanics of differential calculus over the summer and skipped into integral calculus. The next year I learned vector analysis over the summer and courses were still pretty easy. My junior year I started into formal classical mechanics wall, formal qm (from a prof not interested in teaching) wall and on top of that I was working 30hrs per week. It all came down to boundary value problems a course I hadn't taken yet but of course I didn't know what went wrong.

    I perservered and got my degree but didnt apply to grad school because of it and got a job in software engineering. Still wish I had the chance to do it over without working 30hrs per week that really cut my time to study down.
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