I am not sure how well some may answer this question. But I ask you do the best you can. So during this semester I feel a lot less motivated than I was at the start of the fall, and I fee like it is affecting my performance as far as studying goes. I do like what I am doing and I am trying to keep that going but It's an uphill battle. I know Brett did an article about study habits but I think he tailored to much towards a non technical major. A penny for your thoughts.
And, this, people, is what happens when kids are pressured into getting a degree that will get them a job; they turn into wage slaves at 19. Isn't 50 years enough?
1. To get a professor to talk to you outside of class:
Check the syllabus. Does the prof have office hours?
Email the prof for an appointment.
Totally aloof, luddite prof? Call the department secretary and ask for an appointment.
2. To keep studying:
You sound like you're got a tight personal schedule that's not working for you. Shake it up. First, figure out how long you can productively study:
a. Start studying. Note the time. Study until you're thoroughly distracted. For most people, this is 30-45 minutes. Study each subject in blocks about as long as you've calculated. Depending on your course load, it may be enough to switch classes after each block. Or you may need to take a short break, like checking email or getting a glass of water, after each block. Another tactic is to change study areas after each block.
b. Instead of having a schedule for the whole semester, re-do it every week. Some weeks, some class will be tougher, or there'll be a mid-term in one class but not another. Divide your study time accordingly. Same goes with personal obligations.
3. Get a peek at the big picture. Ask your career counseling office if there's an EE you can shadow for a day or part of a day. If you don't have a career counseling office, ask the alumni office or the office of engagement for an EE to contact. If you're at some tiny school that can't help, get a list of recent alumni and cross-check it against local EEs. Usually you can look up who has an engineering license online. Or, work other channels.
And, this, people, is what happens when kids are pressured into getting a degree that will get them a job
I was actively encouraged NOT to go into the arts. In junior high and high school I was pretty darn good with pencil, paint and so on. I also loved to write. After 24 years of careers I was anything but passionate about, I am trying to reinvent myself one last time and do what I want. It don't get easier as you get older!
When I get demotivated I try to focus more on the part of the job that I love. But when I was in school that was "most of it." Not sure that helps--
I toward the middle of the term I would make an excel graph of 3 lines.
Best Line - Assuming I got all 100% from here on out what is my max grade possible.
Expected Line - Assuming I kept at my current average what grade will I get.
Worst Line - Assuming I did the bare minim what is the expected grade.
It gave me a visual of the numbers and a better feel for where I stood.
I also would change up my schedule and hit the coffee shop or morning workout before studies. a good 1 hour hard walk wake one up and helps reset the mood to study. The coffee shop may be a good place to settle in and study.
You may also start a study group to get you through. Do your homework together with others from the class. Just be sure to note who you worked with so that the teacher understands why your answers are all the same or your shown work looks the same.
In college I had poor study habits: left things to the last minute, didn't study all that hard, got average grades. I did pick a major I loved, and in the core studio class I did do well, because I enjoyed it so much. It was more like play than work.
But my discipline elsewhere sucked and it showed in my grade point average.
When it came time to interview for jobs, I found to my surprise they never asked for grades; they looked at my portfolio. I actually had pasted (pre computer) a line that I had graduated in my resume. It fell off during repro, so the final copies of my resume never mentioned I had a degree.
None of that mattered; I got a job, and with a good firm.
That was a long time ago, I'm sure things are different now. All I can say is chill, when you look back what you think is so important is not so crucial anymore.
You are basically in the middle of your degree but not yet to the point where you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. That makes it tough to find some reason to keep working hard and stick to it. If you get an accounting degree you don't actually know accounting when you are done. What you basically have is a B.S. certificate that lets employers know you have the ability to put up with some B.S. and get something accomplished and you also have the ability to learn accounting. There is no easy way to get through this and that is why a college degree is worth something. Like when running a marathon you don't run 26.2 miles because that is absolutely crazy and your mind and body would never want to do that. What you have to do to finish the marathon is just run to the next mile marker or the next street light. That seems easy enough so you get it done and then you find another object to run towards. Basically break it down into small chunks. On Monday tell your self you need to kick ass until you are done with classes on Wednesday. Wednesday night or Thursday morning you set another target.
I had a programming teacher in college tell us the best way to eat an elephant is in small chunks.
I'll give you my two cents worth.
I studied physics as an undergraduate, I started out in engineering physics and transferred to straight physics. I got a math and CS minor as well. I then went on for my MBA with concentrations in marketing and MIS.
One of the things I found that helped me with motiviation was a study group of other bright students who had a significant amount of enthusiasm. In the few engineering classes I took I never found similar students so those classes were an individual struggle. By having study groups of about 5 students we kept each other on track and in high spirits even through some of the toughest times, these guys became my best friends in college.
Another thing that helped me with the motivation was I worked with several of the professors in their labs doing research. This helped me see the end results of my endeavors in the undergraduate program AND after I got to know the professors in the department I could ask any one of them any questions I had about physics. I also got to know most of the grad students (yes, the same ones who were teaching assistants for the classes I took). So you could ask around the engineering department to find out if any of the professors wanted an (unpaid) student assistant in their lab. I also got to know several professors and grad students in other departments (chemistry and math) which helped me in those classes as well. This also helps on your resume especially if your name is on any of the papers they write for publication.
Oh, and as for asking questions, you're not taking classes 24/7 are you? You have times that you aren't in class and the professor is in his office, or you could stop by for his Office Hours, or talk to the teaching assistants or other Engineering grad students.
Yeah I do see that for the friends who are with me for Engineering, when we are in a group together there really isn't a lot of motivation there. But the way I see it, it teaches me self reliance, so usually we pick times to study for test together.
Some programs are intense. I have both a pharmacy and a medical degree (professional student I guess). Both took a lot of time and in the middle of each I was beginning to wonder why the hell was I doing it. But I learnt a valuable lesson from my first of the two (pharmacy). It, like your engineering degree, took a lot of my time. I always felt like I was rushing from one thing to the next with little time to study. Anyway, as the program got more intense I began to cut out other activities in order to free up more study time. But the thing was, although I had more study time, my productivity was dropping faster (along with my physical fitness and social life). For my medical degree I took a different approach. For one, I kept up an exercise regime. I ran 5-10km or went for a 30min work-out every day. Also, I had a little ritual that helped too. I started each day alone with a cup of coffee and a bowl of porridge. No study during breakfast. It became my treat to myself. My stress release.
My advice is to exercise everyday.30 min is plenty. And allow yourself some fun at least once a week. Movie, date, etc. My wife (who I met in med) and I still love a drink on a Friday night which is something we would find time for back when we were busy med students. Medicine, and our older-than-20-something livers would not let us drink as much or as often as we would back in our younger years but a shared bottle of wine on a Friday or a couple of beers at a pub on a Saturday was a nice weekly treat.
The 2-4hr you lose from study for a Friday night out will more than pay for itself in productivity.
The end is in sight. Stay at it.
Thank you Nick. I think for me it's really about getting into the groove I had. I do need to find time to exercise though but I do have a ritual like you do. In the morning I have tea(well coffee but it's Lent so for 40 days it's tea), and Irish Oatmeal. I get a decent amount of aerobic exercise walking to and from each building, plus we don't' use elevators.
Seeing as I'm in Ireland, I'm gonna guess that my porridge here is what would be called Irish Oatmeal in the US. Although back in Canada I never found any as good and here its cheap as dirt.
Nay, I've had Flahavans before at a local Irish place where I live. it's definitely different than oatmeal made here, and it is definitely something that we would call porridge I would say that your grain is a little sweeter than ours is. if I could actually get Flahavans retail here I would eat it all the time!