Hello, I'm currently a junior in high school. This year, I'm taking AP Physics C: Mechanics and AP Calculus AB at a math and science academic-year governor's school. I've always excelled at math and science, but these particular classes have been challenging for me this year. I've found that I am not able to understand the concepts as quickly as I was able to in lower-level classes, and I am no longer at the top of my class (I'd say, compared to my classmates at gov school, I'm just "average"). I'm making As in these classes, but should it be a warning sign that physics and calculus are not coming as "naturally" to me as they do to some of my classmates? Since I'm finding these classes challenging, do I have what it takes to succeed in college-level engineering classes? :(
Thank you for your advice.
by Madison, Virginia
on December 26, 2014
The short answer... If you are making A's in these advanced classes you are fine.
The longer answer... engineering is hard and it will be something you have to work at. Sometimes parts of it may come easily for you, and other times you are going to struggle and have to take more time to understand things. Like any new skill, getting comfortable with it will take practice. You didn't just jump on a bike and automatically know how to ride it, and engineering, math, and science, especially advanced classes, will be the same. You will have to study and work at it sometimes. Finding these classes challenging is no indication on whether or not you will succeed as an engineer. Nor does the amount of time it takes you to grasp a concept. Take all the time you need to understand the concepts. Everyone learns at their own speed. In fact, for most people, I'd be extremely surprised if they didn't find the material challenging. If it was easy everyone would be doing it. I definitely didn't find it easy and natural most of the time I was going through school. And if it makes you feel better, I got a D as a final grade in one of my engineering classes, and I am still a successful engineer today. So if you're getting A's in advanced classes don't beat yourself up about things not coming naturally. You are doing fantastic. Keep doing what you are doing and you'll be on the right track to succeed as an engineer. I wish you the best of luck as you pursue college level engineering. I'm sure you will do great things :)