Currently I’m finishing up first year in computer engineering. All throughout high school I pretty much wasted my time due to a lack of inspiration. The first day of class in second semester grade 11, me and my computer engineering teacher had a long conversation about where my life was going. Although a quite inspirational moment, I didn’t realize how much he was stressing the fact that I need to find a passion. So I passed grade 11 with an average somewhere under 60. After that my parents bought a new place, so I switched schools. Due to the lack of friends, in the beginning, I started studying. After a long and tiring while of catching up, I started getting A’s and at the same time make a lot more friends. So the second half of grade 12 I managed to balance partying and studying quite well. Got in U of t for engineering. Got my own place. School starts. I knew that first semester was going to be pretty bad. As anticipated, it was. I kinda moved along like everyone else and finished with a not so nice GPA. Second semester comes around and every day I went to school, I hated it even more. I’ve seen some pretty depressing places, but Engineering Library is by far the saddest place I’ve ever seen. Everyone’s veins are popping out. The fact that I can’t balance my social life and my academic life has put me in the position to reconsider majors. I have no idea what I’d switch into. In a sense I really don’t want to, but I just don’t think I can put up with the workload. I guess I’m waiting on some inspirational story or some good advice, but how do I get motivated to move forward?
I can relate to you, because I’ve also had personal experience in the Faculty of Engineering (I switched out after first year). The ‘Should I transfer? Should I stay?’ question can and will drive you crazy. I’m glad you sent me an email, and I am sorry I took so long to reply. Unfortunately, I don’t work fast enough because I only have 8 hands and 14 brains.
Guess what my advice is going to be? Bingo. Go talk to your registrar or your departmental counselor and tell them about your situation ASAP. It’s possible that they won’t be as kind or sympathetic as you’d like, but at this point I really think you just need someone to bounce ideas off of. They may ask you the standard questions (‘what courses did you like in high school?’ or ‘where do you see yourself in the future?’), and these might seem silly to you, but perhaps thought-provoking questions such as these ones are EXACTLY what you need to get yourself back onto the path for self-discovery.
Also, ask them what your options are. It is too late to transfer to the Faculty of Arts and Science, but it may still be possible to apply for transfer to the Scarborough campus or the Missisauga campus (the deadline is April 30th). Or maybe it’s not ONLY engineering that’s draining your energy – maybe it’s UofT. Would transferring to a different school help?
What about taking a year off from school and just working or volunteering? I’ve met some people who’ve taken a year off, and they’ve all told me that they’re really glad they made that decision. Sometimes, when you’re unsure of what the future holds, it really helps to throw yourself into the working world to get a taste of what’s out there and the role that your education will play in your life; that way, when you come back to school, you’ll appreciate your education more.
I’m just firing off ideas, but how do these sound? I understand that they may not appeal to you though (or maybe your parents wouldn’t agree with me). Either way, I just think you should really talk to your registrar, if you haven’t already. I’ve been to the engineering registrar a few times and they’re nice people; don’t worry, they want to help students achieve their best too, so I’m sure they won’t ‘try to keep you in engineering’ just so they won’t lose a student.
Let me just say that it is possible that transferring from engineering will not end your academic worries (though depending on how you work, you might find Arts and Science a little easier). No matter what program you’re in, sometimes at University, you’ll have to compromise your social life, at others, you may have to compromise your academic life. The way I see it, the ones who achieve good grades at University usually have a lot of self-discipline and know when to work and when to play. I think this is true whether you’re in engineering or in another program. However, I don’t think you should be too harsh on yourself yet: you’ve only been through one year, and you probably had a hard time adjusting to University because it’s just so different from high school. But eventually, you will have to find a way to reconcile your academic and social needs.
Yet, sometimes, all you need to move forward is a leap of faith. In my opinion, you do sound pretty unhappy in engineering, and I’m saying this because I think I felt the same way that you did. I transferred, and it worked out for me; it might work out for you too. If you find that you’re constantly drained and depressed in engineering, and find yourself struggling to get through each hour-long lecture, there’s no reason to continue. It’s not worth it to sit through 4 years of lectures that you will not enjoy only to get a degree that you do not want. Life is too short, and time too valuable.
I know this is probably overwhelming, and that you probably feel very confused about your career path. If all this is getting to your head, you may want to have a talk with the people from CAPS. It’s free (well, you’ve paid for it in your tuition). I’ve been there, and they’re quite attentive to student needs. If you just need someone to talk to, the counselors at CAPS may be a good choice.
Motivation and passion may arrive spontaneously. There are times during your University career when your motivation will be rock bottom. I felt that way when I transferred here initially, because I was more confused about my career path than ever. During those times, you’ll have to stick it through and hope for the best. It’s great that you realized your need to be passionate about what you study, but you might have to wait a year or three to hear that inspirational story. In the meantime, dare to make changes, stay positive, don’t be afraid to accept help, and take courses that interest you and that you’ll find enjoyable. Let me know how things are going, because I worry about my dear readers.
Just in case you didn’t get the message: talk to your registrar!