Will I be a good engineer?

  1. I'm a sophomore in the mechanical engineering program, and I've been struggling with dynamics all semester. I understand most of the concepts, but small computational errors have led to me having a 76% average in the class halfway through the semester. My question is: if I'm struggling with this now, will I even make a good engineer someday? How important is the mastery of statics/dynamics?

    This is a question that's been plaguing me all semester, so a response would be much appreciated!

    Oh, and I've done well in all my math classes, linear algebra in particular, but calculus 1, 2, and currently 3 at the moment.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    It's more important to understand the principles than to necessarily hit the calculator keys in the correct order.

    But for an engineer or an experimental physicist being able to make order of magnitude estimates is one of the most important skills (in my opinion ;-)
    So if you did some calcualtion in deg instead of rad and come up with a crank shaft rotation rate of 100,000RPM you should be able to spot that you have doen something wrong.
     
  4. It's not that I'm plugging it into my calculator wrong. It's that I sometimes don't realize that a variable will go to 0 and thus make it easier to solve for other things. My professor does not give grades on concepts. He grades the FBD and the answers in the boxes. Rarely do you get above 65% if you don't have the correct answers in the box, even if you have most of the right work.

    I understand that in the workforce I will need to be dead on. What I'm mostly asking is: how often will I encounter statics/dynamics?

    I enjoyed my design course very much, and drawing things up in Pro/E was extremely fascinating to me. I also am a good communicator, and wish to somehow incorporate that in my job someday. What I don't know is where I should be going with my major, or if I'm test-smart enough to pull off a GPA higher than a 3.2-3.4 by the end of my coursework.
     
  5. FredGarvin

    FredGarvin 5,087
    Science Advisor

    There's nothing wrong with that GPA. Don't forget engineering is a difficult curriculum. If it weren't, everyone would be doing it. Like was mentioned, the key to walk away with is the basics and the principles. You're going to forget a fair amount after a class just because you don't use it every day again and you need to do a brain dump to keep your sanity sometimes.

    Don't worry about one particular class either. Some people are good at dynamics and some are good at thermo...If you do your best, you'll make it to the work force and you'll really learn that you don't know jack and you'll start all over again.

    Don't worry too much. Study hard and you'll do fine.
     
  6. minger

    minger 1,498
    Science Advisor

    Dynamics is typically a "weed-out" class anyways, so as long as you understand the concepts and are able to build upon them you will be alright. Personally, I raised by cum. GPA four-tenths in the years after dynamics.
     
  7. Danger

    Danger 9,879
    Gold Member

    Kg07, I can't address this from a professional aspect, since I have no education.
    What I can say is that from my exposure to the real Engineers here in PF, it appears that the really good ones have in common the ability to think on their feet and apply what they do know in a logical fashion.
     
  8. I have an input to the question. I have been struggling with the same problem (both 'will I be a good engineer', and dynamics) and I have found out, that it hardly matters during the class as long as you pass. It WILL get lodged in your brain, and when you in a later semester or job, need it - it is 10 times easier to 're-learn', even if you weren't that good at it to begin with. :)

    regards from a student who's almost finished.
     
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