Should I become a mechanical engineer if I'm bad at physics?

  • #1
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I just can't do this critical thinking thing. I can't think about what forces go where, and I get confused about the most basic physics concepts. It's just so damn hard. Even though I'm good at calculus, doesn't mean I'll necessarily be good at engineering, right? If this is only the tip of the iceberg of how hard an engineering major is supposed to work, then I'm not really sure if I want to go this route anymore. But then, what would I do? I have no job, and little experience. I can't do crap. I'm bloody useless.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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It doesn't take a genius to do physics. Is it possible you're not practicing enough? Physics is something that needs to be practiced.
 
  • #3
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No, I'm practicing almost every day, but it just frustrates me to no end when I don't get a concept when I think I do. That's when I get stuck and frustrated with myself because I can't do something that's supposedly so pathetically easy.
 
  • #4
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Make some effort in studying physics. If you really want to be a mechanical engineer, you should try harder. Engineers do not give up easily so might as well get your mind on track and give your best shot! You can read books, ask your professors, watch related videos online that might help you. You're not the only one in this planet that experience being bad at something you think you should be good at. Good luck!
 
  • #5
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I just hate physics so damn much, that I wouldn't want to do it every day if I become an engineer.
 
  • #6
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Being frustrated every time you get stuck wont's do good. It'll only ruin your mood making your thinking more irrational.If you can't figure out how something happens, you ask. You ask for help. Anyway, this is what this PF is for.
 
  • #7
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It takes too long for people to reply, and meanwhile I'm just ruminating in my frustration over my inability to understand a concept.

People may tell me to skip a problem and move on, but it just drives me crazy when I can't figure out something that's supposedly simple.
 
  • #8
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I hate electronics too before. Ironically, I am an Electronics engineering student that time. I've graduated the course just memorizing the formula, doing computations (thank God I'm good in Math) without actually understanding the concept. I hate analyzing circuits because there are times that when I thought I get it, someone would just claim that it's wrong so it was like... uhh... I'm back to square one. But now, look... I'm an Electronics engineer doing design circuit works. I just learned to love it recently and it's not that bad..
 
  • #9
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I'm just too easily frustrated when I don't get it, and it messes with my concentration.
 
  • #10
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Have you watched 3 idiots movie? That can lighten up your mood. I watched it every time I got frustrated on something. It's about a mechanical engineer who doesn't care about trivial things as long as he learns and he applies what he learns.
 
  • #11
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Just hearing about that positive outlook makes me even more angry.
 
  • #12
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Being frustrated easily whenever you didn't get a concept easily means you really want to learn. You are better than those guys who are practically aware that they know nothing and yet they don't care and they don't work to be better. If you feel like you're gonna be depressed again, just inhale, exhale. then tell yourself, "All is well, all is well, I can do it!"
 
  • #13
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Being frustrated easily whenever you didn't get a concept easily means you really want to learn.

I can agree with this. I still lack confidence in my ability to learn physics, however.
 
  • #14
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You get frustrated because you lack confidence, I see that. But physics is just one of the subjects of engineering you should know, there are still more. Just like what others say, "In engineering, if you are not tired, you're not doing it right." It's practically saying that if you didn't get to experience hardship in studying, then it's not real engineering! Haha good luck and God bless. I'm outta here.
 
  • #15
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Maybe I've been working too hard too often? Then I worry that if I take breaks, that I'm not working hard enough...
 
  • #16
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
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It takes too long for people to reply

When people volunteer their time to help you and you complain that they aren't doing it fast enough or working hard enough, you sound ungrateful, and that makes people less likely to help you. (And I looked at your recent messages - the longest took 71 minutes for a reply, and half were under 15 minutes.) The number of times when I found you saying "thank you"? Zero.

No matter what field you go into, you will find it to be more difficult if you treat people this way.

Just hearing about that positive outlook makes me even more angry.

You see, here's the thing. If you ask a question, you can't really control the answers you get. It also makes you sound like you're looking for validation, not advice. If you were looking for advice, I'd tell you that if physics and mechanical engineering were making you that unhappy, you should stop doing them.
 
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  • #17
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I'd have to agree with Vanadium. You don't sound happy at all or willing to learn the material anymore. This stuff isn't trivial, it's going to take hard work. You're going to feel "dumb," you have to like figuring stuff out. You have to find something you like. If you're doing engineering and you don't enjoy most of the material it's going to be a long tortuous road.
 
  • #18
Eclair,

It sounds like you're going down a path you don't want to go down and you're looking for rationalization that it's the wrong path for you from someone other than yourself. If you really don't like the subject, than you probably shouldn't spend your life on it, but if you do enjoy it, then you should work at it!

One of the best explanations of learning physics I ever heard was how there's three parts to it -- understanding the mathematics, building a qualitative understanding of the physics (as in an intuitive understanding of the laws), and building a quantitative ability with the problems (or in other words being able to understand what the equations are saying when they are applied to physics problems.) For someone who is good at maths, part one is a breeze. Part three develops as parts one and two become strong enough.

I think more like a mathematician than a physicist. I think very abstractly and find a lot of value in generalization. For this reason, sometimes the qualitative understanding takes a bit more for me than other people, but it's something I have to actively work at.

To be honest, I have found value in some elementary books that are more about the concepts than the mathematics. For Physics courses that don't include the maths, there's a much more pronounced need to properly express the ideas since they aren't including the calculations to back everything up. Since I'm fine with the maths, I read about the concepts. The whole while, I am sitting there thinking about the equations and that's fine because then you begin to think about what the equations are really trying to express and the qualitative and quantitative sides are properly strengthened.
 

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