Engineering Student Who Struggles with Core Classes

I'm currently an environmental civil engineering student and I find myself struggling with my core classes such as Physics. Does this mean I may be in the wrong career path? Or are there other careers that I could pursue with this degree?
posted by Rebecca, Milwaukee on March 30, 2012

Answer 1 by Colista Freeman

You are not the only person in engineering who has struggled with core classes! Each student has trouble understanding material from time-to-time ????????? I certainly did. Before changing your career path, try meeting with your professor, getting a tutor, or studying with others in your class. Also, sometimes taking the class under a different professor can help ????????? it might just be a matter of finding a teaching style that meshes with your learning style. The core classes you are taking now do not necessarily define what you will do as an engineer in the ?????????real world.????????? They give you basic knowledge that you can build upon with future engineering classes, and they help develop the critical problem-solving skills you?????????ll need as an engineer. I would suggest that you look into engineering internships, which will give you a good idea of what working in that field is like. That will really help you decide if it?????????s the right career path for you. Colista

Answer 2 by Karen Merrick PE

Hello Rebecca, Have no fear! I think a lot of us struggled in Physics courses. I also worried that because I didn’t “get” all of my core classes such as Physics or Statics that I might be in the wrong profession. I had to fight very hard to earn my “c” in statics and wondered if this meant I should have majored in English. However, I found that other engineering classes that weren’t so physics-based definitely piqued my interest and made me feel more secure that I had chosen a good profession. I enjoyed highways and traffic classes, and I also enjoyed some of my environmental coursework where I learned about anaerobic sludge digestion. These were the same classes that the A-students in Physics didn’t do so well in! I think everyone is balanced differently. I am really glad I got my degree in civil engineering, by the way. I’ve worked in several different genres because the degree is so versatile. I’ve worked for transportation firms designing roadways and culverts. I’ve worked for land development firms designing subdivision layouts where I graded the lots for the houses and designed the water, stormwater and sewer systems. I’ve worked for an environmental firm where I did noise pollution studies and site assessments. And now I work for the Idaho Transportation Department where I’m their pavement management engineer. I had all of these opportunities because I got this degree and it gives me so many choices. Go to your physics professor and admit you’re struggling, and see if you can get some help from him/her during office hours. A good tutor or learning lab on campus never hurt, either. Study hard and I’m sure you’ll do well. And I personally thought this degree was very well worth it. Warm regards from another engineer that struggled mightily in Physics, Karen