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How did failing a class in college affect your career decision?

I have recently just finished my first year of college. I am currently an Industrial Engineering major and i have failed calculus 2. At the moment, i am feeling very disappointed in myself and am considering switching majors. I know that is is my fault that I did not put in the necessary time to pass. I want to continue in engineering but this failure is making reevaluate everything. If you have every failed a class, how did you deal with it? What advice can you give to help me decide what be my next action be at this point? #college #engineering #career-counseling #academic-advising #industrial-engineering #failure #career-details #personal-development


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Ben’s Answer

While am not an engineering major and I have not failed any classes. I have a story that might help you out. My best friend is an engineering major at SJSU and he's failed physics 2 times. Is he stupid? Absolutely not. He's one of the smartest people I know. Physics is a super difficult class. But he did not give up he took it again for the 3rd time and he passed.


I cannot tell you YES switch majors or NO keep on pursuing engineering. But what I can tell you is if you are passionate about a certain topic. Do everything in your power to pursue it. I get it failing a class sucks, but you can learn from your mistakes and come back even stronger. I suggest you take Calc 2 again see how things go. If for some reason you believe you cannot pass calc 2 after trying it again, then maybe I would suggest pursuing another major in a different topic you are interested in. I wish you the best of luck and let me know if you have any more questions!


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Elle’s Answer

Hi, Darrian!


Failing is kin to success and success is often on the heels of many tried attempts aka failures. If Engineering is truly what you want to do then shift your mindset and embrace failure instead of fearing it. If you can learn this lesson now, you will begin to look at everything differently. You will realize that failure embodies experience and it will always be a part of accomplishing your goals.


You got this!


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Kajal’s Answer

Hi Darrian,


I am not sure if this is helpful but wanted to share my experience.


I chose electrical engineering as my major during my undergrad. While it was something i was very interested in and thoroughly enjoyed, unfortunately it wasn't something i had aptitude in. I just barely passed one of my core subjects during my second year and for someone who is always top of the class, it was super painful and I remember being very angry. At the same time i realized that i really liked courses about telecommunications and decided to take more courses in that field. Years later, i realized that failing that exam was probably the best thing that happened to me because even though i wasn't too bad at electrical engineering, it wasn't my true passion ad i would not have liked working in the industry.


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Malati’s Answer

Hello Darrian,


thank you for a brave question. I have been there - in my school days though, so I didn't have an option to change. I studied harder, was lucky to find a really good guide in my Uncle and survived and did quite well after that.


Whether you should change your subject (and career option) because of your failure I think will depend on why you failed. You say you did not put in enough time – ask yourself why. Is it because although you love (or like) Cal2 you were distracted by something else that took away your time or is it because you hate Cal2 and prefer spending your time studying something else?


If the answer is the first one, don't change. If it is the second, and you do not really enjoy Cal2, ask yourself if you enjoy Engineering. Ask friends and seniors who are into Engineering what their typical day is like and see if you are really going to enjoy it. Also think about what you would ideally like to do on a daily basis and see if that can make you the career you want.


This will tell you whether you should continue to pursue Engineering and if you do, focus enough on Cal2 so you never fail again. If you don’t, check out some of the links you have received from Ken so you know where to go to make the next decision.


All the best Darrian! Remember failure is nothing to be ashamed of. It is just nature’s way of speeding up our learning:-D


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Sara’s Answer

I withdrew from calc 2 because I was failing. This was very tough because up until that point I had been an almost straight A student. I retook the course over the summer when I didn't have other courses to worry about. The summer class was also smaller so I was able to get a lot more attention from my instructor. The 2nd time around I got a B. I had a lot of trouble with Calc 2. Calc 1, calc 3, and DEQ made more sense to me.
It sounds like you know why you didn't pass the course. If you think you can pass I'd recommend taking it again. If you can line up a tutor and block off designated study times in your schedule that could help. If you're really passionate about engineering I wouldn't give up just because you hit one road block.

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Vaughn E.’s Answer

It doesn't :) Perhaps your path becomes more challenging, however continue to focus on what you are passionate about & good at :) Over time, with consistent effort, good networking, and a diversity of life & professional experiences. You will become so much better :) ^_^


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Wayne’s Answer

Darrian, there is some really good advice in the answers above and not much I can add other than a personal experience. I started College as a Physics major because I enjoyed that topic in High School. After one semester I realized that I was not up to the challenge because I was not passionate enough about the topic to put in the effort required to succeed. (talking to other Physics majors was my wake up call) I changed to a Chemistry major because I liked that in High School as well but again, got stuck with poor grades (not failing but not good) because I didn't have the passion for the subject needed to succeed. I was still ambivalent about my career choice so I changed to a General Science major. I managed 2 semesters under that major and in the process of all this, took 3 semesters of Calc because again, I liked math in High School. I didn't fail any of those classes but again, didn't make good grades. After doing some soul searching, I changed my major to Agriculture because of my love for animals and that made all the difference. Since that time, I've worked in various agriculture related fields, developed management skills, transitioned to other industries and am now working in the High Tech industry. Did making poor grades affect my career? Yes and no. Yes, it served as a wake up call but ultimately did not affect the outcome because I ended up finding what I was passionate about. There are some careers where your GPA is critical and those jobs are extremely competitive. In order to make it in those jobs your must be driven with the desire to succeed. For the rest of us, College is where we find ourselves and gain the knowledge necessary to make a successful career. I know I am speaking as a US Citizen because this is not the case in all countries but it has been my experience and I hope it helps give you some insight into the answer to your question. Good luck in your career choices and what ever you choose to do.


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