Can I be good at civil engineering if I don't really like calculus and physics?

Hello Olivia! I'm Michelle. I've always been really interested in civil engineering, but now that I'm on my senior year of high school I'm really worried that I won't be good enough at it. Looking through this website I saw tons of girls saying that they love physics and calculus, but to be honest, I don't. I don't tend to enjoy breaking my head for the physics tests or the calculus eternal problems. I'm not terrible at them, but I'm not great either. It freaks me out to think that I would enter the career and be terrible at it. That is my major worry about embracing my dream of becoming a civil engineer and I was hoping that you could give some words of wisdom. Thank you!
posted by Michelle, Panama on February 1, 2014

Answer by Olivia Dunleavy

Hi Michelle!! I'm happy to hear you are interested in Civil Engineering and thank you for reaching out to me. You're not alone when saying you do not enjoy breaking your head for the physics and calculus tests.  I was in your boat my freshmen year of college. I was so worried about the major before I started the journey: worried I would not be at par with other students, worried I would not grasp the information quick enough, unsure if I would be able to handle the work load, unsure if I would be able to handle the stress and the never ending homework problems. I was decent at the subjects in high school (not an AP student, just honors), I did okay on the tests and always went to my teachers for extra help.  Getting to college I realized I was not alone with needing help understanding a new concept or getting through a problem. I learned other students are willing to help and work through problems together (even when it is scary to ask the professors for help). Engineering programs in general I feel is not an "I" program but a "WE."  Everyone is on board to help and spend time together getting the never ending problems done.  I am not going to lie the Physics and Calculus are difficult but when you break them up little by little they are not to excruciating (especially when 100 other students are in the same predicament).  Also, I found throughout my college adventure there is no other career path I would rather pursue. I got through the hard courses because I knew what I wanted at the end of 4 years.  I am far from the best at physics and calculus but I made it through with help from my peers and determination (and realization I may not always get A's and B's I was used to in High school).  I believe some career paths use key features and more calculus then others but so far I've used very little of the complex subjects in my field. If I need to relearn something I look it up on the internet (i find step by step YouTube videos).  I would go for it if I were you. You don't always have to be a 4.0 student you just have to want it bad enough. Good Luck!! Engineering is a great and a wonderful career choice, even if the path to get their is arduous.