Not too long ago I was in your shoes. I was well in my 3rd semester of studying ME and things got pretty difficult. I had classmates dropping out or switching majors. It was very tempting; it is particularly tempting to give up if you are used to high grades. Engineering, however, is a little different than some of the traditional majors. Engineering is about discipline and not giving up. It is about being really good at prioritizing and working in a team when possible. And guess what? All these skills we are not born with it, rather, we learn them through experiences. What I am trying to say is that you are fairly far along in your ME studies. By now you must have passed Calculus (1 & 2 and maybe Calc 3) and you must have gotten a taste of Statics or at least Physics I and II. Why give up when you are almost half way?
To answer your questions: what made me stay with engineering when things got harder was the following thought: "Anything that is worth in life, it is hard to get and therefore you have to put a lot of work for it. Moreover, everything that is worth it and is hard to get won't be pursued by too many people because they get scared and give up without putting a fight." Probably that is why engineering jobs are widely available but unfortunately there are not too many candidates to fill them up. That leads into the answer to your second question. The most rewarding part of finishing my ME degree beside the opportunity to work on something that makes life easier for a lot of people (I design bearings for various industries) is that I know I will be able to take care of my family. The chances of being unemployed while holding an engineering degree (particularly ME) are very slim. Other rewarding parts are the following:
-Higher starting salary (the IT, Engineering, Medical field all paid fairly nice starting salaries) compared to other disciplines - we are talking $58K+
-Opportunity to work overseas if you like that (I recently got approached to interview for an aerospace company in Germany designing engines)
-The ability to switch the field of your job: - bored with engineering, no problem - you can do sales, project management, marketing, planning, banking, investing - you name it - everybody likes an individual with good math skills, discipline and good at prioritizing.
Ellen, you are on the right track, and it looks like you almost had it figured out. Don't give up - find a study buddy, go take advantage of the professors' student hour to ask questions. Use internet to check youtube for lectures that you didn't understand in class. If you mess up on a test, once you learn the solutions come home and test, and re-test yourself until you are able to complete that test with no mistakes. And last but not least, please do not switch to a Technology major - remember, what is it worth having, is hard to get so less people will compete for it and in the end there will be more jobs available for that particular area of study.
Good luck with everything and I hope that in few short years you will ve joining us here at EngineeringGirl!