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Struggling In Mechanical Engineering School Need Advice/Help

  1. Nov 16, 2017 #1
    I am currently about half done with my degree for a bs in Mechanical engineering from U of M. I transferred from a community college and I took all of my gen eds there like the English, history, econ, philosophy.
    I am in my second semester and am struggling with the physics and math mainly. I thoroughly enjoy what I am learning it is a lot of fun but its very difficult for me I have never been a scholar student and school has never been easy for me. Does anyone have any advice for me on how to just stick with it and tough it out. I am half way done so I keep telling myself there is no point and dropping out or going for a different degree, but I am just having a not doing so well in my classes.
    I have wanted to be an engineer for a long time I am nerdy in wanting to know how stuff works and building my own things etc.
    Any advice or comments are appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 16, 2017 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
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    The first step is to identify where and why you're having trouble. Things like distractions, lack of sleep, anxiety, and many others can and will have a detrimental effect on your studies. Then there are little things. For example, I absolutely cannot study at home. I have to go somewhere else if I want to get anything done. So I found somewhere to study at school where I stay for most of the day and get things done. If you find yourself getting stuck frequently on homework, then try to find tutoring services (many places have them for free), classmates to study/work with, and try to find out why you're getting stuck. Sometimes people lack the study skills necessary to excel and just need to be taught. You can probably find an "academic skills" workshop at your school. If you're unsure of where one might be offered, ask around. One of your teachers should know.

    As for advice on how to stick with it, I can only say that out of the many, many people that have made it through school to get an engineering degree, the vast majority of them found it to be very tough and challenging. What you're experiencing is nothing new and is quite common. Setbacks are also common. Failures and re-takes are far more common than you would think. You just don't hear about them very often.

    If you find that things seem almost insurmountable, I highly recommend talking with a therapist, counselor, or other similar mental health professional. That can almost certainly help. I know from experience.
  4. Nov 16, 2017 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    If you have come through your math courses with so-so grades, that might be a major contributing factor. A lot of students don't realize the cumulative nature of math courses -- if you get grades of low B or C in a couple of math classes, your chances of getting even those grades in subsequent classes are much slimmer. And that also holds true for classes in which you're expected to have a certain level of expertise, especially physics. If that's true for you, I recommend retaking those feeder classes, or at least spending a significant amount of time on the concepts where you had problems in those earlier classes.

    Sometimes students are resistant to retaking classes they didn't do well in, using the excuse that this will cause them to take longer in getting a degree, thereby running up more expenses for tuition, etc. IMO, that's a false economy, because if they don't take care of weak areas, the chances are much higher that they won't get that degree they're working toward.
  5. Dec 17, 2017 #4

    Thank You I appreciate it! I think it has a lot to do with I do not have a study habit and commute back and forth to school. I try to study at home but it seems impossible, I think finding a study routine and sticking with it will help me out.
    Thanks again!
  6. Dec 20, 2017 #5
    I went through the exact same thing in school. I think an important part of staying motivated with school is to understand why you want it. Not because you want a good job or better life, but something with meaning. For me the reason was that every time I talked to my grandma she asked me about school. I wanted to see the look on her face when I finally graduated. During the all night study sessions and all I could think about was my pillow, or the multiple times where I just had an emotional break down from stress and wanted to rage quit, I would think about how much my finishing school meant to my grandma, I'd take a 20 min break and then grind on.

    When commuting to school, for me the commute became a barrier between school life and home life. By the time I got home the last thing I wanted to do was school work. If I was stressed the long commute very easily would become a reason to miss class that day. For commuting to school try not to just go for classes. Make a habit of going for the whole day. Do your classes and then stay and study, or find a place to nap, eat, exercise, have fun. That way even if the commute is a barrier between school life and home life it's not really a bad thing.
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