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Am I in over my head ?


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I am currently at a local community college taking core classes . I worked full time , 7-330 pm m-f . I am a machinist / press operator . I chose to enroll at the cc to get my foot in the door . I’m 26 years old . I have completed about 20 credits . I currently have a 4.0 , but this is the first semester I struggled . And it’s in math ! I want to become a mechanical engineering , but I’m struggling with pre calculus ! Math has always come very easy to me , but now I’m worried . I’m thinking perhaps becoming an electrician is another option

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3 hours ago, Jberger93 said:

I am currently at a local community college taking core classes . I worked full time , 7-330 pm m-f . I am a machinist / press operator . I chose to enroll at the cc to get my foot in the door . I’m 26 years old . I have completed about 20 credits . I currently have a 4.0 , but this is the first semester I struggled . And it’s in math ! I want to become a mechanical engineering , but I’m struggling with pre calculus ! Math has always come very easy to me , but now I’m worried . I’m thinking perhaps becoming an electrician is another option

If you really want to be an engineer, don't give up. A lot of people (including many successful engineers) struggle when they first get to Calculus. It's a completely different way of thinking about math. The fact that you said math has always comes easy makes me think that you'll get it. Don't be afraid to get a tutor if you need to, or watch lots of online videos if you don't want to get a tutor. Both YouTube and Khan Academy have a lot of calculus resources.

Nothing wrong with becoming an electrician. Just decide what you want and dedicate yourself to it.

I do have a question. Nothing wrong with any of the options you're considering, but it did stand out to me that you're considering Mechanical Engineering or Electrician. That's fine, but it is kind of two different directions. If your interest lies in mechanical stuff than Mechanical Engineering with fallback options of plumbing, HVAC tech, or mechanic would be more similar. If your interests is in electrical stuff than Electrical Engineering with fallback option of electrician would be more similar. Like I said, nothing wrong with any of those options. Just a little surprised that you're mixing subjects. (I'm guessing you may be choosing based on perceived job opportunities? But all of those option should give you some good opportunities.)

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When I was going to school, within the Engineering School we had a Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) major. My friends in the major described it as a non calculus based engineering degree. They took all the same types of classes- physics, thermodynamics, strength of materials, etc, just a different math foundation. 

That may be something you enjoy more. Its more practical vs theoretical. 

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18 hours ago, bwin12 said:

When I was going to school, within the Engineering School we had a Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) major. My friends in the major described it as a non calculus based engineering degree. They took all the same types of classes- physics, thermodynamics, strength of materials, etc, just a different math foundation. 

That may be something you enjoy more. Its more practical vs theoretical. 

As an FYI, some companies won't hire you as a engineer with an engineering technology degree unless you also have the FE. They could hire you on as a "technician" or "specialist" where you will be doing the same work as the engineers, potentially for less pay. 

 

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20 hours ago, bwin12 said:

When I was going to school, within the Engineering School we had a Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) major. My friends in the major described it as a non calculus based engineering degree. They took all the same types of classes- physics, thermodynamics, strength of materials, etc, just a different math foundation. 

That may be something you enjoy more. Its more practical vs theoretical. 

 

1 hour ago, LyceeFruit PE said:

As an FYI, some companies won't hire you as a engineer with an engineering technology degree unless you also have the FE. They could hire you on as a "technician" or "specialist" where you will be doing the same work as the engineers, potentially for less pay. 

 

Yeah, different companies have differing opinions on engineering technology degrees.

It should also be noted. You won't be able to get into a grad school program with an engineering technology degree. ET is very much about practical application. Grad school is mostly about theory, derivation, and research. Those things require calculus. Now grad school isn't required for a successful engineering career, but it's just something to be aware of.

Edited by jean15paul_PE
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On 4/27/2020 at 5:37 PM, jean15paul_PE said:

If you really want to be an engineer, don't give up. A lot of people (including many successful engineers) struggle when they first get to Calculus. It's a completely different way of thinking about math. The fact that you said math has always comes easy makes me think that you'll get it. Don't be afraid to get a tutor if you need to, or watch lots of online videos if you don't want to get a tutor. Both YouTube and Khan Academy have a lot of calculus resources.

Nothing wrong with becoming an electrician. Just decide what you want and dedicate yourself to it.

I do have a question. Nothing wrong with any of the options you're considering, but it did stand out to me that you're considering Mechanical Engineering or Electrician. That's fine, but it is kind of two different directions. If your interest lies in mechanical stuff than Mechanical Engineering with fallback options of plumbing, HVAC tech, or mechanic would be more similar. If your interests is in electrical stuff than Electrical Engineering with fallback option of electrician would be more similar. Like I said, nothing wrong with any of those options. Just a little surprised that you're mixing subjects. (I'm guessing you may be choosing based on perceived job opportunities? But all of those option should give you some good opportunities.)

The reason I debated on electrician vs mechanical engineering , is it is more $ that I can make as a machinist . I make about 45k a year right now , so if I’m going to school I’d rather at least make more than I am now 

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  • 2 weeks later...

yes, way over. stop the work and live with family until you get your degree.

 

there is no reason to make engineering school any harder than it already it.

 

At very least limit your class load to no more than one tough class and up to 2 classes per semester.

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  • 5 months later...

If you're passing your classes, you're definitely not in over your head.  Getting an engineering degree is hard!  Everybody who is not a savant struggles with at least some classes.  It took me 3 tries to pass numerical methods with a C.  If you are "struggling in this one class," continue studying engineering because that's normal.  You will be valuable as an engineer especially with your experience as a machinist.  If you are failing classes, then maybe consider something easier.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I also went to school and worked full time, plus some other jobs, while in school, married, no kids but its hard, there were times I strugleld though classed I shouldnt have and times I breezed through things I also shoudlnt have.. Hope you stick with it if its what you want to do. 

I also had to take pre calculus when I started college, I had been on active duty army for a few years and it was like greek to me for whateve reason, maybe I was just rusty at studying, but I got a C in pre calc and then mostly easy B's and one A in actual Calculus (if that matters) but I remember thinking that I must have really gotten dumbed down while I was in the Armuy (but I also think I had a really shitty professor who was just cranking out the same leson plan he had for years and there just want much to make it interesting)..

Best of Luck long terms its worth it..

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I took Calc II two and a half times before passing. A lot of my grades (and the class average) were in the D's and C's that wound up getting curved up. Engineering is no easy degree to achieve. It's a struggle but if you put in the time to learn it, it's a very secure and enjoyable career.

That being said, being an electrician (or any other construction-related trade) is also a decent career if you don't mind working with your hands. And the learning requirement is less than an engineer. 

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