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Hate Labs - What to do?

NerdsmasherNerdsmasher Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
edited September 2010 in Engineering Majors
Good afternoon all! I am having somewhat of a dilemma in my Electrical Engineering curriculum, and would like some amount of advice on the matter.

Right now I am in Circuits I and Physics II, both of which require labs. The Circuits lab is 3 hours, and the Physics lab is 2 hours, but in my case they are back to back - so I have 5 straight hours of labs, and I absolutely abhor it. It is only once a week, but the lab reports and dealing with it are crushing me.

Now, the difficultly I have with this is that I absolutely love the theoretical aspects of these sciences, I could sit around deriving equations all day; and putting numbers in after that is, of course, quite simple. But, in engineering, while I know there are jobs that are simply design and theoretically based, I don't know if I can make it through school with these damn labs! I don't know what to do about this - any advice?

My only thought is to switch to something else, but the only thing I can think of that will get rid of labs is going out of science all together. I am not too fond of this idea, but I am considering switching to something such as Actuarial Science, where I still get to use advanced math and problem solving, but avoid the lab situations.

I'm just not sure what to do because I know I have 2 or 3 years of labs left, and these are supposed to be the easier ones!

Thanks =)
Post edited by Nerdsmasher on

Replies to: Hate Labs - What to do?

  • TheDude2491TheDude2491 Registered User Posts: 239 Junior Member
    If you love the theoretical aspects, perhaps consider switching your major to Physics?

    I'm pretty sure engineering is more "lab-like" than theoretical like.
  • creepypasta13creepypasta13 Registered User Posts: 236 Junior Member
    I'm the same - I love the theory but hate the experimentation and lab work of physics/engineering classes. In undergrad physics, you have to take a few lab courses as well, so switching to that won't necessarily solve the problem. But there are some areas of EE that are very mathematical, such as signal processing, so one option would be to do your undergrad in applied math and then do grad studies in EE. Or, you just have to stick to the labs in undergrad EE or physics, and wait until grad school to avoid doing lab work
  • VanagandrVanagandr - Posts: 730 Member
    The good news is that distance programmes are shifting toward doing labs online, like ODU's EET, and SUNY-Stony Brook's BEE online programmes.

    That said, labs are not the end of the world. I consider them ancillary due to their small number of credit-hours, so if you can BS your way through with a C, the 80-20 principle may hold true ;).
  • arrdadarrdad Registered User Posts: 192 Junior Member
    Tough it out. Very few engineers like labs in college. It's just the price you have to pay.
  • BoonsboroBoonsboro Registered User Posts: 63 Junior Member
    Industrial Engineering is an option. My "labs" were all computer work.
  • Xinio654Xinio654 Registered User Posts: 125 Junior Member
    I despise labs with a passion. Having to get up, move things, using your hands a lot. It's horrible. When I was an EE major, I wanted to die because i had a 3 hour circuits lab and a 3 hour physics lab in one semester. I switched my major to civil where i only had to do one 2 hour lab and got that over with.

    If I were you, i would switch to computer science. It has a lot of theory and math but no labs. All you have to do is type on a keyboard.
  • cosmicfishcosmicfish Registered User Posts: 4,132 Senior Member
    Physics has almost as much hand-on work as engineering, just with a different focus. I would consider one of two real options:

    Switch to Computer Science or Mathematics - both fields skip labs but still wok in technical areas. In both cases you could easily work in the engineering field, but in specific non-lab roles. As an electrical engineer, I work with people in both fields on a regular basis.

    Stay in EE, power through, and then aim for a specialty that involves little lab time. Remember that working in a lab is different than taking a lab course, and you may find the former more enjoyable than the latter. And if you don't, there are plenty of EE's who barely ever enter a lab professionally. I have four years in the field, and barely spend any time in the lab.

    Good luck!
  • MagnetoMagneto Registered User Posts: 601 Member
    I actually like labs so much more than the actual class. I HATE just having to sit and trying to learn theory that I wont understand and crunch numbers until I actually see what its used for (maybe thats why my grades in engineering arent the best).

    I think everyone has a specific part of engineering that they either love or hate, but as long as you get through it, it shouldnt be a big problem
  • RacinReaverRacinReaver Registered User Posts: 6,608 Senior Member
    Agree with you there Magneto. My biggest complaint about undergrad was that we didn't have enough labs (most of my friends vehemently disagreed, though).
  • navyasw02navyasw02 Registered User Posts: 248 Junior Member
    It sounds like you're probably doing the early into your major fundamental labs right? Those all suck, no matter what major you're in. Talk to the people who are ahead of you and see how the labs get in the future. Just because you dont like these current labs doesnt mean the labs that you have in your advanced courses will suck. In fact, they could be mind blowingly awesome and you wouldve missed it by switching.
  • hadsedhadsed Registered User Posts: 738 Member
    Computer Science or just pure Mathematics could solve your problems. If you switch to physics, you only most likely will have to take three lab courses: mechanics lab, e&m lab, and some techniques of experiment sort of class which will probably be a lab. Depending on what electives you choose you might do more labs.. but you can get out of those easier. Check schedules at your school for physics majors.

    If you like math.. why don't you just major in math? It's a perfectly good option for undergrad if you're somewhat interested in getting a job in finance or simulational/computational fields or graduate school in physics, engineering, or math.

    I wouldn't switch to math though until you've taken say.. discrete math, or whatever the first proof-based math course for your school is. Then you'll get a taste of what you'll be doing as a math major.
  • NerdsmasherNerdsmasher Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    As far as switching to physics goes, I've considered that, but it has a lab associated with every class - at least at my school, so that wouldn't really solve the problem for me. And, I actually just compared each of the engineering disciplines, and found out that Electrical has the most labs required for graduation at my school... even above Chemical! I thought that was a bit strange.

    I think Computer Science may be the way to go for me, but the issue with that is that my school isn't the most well known or respected outside of the confines of our state; if even that. It's not that we're a bad school, just not well known.
    That said, we don't have much of a computer science program, and since our main focus is engineering, I don't know that it would be a good choice to switch to. But, there aren't any other schools in the location that are any better - mostly technical schools. I'm not sure what to do about this.

    We do have a decent MIS program, and perhaps that with a minor in Computer Science or Math would suffice? I'm uncertain about that, but it seems like a potentially worthwhile option. I'm just not sure how easy it would be to break into a decent job with a CS degree from my school - I haven't heard anything particularly good or bad about it.
  • jwxiejwxie Registered User Posts: 1,479 Senior Member
    It really depends on the school. The labs in our schools aren't fun at all. So boring....
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