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I hate engineering in my current school, I'm one year in, and want to make a drastic decision.

ChikoDudeChikoDude 3 replies1 threads New Member
So I'm 18 years old currently and am in the first year for a new bachelors program for mechanical engineering. And I absolutely regret choosing to pursue this field. The biggest factor in my decision to choose mEng was from my dad, who adamantly wanted me to because he's studying to be one. I always heard about the large salary and how amazing it'd be to design something. I never really pursued any other options and believed mEng was the only path that "pays". Every other path I found in High School was definitely not for me, and engineering was the only one I didn't completely dislike (until now).

Well, I really should have done research and am paying for it now. I hate the course work (I was never the best at the analytical), I hate the people that I go to school with, and I just hate most of the everything in the program/school. I've had to face problems that come with the new program not being "entirely figured out" and also from fellow students in my program. I realized a few weeks ago that I absolutely hate engineering in general and just want to leave.

Leaving this program altogether has been a heavy decision that's been growing in the back of my mind since day one. But it's always been accompanied by the pressures of uncertainty of "where do I go after?", or "what if my backup plan leaves me broke?". I'm not too worried about people backing me on a decision to leave, as I've read and heard everywhere that it's completely normal to decide. I'm much more worried about what I'd do after.

Until my friend opened my eyes into the industry and world of animation. It was just after first semester that I began to work on drawing things and gained a whole motivation to pursue this cool hobby. I kept drawing and drawing for my winter break, and kept going sometime into second semester. Although, with the increasing workloads of mEng, I had to give up drawing for weeks on end to do course work I hated.

And now I'm stuck on what to do.

I am definitely not on the level required to do any major animation program (my friend is in the highest degree for animation) and I just started. I might just like recreational drawing, and might completely hate professional animation (if I even get there!).

But with the rising demands of my course and the constant advice from my peers (who've been in a similar situation), I've been slowly stressing over what decision to choose. They tell me that wasting time and money doing a program I'll eventually leave isn't worth it. But I really don't want to be caught realizing this "passion" is just a phase, and eventually regret leaving mEng.

I still have until the end of the semester and 4 months to decide, which I will use to see how far this "passion" goes, but I am very stuck and confused.
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Replies to: I hate engineering in my current school, I'm one year in, and want to make a drastic decision.

  • eb23282eb23282 787 replies23 threads Member
    I can't tell you what to do, or where to go next, but I can say that you should drop engineering as a major. You should not continue down a path to a career that you do not want. If it were me, I'd take a year off to try and figure things out.
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  • ChikoDudeChikoDude 3 replies1 threads New Member
    Thanks man, I've been told to just take a year off and decide on what to do, and I guess that's the best course of action right now. Uncertainty and misinformation caused me to start mEng, so I guess a year of learning what I like is the best idea. Thank you very much
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  • PublisherPublisher 11197 replies147 threads Senior Member
    edited March 14
    I have over a dozen relatives who are engineers--almost all are EE, not ME--several of whom graduated among the top 5% at a highly respected engineering school. No one made any real money in engineering--even the one who graduated #1 in his class.

    All are easily replaceable despite decades of experience.

    To make significant money, several switched to sales, diplomacy for an international organization, data analytics, and consulting. All it took for each of them to switch was earning part-time MBA degrees from very average programs while continuing to work. The diplomat earned a masters in engineering, but had foreign language fluency.

    If you despise ME get out now. Pursue business--finance & accounting--data analytics, computer science or whatever you enjoy.
    edited March 14
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  • ChikoDudeChikoDude 3 replies1 threads New Member
    I completely agree with the massive amounts of opportunities that earn similar or higher amounts of money than engineering. I knew I should have looked into fluency in different languages as well, or with other average programs. I'll always be thankful there are amazing people like you who suggest these options. I never know enough about alternatives because of my parents, so thank you very much :)
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  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer 1219 replies3 threads Senior Member
    In defense of engineering., graduates of ABET accredited programs do average very good starting salaries, BUT this does not mean that it is a good fit for you. Business may or may not be a fit.

    Look into animation/drawing/architectural options.
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  • bloomfield88bloomfield88 346 replies0 threads Member
    edited March 15
    Don't be me.

    Many, many years ago, in a far, far away land (actually USA)........as a high schooler, I wanted to work on 'Wall Street'. I told my father I would major in Finance or Accounting. He is a CPA. My Dad said, "No, no, we accountants are a dime a dozen. Be an engineer. That's where the money is and that's the future." I dutifully acted upon his fatherly advice.

    Well, I found out electrical engineering was the hardest (at the time), so I chose EE and did fine, but no joy. I regretted it immediately, but didn't want to be a quitter. For 3 full years (yes end of junior year) I questioned why I was in a major I hated.

    Ok, but at least there would be some consolation in being paid well as an EE, right? Well, no. I also learned the 'money' in engineering at the time was just in the high starting salary. In fairly short order pay plateaued to a relatively low glass ceiling salary and small bonuses, which would then be surpassed by most doctors, attorneys, Wall Streeters, etc.... The combination of these two factors (hate with no offsetting pay) convinced me, to finally switch to Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, because it was the closest engineering major to business. I ended up with a lot of useless EE electives upon graduation. Who does that?!

    The switch to IE&OR was wise, but still did not even come close to reversing my stupid decision to listen to my Dad 3 years earlier. Nobody in finance wanted to hire a recent engineering grad at the time, so yeah, I started as about the highest paid person in my graduating class at a big public company related to my EE background and quickly realized my engineering job would be a) boring and b) I had to wait for my boss to retire, die or join a competitor (never) to be promoted.

    I thought, 'technical/engineering sales' might at least get me off this sad, hamster wheel and perhaps, I dreamed, I could persuade an employer in the distant future that technical sales could translate to a stockbroking or bond sales job.

    So, within 9 months of my start date and after mailing resumes and smiling & dialing any corporate remotely close to technical sales in the Yellow Pages, I secured a traveling technical sales job making 33% LESS than my starting salary as an engineer. Gulp! Fortunately, within no time I was making 2x my engineering salary and in a more fulfilling career.

    However, Wall Street beckoned, so when I worked long enough for the M7 MBA admissions staffs, I applied and was accepted to the #1 MBA program at the time. I sold my house, car and went $72,000 in debt (a ton of dosh at the time) to earn my MBA. However, that MBA degree allowed me to pivot into Wall Street upon graduation, albeit again earning 33% LESS than my pre-MBA pay and with all the new debt and nothing but my brain and a resume as equity.

    Finally, through a circuitous route, my Wall Street dream commenced when I was 29 years old! It was a fantastic career. I lived in several cool countries and have friends all over the world. I loved my different jobs within Wall Street. It was so intellectually stimulating. I also retired within 15 years at the age of 44.

    All good, and I made it good. However, I never believe in 'no regrets', and still look back in regret as to what might have been if I majored in Finance or Accounting and started on Wall Street at 22 instead of 29.

    Don't do what I did. If engineering isn't your cup of tea, Pull the engineering ripcord now!
    Cut your losses quick, and let your winners run!
    edited March 15
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  • oldlawoldlaw 324 replies14 threads Member
    edited March 15
    Do not stay in an area you "hate". That will not go well for you. Life is too short to be miserable; instead find something you enjoy and cas doing for years.
    And you mention language fluency. What's that about?
    edited March 15
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 9837 replies110 threads Senior Member
    If you already don't like your courses, they will just get more difficult and intense as you move through your engineering curriculum. I agree with the others that it is time to make a shift to a major you can enjoy.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11197 replies147 threads Senior Member
    With respect to foreign language proficiency or fluency and careers, it can make an enormous difference in one's life.
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  • GreymeerGreymeer 917 replies16 threads Member
    If you want to make big money, you need to get closest to the flow of money.
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  • ChikoDudeChikoDude 3 replies1 threads New Member
    It seems on many jobs on job sites there's a need for language proficiency. But being fluent in a language would just be a viable skill to use, but not an actual major I'd pursue. I'm still trying to find that passionate thing I'm into, so this advice is quite helpful, thank you!
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6419 replies1 threads Senior Member
    I agree with others that you should not stick to a field that you hate, particularly at age 18. You are young and have a lot of time to figure this out.

    I was also confused when I was young regarding what I wanted to do. After taking some courses in mechanical engineering and some courses in physics I ended up being a math major with an unofficial minor but a lot of courses and some work experience in computer science. When I graduated with a bachelor's degree I had no idea what I wanted to do for a living. I ended up doing what a lot of people do -- I figured it out over time. Having a degree in math and some experience in software engineering allowed me to bounce from job to job until I found the one that fit me best. I was 28 (and 8 years after getting my bachelor's degree) when I stumbled into the right field and probably into my mid 30's by the time I was confident that it was the right field.

    There are some degrees (mechanical engineering, computer science, nursing, ...) that push you clearly to a particular career. However, there are many degrees (math is one example, there are lots of others) where you graduate with useful background that can be applied in lots of areas.

    Certainly animation, computer science, mathematics, operations research, finance and business, artificial intelligence, are all areas that are worth thinking about, at least for some smart kids who have aptitude in an area resembling engineering. There are others.

    One plus of starting out in engineering is that you probably have also gotten a good start in math, which is useful in many areas.

    One thing to think about is your budget for university. If you could afford 5 years without any significant problems, then you have more time where it would be okay to change your major. If you sharply run out of money after 4 years, then you probably need to be pretty sure what your major is by the time you start your sophomore year. A lot of students take more than 4 years to graduate and a late change in major is one big reason for this.

    There is nothing wrong with taking a year off and working. Life is not a race and at the risk of repeating the obvious none of us are rushing to get to the end of it.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11197 replies147 threads Senior Member
    If you like drawing & animation, consider becoming an architect. Look into CAD (computer assisted drawing).

    Other majors for one with a high intellect might be economics or finance. Applied finance or applied math might also be of interest to you.
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