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Take My Time or Rush College

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  • This topic has 10 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 5 months ago by avatarArtsyGirl.
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  • #886527 Reply

    I am a first-year chemical engineering student and as of right now, I am preparing to decide on how I want to schedule my fall term. Right now, there are two options on the table right now that will determine how the rest of my college career is. One option is the rush option meaning that I can choose to stack up each term with classes to the brim and skip one year. The benefits are that I don’t have to pay for another year and I would be able to use my “fourth year” to either pursue a career or find experience. I, personally, value experience over education which makes this option appealing. The cons is that I would be embarking on some of the most rigorous courses at a much a faster pace with these courses stacking up onto each other. That could mean a higher chance of failing courses and mental breakdowns. The other option on the table is to take my time or use my fourth year. The pros is that I have time and if I do fail a course, I won’t be pushed back any time. The cons is that I would be fighting to maintain a minimum credit amount to keep scholarships and support meaning filling in time with unneeded classes. I’ve been highly conflicted with my fears going through the roof about the “what if’s”. The biggest thing that keeps tapping me is that I always doubt myself about how hard a course is like calculus, chemistry, and organic chemistry, but in every one of those classes that I doubted myself in, I’ve excelled. I’m afraid of selling myself short of what I can deal with, but I’m also afraid of the day when that won’t be true anymore.

    #886529 Reply

    I would take my time. The first year is usually filled with courses at high speed. It is the selection year: nothing to do with high school. In our tech schools, usually the first year students re-do the whole hich school program during the first three weeks (to give you an idea of the rythm). If you have great skills, can’t you compress the second or third year, rather than the first?
    There is also the college life: you don’t want to work 24/7, right? You want to meet people and enjoy the campus activities.
    But take into account the probable online classes next fall: a lot of universities, especially in the USA, Canada and UK, will still have online classes only, or partly. Do you really want to do all these video classes next fall? I think there is a limit in the concentration capacities, especially with this zoom setting which can be tiring.
    All in all, I would choose the second option: take my time and follow the actual program meant for first year students – it is meant to match their learning capacities.

    #886531 Reply

    Start off with the average freshman’s schedule. We still don’t know what school is going look like in the fall. If things go well, do a semester at an accelerated pace. Go from there. Don’t be in such a hurry to get college over with. Enjoy it. You’re actually in a good position. The economy is probably going to be pretty bad for a few years as we recover from this pandemic. Hopefully by the time you’re looking for internships & jobs the economy will have bounced back.

    #886539 Reply

    Absolutely take your time. A billion percent.No one will care when you are forty whether you have been working for seventeen or eighteen years. Have a good college experience and don’t overload yourself. Chemical engineering is an extremely demanding major already with lots of lab work. You may also change your mind a year in and you want the ability to shift gears.

    #886540 Reply

    Assuming that we don’t collapse into a long term depression there’s going to be a good market for chemical engineers designing better sanitizers and germ resistant coatings and better mask materials and whatnot.

    #886541 Reply

    “The cons is that I would be fighting to maintain a minimum credit amount to keep scholarships and support meaning filling in time with unneeded classes.”

    There’s no such thing as an “unneeded class.” You have no idea what that class will bring to your life. You could learn something that adds a ton of interest or joy to your life. Life isn’t all about work, and that class could make you a more well-rounded person. And since life isn’t all about work, you shouldn’t be putting yourself under the gun this early. You have to stay open to all kinds of different experiences that you’ll have in college (and life).

    #886542 Reply

    I’m a chemical engineer. Preferences differ, but I enjoyed the liberal arts courses, which I was able to mix in with the science, engineering, and math requirements. I wouldn’t have been able to do that in three years. When you say that you prefer experience over education, I worry that cramming all of your required courses into 3 years will feel very burdensome to you and that you may burnout. You listed a possible mental breakdown as one of the cons. That’s an awfully big con and would set you back at least the year you were trying to save. You do want the college experience. An engineering education, even spread over the normal four years, can be very narrowing. You’ll have to make an effort to broaden yourself. Good luck to you.

    #886849 Reply

    I also think you should take your time, if possible. College isn’t just for classes (and parties). It’s also for networking and gaining experience. Work in a professor’s lab. Mingle with more advanced students who you help you get a job down the road. Join the Chem E student organization – possibly take on a leadership role. When you aren’t overwhelmed with classes, you can take on these kinds of opportunities, which both give you the experience you want and allow you to build your community for future projects/jobs.

    #886852 Reply

    College is about so much more than checking classes off a list. The actual classes I took in my major were helpful in my career, yes, but some of the most important things I got from the college experience, things that really helped in my career, did not happen in a classroom.

    You want to take in all that college has to offer. Take the full four years.

    #886858 Reply

    Another ChemE here. I would definitely take your time. There were some classes I took that were really difficult. I graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering, which requires more credits to graduate, and we had many people who couldn’t handle the curriculum and dropped out. I’m sure there are majors where you could do a rushed schedule but I really don’t think Chemical Engineering is one. You would definitely get burnt out.

    #886863 Reply

    Hi Tony-
    First off congratulations for starting college. I can offer some insight since I graduated from my undergrad in 3 years and did my MA in one year immediately afterwards. I 100% agree with what others have said regarding taking 4 years. The goal of college is not just to get a degree, it is also a time to figure out who you are as a person. I regret that I did not take part in a lot of the social aspects of college because of my heavy course load every semester. I did not get a change to study abroad because I was pushing myself to finish quickly. College is the only time in your life where you have a lot more freedom with very few responsibilities. Taking fun classes, participating in intramural sports, joining clubs or social organizations all help you expand as a person.

    Getting a minor in a language like Mandarin or Arabic or in informatics might make you a more desirable candidate when looking for a job.

    I will also say, that cramming your schedule does not give you the flexibility to change majors if it turns out that chemical engineering is not the best fit. You can get a few semesters in and realize that you do not enjoy the work and if you have taken 1/3 of your degree requirements it would be very difficult to pivot to a new field.

    In your shoes, I would reach out to your program’s advisor and ask if you can speak to an upperclassman to ask about the accelerated program. That way you can get real feedback on how doable it is and some useful advice.

    Good luck!

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