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Hating my first year at Uni and already failing... Watch

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    Hi this is going to be a long post but any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    So basically I am a Mechanical Engineering student in my first year at University and I hate it. I find the course extremely boring and can't motivate myself to study at all. I started about a month ago. Earlier today I had an assessment which counts towards my final grade for a module. The assessment was on using computer design software. I have only had 2 labs previously where I used the software and they both went well as we were given step by step instructions on how to build basic parts and I completed all the work given but today in the first assessment we were simply given a picture of a part and told to make it and were not allowed any help. I did terrible. I sat there for an hour twiddling my thumbs I just had a complete brain freeze and ended up leaving an hour early having drawn nothing but a box. Literally just a box.

    The thing is, before starting the degree I wasn't sure if I even wanted to study engineering. My brother, sister and dad are all engineers. My brother graduated a few months ago in the summer and he hated engineering but got through it and he tried to tell me not to study engineering because it's hard and boring. I didn't listen because at school I enjoyed Maths and Physics so thought engineering would be a good degree for me. However, I hate it. I hate the lectures, workshops, content, all of it and I am now seriously considering quitting. I was thinking of leaving and taking a gap year to maybe try and get some work experience in different industries to see what I like but I don't have the courage to tell my parents I want to drop out. The money isn't an issue as my fees are paid for me since I'm Scottish. To be honest I don't really want to go to University at all it just isn't for me but I feel like I would be wasting a brilliant opportunity by not going or dropping out. I'm studying engineering at a world renowned university that is top 1% in the world and I'm getting to go for free to study a very competitive course so I feel like I would be wasting the opportunity especially since there are people who pay thousands to be on the same course as me. My head is telling me to stay but my heart is telling me to leave as I'm not happy and am not enjoying the course or experience. I feel so lost and hopeless right now I hate failing anything let alone my first bloody year of University.

    Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated. Has anyone been or is in a similar position?
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    See it out first semester or year then decide
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    It may well not be you. I once avoided my tutorial and most of Monday 3 weeks running (because my tutor ran one of the sessions) as a result of feeling like Id flunked a mid term multiple choice maths assessment and thought at 40% Id embarrassed myself and would be 'told off.' Guess what - the year average was 12% for it! In other words, sometimes lecturers set tasks that are too hard and most of the year 'fail' - they then adjust boundaries accordingly.

    I would speak to a faculty counselor about the incident, they are there to help, thats what I did.

    Don't give in yet, you will succeed!
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    Step 1. Go speak to your uni/advisor and just get a bearing on the situation.
    Step 2. Consider Suspending studies for a year. If you go now, you can reflect and recollect yourself, pursue other interests and see where that takes you. Like you said, it's not just the course, but you're not sure f uni is for you. Take some time off and come back. Remember, you've been studying all your life, you won't know what else is out there till you go and explore.
    Step 3. Look up other options - research and read about ALL avenues in life - not just the ones that go through university. Air Traffic controllers make six figures and you don't need a degree. If stability and money is what you're look for ATC is great. But if it's passion then you need to find what you're passionate about. But if you just want to do a job, look up any job that interests you and watch youtube videos of people working in that field. If you're still interest - figure out a way to get in that job - if it's swapping degrees so be it - if you don't even need a degree - even better.
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    (Original post by Wimbs)
    It may well not be you. I once avoided my tutorial and most of Monday 3 weeks running (because my tutor ran one of the sessions) as a result of feeling like Id flunked a mid term multiple choice maths assessment and thought at 40% Id embarrassed myself and would be 'told off.' Guess what - the year average was 12% for it! In other words, sometimes lecturers set tasks that are too hard and most of the year 'fail' - they then adjust boundaries accordingly.

    I would speak to a faculty counselor about the incident, they are there to help, thats what I did.

    Don't give in yet, you will succeed!
    I was looking around and everyone else seemed to be doing ok they at least had something that LOOKED like the picture we were given I just effed up so much and couldn't even remember how to do really simple commands. I'm not exaggerating when I say I think I got 0 the most I can get is 1 or 2 out of 22. It's not just this assessment though I'm finding the degree really boring and haven't revised at all in the month I've had here because I find it so dull. I'm also hesitant about spending £100 on books because I'm not even sure if I'm going to be staying or not!

    I will look into speaking to a counselor though thanks for the advice.
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    (Original post by Readytostudy1232)
    Step 1. Go speak to your uni/advisor and just get a bearing on the situation.
    Step 2. Consider Suspending studies for a year. If you go now, you can reflect and recollect yourself, pursue other interests and see where that takes you. Like you said, it's not just the course, but you're not sure f uni is for you. Take some time off and come back. Remember, you've been studying all your life, you won't know what else is out there till you go and explore.
    Step 3. Look up other options - research and read about ALL avenues in life - not just the ones that go through university. Air Traffic controllers make six figures and you don't need a degree. If stability and money is what you're look for ATC is great. But if it's passion then you need to find what you're passionate about. But if you just want to do a job, look up any job that interests you and watch youtube videos of people working in that field. If you're still interest - figure out a way to get in that job - if it's swapping degrees so be it - if you don't even need a degree - even better.
    I have looked at lots of different options recently. There were actually a couple of courses that appealed to me related to physics. I am interested in pure physics like theories you know relativity, quantum mechanics, things like that. I hate electronics and stuff that is more engineering related but the problem is there are hardly any jobs in a field like that. Pharmacology also sounded decent to me but again no jobs! I know a girl who got a first class in pharmacology but couldn't get a job so is now back at Uni studying Pharmacy.

    I also looked at apprenticeships but I feel like apprentices are at a disadvantage in most fields as employers will favour people with degrees and there is only so far an apprentice can go before they can't get the top jobs. I found out it's possible to become a chartered accountant without a degree as lots of accountancy firms offer the chance to work full time after leaving school and study part time towards becoming chartered and this usually takes about 5 years. This sounds good because people who study accountancy at uni spend 4 years getting a degree and then another 2-3 getting their chartered qualifications so an apprentice could actually become chartered quicker and have more experience. But I studied accounting at school and did really well I got an A in it at Higher level (which is like AS Level in England) but it was quite repetitive and sometimes very boring and I would have to be absolutely sure what I wanted to be before becoming an apprentice.

    I think you are right I need to find my passion and financial stability is definitely what I want but I think I need to have at least some interest in what I'm learning. I will carry on searching hopefully I find something I like.
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    (Original post by Unknown-99)
    I have looked at lots of different options recently. There were actually a couple of courses that appealed to me related to physics. I am interested in pure physics like theories you know relativity, quantum mechanics, things like that. I hate electronics and stuff that is more engineering related but the problem is there are hardly any jobs in a field like that. Pharmacology also sounded decent to me but again no jobs! I know a girl who got a first class in pharmacology but couldn't get a job so is now back at Uni studying Pharmacy.

    I also looked at apprenticeships but I feel like apprentices are at a disadvantage in most fields as employers will favour people with degrees and there is only so far an apprentice can go before they can't get the top jobs. I found out it's possible to become a chartered accountant without a degree as lots of accountancy firms offer the chance to work full time after leaving school and study part time towards becoming chartered and this usually takes about 5 years. This sounds good because people who study accountancy at uni spend 4 years getting a degree and then another 2-3 getting their chartered qualifications so an apprentice could actually become chartered quicker and have more experience. But I studied accounting at school and did really well I got an A in it at Higher level (which is like AS Level in England) but it was quite repetitive and sometimes very boring and I would have to be absolutely sure what I wanted to be before becoming an apprentice.

    I think you are right I need to find my passion and financial stability is definitely what I want but I think I need to have at least some interest in what I'm learning. I will carry on searching hopefully I find something I like.

    First thing first - the degree you get is not really going to dictate the job you'll do. The pharmacy girl that mentioned - to be honest - pharmacy opens so many doors - you can be a clinical pharmacist (that's in the hospital) or local pharmacist on the high street etc etc etc. But plenty of people with pharmacy degrees end up going into pharmaceuticals and working for some big firm like GSK.

    As for physics, that will open doors for further study and work in academics. Not to mention research and then theres all the space work taking off now. Look at all the research positions opening up just with NASA and ESA - not to mention all the positions with local bodies such as universities.

    And then of course theres finance - a lot of people who study science end up in finance and make bank. Science = being able to read and assess data. Finance = being able to read and assess data. It's just the data that's different.

    I hope you get the point I'm trying to make, what you study and what job you get are separate.

    My best advice would be to stop comparing jobs to the subjects you've learned so far. Study does not equal work. Things you sucked at in school you might be great at as a job and vice versa.

    Above all, choose your passion first - then figure out the jobs that you can get from that passion.

    If you like physics - go for it. Of course, google all your options though!
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    (Original post by Unknown-99)
    I have looked at lots of different options recently. There were actually a couple of courses that appealed to me related to physics. I am interested in pure physics like theories you know relativity, quantum mechanics, things like that. I hate electronics and stuff that is more engineering related but the problem is there are hardly any jobs in a field like that. Pharmacology also sounded decent to me but again no jobs! I know a girl who got a first class in pharmacology but couldn't get a job so is now back at Uni studying Pharmacy.

    I also looked at apprenticeships but I feel like apprentices are at a disadvantage in most fields as employers will favour people with degrees and there is only so far an apprentice can go before they can't get the top jobs. I found out it's possible to become a chartered accountant without a degree as lots of accountancy firms offer the chance to work full time after leaving school and study part time towards becoming chartered and this usually takes about 5 years. This sounds good because people who study accountancy at uni spend 4 years getting a degree and then another 2-3 getting their chartered qualifications so an apprentice could actually become chartered quicker and have more experience. But I studied accounting at school and did really well I got an A in it at Higher level (which is like AS Level in England) but it was quite repetitive and sometimes very boring and I would have to be absolutely sure what I wanted to be before becoming an apprentice.

    I think you are right I need to find my passion and financial stability is definitely what I want but I think I need to have at least some interest in what I'm learning. I will carry on searching hopefully I find something I like.
    Hey, if you want to study physics, go for it! but understand that it unlikely that you'll be working in physics after your degree, most physics grads go into things like finance (including accounting), teaching, software development etc. It is a degree that doesnt lead to a particular job but you can apply to any career wanting any degree (or numerate degrees)

    I'm in my final year of a physics degree so feel free to drop me a message if you have any questions about it. Though if you don't, a word of advice about a physics degree is, is EVERYONE is interested in GR, QM, QFT etc before doing it at uni but there is a huge difference between reading about it and studying it.
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    (Original post by Readytostudy1232)
    First thing first - the degree you get is not really going to dictate the job you'll do. The pharmacy girl that mentioned - to be honest - pharmacy opens so many doors - you can be a clinical pharmacist (that's in the hospital) or local pharmacist on the high street etc etc etc. But plenty of people with pharmacy degrees end up going into pharmaceuticals and working for some big firm like GSK.

    As for physics, that will open doors for further study and work in academics. Not to mention research and then theres all the space work taking off now. Look at all the research positions opening up just with NASA and ESA - not to mention all the positions with local bodies such as universities.

    And then of course theres finance - a lot of people who study science end up in finance and make bank. Science = being able to read and assess data. Finance = being able to read and assess data. It's just the data that's different.

    I hope you get the point I'm trying to make, what you study and what job you get are separate.

    My best advice would be to stop comparing jobs to the subjects you've learned so far. Study does not equal work. Things you sucked at in school you might be great at as a job and vice versa.

    Above all, choose your passion first - then figure out the jobs that you can get from that passion.

    If you like physics - go for it. Of course, google all your options though!
    I agree with most of you said but the bit in bold is misleading imo, being able to make a full time career (and also secure a permanent, open ended position) in research is INSANELY difficult.

    Even getting post docs etc is very difficult + and they have little job security (which the op seems to want)
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    (Original post by madmadmax321)
    I agree with most of you said but the bit in bold is misleading imo, being able to make a full time career (and also secure a permanent, open ended position) in research is INSANELY difficult.

    Even getting post docs etc is very difficult + and they have little job security (which the op seems to want)
    http://www.jobs.ac.uk/categories/physics

    https://nasajobs.nasa.gov/jobs/researchjobs.htm

    https://career2.successfactors.eu/ca...WTdqym300LE%3d

    I could go on - there are always research positions available. Of the top of my head, I can count 8 friends in physics. It's not about finding jobs in research or job security that's hard - its location.

    Your job might mean having to relocate to very far places. I have many more friends who opted to get finance jobs for a couple years to earn some numbers before heading back into research just because they couldn't earn as much as they wanted.

    Specifically, from a quick chat with friends, companies are pouring money into quantum computing at the moment, especially Japan and US. Physics majors are heavily recruited in such fields. And I'm talking about more theory than engineering.

    To make a living in research is perfectly do able.You just have to be in top form - remember pretty much everyone in research is planning to get a phd or already has one so thats the level you'll have to operate but if you're passionate about the science more study is a pleasure not curse.

    Edit: Also to add, about having a permanent position in research - you're right there, most jobs are not permanent but what job is? What field offers the equivalent of tenure? Most careers don't have permanent job positions. Theres usually the idea of move up or move out.
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    (Original post by Readytostudy1232)
    http://www.jobs.ac.uk/categories/physics

    https://nasajobs.nasa.gov/jobs/researchjobs.htm

    https://career2.successfactors.eu/ca...WTdqym300LE%3d

    I could go on - there are always research positions available. Of the top of my head, I can count 8 friends in physics. It's not about finding jobs in research or job security that's hard - its location.

    Your job might mean having to relocate to very far places. I have many more friends who opted to get finance jobs for a couple years to earn some numbers before heading back into research just because they couldn't earn as much as they wanted.

    Specifically, from a quick chat with friends, companies are pouring money into quantum computing at the moment, especially Japan and US. Physics majors are heavily recruited in such fields. And I'm talking about more theory than engineering.

    To make a living in research is perfectly do able.You just have to be in top form - remember pretty much everyone in research is planning to get a phd or already has one so thats the level you'll have to operate but if you're passionate about the science more study is a pleasure not curse.

    Edit: Also to add, about having a permanent position in research - you're right there, most jobs are not permanent but what job is? What field offers the equivalent of tenure? Most careers don't have permanent job positions. Theres usually the idea of move up or move out.
    1. I will talk about the first link mainly (as it has a massive amount of job postings)
    - the majority of those are phd adverts (and thats not really the start of a career, which the op wants, its more like a apprenticeship for research)
    - there may be many post doc positions in that link but they are all across completely different areas of physics/other subjects, you may only find a 1-2 that are relevant to a specific research area that you are interested in/actually do research in

    2. there may always be research positions available, but not many within the area of expertise that a researcher specialises in. There are loads of different research positions because there are lots and lots of different areas of research within a subject and people dont tend to work in more than 1-2 of them

    3. Yes the location is also another issue, most people dont want to uproot their lives every few years

    4. yes there is lots of money in quantum computing but that creates loads of people competing for those jobs, as there are always many many more phd studentships than any other research position in the particular fields = lots of people competing for those jobs

    5. Most jobs are permanent? there is a MASSIVE difference between choosing to move to a different job/getting promoted and being forced to move to a different job every few years because your job is a fixed contract.

    My point was that that most careers that graduates go into dont only have fixed time contracts with few permanent positions available. If say you take an example of an accountant, you know that your contract is open ended (bar getting made redundant but this is also a possibility in tenure) so if you dont move up/choose leave, in 5 years you will still have that job but with fixed term research positions you know that your contract is ending in say 2 years and you will need to find another job.


    6. Another issue some people dont think about, if you are on a fixed term contract (like you said, most positions are) you cant get things like a mortgage either, which a lot of people want.

    what do you define as being 'in physics'
    Also I am referring to research positions that require a phd, as they are what I would define as academic positions/research positions where you are doing the research yourself.


    Note - the researchers, lecturers etc that are present at the physicsforum have discussed the competitiveness of physics research many times if you want more info

    Anyway I probably wont reply again as its not be going to help the op in anyway
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    I know that the degree I have doesn't necessarily dictate what job I will have but to get the degree in the first place I need to have some sort of interest in it or I'll just fail like I am now. My brother in law has a degree in engineering and is now working in finance at a really low wage abroad but I think his degree is a 2:2 which made it near impossible for him to get another job in engineering after he was made redundant in his first one especially giving the state of oil and gas industry right now. To be completely honest I'm just confused and have no idea what I want to do. Sometimes I get really inspired and tell myself that I'm going to take a gap year and use it to set up my own business but of course it's all just a fantasy really and it's just me being desperate. It makes me even more depressed when I see my siblings and cousins who are all happily married with children and are all engineers, doctors, dentists etc and I just feel like an idiot who has no idea what he's doing. I just want to be financially stable and happy so that I can enjoy life. I know that it takes time and hard work to reach that point but right now I just can't see how I ever will. I don't feel like I can open up to my family about this either as they're not really good at discussing feelings (they're asian). When I have tried to bring it up subtly they along with my aunts have told me that getting a degree is just something I have to do and that "every job is boring after a while" and I "just need to do something that will financially support me in life." All of which is probably true but it isn't exactly helpful is it?
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    (Original post by madmadmax321)
    1. I will talk about the first link mainly (as it has a massive amount of job postings)
    - the majority of those are phd adverts (and thats not really the start of a career, which the op wants, its more like a apprenticeship for research)
    - there may be many post doc positions in that link but they are all across completely different areas of physics/other subjects, you may only find a 1-2 that are relevant to a specific research area that you are interested in/actually do research in

    2. there may always be research positions available, but not many within the area of expertise that a researcher specialises in. There are loads of different research positions because there are lots and lots of different areas of research within a subject and people dont tend to work in more than 1-2 of them

    3. Yes the location is also another issue, most people dont want to uproot their lives every few years

    4. yes there is lots of money in quantum computing but that creates loads of people competing for those jobs, as there are always many many more phd studentships than any other research position in the particular fields = lots of people competing for those jobs

    5. Most jobs are permanent? there is a MASSIVE difference between choosing to move to a different job/getting promoted and being forced to move to a different job every few years because your job is a fixed contract.

    My point was that that most careers that graduates go into dont only have fixed time contracts with few permanent positions available. If say you take an example of an accountant, you know that your contract is open ended (bar getting made redundant but this is also a possibility in tenure) so if you dont move up/choose leave, in 5 years you will still have that job but with fixed term research positions you know that your contract is ending in say 2 years and you will need to find another job.


    6. Another issue some people dont think about, if you are on a fixed term contract (like you said, most positions are) you cant get things like a mortgage either, which a lot of people want.

    what do you define as being 'in physics'
    Also I am referring to research positions that require a phd, as they are what I would define as academic positions/research positions where you are doing the research yourself.


    Note - the researchers, lecturers etc that are present at the physicsforum have discussed the competitiveness of physics research many times if you want more info

    Anyway I probably wont reply again as its not be going to help the op in anyway
    Ah, I see now what you meant by permanent job and yes you're right about everything said about fixed term contracts.

    As for what I meant by physics, that's friends who studied physics and are in research or work related to their interests. Again, you're right in that once you specialise you reduce the number of vacancies you can apply for.

    My argument is that you're going to have competitiveness in any field/career. I hear a lot of people in science speak discouragingly of entering science because they can't find a job in their respective field or one that pays as well - but there are people in those jobs. The bottom line is there are jobs in those fields, yes there is competition but that's why you have to keep on top of your CV and your networking and make sure you have a good linkedin network.

    But again, I can say the same for those in finance now and pretty much any field.

    What you said about QC is what I hear a lot amor people who struggle to find their dream job in science: - lots of funding = lots of money = lots of competition - or the reverse: no funding = not many jobs = lots of competition. Again, this is how every job works. And it's not a coincidence - if there's a good deal/job somewhere, of course more people are going to flock there.

    All I'm saying is, if you want to go into science, please do - there are jobs out there. You'll have to seek them out and might even need to search for funding yourself but to make it seem as if there isn't job security in science is misleading when there are people who are making a living securely in science and in research.
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    (Original post by Unknown-99)
    I know that the degree I have doesn't necessarily dictate what job I will have but to get the degree in the first place I need to have some sort of interest in it or I'll just fail like I am now. My brother in law has a degree in engineering and is now working in finance at a really low wage abroad but I think his degree is a 2:2 which made it near impossible for him to get another job in engineering after he was made redundant in his first one especially giving the state of oil and gas industry right now. To be completely honest I'm just confused and have no idea what I want to do. Sometimes I get really inspired and tell myself that I'm going to take a gap year and use it to set up my own business but of course it's all just a fantasy really and it's just me being desperate. It makes me even more depressed when I see my siblings and cousins who are all happily married with children and are all engineers, doctors, dentists etc and I just feel like an idiot who has no idea what he's doing. I just want to be financially stable and happy so that I can enjoy life. I know that it takes time and hard work to reach that point but right now I just can't see how I ever will. I don't feel like I can open up to my family about this either as they're not really good at discussing feelings (they're asian). When I have tried to bring it up subtly they along with my aunts have told me that getting a degree is just something I have to do and that "every job is boring after a while" and I "just need to do something that will financially support me in life." All of which is probably true but it isn't exactly helpful is it?

    I went through something similar with my family - you have to make a choice: would you be OK with doing something unsatisfying for your entire life if it provided you with financial security?

    There is no right or wrong answer but that will sort out your dilemma. I have plenty of friends who do jobs they don't care about because it pays well. They have their 6 or 7 figure bank accounts so they are OK with it.

    If you're not OK with it, then you have to choose what you want to do in life and then go from there like I mentioned in my previous response.
 
 
 
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