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Updated on Thursday, October 9


OMG: Gut-wrenching reality creeping my way:

I'm the dumbest motherfucker in my Engineering program.

I have no idea what's going on in Physics. I've done my assignments, but that's all I've had time for, since I wind up taking hours to do a couple of fucking questions, even with help. So much for doing practice problems…

I'm probably going to fail my midterms... Finals as well, most likely. I've made so many great friends and love the campus, plus I've got scholarships on my back. I can't lose it all in a matter of months. If I do, my life will be empty. This is my passion, but I want the opportunity to do it. I'm putting in the work, but it's obviously not going to be enough.

1A Eng, expecting 0% all around on exams.

MOD'S NOTE: Academic advisors and counselling services are both great places to start!  


  1. Pretty much everyone feels this way at some point during 1A. You're not dumb, you're just having trouble adjusting.


    -Go to office hours. All of them. They exist for a reason, and pretty much nobody goes. This is basically an excuse for you to have an hour of one-on-one conversation with your prof every week about EXACTLY what you don't understand.
    -Go to tutorials. All of them. TAs go over examples that you just don't have time for in lectures, and those examples will be very similar - often identical - to what you will see on the midterms.
    -Do a crapton of extra practice problems, and talk about the class material with everyone around you. If you're giving yourself time for a social life during midterms, you're doing it wrong.
    -Still try to sleep and eat regularly and healthy! If your body breaks down, so will your grades!

    However, DESPITE ALL OF THAT, you really might fail. IF YOU DO:

    -Don't panic! This happens to everyone. It's not uncommon for the course-wide average in 1A Physics for Engineers to be <50%. If that's the case, it was almost certainly intentional, designed to get people who don't belong in the program to rethink things early. You will be alright - bell curves exist for this purpose.
    -Ask yourself if you really love what you're doing. Be honest! Are you in engineering because you have a passion for it, or because it's where you were told you *should* be. Make sure you're following your interests!
    -See a counsellor and an academic advisor. The first will help decode what you're feeling, the second will help examine the options open to you. There are ALWAYS options.
    -Don't stop working at it! University isn't an easy time, and Engineering is no joke. Don't resign yourself to failure until you see your final grades.

    1. I know I'm not adding much, but listen to this fine anonymous, they know what they're saying.

    2. I wish someone had told me all this when I was in 1st year!

    3. This is great advice. Do not give up OP!!!!!!!

  2. Dude, in 1A nobody had any fucking clue what was happening in physics apart from the top like 1%

    1. lmao what 1A physics is and was a breeze

    2. Ya, 1A physics was either a review of high school, or highschool content with different variables. I am definitely not even close to top of my class (always below the average), and I found 1A physics easy.

    3. 3a and 3b, know that the 2 of you are in the vast minority. The course average in 1A physics for engineers is typically in the low 50s, and the midterm average is typically below 40%.

  3. Don't worry about it. Got an 18% on my physics midterm and ended up with a 73% in the course. If you feel like you're struggling, you're likely not the only one.

  4. Get a tutor from the Tutoring connect website

  5. Course materials are important, but first year is more about accommodating yourself to the university environment. You are actually doing fine as u realized where the problems are. Find the solution, and KILL IT! You Can If You Think You Can! Good Luck!^^

  6. This is the life of the majority of first year engineering students! It's normal, and my heart goes out to you

    Don't worry if you fail, it's almost expected, and afterwards you''ll only go up!

  7. Lol, mechanics. I don't remember any of that shit. Don't worry TOO much.....I thought I was going to literally fail my 1A midterms. Got a 47% on the practice midterm, but crammed hard enough to do really well on the actual tests. Just grind it out this week and it will pay off! Best of luck! :) Btw, get 8 hours of sleep minimum each day, esp before physics and lin alg.

  8. This was me when I was in first year. And I graduated on top of my class.
    You'll be fine. Just hang in there!


  10. I feel for you OP because I felt the exact same way in my first year of engineering. It was like a never ending game of catching up and never really fully understanding what was going on in class. Physics was heavily bell curved, linear alg- remember how to solve those questions on those final practice exams, know your calc, and try to get decent sleep. It was really tough but 1 has it right. Get help from your friends, tutors and prof :) And if you fail 1A, you can repeat if you're determined but just know there are other options out there too. I switched after first year and I'm finishing off studies in a professional program now which I'm pretty happy with. You'll be fine.

  11. It gets a lot better after 1A.

  12. The average physics student:
    - considers 1A physics as a course he must take for his degree, etc
    - spends hours on assignments without understanding half of the solutions
    - ends up with an average grade like every other average student
    The good students:
    - considers 1A physics as only an introduction to an interesting field of study
    - reads and understands textbook BEFORE lectures and thus listens actively during lectures
    - also spends hours on assignments but understands everything he writes
    - ends up with far better grades

    of course, asking professors always speeds things up and makes you feel more secure

  13. Frick, I'm a 2A physics student and I feel the same way too, don't worry: we're all in this together