Ready To Give Up

by Judge Josh on September 28, 2010

Darius is a little beaten down and, IM-not-so-HO, dangerously close to making a decision he’ll regret for a long time. And since I’ve dispensed with any suspense about what my response is gonna be, I hope you’ll read and give him your advice, too.

Firstly, I want to say that your blog is very informative/helpful/interesting. It helps to hear from other students like myself, and be able to channel the experience from veterans like yourself and others who contribute to the website. That being said, here’s my story and dilemma.

Thank you very much for reading, and for the kind words!

In 2004, I got a full scholarship to attend a small private school in South Carolina. Everything was paid for, even books. But because I wanted to become a Mechanical Engineer, and the school did not offer that particular major, I enrolled in a dual degree program in Applied Math/Mechanical Engineering with another institution.


It seemed like a great idea since I would be able to get 2 bachelors degrees in 5 years, one from the school that so graciously gave me a full scholarship and the other from one of the best engineering schools in the country.

You’re right, it sounds like an excellent idea.

Also, a degree in either field (much less both) would practically guarantee a good job after matriculation.

Agreed.

After successfully completing the Applied Math portion of the program at the first school (while keeping my scholarship and a 3.7 gpa), I went to the second college to fulfill the Engineering portion in 2007.

Since then I have I not met much success. I’ve been on academic probation and most semesters I’m barely getting a 2.5. Many times my gpa is hovering around a 2.0.

OK. Well, without reading further, let me emphasize the old maxim that “C’s get degrees,” my friend. It’s true, I promise. :) If you’re above 2.0, then you’re off academic probation, right?

Since I didn’t perform well in M.E. I changed to Industrial Engineering. Things didn’t go much better in I.E. and now I’m at a point where I’d just like to get out of school.

Well, that’s natural. But you’re not done yet, my good man.

I don’t know if I’m burned out, frustrated with seeing other friends my age graduate already and even go to grad/profession school,

That’s also natural, but try your best to take this veteran’s opinion here. You’re probably, what, 22? Maybe 23? You’ll be out by age 24.

You know what the difference is between a 22-year-old grad and a 24-year-old grad? Jack Shit, my friend. No one out there cares, so muster everything you possibly can inside you to stop *yourself* from caring, too.

I entered grad school when I was 23 with another girl who was 21, and she loved letting everyone know she was only 21 and in grad school. She annoyed the living shit out of everyone, and no one cared. Oh, and she didn’t get better grades or a better job than any of us.

My point? While it appears to you that you are far behind your peers and only slipping further so, the fact is that it ONLY appears that way to you. Those of us in the business world see nothing of the sort. To us, you’re just a guy in college who will be out soon with an engineering degree from one of the finest engineering schools in the land.

And that GPA? We’ll probably never see it. Despite the popular myth and the occasional ill-informed comment on this site, most employers will NOT check your GPA, ever, or care about it if we do find out what it is. We trust that the university wouldn’t have given you the degree if you didn’t do well enough to be launched out into the world holding one of their pieces of paper.

incompatibility with my my second school

Dude, let me try and change your mind about that for two seconds. You’re carrying what, something between a 2.0 and a 2.5? So then, you get B’s and C’s? That’s not incompatibility. That’s a college graduate waiting to happen.

Yes, I know you were on AP for a semester, but you’re not anymore. Are you gonna get those special purple ropes around your neck for Phi Beta Kappa or Phi Kappa Phi for a 2.5? No. Are you gonna get an engineering degree? Yessir.

my living situation (I lived on campus at the first school, but I live off campus now so I can get in state tuition, and I don’t really care for my room mates or apartment), a combination of these factors, or if it is something else entirely but I am just ready to g raduate as soon as I can so I can move on to the next phase in life.

Right, understood.

The unfortunate part of the situation is that if I don’t get a degree in an engineering discipline, I won’t be awarded the Applied Mathematics B.S. from my first school, and that would mean that these years I’ve been in college will not amount to as much as they should have.

Yeah, that’s something of an understatement, I’d say. I don’t know what my deal is today, but I’ve already made up my mind this morning that you abandoning this engineering degree just cannot happen, and I will round up all the help I need to be sure you don’t do it.

Also, since I switched schools in 2007, I’ve had to take out loans for school and living expenses (tuition is about $12k-13k per year, plus another $800 for books and about $3000 per year for housing & utilities).

Yeah, that’s about par for the course. Actually, no, that’s cheaper than par for the course, but sure, I understand that it isn’t chump change and you’re keeping your eye on that.

However, along this journey I’ve discovered that I have a strong interest in economics. I’ve even taken a few classes and have performed well (A’s and B’s).

Great! A timeless area of study, a great discipline to have a good hold on — and also, sounds like a good thing to buoy your GPA.

Therefore, as far as I can tell, I essentially have 3 options: (1) stay here and try to refocus on an engineering degree which would take at least 2 or 3 semesters, (2) stay here and obtain a B.S. or B.A. in economics, which would take only about 9 more classes, or (3) move to another school (most likely back home to St. Louis or with my sister in Chicago to minimize housing costs), hope that credits transfer properly, and give engineering (and my chance to complete this 2-degree program) one more shot. If I went with option 3 the new school would probably be in a similar tuition range. What do you think? Thanks in advance for your time and help.

Well, this is the part of the answer where I have to speculate a bit, so forgive me if I make some assumptions here that don’t turn out to be 100% true.

I’ve never heard you say that you no longer enjoy the engineering discipline and wouldn’t like to be an engineer; it just sounds to me like too many “C” grades for your liking have allowed you to convince yourself that you’re no longer the man for the job.

And while I don’t doubt that you truly are enjoying the economics courses, it seems like you’re maybe grasping onto the idea of switching to that as a way to ditch your current academic and emotional struggles without feeling much guilt about it (Again, sorry for the armchair psychology, but I kinda have to resort to it in these situations).

By all means, keep studying economics on the side or as a minor if you want to, but don’t ditch engineering just because you’re getting some C’s.

Listen, man: Think back to four years ago, and how proud your family and friends and all the people around you in St. Louis were of you. They sent you off to school in South Carolina, bragging about you and your full scholarship all the while. At any given time in St. Louis, people are still bragging about you, and they still will be 10 years from now.

Those people were NOT wrong about you when they sent you off in the world knowing you could make it. Regardless of how shitty you may sometimes feel in 2010 when you don’t do as well as you want to on a test or whatever, they were NOT wrong. You might feel the weight of their expectations on you sometimes during your difficult moments, but perhaps you misunderstood what their expectations were to begin with.

They didn’t expect you to be perfect all the time, and to whiz through everything at college with no difficulty whatsoever. They didn’t expect a 4.0 or the Nobel Prize for Mathematics.

They did, however, know you were smart enough to make it in the end, and that both your brains and guts would get you through the most difficult times. Sometimes your brains have to carry you when you’re feeling low on guts, and sometimes it’s the other way around.

Right now, it’s the other way around. You’re having a tough time with classes, so it’s time for you to dig down and let your guts carry the load.

What does that mean? First, it means resolving to finish the engineering degree and to accept no other outcome. You’d be surprised how lingering doubt can make everything harder, and how once you commit to your desired outcome, things get easier.

Second, you get down to brass tacks and do what’s necessary to continue making C’s. Get tutoring — at school, online, or in person with a pro. If you’re getting a D in a class where you need to master 10 concepts, choose two concepts you need help with and get tutoring for those until you can drag the D up to a C.

If you don’t know anyone, go to Elance.com or Guru.com and find a tutor. There are more online tutoring sites than that, too — just Google them, or perhaps our commenters will contribute a few. If it’s some specific math you need help with, check out Khan Academy, where some of the best free lessons in the world are given on very complex math.

My point is, you don’t have to turn yourself into a prodigy — you just have to do enough to get your degree.

If you pour every bit of your time, effort and brain power into this degree and then you flunk out of school — fine. You gave it your best shot and you have nothing to be ashamed of.

But you and I know that’s not going to be the case, and if that’s not the case, then believe me, you’ll have a hell of a lot more — and worse — guilt and regret on your shoulders the rest of your life if you throw in the towel.

And with that, my friend, I leave you in the capable hands of one Mr. Rocky F**king Balboa and the Outlaw Commenters, both of whom have far more capacity to inspire than I do. “It’s about how hard you can get hit, and then keep moving forward.”

— C’mon, commenters — I’m calling on you today. Help me convince this young gent to keep pushing onward. Let him know in the comments below.

{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

C. Hill September 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Dude, it seems tough as all get out, but you are almost there.
Just keep at it. You’re way tougher on yourself than anyone else is and you don’t need to be.
Just keep on it.

Reply

Amber September 28, 2010 at 2:15 pm

If you are almost done, just finish. Its hard enough to get a job with a degree let alone without one. Don’t let all your work go to waste, finish with pride!

Reply

Leslie September 28, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Hey Darius

I understand completely. As someone who has gotten full and partial scholarships from top ranking schools (Yale, RPI, MIIS)and given up because I felt like I wasn’t good enough, i want to tell you not to give up!! I regret it more than words can say. Although God has helped me to succeed in my career in ways that I couldn’t have imagined, I think you should stick with it if you still love engineering. You are young and will of time to pursue other degrees later. Just keep pressing on. You almost done. And know that my prayers are with you.

Reply

A.Luna September 28, 2010 at 2:36 pm

It will all be worth it when you are done. You just can’t quit because you are not as good as thought you would be! That is how you learn. Please don’t waste your time and money by giving up when you have done so much!!

Good luck and I know you will do great!

Reply

Lenny September 28, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Engineering is tough. No one said it was going to be easy. Otherwise everybody would be engineers it was. I know what you are going through. I am a ME. You just got to keep it together.

Reply

Gloria September 28, 2010 at 2:42 pm

That does sound really tough. I don’t want to get off of the subject, you remind me of this girl my sister met a couple of weeks ago. She has 3 jobs, no car, and is going to school full-time. She was really determined not to give up, which inspired me not to give up on me going back to school and dealing with all of the hardships that go along with it. You kind of inspire me to(what little I know of you). If you can get through all of this with, super-human effort I’m sure, than surely I can too. It can be done. Also, remember, this is something I was told often: When things get REALLY tough, and you think you can’t take anymore, hang in there. Your blessing is about to come. You know, the hard times just let you know that good things are within reach. Good luck! :)

Reply

TREY September 28, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Bruh, you can’t stop just because the cards aren’t being dealt the way you want them to be. Life after college is going to be the same way, and you can’t run from everything, because eventually it will catch up with you. But, keep at it. I know it seems hard, but just remember that paper you get in the end, and all the zeros that will be on many pay checks to come.

Reply

derek September 28, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I’ll tell you what my school told me. With college admissions becoming so increasingly competitive, schools are becoming increasingly selective. While this means heartbreak for those who don’t get in, it also means that for those who do get in, the university is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that you can succeed at their institution. Look man, you got into your school and on top of that, you practically got paid to go there. That means a lot of people see something in you. A full-ride scholarship for a non-athlete is crazy-hard to pull off these days and the fact that you did so strongly in Applied-Math means that they weren’t wrong to give it to you.
I would look back and see what changed in your life when you switched to engineering. You probably had one or two really rough classes that you allowed to get inside of you and ruin your confidence. GET OVER IT. Yeah, its frustrating to not meet your personal goals but you can’t change what happened yesterday. Look forward and push harder. You can still do this. Don’t change your plans just because you were met with some obstacles. If everybody changed fields when they were met with problems, we would probably all be still sitting in the dark because the light bulb would have never been invented…

Reply

Claireanne September 28, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Go the economics route and just graduate with any degree. Just get the degree. That way you’ll be a level above everyone in this horrible job market then just go travel or something! Network. http://www.couchsurfing.com, be impulsive and live life and do something. Take a trip. It’ll clear your head and help you realize what you really want from this short life.

I’m serious.
:)

Reply

Sadie September 28, 2010 at 3:02 pm

FINISH!!!! FINISH!!! FINISH! YOU ARE SO CLOSE! Who care what your gpa is, who cares how old you are! I am 24 and I still have 19 units to finish before I get my B.A. You will be so proud of yourself when you do finish because you will see how much you can endure! GOOD LUCK!!!

Reply

Kassie September 28, 2010 at 3:13 pm

That does sound really difficult, but I gotta agree with Judge Josh! Just finish — especially in Engineering, you’ll be fine looking for jobs. My boyfriend is British and received 2.2 degrees (roughly the same as “C-” average here) in automotive and mechanical engineering. And you know what, it didn’t matter! He got hired by a company immediately, then 8 months down the road finally landed his dream job at Jaguar. He was also upset at himself for not receiving “honors” which would have been a 2.1. But a degree is just a slip of paper. Once you land a job it doesn’t matter. Grades are not a measure of intelligence. UC Santa Cruz doesn’t even issue grades and neither do most universities in Germany.

So yeah, I agree with JJ — just finish you’ll be grand!!! Good luck :)

We can’t all be perfect 4.0 students! Keep at it though, you’re so close to the finish line!

Reply

Simmies September 28, 2010 at 3:19 pm

KEEP SWIMMING! Just keep swimming. Really. It’s just a valley in between mountains and you can get back to the summit, you just have to climb.

Ok, now that I’m done with the clichés, I’ll seriously assess the situation. Cs do get degrees. No employer really cares about your GPA. They only want to know that you did in fact graduate and you didn’t lie on your resume.
Secondly, would you want to start over again at a new school? Or spend even more time taking more classes in a new major? And have to take out even more money for either? You say you just want to get out of school, so finish up as soon as you can and have some time in the real work world. If you feel like after a year or two of working, then you could go back to school for economics or whatever your heart desires. Who cares if you’re older than other coworkers grad students in the future? You’d probably be more mature and better prepared than the people who are mentally still in college.
Yay for economics! Keep taking those classes while you finish engineering; something to keep you sane. I’m not sure if you’ve taken upper level econ classes yet, but they will be tougher. With your math background, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Move out! I’m sure you can find another apartment with new people that you can get along better with. A difficult class schedule with an uncomfortable home setting can be HUGE dampers on your overall experience.
Try to find people you enjoy being around and “kicking it” with. This could help with stress relief. Honestly, you only have at most 3 semesters left. YOU CAN DO IT! You’ve made it thus far and you’re sooo close.

Reply

Audry September 28, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Hey Darius,

I would totally feel the same as you because it’s really difficult to not let aspects of tuition and grades bring down your morale, but I definitely agree with Josh that once you make the decision to hunker down and get through it all, you can get through it all. Everything you go through is a learning experience and once it’ll all over you’ll be able to be proud of yourself for persevering.

Reply

Professor Michael LLorenz September 28, 2010 at 3:38 pm

28 September 2010

Dear Darius:
Two points:
Use your analytical skills to determine the impediments to your success. Obtain specific help for each separate concern. If a tutor or study group is needed for each, then do what is necessary to join one or more study groups and or tutors. There is no shame in getting and using help. The shame is in having false pride that prevents one from seeking , obtaing, and utilizing help. That false pride is an excessive one: hubris.
Your concern about how old you will be when you graduate is a waste of your energy and time. The fact that you earn a degree or two is important. If it takes you longer than others to earn it that reflects your persistance and a strong character: Both fine and desirable traits. Employers and graduate schools will consider that favorably.
When I was in law school and I was concerned about graduating with honors, one of my professors, Enzo Cannizzo, said, ” Its not where you begin, its where you end.” I graduated with honors 31/2 years later and earned additional credentials. So, Darius, take heart and end with success.
Cordial regards,
Michael LLorenz

Reply

Krissy September 28, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I’ve switched my majors 5 times, had a friend die, watched my father battle through cancer, dealt with depression and foolishly decided to party too much one semester. I don’t have a great GPA, and I certainly don’t mean to compare scars, but if *I* can finish and have a pretty damn good chance of getting into grad school, YOU can finish and get two engineering degrees. You’re smart. You’re determined. I think you can do it. Hell, you might even knock out an econ minor if you have the chance.

Best of luck. Don’t give up dude– don’t even think about it. Maybe all you need is a semester off, or a semester abroad…or more time to finish your degree so you can take less classes per semester and lessen the workload. That’s helped me so far– if I had 4 classes in addition to what I’m trying to pull off this semester, I’d go psycho >.<

[[YOU CAN DO IT]]

Reply

Jeremy September 28, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Sounds like my kind of situation. I’m currently enrolled in a college about an hour and a half away from your hometown. I initially had plans on dual majoring in electrical and computer engineering, but I’m at the point now where I would take anything I could get just to be done with it. FYI there are decent engineering schools closer to home that if nothing else, you could take summer courses to help your GPA and course requirements.

Reply

Izzeh September 28, 2010 at 3:51 pm

FINISH! You can do it, seriously!

I was in Chem last year, and it kicked my behind HARD. So much so that I lost all my passion for it! Don’t throw away something you love, if you still enjoy engineering stick it out!

My boyfriend is struggling with Mechanical Engineering as well right now, all you need is some people to keep your hopes up, and your head held high. You must have classmates that are going through the same frustrations.

Don’t throw away everything because of some C’s, thanks to Chem/Physics/Calc (i took on too much at once on top of it) I went from a 4.0 to a 1.1 GPA in ONE semester, yet with enough work, and buoy courses, i’m gonna get myself back up there.

You’re almost done, you’ve almost obtained 2 of the more difficult degrees. If you’ve made it this far, you’re bound to succeed. HANG IN THERE AND GOOD LUCK!

Reply

Phillip Wochner September 28, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Whatever you do, don’t give up.You would regret it.
If South Carolina is too hot for you you might consider switching.

Reply

Lisa Tsosie September 28, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Please don’t quit. As student we all face the same dillema you do. We need to inspire each other. Make your own path in the grass, it’s easy to give up and follow the route that is easier and quickest. Yes albeit, it’s hard work but just keep up with it. Tutoring helps alot my friend. Let us know what you do in the end.

Reply

Anonymous September 28, 2010 at 4:20 pm

I BELIEVE IN YOU! Finish strong, sweets:)

Reply

Thressa September 28, 2010 at 4:20 pm

I BELIEVE IN YOU! Finish strong, sweets:)

Reply

Lupe September 28, 2010 at 4:24 pm

As someone once told the graduating class of 1999:

Don’t waste your time on jealousy.
Sometimes you’re ahead,sometimes you’re behind.
The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

The goal is to graduate, and the only person who makes this happen – or not happen – is you. I’m 27 and I’m a senior in college, and and because I transferred from a CC on a semester system to a University on quarters I’m at a 2.7 (shorter sessions and GPAs don’t transfer).

Yea, I’m older than many of my grad student friends, and yea, many of my undergrad friends hold rockstar GPAs, but I learned a long time ago that that’s them, and I’m not them. I have to do what I have to do for me. And letting their accomplishments bring me down doesn’t help me.

Three semesters, at three to four classes apiece, translates into nine to twelve classes between you and the finish line. I know that the last hundred yards is always the worst, but if you focus on the finish line instead of how bad it hurts, you’ll always find a little more than you thought you had in you.

Reply

Pb999 September 28, 2010 at 4:30 pm

This article speaks straight to my heart. Darius, I went to high school in Miami, got a full ride to UF and threw that out to get a computer engineering degree at Georgia Tech. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. GT is extremely hard, time intensive, and add to that I picked one of the hardest majors it offers. I probably averaged 50-70 hrs of school work on top of having jobs to support myself since I didn’t get help from my parents. I almost transferred back to Florida a few times. Around my third year I had a 2.75 and was miserable, but I decided to finish it out.I managed to graduate in 5 years with a 2.97, and I now have $65K in loans. Ouch right?

Well, I have a job straight out of graduation that pays more than most people will ever make. I really hated GT with a passion but I didn’t quit, if I could do it, you can. PLUS, you want to minor in economics? Companies JUMP at engineers who have that interest since they’re good with numbers. Don’t give up. Think of all you’d throw away.

Reply

Ash September 28, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Reassess your love of engineering and if it still means as much as I think it means to you, continue your education.

Now, let’s get to the pointers – get help. A wise person is always ready to accept help and in this situation, tutoring can probably do wonders for you (most professors are willing to help you understand the material – this is their job after all). In addition, I think the best thing you can do right now is to take a breath and relax – everything comes in its own time. However, at the present time, your one priority is to increase your understanding of the material, which is the foundation of your future profession. Grades come and go, but understanding and knowledge remain with you forever.

So take another breath (a tad deeper this time) and resolve that you will do what you love because the college experience will seem like an incredibly murky memory a few years from now. But the key is to do what comes naturally to you and by this I mean a profession that utilizes your skills, abilities, and best of all, gives you joy. Everything else is just a signpost on your road to glory…promise.

Reply

Marisa Reingle September 28, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Darius! I am literally in the same boat. I’m a 5th year senior Electrical Engineering major. As Josh mentioned, you didn’t ever mention how much you actually hate engineering. I don’t like it a great deal; i hate programming! But the economics classes are akin to my psychology classes. Keep yourself sane. Just set up a goal for yourself to help you push through; any business LOVES engineers on their team for econ. or other industrial mathematics because most business majors don’t have a huge math background. Engineers think out of the box. Trust me, despite the C avg (I have a 2.6) you are actually heavily trained in problem solving – way more than you’d think. My advisor has literally BEGGED me to stay and finish the year. I tried thinking of any option to get myself out of EE – then I figured, hey I got this far. Why throw away such a respectable degree because I just couldn’t make it ONE more year. YOU CAN DO IT. Don’t doubt yourself. Josh is right; employers don’t care about how great you did in college – they’re concerned with how great you will do in their company. Trust yourself. Plow through. It’ll be worth it.

Reply

Amina McIntyre September 28, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Darius,

Stick it out. I wanted to change my major in the 1st semester of my last year because I wasn’t doing well in the theory, but thankfully a professor talked me out of it. I ended up pursuing a graduate degree in the field I wanted to switch to, and the program chose me because of my versatility. I’m seeing the same sort of comments in my job search. So keep pushing; the pay off is much better in the long run!

Reply

Corri September 28, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Seems like I may actually be able to help again! Alright let me scowl at you first and then hit you with a baseball bat. Now that that’s done, listen. I’m 21 right now, I’m once again in my freshmen year of college. This is my 3rd time being a freshmen, not because I’m stupid, but, because I kept putting off my desire to go to college for art. I thought “well I need a good paying job first” like all my other friends, started going to college for criminal justice. It was fun, but it wasn’t something I could get in to. I spent a year there. I also spent a year at a private college doing fine art and Japanese studies, which I adore Japan, but guess what? I was completely stuck doing tons of general ed classes, because none of my first college year credits transfered there.

I too had a ton of scholarships, I only had to pay 500 a semester (believe me, extremely cheap for the school I was going to) and it was fun, but I kept getting depressed, because I wanted art. I had straight A’s from both schools until I was depressed enough my second semester at my second college that I got a few B’s.

Where am I now? I’m at a full blown art school having the time of my life. And despite all the hard work and determination I have, I’m getting C’s and D+’s. At first I was devistated. I was getting those A’s and honors in college and suddenly I was doing what I wanted and I was getting C’s, me! I thought the world was ending on me, but I realized it just meant I had a lot to learn. It’s not fun getting those grades, but my teachers are more than willing to help me with stuff and I got an art tutor and I’m making it through the classes with C’s.

What’s worse?
I have a lot of friends from highschool laughing at me, because they’ll graduate this year or within the next two years. Me? I’m near broke, no job, family doesn’t have a ton of money, so I can only take two classes a semester. That’s right, 2. Unless I can get a job, I’ll be in undergraduate college for the next 8 years taking two classes a semester every semester, summer included. And the art school also offers graduate school which I’d love to attend.

My points being? You’re so close and yet you’re ready to give?! We all get hit in the head, believe me, it happens all the time, especially when you’re overly stressed and thinking if you don’t get A’s or B’s you’re going to fail and everything won’t work out. But it can! Lower grades don’t mean you can’t learn something or you have no chance, it means you need to take a breath and keep going. It means tackling the problems you can and stabbing the ones you can’t! If you hate where you end, go back to college after you get your degree in engineering. Seriously, go with that first, that’s what you wanted, that’s what you started with. You must have had some kind of passion for it or you won’t have gotten that four year scholarship and believe me. I’m 21, but I don’t feel like my life is anywhere near an end. We have years, many years left to live our lives and do things.

In my first college where I was studying criminal justice, there was a 72 year old guy in classes with me. He was changing jobs. At 72 he wanted to stop being a local truck driver and work a desk job at the police department. If he has the guts then surely in your 20s this is nothing!! So buck up! Hold your head proud, you’ve made it this far and I believe you can keep on going and make it to the end! Do your best, take your time and do what you need to. If you have to scream, go find a pillow and scream into it. If you need extra help, get it! Make a list see what the hardest things are, spend a little bit each day, or every other day studying those areas until you’ve got ’em down and head to the next thing. Eventually you’ll learn it all and even if you don’t, we’re humans not machines, We CAN’T learn everything.

So grin it and finish man. No matter how much you mess up, you’re still going to graduate before me eh? Isn’t that enough to keep you going, knowing you won’t be the oldest graduate and you’re not the only grade freak who sometimes gets a bad grade here and there. I thought art was going to be easy too since it was my passion, but it’s not. Passion doesn’t mean easy, it means you have the determination to get through whatever it takes to master it. So go do it. Okay I think that’s about it, I hoped my ranting at you has helped! If not feel free to yell at me!

Reply

Alyssa September 28, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Stick to it!

A lot of us have been there. I entered college completely believing that I could graduate with an Economics degree. My first semester, whether it was because I was travelling 1.5 hours each way, working, or just because it was my first semester, I got Cs in Macroeconomics and Calculus. Next semester, Economics was still hellishly difficult for me. I contemplated becoming a Psychology major, but… I knew that I would never be able to see that as anything but a failure for me. I devoted huge, ridiculous amounts of time to Economics. I switched my Economics track to a more Political Economy specialization, but I didn’t give up on it.

Now, I have 1 upper level class and my thesis left. Could I have gotten a higher GPA if I had done another major? Yes. Do I often feel like I don’t have the passion or talent for Econ and that I should go with my strengths instead? Yeah, sure, all the time. However, very soon, I will have a degree that says that I -am- cut out for Economics.

Reply

Leeja September 28, 2010 at 5:57 pm

I’m 2+ weeks from my 38th birthday and 1 year from my bachelors degree in accounting. My boyfriend is a chemical engineering professor at a major university.
With that said, I’m going to give you my take on the situation. I didn’t go to college out of high school, and honestly couldn’t have. I managed to get 9 credits at a local community college before my now ex-husband put a stop to it, refusing to “let” me go to school. I’ve beat myself to death over that for years, but 3 years ago this January, I made a decision that has changed my life. With the encouragement of my boyfriend, I’ve made it through 28 classes with a 3.86 GPA while working full time and commuting an hour each way to a very stressful job.
2 of my last 3 classes were statistics (I go to University of Phoenix and only take 1 class at a time). I thought I was going to loose my mind with them both. I’ve put so much stress on myself after seeing a couple jobs posted online that said “3.9 GPA with transcripts required” that when I tanked the first of the 2 statistics final exams (I scored 25% on it after going into it with a 98.1% class average), I sat and cried for about 3 hours. Last night, I finished the second of these classes and scored 44% on the final, so I figure I might even have a C in this class.

I’m scared to death of failure, just like it sounds like you are, but we both have to hang in there. We are both SO CLOSE to fulfilling our dreams (although mine is to not have to commute 2 hours a day anymore). When you have high expectations for yourself, it feels impossible when you don’t live up to them. Believe me, I know.

So why did I mention my boyfriend at the beginning of this post? Like I said, he teaches chemical engineering, which is the hardest major on this university’s campus. He recently had a student graduate with his PhD in chemical engineering, but that wasn’t all. He also earned his MBA at the same time. So I think that the moral of that story in your situation is that you don’t have to settle for only an engineering degree, or only a BS in applied math, or even both. If you were so inclined, and it would make it more “bearable” for you to finish the economics path as well, I say go for it! You are so close to all 3, and likely can’t take all the classes at once anyway, so maybe the renewed interest in your studies by adding the economics will be enough to make the time fly in a happy way! If nothing else, it’s something to boost that GPA, and make school more interesting, even if you just need them as filler classes while you finish that engineering degree.

Reply

Liz September 28, 2010 at 6:40 pm

I agree with alot of the feedback and encouragement that fellow students have provided you. It is definitely not easy and there are times, difficult times that makes you feel like you want to give-up. Don’t! Listen, I am 47 and a non-traditional student working full-time and going to school full-time.

I was suppose to graduate this semester, but since the school has increased tuition, it no way that I can, so I am in for another semester and I don’t know how I am going to pay for it, but I got a feeling it’s going to work out. I am on a PELL grant and I can’t get a loan.

I have endured alot and I am guessing you have too. You have to find that inner strength and the outer strength. I couldn’t have made it this far without it and him. Yes, him. You see, no matter how big or difficult the problem is, God is bigger, much bigger. Yes, I went there, because if you don’t believe in something that is bigger than you, than I feel that you are lost in some way. You can do it.

Speak from the heart and listen from you heart. He will direct your path. Life is hard is enough! And you don’t have deal with it by yourself. Push through! I guarantee it’s worth it. I hope to hear that you have continued your academic studies and that you’v graduated this time next year. Darius, have faith in God and in yourself. You can do this and so can I!!!

Reply

kiwinc September 28, 2010 at 6:57 pm

My sister always says, “It don’t have to be pretty. It just has to get DONE.” She’s a pharmacist with a 2.something gpa for her pharmD, and her last job paid about $145,000 per year.
As a mechanical engineer, you’re going to be in much the same position.
I would strongly suggest that yes, you get a tutor. Lots of schools offer this service for FREE. Stay where you are, so you can get the two degrees you worked so hard for. Transferring NOW would likely be a mistake, mainly because most (all?) schools require you take your last 30 hours with them. And they likely WON’T take all of your credits, either. So financially you’re probably better off sticking it out.
Plus you’ll get your initial degree as well. And if you can pick up an economics minor along the way, even better.
I’m not going to give you the big pep talk, since so many others here have already done that so eloquently. Enough to say that all of us have suffered some pretty major setbacks along the way. You are so close to being done…if we can do it, you can. I promise!
One last thing – from what I can see, engineers’ GPAs are looked at slightly differently than others. Most of my classmates are in the same range as you – and these are smart people who are used to getting good grades. From what I understand, getting to a 3.0 in engineering is pretty unusual. You’re not out of range.

I think you’re better off where you are – you’ll end up having to do even more time to finish if you transfer, and finishing is what it’s about. You do that economics minor and you likely won’t ever have to look for a job – let the bidding begin! Seriously. But it own’t happen if you don’t finish.

Reply

Endragon September 28, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Hi Darius:)
Even though things are hard for you right now with college, you should not lose heart. I am a freshman at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and I too am currently struggling to manage everything. Don’t give up! Remember that even though there are times in life when it seems like you can’t possibly succeed, human willpower can be a shining beacon in the darkness that guides you to the strength and endurance you didn’t know you had. When we use our willpower, we can achieve greatness and own our burdens.
I will rise to the challenges and ultimately prevail. I can only remind you of your own awesome willpower and cheer you on as you make this choice for yourself.

Reply

Sara September 28, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Hey Darius,

I also feel like giving up; I’m in my last year of biology and applying to dental school this year. It really stinks when I think about how low my chances are of getting in, especially with my low admissions test scores. But I keep thinking that no matter what life will not end. Just take it one day at a time to finish up your degree. Get tutoring if you feel that it can help you. Call up your family or close friends to talk to them about your troubles. Sometimes just telling someone else how you feel will help you get back up. If you need a semester off try to take it of course first let your scholarship committee know beforehand so you can still maintain the scholarship. I think you are very smart, you know that the feeling you’re getting telling you to just give up is a combination of everything you’ve experienced: out-of-state, loans, two different schools, dual degree, and seeing others float on by. Believe me, it’s not the end of the world if you get a 2.0 GPA. As long as you’re showing effort and you finish the degree, future employers will see your perseverence. Don’t give up.

Reply

Trish September 28, 2010 at 8:22 pm

So your not perfect, no one is perfect and if they are they usually turn out to be serial killers, child molesters, and the list goes on and on. Half of what you learn you will actually use. Everything is always changing, and a great deal is automated, or configured through software in the real world.

Finish the engineering degree. It is only 6-9 more months. You can pay for your degree in economics with the money you make as an engineer. You may even decide to stay in engineering. College by design is hard, and often times there is so much you never use, and with technology changing you will probably learn new stuff as you go along. But the difference will be concouring one versus 3 or 4 classes. You will always be learning.

You have approximately 540 months that you will work as a professional. You want to be paid for all of your frustration. Engineering and Applied Mathmatics majors are the ones making the highest salaries out there. So with that said 9 months is nothing. It is a drop in the bucket.

Hire a tutor, if you don’t have the money get help from your family. Plead your case and tell them you need the extra help now. Pay them back for the help when you get your degree and your first high paying job. Stop going out if you are partying. Stop socializing at various campus functions. If you work figure out the minimum hours you have to work and do just those hours. Spend the rest of your time studying. At the end of each month treat yourself to a movie and a good meal. Then get back to the books. There is a whole series of “For Dummies” books. They are not necessarily for dummies. They are chocked full of information explained in laymans terms. Go get some.

Don’t give up and just tell yourself “I am doing this for me because I am totally worth it”. Who cares what anyone elses GPA is at your college. The only person you need to think about is yourself. Focus on you and no one else. A high GPA doesn’t mean they can do the job.

Reply

Judge Josh September 28, 2010 at 9:11 pm

BEST COMMENTERS EVER!!! \M/

Thanks everyone!

Reply

M W September 28, 2010 at 9:40 pm

I’m a engineering student also. It’s fucking rough man. But when we get done with school it is all going to be worth it. You just have to keep your head up and keep going.

Reply

Larry Launstein Jr September 28, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Darius:

I want you to know something, about as clear as I can make it – as the owner of a home-based graphic art and web design company, I’d rather hire someone who is willing to work very hard and give it everything they have over someone who has had everything handed to them.

You fit the description of someone I’d hire in a minute. You earned that full-ride scholarship, now get out there and make the most of your opportunity!

You were very fortunate to get a full-ride, too, because lots of folks don’t get them. Someone thought enough of you and your desire to offer that. All they, and I, are asking in return is that you keep giving it your best shot. When I was taking art classes at both Mott Community College and the University of Michigan-Flint, I had to keep working really hard because I depended on at least partial scholarships to help me through. I also have a journalism degree from MSU, in which my parents took care of, but I still gave it everything I had, out of desire to succeed. Everyone who helped me with my education thought enough of me, too, and there were moments I really wanted to mail it in. But now, I’ll be 50 years old in October, and have two degrees from the third-top ranked journalism school in the land – MSU – ranked by the Society of Professional Journalists, and UM-Flint, part of the University of Michigan-a top-of-the-line world-class university.

And please don’t give up on yourself, because you are so close you can taste it, and don’t forget that now, education is a life-long process. Don’t be afraid to learn new things, like you are trying to do with economics. That’s all stuff you can continue learning over the course of your lifetime. So, please understand that getting your degree is just the beginning of your journey.

Reply

Bridget September 28, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Okay Darius…it is apparent you don’t have any learning disabilities or anything so you just need to go back to square one and figure out exactly where you began to get lost in engineering. I am not familiar with that subject but I always hear it is very difficult. It may help just to go back over the basics from old textbooks and it may start to clear some of the confusion up. Once you begin to master previous concepts you were struggling with, it will all begin to get easier and easier from there. Heck, you might actually begin to get excited about your assignments.

BTW, what Kiwinc said about the problem with transferring to another university and them wanting you to complete the last 30 hours with them is true. And they may want a certain number of hours in your major completed with them also. It will all be so frustrating to deal with and possibly lost money already spent. You have invested so much already. Plus, you are not going to feel good mentally knowing that you will be starting over. I think you feel worse than you are right now.

I once had a science professor when he was handing out grades tell us that very few people made an A in the class. He also said that college students seem to get upset when they’re not making A’s but he said there is absolutely nothing wrong with average grades. He said that he ended up with a not so great GPA and he got into grad school just fine.

I am struggling right now with my Advanced Accounting course because I am taking it online and basically teaching myself from the textbook. I’m pulling my hair out and just want to cry when I am spending almost two hours on a problem and still cannot get my answer to match one of the multiple choice selections. I can’t stand my professor and I feel she goes out of her way trying to trip us up on deadlines and witholding how to work out the problems. I will spend 10 hours trying to complete my homework assignment and we are not allowed to work with any other students to help each other. And then after I give everything I have…she turns around and takes off what I got wrong. It’s very frustrating to get a 75 on homework I worked my butt off for. Even though the teaching is poor, I have to try that much harder. Live and breathe your engineering textbook for the next six months and you will be so proud of yourself. If it takes you 30 hours to get through one chapter, that is okay. The rest will get easier. You have invested way too much to give up now. And don’t get distracted by the other people you live with. Just spend every spare moment at the library studying.

Reply

Grey_GirlPTK September 29, 2010 at 12:00 am

Darius,

First off if you think being in your 20s and watching others graduate younger then you try to imagine going back to college over 35. I’m turning 42 in two months and in my junior year. Everyone seems much younger then me. This quarter I am 7-10 years older than all my professors.

I chose to leave college back in 1990 due to family obligations thinking that it would be for a year or two, not nearly 20 years later. Getting back to finish a degree isn’t as quick and easy as you think. Life happens and stuff comes up and pretty soon you are justifing putting off one more year.

Second, it sounds like if you stick with it you will be done in less then a year. Dude you are so close to being done with both degrees. Stopping now is silly. Soon you will have what you want and be done. You will also have job offers that will more then help pay off any debt you currently have now. (I’m a History major and can’t say the same.)

Third, you can always spread out the last of your engineer course and minor in economics. That way you can take one class in each using the econ to help boost your GPA and your spirits when engineering is getting you down. That is what I try to do–balance a heavy/hard course with something required but fun for me. That way I can tackle the hard required courses one at a time, and off set the stress with something easier to help me not feel like I’m struggling in every class.

Also if you transfer a lot of your credits may not count since most colleges have a min requirement for what you have to take at their college. This means you will have more loans, and longer until you are done. In other words it moves you finish line farther away, which you have said you don’t want.

So take a breath and look at how close you are to the end already. Less then a year to go and you will be graduating like your friends. The difference is that you will have two degrees where your friends have one. If the living arrangements aren’t working for you find a different one. There is more then one apartment/house where ever you are living.

Best wishes and good luck to you:)

Reply

Alcenat September 29, 2010 at 2:21 am

I wish I had more words after all those said by Judge Josh to add. I am an international student at CalPoly State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. I went to a community college for 3 years and applied for transfer to my current school. When I transferred, some of my friends were surprised due to my average grades to such a competitive and highly rated engineering school. What everyone seemed to forget, the California State University which regulates CalPoly ONLY ask for a 2.0 to transfer, than they check background and how much the applicant stands out of the pile. That being said, people with so-called GOOD grades get rejected all the time because, if grades are the only thing you are bringing on the table, you are WRONG.
I follow the blogs on this site a lot, well, for a least a year now. It always boosts my confidence to know that life is NOT all about grades.
Well, I followed that principle and despite my many C’s as civil engineering student, I applied for my first internship and I was given the positioin. My boss created a team of average students like me and we got the job done. Why? We were qualified to do it yes… But was it about grades? NOT ALL ALL…
Darius, you probably have not realized it but being an engineer means one thing: YOU CAN GET THE JOB DONE. Regardless of what your grades are, do NOT let them put you down, just keep on fighting. Mechanical Engineering is HARD and it makes sense as a average student that you struggled in it.
The beauty of it all is going to be when you are in your future working interview or working environment, very few employers would care about how high you grades were. It will be resumed to TWO thing: CAN YOU GET THE JOB DONE? WHAT ARE YOU BRINGING TO THE TABLE?
This is it; stick to M.E…
Peace…

Reply

Core September 29, 2010 at 5:41 am

“What does that mean? First, it means resolving to finish the engineering degree and to accept no other outcome. You?d be surprised how lingering doubt can make everything harder, and how once you commit to your desired outcome, things get easier.”

I’m late to this party, but I’ll comment anyways.
He’s right engineering student. It’s time to man up. Take a deep breath, and just make up your mind. “I’m going to complete this engineering course, and these grades, they are all part of it, its no big deal” to yourself, and just go with it! Just like he says, that lingering doubt, will make it so much harder unless you go ahead and get it out of the way. And you do that, by making up your mind. You’ve come so far and are so close to the finish line. Go and ahead and finish.

Reply

Anonymous September 29, 2010 at 8:19 am

Darius the field you chose is ver difficult, but when you went after this you knoew in your heart this was something you wanted to know. No one successfuk in life got there by giving up. All these things in the way are just a test of your drive. Don’t give up, it’s the worst thing you can do next to not applying for college at all. I’ll keep you in my prayers, need company during your homework sessions just e-mail me!

Reply

C. Kocher September 29, 2010 at 11:07 am

Hang in there bucko. I was lined up for a 5 year masters in Electrical Engineering, and due to real life obligations(The recent birth of my son), I was unable to start my journey. You’re already three quarters of the way finished, so don’t give up. We (All of us in a situation similar to my own) are rooting for you.

Reply

Jai September 29, 2010 at 3:48 pm

If you really love it, I think you can do it. That’s most important, you have to be devoted or else its all for naught. And that scholarship! There’s a reason you got it. You can do this! Just focus on what you’re working for. Good luck!

Reply

Hudson September 29, 2010 at 8:50 pm

I say this to you man don’t give up at all think of all the people you are motivating in a way that even you may not realize it yet. I’m in college now and I take it one ring at a time; it is right now something I love doing because I am maintaining a high GPA but I know that I am doing this for my future so keep your eye on the prize and it will work out….

Reply

Michelle September 30, 2010 at 9:12 am

My first year at university I almost flunked out of two separate chemistry courses. As a biology student, they were mandatory, but I was not doing well. There was a while there where I thought I’d have to drop both altogether and rethink my program. But I did manage to push forward and get through it. I am positive you can do the same (especially as I have never gotten grades good enough to get me a full scholarship). I totally believe that you can get through this with the degree you wanted

Reply

Allie September 30, 2010 at 2:50 pm

This is kind of a nitpicky comment, that really doesn’t have anything to do with the actual letter or advice, but I just wanted to mention that there’s no Nobel Prize for mathematics. There are awards that are roughly the equivalent in terms of prestige, money, etc., but math is a category for the Nobel that was never included.

Reply

Chelsea September 30, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I understand how you feel about getting low grades. That 2.0-2.5 GPA must be really irritating. But, there’s really nothing wrong with them. I’ve known a person who was, quite literally, a rocket scientist, who just barely scraped out all of his degrees with C’s and a few B’s. He partied all of the time in college, but because he loved the subject of his classes he was still able to keep going and get a great job. You love engineering, right? Then it doesn’t matter about the GPA at all. Personally, though, I would keep going with the economics classes as well as the engineering. That way you can get a B.S. in Economics and find a job along those lines while you continue to study engineering. That’ll allow you to start paying off your loans, or maybe get an apartment for yourself, and will, in a sense anyway, move you on to your next chapter in life. You’ll be killing several birds with one stone. And, as far as your age worries are concerned, as soon as you left High school, you also pretty much completely left behind any possibility of being grouped exclusively with people your own age. So you’re a little older than some of the people around you. That just makes you the cool older guy that the fresh faces will look at for advice and things like that. Or they’ll ignore your age entirely and treat you just like everyone else, which means that your worry is a non-issue anyway.

Reply

Wendy Weinhold October 3, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Dear Darius,
Teachers are our best allies, friends and mentors. Your friend, “Judge Josh,” is trying to teach you an important lesson: The things that are the hardest are also the most worth doing.

Learning literally hurts, but it is also the only thing that really helps! If you want your life to be full, you need to challenge yourself to do the things you are the most afraid to do. And when you conquer those things and release yourself from your fears, you will be free to do what you want with your life.

You want to be a success, and you are intelligent and worthy of esteem. You’ve clearly won Judge Josh over, and I suggest you tell yourself–about your intelligence, about your worth. Keep fighting! You deserve to give yourself the best!
My best wishes for your future, Wendy

Reply

A Mom October 3, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Dear Darius,

From reading your question to Judge Josh, I get the message that YOU BELIEVE you can do better with the engineering courses. It seems to me that you would be ready to abandon the balance of this dual degree program if it weren’t for the fact that you would also lose your Applied Mathematics degree. I suspect these lower grades you’ve been earning are something you’re not accustomed to which adds to your whole down feeling.

There was a lot that I got from your description of your dilemma. So I am going to write you a lot in response. If you were my son (my son is just a first semester freshman pursuing EE, but at an engineering school) and he were experiencing your difficulties, I would hope that he and I would discuss these sorts of things. I think the most important thing you need to do is to take some quiet time and assess why you’re getting grades lower than You Believe you are capable of. I want to point out a couple of things for you keep in mind.

Judge Josh was quite astute when he observed that you should not look longingly are what your friends are doing at this point… There are many different routes to the same end. Josh also observed that you never said you didn’t like the engineering field, which would mean that you Would want to stick with it to pursue as a livelihood. Is this true? Think about that. You switched from Mechanical to Industrial Engineering, but you didn’t say “why” other than aluding that it was due to your low grades. But aside from the grades, what made you switch from that track? Did you not like the courses or the realization of what mechanical engineers do? Why did you chose industrial engineering? Did you get a taste of industrial engineering and liked that better for yourself? Did you switch because you thought mechanical was too hard?

If your engineering school did not require introductory engineering courses to help students identify what type of engineering to major in, that would have been a disservice to you – maybe engineering is simply not for you or you’ve chosen the wrong field. Whether you have had such a course or not, talk to the dean of the engineering school about the types of engineering the school offers because I think it is important at this point for you to identify the field within engineering that you can envision yourself working in. If you honestly cannot envision yourself working in any of the engineering areas, then should really be studying engineering? Why pursue a degree in an engineering discipline that’s not your thing? Why pursue engineering if that is not your make-up? You will not be the first to discover that you were not cut out for engineering; that is not a failure. Maybe you are more destined for an engineering RELATED career. Talk to the Dean about this and don’t be intimidated about doing so. It is in the school’s best interest to have you succeed.

Before you talk to the Dean, however, you need to have attempted some answers for yourself. You need to think about getting to the core reason why you are not doing as well as you expect for yourself with the (bulk of the) engineering curriculum. As an engineering student, you are learning to problem solve. So attempt to solve the problem from a logical, focused view. Honestly identify the areas within your pursuit of this degree that has caused you to not perform to your standard. It is certainly not due to your being some sort of “dummy” right? Look at your dilemma as though you were an outsider who has the ability to view you in total; what would pop out that this person would see as your trouble areas; where are you not performing strongly? Write them down with pencil and paper. (The tangible nature in doing so may prove to be far more valuable than just thinking about it or creating a wp document.) Write down what this observer would say are the causes for the shortcomings. I believe that therein you will discover what you could be doing differently to help your self along. I’ll give you a list of things to think about at the end…

Darius, YOU KNOW you are bright; you have already proven that to YOURSELF with the accomplishment of having received the full scholarship for your Applied Mathematics course of study and your having done so well in it. But think about this. Engineering IS a difficult major; I hope you truly recognize that. (But your strength in mathematics surely must be an aid!) Many engineering students leave the major because they didn’t understand what it is all about and once they were taking the courses found it just wasn’t likable. For others, it was just too hard to comprehend. Are either of these true for you?

When my son was looking at engineering schools while he was still in high school, we also considered the route you have taken toward getting the two degrees. One of things that left me with uncertainty while we considered this route was that in breaking the course of studies between two schools as you are doing, students experience the transitions and adjustments of being a freshman TWO times. When you look back in retrospect to when you started in SC, you know there were transition adjustments for yourself. I’m not entirely sure how long you’ve been at the second school, but for sure, the entire framework in which you are functioning is quite different than what you had come to be accustomed to at the SC school by the time you had left. The point being, there are transitions that may have created difficulties for you.

You have to have a certain mindset for engineering studies, one being the fact that You Must Work Wisely while studying engineering. In my opinion, in having split your course of study, although many students opt for this route, I think you made it harder for yourself. By the time you had finished in SC, you had become an upperclassman, but in making the switch to the second school, you became like a freshman again not only in the level of courses you started with, but in the newness of all the associated transitions. (I hope the school had a transfer student orientation and that you participated. If you feel there are too many gaps in understanding the school’s policies, or how it operates programs and services for the students, etc., it is not too late to get some direction to make up for this by talking to the Admissions Office or Student Advising Department, as a start.) Importantly, one thing I suspect is that while in SC, your inner psyche was not being conditioned to THINK as an engineering student because you were not around many students who were on an engineering track. It’s amazing the things we pick-up through osmosis… and when you transferred, you most certainly could have been at a disadvantage to your new peers who had been attending the engineering school beginning from when they were freshmen. Although mathematicians are problem solvers as are engineers, engineers think in a certain way. They have a way of thinking that is partially innate and partially learned. And there is a certain inner discipline one must have while studying for an engineering degree. The standard track for engineering, while still difficult, eases the student into that thinking. I suspect that was not the case for you in SC, and now you are thrown into it.

So then, as an engineering student with the added benefit of having a good record for solving problems (with your math pursuit), I think we have a hint of what changed so much that things went so downhill for you.

I understand people’s encouragement in this forum for you to stick with the engineering course of study because you are so close to completing, one being that even a 2.0 you will still get you that engineering degree. As I said before, “Hon,” a harsh reality might be that maybe your mind is just not wired to be an engineer – at least not right now at this point in your life. I understand that you feel you let yourself down. Again, you probably never having experienced the difficulty with grades that you are now. Keep in mind, if do you feel like you’ve let yourself down, there is nothing wrong with finishing that degree with a GPA less than what you are satisfied with, and then afterward, re-take particular courses in the evening here and there to reinforce material or catch what you missed. If you REALLY want to become an engineer, and want to help overcome your bad feelings for not having done as well as you wish for yourself, think about doing that for yourself. There is a lot to say for working and studying at the same time; they feed one another. And many people do far better with a course the second time around. People re-take courses all the time. As a matter of fact, some college students re-take courses while in college, even at a community college for the lower cost and their known track record for remedial work with students. One reason why you are having trouble might be due to not having learned enough in a foundation course for you to be able to do as well as could be expected with the next level course. This is where you need to talk to the Department Head or your Faculty Advisor, or both. (I have a friend who is now a nuclear engineer and he re-took Calculus in the summer after getting a D in the course as a freshman! How’s that for encouragement, Darius, for re-taking a course!?)

This leads me to the point of internships and co-op, I do hope your school offers these, and hope that with your GPA you will be eligible. Talk to your Career Development Office about these opportunities if you haven’t already. This sort of experience could prove to be VERY beneficial for you. One important reason being that you would be amongst engineers. (Remember, we learn a lot through osmosis…) You would see how what you are studying is applied in the work environment.

In addition to a number of the above points and questions to consider, here are other questions for you to answer to determine whether you should continue on the engineering track, an engineering related track, or rather an alternate degree such as in economics as you suggested. If engineering is what you really want to pursue, then you need to determine what is causing you to not do as well as you expected for yourself, and then what you can do about it to finish as far over 2.0 as possible:

– Why did you choose Applied Mathematics as your primary degree? – Why did you consider an engineering degree? – Do you have a passion for engineering? – What drew you to Mechanical Engineering? – Why did you decide to no longer pursue Mechanical? – Would you prefer to switch back to it? – What drew you to Industrial Engineering? – Is there another engineering field that appeals to you more, is your passion? (Be aware that some schools may not allow you to switch to another engineering major and still be able to graduate on time.) – Can you envision yourself doing engineering as your livlihood? – Were the engineering courses too hard for you, intellectually? (If so, this is important to recognize.) – If you honestly do not feel the courses were too hard for you, then there is something else that contributed to your not doing as well as you expected for yourself and you need to identify that so that you can fix the situation, or at least rectify it enough to afford you greater success…

– What are your weak areas within the courses: homework, projects, labs, quizzes, tests, group work, papers? – Assess why and what could you be doing differently. – Take advantage of your professors’ office hours, meeting with TA’s, tutoring services at the school, participating in study groups. – Bear in mind that with engineering, you have to stay on top of your work – you cannot put off doing the work, nor put off seeking help. – You have to help yourself. – Maybe the Applied mathematics curriculum came easier to you, and you therefore simply need to adopt different work ethics, i.e. spend more time studying to really understand the material, eliminate extracurriculars, curtail gaming, Facebook, etc. (At various information sessions I’ve attended, I’ve heard different department representatives at my son’s school recommend how many hours as a ratio should put in for each course, and it is a lot.)

-Do you like the engineering school, itself; is it a good match for you? (If not, I would make the best of it to finish there because you have invested so much already.)

Your living arrangement has changed from when you were going to school in SC. – What is it about your living arrangement that could be contributing to your not doing as well as you expect for yourself? – Are there too many responsibilities for you too manage living off campus as opposed to when you were on campus in SC such as grocery shopping and cooking, a longer commute, etc.? – If you have a job, are you working too many hours? – Are any of your roommates pursuing engineering? (Some schools have the policy to house engineering students together simply because engineering is a difficult degree and the engineering students can supply the role modeling and support conducive to doing well, whereas non-engineering students may actually create a less conducive environment for the engineering students’ success.) – You mentioned not liking your roommates all that much, but I don’t know if you meant that figuratively as just grasping at straws, or if there really is truth to that. Living situations can contribute to your performance in school (and at your job). – Are there too many distractions at the house/apartment? – Are there too many temptations that you sucomb to, i.e., are you as disciplined as you need to be? Can you be as disciplined as you need to be? (Engineering is a tough degree and you have to focus.) – Are parties, or partying roommates, or drinking taking your focus from where it needs to be? – In living off campus, do you have enough opportunities to bond with other engineering students? – Perhaps spending a bulk of the daytime hours on campus doing your assignments and studying will help give you the mindset of feeling like you belong, help you to focus, help you to feel like you are going to your job (school is your job right now, you know). Spending more time on campus can alleviate the problem of not caring for your roommates. – Do you belong to the student chapter of an engineering organization; it could prove to be beneficial to your studies.

I know I’ve given you a lot on information, and I;m sorry that it’s a little repetitive in places. But all the same, I hope it helps you… I suspect that some of what I’ve said you already knew deep inside. There has to be enough little adjustments you can make to help yourself finish-up. One of the biggest things that a degree tells an employer is that you can finish things that you start. Reaching out to Judge Josh and all of us was a very positive step. Good luck. I think we all will want to know how things go for you. We’re rooting for your success and fulfillment!

Reply

Diora October 6, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Hey I know exactly how you feel, wanting to give up and throw in the towel. I am in a class called Communication Research for the third time and I am very frustrated not only because I’m in it for the third time but because it is keeping me form moving on to the next level class in my major. Which is therefore keeping me in school longer. So I understand wanting to give up sometimes just regroup and keep on pushin boo you will be just fine :)

Reply

Marian Marshall October 10, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Hi Darius,
I do hope you continue to go on with your schooling it’s not easy as the times are getting harder and harder, it seems that scholarships, grants are getting even harder to recieve this day and age. You are bless to get a full ride, and myself, I only get a partial grant, and have to come up with the rest of the money to finish school. I still strive to make it to the end, just to give my family Your younger then me and if I’m striving you can too.

May GOD still bless you to reach your destination, by accomplishing your goal and succeeding with your business.

Marian

Reply

Tara November 12, 2010 at 2:30 pm

You can do it. Just try to finish as strong as you can. As long as you know you are doing your best that’s all that matters. But don’t quit when you’re so close to your goal.

Reply

Collene November 21, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Ok, you are almost done with this degree. It’s like having the whole Senioritis thing all over again. Back in high school you got through it, and you can now too. If you aren’t understanding stuff, ask for help. No one is going to think you’re an idiot for asking a question because chances are, someone else has that same question and just doesn’t have the guts to ask. You like the whole economics gig, so you may want to take some of those classes to help your gpa and possibly use that to your advantage in the business world when you get a job. That way you have something you really enjoy helping you get through the rough part of your engineering degree so that you can actually enjoy the benefits of having that degree. As for the roomates thing, talk to some friends. Ask around. Someone else is bound to have a place to stay that could work better. And who cares how old you are compared to your friends and other people around you who are graduating? You are the one with more experience. You hit a little bump in the road. It happens to the best of us. Heck, Tomas Edison had to try some 2,000 times to come with the proper filament for the incandescent light bulb, and all he had to say about that was that he didn’t fail 2,000 times. He simply came up with 2,000 ways to make a light bulb, but he only needed 1 way to make it work. You’re just bouncing around trying to find a way to come up with that degree. You only need 1 way to make it work though, and you won’t find out what that 1 way is unless you keep trying. I apologize for the length of this comment, but good luck, and I hope it helps.

Reply

chelsea lynn November 25, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Don’t give up. You are too far into it to give up now. You don’t want to know you worked your butt off and stopped here. That would make you a quitter and as the famous quote says:quitters never win and winners never quit. So don’t give up! Its going to be hard but you need to step it up and give it your all. No one said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it :)

Reply

Shanta November 27, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Hi Darius,

Those engineering courses kicking your but eh?

Well there’s only one thing to do…ninja KICK BACK!

You’ve come a long way and you’re fortunate to have a full scholarship. Are you really going to throw it all away in the face of another of life’s challenges?

Rise to the occasion my friend.

Peace.

Reply

Ash December 19, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Hey, keep it up, don’t let “C”s make you quit want you want to do. Yeah it’s tough pulling up your grades, and engineering isn’t a cake-walk degree, but I think you will sorely regret skipping out because of average grades. They are still passing, correct? This is still just as right for you now as it was when you chose it. Don’t quit!

Reply

Libby December 28, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Darius,
I understand how you feel about the GPA this last semester in college was the single hardest (academically speaking) that I have ever been through. When I began to fail tests consecutively I felt that I was not good enough to continue and that I should just give up. But after speaking with my ever supportive family, they reminded me of the very thing Judge Josh talked about today “C’s get Degrees” don’t worry about the pesky GPA! Just focus on getting out of academic probation (which I KNOW you can do!) and finish what you set out to do!

Reply

Sarah January 3, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Those 2 or 3 semesters will go by faster than you think. YOU CAN DO IT! Work hard at school and find something to do outside of school that you really like to get your stress level down every once in a while. Just see yourself graduating with your engineering degree and don’t accept anything less (: You’ve got this!

Reply

Loyda January 10, 2011 at 7:59 pm

You are almost done just finish it :)

Reply

Charlotte Hyatt January 21, 2011 at 1:10 am

Hello Darius,

A lot of good things have been said and I agree–don’t give up!

You would not have been given a full scholarship if you were not extremely smart.

You would not have achieved a 3.7 in Applied Mathematics if you were not extremely smart.

You would not have been drawn to an extremely hard subject like engineering if you were not extremely smart.

You would not be making a 2.0+ GPA in mechanical engineering if you were not extremely smart. The average is only 3.0.

You would not be able to achieve A’s and B’s in an extremely difficult subject like Economics if you were not extremely smart.

You do not want to give up your degree in Applied Math because you think “I should be making better grades.”

You do not want to throw away four years of study because you are “tired of going to school.”

I know you would always regret it if you gave up now because I regretted it for almost 30 years.

I am now 4 months away from 60 and 5 months away from a BA because I quit–not once–but twice, because I did not get the grades I thought I deserved.

I still am not getting what I think I deserve but I am in class every day with people who are not even trying. And I see people all the time who are complaining about low-paying jobs, or no job but still not trying.

We can be proud of ourselves for trying, and next year we will have good-paying jobs; even though your math/engineering job prospects are better than a disabled, 60 year-old business administration major’s are.

Do I feel like quitting because I’m tired of going to school and my prospects are slim-to-none for getting a job at 60? Am I older than most of my classmates? Am I older than most of my professors?

All of these are obvious YES, YES, YES answers, but knowing that I “pushed through” and didn’t quit, will make it all worth-while.

Please forgive my “soap-box.”

I can imagine you are “burned out, frustrated with seeing other friends my age graduate already.” I hope you follow-up on some of the good suggestions you’ve gotten. Like find a tutor, or a study group; talk to your academic advisor’s/professors or TA’s, read the industrial engineering “for dummies.” Join a professional organization/web forum. Something to get your engineering “juices” flowing again. I always find comfort in answering the questions on ask.yahoo that are easy for me.

You are probably a little homesick, a little depressed, need a little rest, and some engineering friends to discuss things with. In short, you may just need some mental stimulation that does not have the stress of a grade associated with it

Whatever you do, DON’T GIVE UP!!!

Reply

Nicole March 16, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Stick it out. If they gave you a free ride scholarship it’s because they thought you would succeed. You’re lucky: in Canada where I live full ride scholarships are unheard of.

Reply

Cindy May 17, 2011 at 6:14 am

Remember, the smartest engineers in class don’t always do best in life. I’m one of the ‘smart’ engineers with high grades. I’ve done well, but it was the B/C students that are now CEO’s or vice-presidents of companies. Perhaps the hard work you are doing is making you stronger for what’s after college?

Reply

Donna June 27, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Hey. I have the same problem but with a B.S. in Neuroscience. I discovered that I liked another subject and almost changed but stuck with it because I knew that my passions really were in biology. You may be having difficulty now but it is the way college is. It is meant to be a challenge that you overcome. When you overcome it, you will feel empowered and accomplished; inversely, if you moved and changed from the great situation you are in now, you may regret it down the road. I vote to stay where you are and achieve greatness.

Reply

A.Robinson July 19, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Your story sounds a lot like the beginning of mine. Only instead of doing what I wish I had of done and what I urge you to do, and suck it up, push through and finish my degree. I changed my major, when things got hard and my grades weren’t what I wanted. I thought struggling meant I wasn’t supposed to be there. In hindsight, I realized college isn’t just about learning the subject, it’s also about learning perseverance! The struggling is teaching you how to make yourself do things you don’t enjoy or want to do. Because in the workforce you are going to have to deal with that a lot. After changing my major every time it became difficult, I’m now 28 and have 3 semesters left before I finish my Bachelors degree. Don’t take my path! You can do it! And you will be so happy you did. And if engineering isn’t for you afterwards, you will still have a degree to show for it!

Reply

Chris August 1, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Dude, life sucks. That’s all there is to it. But you can make life suck less if you just keep reaching for your dream. There will be hard times, and moments where you think that things can’t get any worse. Then they usually do… But if you keep fighting and keep trying and keep reaching for those goals, you’ll be walking on sunshine in no time. Again, life sucks, but it can be an amazing experience if you achieve all of your dreams. And you can achieve all your dreams if you keep on fighting!

Reply

AFMC November 1, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Hi!

I usually don’t have the time to comment, but this one hits pretty close to home. I am currently enrolled in a college as an Electrical Engineering major. I’ve always wanted to be an engineer, and fell in love with the elctrical engineering branch a little over a year ago when I was given the opportunity to construct a handheld game.

However, things haven’t been going as well as I would have liked. In the past, I have always been a straight-A student (and it sounds to me that you were smewhat of an A or A and B student as well, to be able to get the scholarships you got). Also like you, I have been awarded many scholarships (although not full tuition, free ride scholarships – I’m working on that), many of which require amazing grades to keep. Yet, my classes are hard and, for the first time in my life, I actually have a grade lower than a A- in 2 of my classes (okay, I’ll admit it, I’m hovering around a B right now). But I’m not the only one. I consider a B low for myself (although I’m warming up to the idea that it’s not really that bad, especially in relation to the grades other people in the classes are getting), but many of my friends have grades that are much worse (let’s just say your “C’s” would look very good to them). Despite the love for engineering that we all share, we’re all struggling with the material, although it’s not all strictly electrical engineering related. We are also required to take programming classes and calculus classes, and these have also been the cause of much distress.

Now here’s the sad part that I want to save you from: In order to keep their scholarships and/or avoid the possibility of totally failing, many of my friends have decided to drop the electrical engineering major in favor of (I’m cringing here) art. Seriously. One of my friends was a mechanic who had always wanted to be an electrical engineer. When I first met him, he was one of the most dedicated people I knew. Sadly, he was having difficulties in programming and calculus and, rather than let me try to help him (while I didn’t understand everything, I understood a lot more than him and I would have been more than willing to help and to figure out what we both didn’t know together) or get a tutor or ask for any other type of help, he dropped his electrical engineering major in favor of studio art. He showed me a drawing he had done before he officially dropped, and he somewhat sadly told me that he was pretty good at art and was going to try to design advertisements for companies instead and would thus be majoring in studio art (sound kind of like your economics theory? Rather than waste the years he had spent in college with the possibility of failing he was going to switchi into something he already knew he was good at). I saw him about a week ago, and he started to ask what type of projects and designs I was working on. I told him and his eyes lit up as he passionately told me exactly how I would need to design the necessary circuits, what shrotcuts I could take, what random tricks ould help me, and such). After about 30 minutes, I couldn’t help but interrupt him and practically scream, “This is why I can’t see you in art!”. He then looked sadly away and was quiet for a moment before muttering something about how he would graduate in 3 years. I suggested that he at least look into minoring in electrical engineering because there was a chance that it wouldn’t involve the programming or calculus courses, and his eyes lit up once more as he became extremely excited and scheduled out loud a good time for him to talk to his advisor.

Well, I saw him ysterday, and he very sadly told me that he wasn’t going to minor in electrical engineering because it does require both programming and calculus and he doesn’t feel he can pass those courses. Thus, someone who had introduced himself and in the first few sentences he had spoken to me told me of his life-long dream to become an electrical engineer has abandoned this dream and is studying studio art. It makes me sad, because I know he won’t be happy. Every time I talk to him, he talks about cars, circuits, components, circuit design, shortcuts, … not art. And he goes on for at least 15 minutes staright every time (more often 30 or 45 minutes if we have the time). If he does go through with his studio art major, I know he’s not going to be happy, but I can’t convince him to take the chance and seek help. He’s made up his mind that he just can’t do it.

He;s not the only one. Another one of my friends is having a hard time designing circuits and getting them to work (so am I, so is most of the class. The only difference is that he absolutely believes he cannot do it while the rest of us view it more as a very annoying problem that we can eventually solve). He’s also mentioned once or twice that he should have majored in art instead, and he is so convinced that he can’t figure it out and that the rest of us magically know something he doesn’t that it’s reallly nly a matter of time before he changes his major, if he hasn’t done so already (I don’t think he’d tell me). His best friend, who also has the same problem, told me yesterday that he is now majoring in Russian. His excuse? Well, he’s joining the air force and, when he told me of his decision, he looked sadly away and said (yes, I can quote this. He said it in such a way that I’ll never forget it, much like my other friend who switched to studio art), “Well… the military will like that…”. So now he’s giving up a career in a subject he had chosen for himself and wanted to pursue under the excuse that the military will be pleased? Need I go on?

Darius, you chose mechanical engineering not by throwing a dart on a piece of paper, but rather because you loved it, because you were passionate about it, because you were willing to spend the rest of your life working with it everyday (well, maybe except weekends). Yes, classes are hard. Yes, you’re not getting the grades you want. Yes, you could potentially lose your scholarships and/or accumulate a lot of debt. But do yourself a favor: don’t change majors into something you’re good at merely as a temporary fix. You won’t be happy, and you’ll spend the rest of your life wondering what would have happened or, worse, wishing you had stuck with your engineering major. I have developed a motto recently, after getting a 53 on an exam worht 15% of my grade and other awful marks besides: Will this make any difference in your life in 20 or 30 years? I know in 20/30 years, I won’t even care about the grades I got on any particular exam. But I will care about whether I am in electrical engineering or some other profession. Will you care if you got C’s in a few classes? Will you care if you accumulated some amount in loans that would probably be mostly paid by then? I think not. But will you care that instead of being a mechanical engineer, you are an economist? Definitely. Will you still be thinking about that decision you made 20-30 years ago? You bet. Would that decision have affected your entire life? Hell yes!

Stick with engineering. Seek help, watch youtube videos, take out library books… do whatever it takes to get you that degree. When you do get that degree (note I said “when” – put your heart into it and convince yourself that you CAN do it, and you’ll find everything will be much easier. Start with someting small as a confidence builder, and work your way up. Don’t tackle the biggest thing first!), then you will be proud of yourself and will know that you put your all into it and were successful. If, on the off chance, you don’t make it, then at least you’ll know you tried your absolute hardest and, 20 or 30 years down the line, will have no regrets and nothing to look back at and say “What if…”. If you find you really do love economics, then minor in it. Or come back and pick it up as a side thing during graduate school. Just don’t dump engineering in favor of an “easier solution” which, right now, is what that seems to be.

Despite the difficulties in my own major and the number of people jumping ship and running off to some other field, I’m going to give it my all and stick it out to the absolute end, regardless of the outcome. Won’t you come with me and do the same?

Reply

Faithful November 21, 2011 at 9:29 pm

I would say this article was for me. I was on the verge of quitting my journalism major because I wasn’t doing so well. I transferred from a community college with a 4.0 GPA and received a full tuition ride with room/board and books included, to be used anywhere in the nation. I transferred to a four year institution, but the journalism classes are kicking my butt. I used to freak out whenever I thought I’ll get a B, now I’m just trying to pull a D to a C. The bad side of it is that I have a tuition waiver that requires me to have at least a 3.0 GPA. Well, that won’t be easy with a C. So now, I am trying to do my best to get higher grades in my other classes. I was on the verge of changing my journalism major to a history major, which I love. But the skills I’ll learn in this journalism major including magazine/newspaper design, video editing, magazine/newspaper reporting, interviewing skills, web design and so much more is what keeps me hear. It will be worth it in the long run.

So keep moving, Darius. I know it’s already a year since you made this post, but just a reminder: keep pushing. It will really be worth it in the long run.

Reply

Leave a Comment

WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing

Previous post:

Next post: