Advice for a mechanical engineering student

Hello! My name is Daisy Quiroga and I just graduated from a STEM High School in Washington State! I am not very good at all, but I have all the other qualities that engineers have. I enjoy physics, I am a self driven student, I enjoy solving problems, doing research, etc. I will be attending college this fall and want to major in mechanical engineering. Do you have any advice on what I should do to succeed? I get discouraged at times.
posted by Daisy, Pasco on July 31, 2015

Answer by Jamie Krakover

First it sounds like you have the right attitude and have a great work ethic and a good drive. But it's also important to know we can't excel at everything. There are a lot of engineers that would say they aren't good at math. Like anything we learn in life, some things will come easy and others we will have to work harder at. Knowing what weaknesses you have is a great first step. If you know math is an area of struggle, I suggest getting to know your professors and/or TA's early on in the semester even if the material starts off easier for you. Most professors hold office hours, and they are there to help students. Establishing the relationship early can help you when the material gets more difficult. 

It may also be worth seeking out a tutor. Many schools supply tutors at little or no cost to students. Another option is study groups. I know I struggled through some classes in college, but having study buddies that could help me at times and at other times I could help them was invaluable. 

And last but certainly not least, don't be so hard on yourself. There will be times where everything is awesome and you understand it, but there will also be times when classes get tough. Everyone would be an engineer if it was easy, but it's the ones that don't give up that become engineers. It's okay to fail every once in a while, but it's what you really do with the failure that will help you learn and grow. I know I've learned far more from mistakes I've made then doing things right the first time.

Hang in there! I know you can do it. If you've graduated from a STEM school you are already on the right track. Best of luck as you start college. :)