Mechanical Engineering. How rigorous is it?

<p>I heard some BAD things about Engineering. Is it really an Academic Cooker?</p>

<p>I haven't studied once in high school but I managed pretty well. But I feel like I did not learn how to take proper notes. I'm afraid that I might not do well in college.</p>

<p>[] Are their classes to help me with my poor note taking skills?
[] What's the average GPA for Freshmen year?
[] Any tips for an upcoming freshmen?
[] How should I start my freshmen classes? Introductory courses?</p>

<p>I'm just overall worried that I might flunk out because I don't absorb information well enough or because I am not responsible enough to study each night.</p>

<p>I heard of people studying 8 hours a day. How the hell? I can't study for even 2 hours. I have to get used to it eventually. But what I'm worried the most is actually not understanding the stuff. Sometimes when I read, I understand at the moment I'm reading but the stuff just doesn't stick in my head. I'll have trouble remember details and stuff. I'm so worried.</p>

<p>No one studies for 8 hours a day.</p>

<p>There are no classes to help you take notes, this isn't middle school lol. Just write down what the professor says or type it. Most lectures are posted online after lectures.</p>

<p>The average GPA for freshmen is usually pretty low because about half slack off and get somewhere in the 2 range. Take advantage of this.</p>

<p>Just study a lot but make time for fun. There's no point in burning out during freshman year, it isn't even that hard of a course load lol.</p>

<p>I almost advise against taking AP credit for intro classes you'd take here except for humanities. Personally a cushion coming into college and taking a few classes you've already taken in high school is nice and a little relaxing. You're going to learn more here than you did in the high school classes so it shouldn't be too boring. Plus you will hopefully get a higher GPA than others.</p>

<p>About the details part, RPI isn't a history class. You don't need exact details and dates and remembering old names. That isn't what's important here. For MechE you'll be memorizing a lot of simple equations or just having them in your calculator and plug-n-chugging a lot. Later classes will be applying knowledge. Almost none of this has to do with remembering small details.</p>

<p>LoneWolfStorm:</p>

<p>Fall in LOVE with learning...literally. You more than likely have a strong left-brain/logical approach to your studies. Now develop the right-brain/'artistic' part...the passion for understanding the 'how, why and what if' of education.</p>

<p>I would recommend you spend a good amount of time during the summer viewing as many [TED[/url</a>] videos as possible to get you psyched-up for the 'journey' and the rest will take care of itself.</p>

<p>Also read this, [url=<a href="http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2007/marapr/features/dweck.html%5D'The"&gt;http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2007/marapr/features/dweck.html]'The&lt;/a> Effort Effect'](<a href="http://www.ted.com%5DTED%5B/url"&gt;www.ted.com), to get some insight into the psychological dynamics of learning.</p>

<p>Finally, consider the following metaphor. In your studies you're building a pyramid with the following layers (bottom to top): facts, knowledge, wisdom.</p>

<p>Above poster has absolutely no clue.</p>

<p>Don't spend one minute of your time studying in the summer. Your first two years are going to be intro classes, as long as you've taken calc and physics in high school you are fine. Don't read a book about how to put effort into your studies.</p>

<p>Try hard when you get to RPI and you'll do okay, there's no secret formula to it as the above poster seems to suggest.</p>

<p><a href="%5Burl=http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/12623944-post4.html%5D#4%5B/url%5D"&gt;quote&lt;/a> Above poster has absolutely no clue...

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<p>For anyone to assert that there's no psychological component to academically excelling suggests a fundamental flaw in an individual's logic processing. Let's detail it out so that even an engineer in training can understand it:
[ul][<em>]All mental processes occur in the organ of the brain. (There's also the concept of an embodied</a> brain, but the following holds even without this consideration).
[</em>]The mind[/url</a>] is a physical process of the brain; think of the chemical/electrical activity in the neuronal network that results in mental activity.
[<em>]Knowledge acquisition ([url=<a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/12616618-post1.html%5Dthe">http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/12616618-post1.html]the</a> orginal concern of this thread
) is one of the mind's processes.
[</em>]Psychology, the scientific study of the mind, is uncovering strategies to optimize knowledge acquisition; one of which was</a> recommended here in response to the OP's concern.
[/ul] Whatever you do, do not even suggest such a lack of understanding to your advisors/professors lest you risk a significant diminishment in their eyes as an individual with basic systems analysis skills. </p>

<p>As an ivy league-educated engineer with over 25+ years of experience/practice, I feel a kinship with young individuals taking on the training that has opened my eyes to our world. Thus the response and attempt to allay the concerns about the ** "BAD</a> things about Engineering"** which you naively deride. </p>

<p>By all means, bookmark your</a> response and come back to it in about 20 years. Your future self will hopefully reflect on it and chalk-it-up to inexperience.</p>

<p>I think JoshuaGuilt is a bit out of line about StitchInTime's suggestions. LoneWolfStorm obviously recognizes s/he has issue from high school that have to be corrected to succeed in college and in a career. Kudos for that. </p>

<p>The recommendations to watch engineering/science/technology oriented TED videos is excellent to develop intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm. When you understand the goal of an engineering education, late night problem sets don't seem so bad.</p>

<p>Understanding the learning process and motivations is also a good idea so you can kick yourself in the pants when needed. I am not familiar with that book but doubt one or two days spent reading would ruin a summer.</p>

<p>It is not a secret formula, it is recognizing you need to grow up and taking steps to do so.</p>

<p>OK I'm a mom, an engineer, and RPI parent, so my perspective is warped into that there's room for most college students to improve themselves (true for any person in general). </p>

<p>Don't take the lazy way out, life has too much to offer to be lazy.</p>

<p><a href="%5Burl=http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/12626673-post6.html%5D#6%5B/url%5D"&gt;quote&lt;/a> ...I am not familiar with that book but doubt one or two days spent reading would ruin a summer...

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<p>'The</a> Effort Effect' is a short (3000 word) article on Standford University psychologist Carol Dweck and her researched based achievement goal theory:</p>

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[quote]
...Students for whom performance is paramount want to look smart even if it means not learning a thing in the process. For them, each task is a challenge to their self-image, and each setback becomes a personal threat. So they pursue only activities at which they’re sure to shine—and avoid the sorts of experiences necessary to grow and flourish in any endeavor. Students with learning goals, on the other hand, take necessary risks and don’t worry about failure because each mistake becomes a chance to learn. Dweck’s insight launched a new field of educational psychology—achievement goal theory...</p>

<p>...Culture can play a large role in shaping our beliefs, Dweck says. A college physics teacher recently wrote to Dweck that in India, where she was educated, there was no notion that you had to be a genius or even particularly smart to learn physics. “The assumption was that everyone could do it, and, for the most part, they did.” But what if you’re raised with a fixed mind-set about physics—or foreign languages or music? Not to worry: Dweck has shown that you can change the mind-set itself.</p>

<p>The most dramatic proof comes from a recent study by Dweck and Lisa Sorich Blackwell of low-achieving seventh graders. All students participated in sessions on study skills, the brain and the like; in addition, one group attended a neutral session on memory while the other learned that intelligence, like a muscle, grows stronger through exercise. Training students to adopt a growth mind-set about intelligence had a catalytic effect on motivation and math grades; students in the control group showed no improvement despite all the other interventions. </p>

<p>“Study skills and learning skills are inert until they’re powered by an active ingredient,” Dweck explains. Students may know how to study, but won’t want to if they believe their efforts are futile. “If you target that belief, you can see more benefit than you have any reason to hope for.”...

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<p>Just like athletes can 'psych-themslelves-up' for athletic peformance, psychology is revealing that academic scholars can take advantage of similar mental processes. This is the [url=<a href="http://www.rpi.edu/dept/llc/webclass/web/project1/group4/%5Dlogos-based%5B/url"&gt;http://www.rpi.edu/dept/llc/webclass/web/project1/group4/]logos-based[/url&lt;/a&gt;] recommendation offered to LoneWolfStorm; a hopeful fellow 'athlete of the mind'. This contrasts with the [url=<a href="http://www.rpi.edu/dept/llc/webclass/web/project1/group4/%5Dethos/pathos-based%5B/url"&gt;http://www.rpi.edu/dept/llc/webclass/web/project1/group4/]ethos/pathos-based[/url&lt;/a&gt;] advice offered by JoshuaGuit.</p>

<p>Thanks Everyone.</p>

<p>SandPit. I'm agree that I can't be lazy. I'm just living up to expectations, not only to my parents but to most importantly myself. I'm not so sure if I'm capable of studying properly. I have never studied diligently for my entire education career. I feel like this change is too drastic. Thats why I want to prevent things from happening. I don't know what to expect.</p>

<p>LoneWolfStorm - they do have lots of help on campus. That's true for most colleges I believe. In the dorm, you have a Learning Assistant as well as Resident Assistant (LA vs RA). Classes have TAs, professors have office hours. One of the most important lessons is to seek out help, ask questions, and learn what is important. But each professor is different. One class you may be able to ace by studying all the old exams, others go off class notes, others are text book based. You have to adapt as you go along (true for life in general!). The main thing is to reach out for help if needed. Help is there.</p>

<p>stitchintime- the article sounds excellent. Reminds me of a TED talk this year about the Kahn Academy. Salman</a> Khan | Profile on TED.com</p>

<p>One important lesson is that the "slow" kids caught up with the "fast" kids once they over came a particular stumbling block and raced ahead. Another great thing about this approach is that there's no "holes" in education, i.e. if you got a B or C you may have a hole in comprehension. If you complete the Kahn Academy approach, you know you got it before you move on.</p>

<p>Yes, RPI has plenty of help available. There are several programs in place to reach out to students who are facing academic challenges:</p>

<p>Electronic Warning System (EWS)</p>

<p>Through its Electronic Warning System, the Advising & Learning Assistance Center receives names of students who are having difficulty in their classes during the fall and spring semesters. The students are then contacted and given suggestions for help or referrals for specific assistance.
Faculty Intervention Program (FIP)</p>

<p>This program is offered in the spring semester to first year students who experienced academic difficulty during the fall semester. Each student is provided a personal faculty mentor with whom they meet weekly. This successful program has helped students overcome problems that have affected their academics during the fall semester.</p>

<p>In addition, traditional tutoring is readily available:</p>

<p>Tutoring</p>

<p>Tutoring is an interactive method of helping students improve their efficiency and effectiveness in learning in a specific course, it is available to all registered undergraduate students at Rensselaer. Our service provides assistance to nearly 1,500 students each year.</p>

<p>The Advising and Learning Assistance Center's tutors are matriculated undergraduate students who have successfully completed the course they are tutoring. In addition, all tutors complete a training program before they are assigned a tutee.</p>

<p>This post is shared in the spirit of amazement at what is revealed about our minds when we focus the lens of science on it; the same spirit/ethos advocated</a> to LoneWolfStorm above.</p>

<p>Standford psychologist Carol Dweck has followed-up on her reseach into achievement</a> goal theory with a software</a> offering that implements the strategies of her research:</p>

<p>
[quote]
Brainology® is an interactive program that teaches students to think of their intelligence as something they can develop. Once they know they are in control, their motivation to learn increases and they work harder at learning. We call this a growth mindset. </p>

<p>Brainology® helps students to change their beliefs, develop a Growth Mindset, and consequently, reach a higher level of academic achievement. These were the main research goals of our co-founders Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. and Lisa Sorich Blackwell, Ph.D.. They developed the program to help students cultivate the Growth Mindset by teaching them the powerful combination of neuroscience and study skills...

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<p>What's equally interesting and mind blowing (pun intended) is that this approach (using a software program for psychological behavior modification) is also being utilized in trials for Cognitive-bias modification:</p>

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[quote]
The Economist: Therapist-free</a> therapy:</p>

<p>...A typical course of a modern talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, consists of 12-16 hour-long sessions and is a reasonably efficient way of treating conditions like depression and anxiety (hysteria is no longer a recognised diagnosis). Medication, too, can bring rapid change. Nevertheless, treating disorders of the psyche is still a hit-and-miss affair, and not everyone wishes to bare his soul or take mind-altering drugs to deal with his problems. A new kind of treatment may, though, mean he does not have to. Cognitive-bias modification (CBM) appears to be effective after only a few 15-minute sessions, and involves neither drugs nor the discussion of feelings. It does not even need a therapist. All it requires is sitting in front of a computer and using a program that subtly alters harmful thought patterns....

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