Do you want to successfully complete your classes?
Check out all of the tips that the Academic Success Center has that can also help make your academic experience at Texas A&M University great!
The College of Engineering at Texas A&M University is not a walk in the park; let’s not sugar coat it. The reality is that the classes are tough, and they require more time and attention than the average degree. BUT, being an engineer is not an easy title to hold, and finishing the program is impressive because of the difficult classes and hours of studying that back the degree.
When deciding on what “I wanted to be when I grew up,” all I knew was that I liked math and I liked challenges. I decided to pursue biomedical engineering because I also had a passion for people and innovation. I remember struggling in my first coding class, ENGR 102, and wondering if I had chosen the right path. I stuck it out and it turned out fine. That is not the only class I have struggled in over the past three and a half years either. I have two semesters left; I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and how far I have already gone. When my classes get difficult and I start to reconsider why I chose such difficult coursework, I revert back to why I chose to be an engineer in the first place. I like math, I like to solve problems and I really like a challenge. Our majors are difficult, but the challenge honestly keeps it interesting.
Here is an extra time commitment with our majors. Truly the best way to manage your time varies by person. Some people study best in the morning. Some people choose to study between classes. Some choose only to study at home. Time management is a crucial aspect of staying on top of all assignments and tests. I am a firm believer in planning, andI typically plan my full day out in writing because that helps me check things off my to-do list. My advice is to utilize any bits of time during your day and have a plan laid out.
How to handle struggling and feeling like a failure:
There will likely come a time when you take a hard exam and don’t feel good about it, or when you get your grade back and realize your friend did a lot better than you. First things first, this is college now. We are not fighting to give the speech at graduation, so it’s okay for someone to perform better on a test than you. It should give you motivation to do better but not set sights in a competitive manner. It’s almost impossible to be a master of every class you take, so give yourself a break.
If you are seriously struggling in the class and feel defeated, try to stay calm and look at the big picture. Is there something you could do better on your own? Or is the content really giving you a tough time? Whether you need outside tutoring, someone to talk to about the struggle or academic advice – there are many options. TA’s are very helpful because they have taken the class before and can usually give you good insight. I also recommend reaching out to the professor and getting their input.
Overall, it is not unusual to struggle in college. The struggles are different than the ones you had in high school, but don’t beat yourself up over it. You will get through the class or take it again. You are smarter than you think and it’s important to always keep that in mind.
Dropping a class:
Dropping a class is obviously not ideal, but sometimes it just comes to that. Back in fall 2020, I didn’t want to accept defeat or take responsibility for not performing well on my exam and overall lacking in a class. I had to take a step back, make the phone call to my parents and admit where I fell short. Dropping that one class has forced me to graduate late, but I ultimately know it was the best decision for myself and for the classes to follow. I was disappointed in myself, but came to realize there was a lot of time left in my academic career to make up for this one mistake. Dropping a class does not make you a bad student and shouldn’t make you feel down about yourself. While I don’t recommend doing it every semester, it’s okay to make a mistake.
I’ll end by saying this: getting an engineering degree is hard but not impossible, and it’s going to be worth it.