Non-traditional ME student frustrated beyond belief.

Help Support Engineer Boards:

Exovetech

New member
Joined
Jun 4, 2021
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Hi. My name's Seth. Here's my situation (the abridged version believe it or not) I have 12 years of experience as an avionics and weapons systems technician in the Marine Corps (5 as Marine and 7 as a contractor). I have an outstanding record with awards for various accomplishments as a technician. I received my transfer engineering degree with a GPA of 3.94, however after transferring to UW (ME), I had an absolutely horrific experience. The first year I was losing half my day to commuting and was dealing with medical issues related to my time in service (neurological) and ADHD that did not adversely impact me when I had more time in a day and I was able to immerse myself in my work. I will soon graduate with something between a 2.3 and 2.4 GPA if I’m lucky. What irritates me about this is that if I were not a transfer student, I would be able to include my first two years and have a GPA above 3.0. This is in my mind a serious equity issue when it comes to non-traditional students competing with traditional students for a job. Aerospace is likely out of the question for me now, which is what I have been working towards for 17 years.

I’m 38 years old and got a late start in life due to good ol’ fashioned socioeconomics and situations beyond my control. Should I just give up on this fantasy that I can catch up this late in life starting a new career? Should I marginalize myself and settle for something far less than what I feel I have earned? Any advice would be welcome.
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2019
Messages
111
Reaction score
76
Location
North Coast
Hi. My name's Seth. Here's my situation (the abridged version believe it or not) I have 12 years of experience as an avionics and weapons systems technician in the Marine Corps (5 as Marine and 7 as a contractor). I have an outstanding record with awards for various accomplishments as a technician. I received my transfer engineering degree with a GPA of 3.94, however after transferring to UW (ME), I had an absolutely horrific experience. The first year I was losing half my day to commuting and was dealing with medical issues related to my time in service (neurological) and ADHD that did not adversely impact me when I had more time in a day and I was able to immerse myself in my work. I will soon graduate with something between a 2.3 and 2.4 GPA if I’m lucky. What irritates me about this is that if I were not a transfer student, I would be able to include my first two years and have a GPA above 3.0. This is in my mind a serious equity issue when it comes to non-traditional students competing with traditional students for a job. Aerospace is likely out of the question for me now, which is what I have been working towards for 17 years.

I’m 38 years old and got a late start in life due to good ol’ fashioned socioeconomics and situations beyond my control. Should I just give up on this fantasy that I can catch up this late in life starting a new career? Should I marginalize myself and settle for something far less than what I feel I have earned? Any advice would be welcome.

Short answer: It's never too late. I'm sorry you've had to face such adverse experiences, but I think these types of obstacles easily become character-building strengths in the mind of a determined person. In twenty years, I've never had a prospective employer ask me about my college GPA. I've found they are always more interested in my experiences, aptitudes, and professional interests. If I were interviewing you, I'd want to speak to the person who was hellbent on never settling or selling himself short. That's the kind of person I want working for me.
 

jean15paul_PE

FEA Wizard
Joined
May 13, 2019
Messages
3,787
Reaction score
2,087
Location
Louisiana
Hi. My name's Seth. Here's my situation (the abridged version believe it or not) I have 12 years of experience as an avionics and weapons systems technician in the Marine Corps (5 as Marine and 7 as a contractor). I have an outstanding record with awards for various accomplishments as a technician. I received my transfer engineering degree with a GPA of 3.94, however after transferring to UW (ME), I had an absolutely horrific experience. The first year I was losing half my day to commuting and was dealing with medical issues related to my time in service (neurological) and ADHD that did not adversely impact me when I had more time in a day and I was able to immerse myself in my work. I will soon graduate with something between a 2.3 and 2.4 GPA if I’m lucky. What irritates me about this is that if I were not a transfer student, I would be able to include my first two years and have a GPA above 3.0. This is in my mind a serious equity issue when it comes to non-traditional students competing with traditional students for a job. Aerospace is likely out of the question for me now, which is what I have been working towards for 17 years.

I’m 38 years old and got a late start in life due to good ol’ fashioned socioeconomics and situations beyond my control. Should I just give up on this fantasy that I can catch up this late in life starting a new career? Should I marginalize myself and settle for something far less than what I feel I have earned? Any advice would be welcome.
I worked in aerospace for a defense contractor for 8 years. Then for a different defense contractor in Navy shipbuilding for the next 5 years.

If you're applying directly to NASA (depending on department) they might care about grades because much of NASA is a research organization. But other than that I wouldn't expect it to be an issue.

Generally speaking, grades are used to distinguish between recent graduates who have little-to-no experience. But with your experience, I wouldn't expect your grades to be a major stumbling block. Maybe you might be asked about it in an interview, so have a good answer prepared, something like.... "I had a 3.9 in my previous education, but had some medical issues that made my last couple of years at UW difficult. Unfortunately my tranfer GPA isn't included in my UW GPA." I wouldn't specifically mention neurological issues or ADHD in answering that question. Companies aren't allowed to discriminate against someone for their medical status, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Once you're employed then you're more protected.

Also you should seriously consider the aerospace defense contractors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, etc. They value people with military experience since their main customers are the military. Employees with military experience know the culture, the chain of command, they much more easily related to the military customer reps, and they are generally extremely hard workers.
 
Joined
Dec 29, 2017
Messages
354
Reaction score
82
Location
1000 miles from nowhere
@Exovetech

My experience is similar to yours. I graduated in 1992 with a degree in aerospace. MY GPA dropped towards end of college (2.5 at end, after being at 3.0) because of working nearly full time to help pay for school. Due to the end of Cold War, and it was also right after on of the space shuttle accidents, job opportunities were extremely limited. I wound working temp jobs, even at retail store for a few years.

I eventually started working in corrosion control engineering found my path there. I was 41 (52 now) before I finally found some stability and security. I do not think I would trade my experience for my originally intended path. I have to been places most other people have not.

As some of the other posters have said your work experience should overcome any GPA issues. Plus being in military and working as contractor should enable you to get a security clearance more easily than a traditional college grad. I would try to get transcript from previous college.

Sometimes the path isn't clear.
 
Top