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I'm having trouble in math – what can I do?

I have a math teacher that I really don’t understand and I’m not doing as well in his class. I’ve always been pretty good at math, and I was thinking about majoring in engineering when I get to college. He said maybe engineering isn’t for me because I’m having trouble with the class. I never thought I was a bad student before. Is my teacher right? How important is math for engineering? Do you have any tips for how I can start understanding the material?

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  • Ayanna Patterson

    Added Monday, March 4, 2019 at 10:11 PM

    I want to be an astronaut and many more things. How would I apply engineering to my life if I wanted to be a president or marine biologist?

    Answers 1
    Kristin Malosh, North Star BlueScope Steel
    Answered 4 days AGO
    Hi Ayanna. Of course it is OK to just learn engineering skills for fun! Engineering is all about problem solving- and it doesn't matter what career path you take, solving problems will always be a part of your career and your life. Engineering skills- ...
  • Added Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 6:27 PM

    Hello! I am currently a Junior in high school. I'm about to move onto my senior year and I'm concerned about what kind of math and science I need that would help be fulfill being an Aerospace Engineer. I'm also planning on pursuing a career in nursing. So far I've only had classes that will fulfill nursing. I'm also kind of concerned how I can balance both careers in the future. I am passionate about both of them.

    So far the only science + math classes I've taken ...

    Answers 1
    Answered 9 days AGO

    You have interest in two very different fields, both of which have careers in high demand. I recommend taking as many of the subsequent math levels as possible before you graduate. Additionally, I’d recommend taking physics or other general or mechanical ...

  • Added Monday, April 8, 2019 at 9:17 AM


    I have a math teacher that I really don’t understand and I’m not doing as well in his class. I’ve always been pretty good at math, and I was thinking about majoring in engineering when I get to college. He said maybe engineering isn’t for me because I’m having trouble with the class. I never thought I was a bad student before. Is my teacher ...

    Answers 22
    Urbashi Mitra, USC Viterbi School of Engineering
    Answered Monday, April 8, 2019 at 10:45 AM

    Dear You-Can-Do-Math-too,

    Mathematics, like many acquired skills, requires practice. This is true of mastering cartwheels, baking, woodworking, painting – I could go on. This is also true for reading and for language in general, the more exposure we ...

    Priscilla Bennett, Spire / Laclede Gas Company
    Answered Monday, April 8, 2019 at 10:25 AM

    The opinion of one person does not/should not define us. Please do not take this person’s teaching style or opinion as a reflection of what you are capable of accomplishing. Study groups, online learning, a tutor, library resources, a classmate, someone ...

    Alicia Bailey, Sain Associates
    Answered Monday, April 8, 2019 at 10:23 AM

    Doing poorly in one math class should not determine your entire future nor should it deter you from considering engineering. It could be an isolated issue that is causing you difficulty. My advice would be to find a tutor or a friend who is understanding ...

  • Ellie

    Added Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at 9:01 PM

    I am advanced in math and have an opportunity to attend challenge math throughout middle school. Should I? I want to become an aerospace engineer and dream of working for NASA.

    I am 11 and in 5th grade. I dream of becoming an astronaut. I need a degree in engineering to do so. I want to do aerospace engineering because I feel I would be accepted easier. I do enjoy all things space and physics.

    Answers 1
    Moyra J. McDill, Carleton University
    Answered Monday, April 1, 2019 at 4:56 AM

    Hi Ellie

    It sounds like a great program and a great opportunity. "Being challenged" is part of science and engineering.

    I don't know the details of your math challenge program so you may want to check with your family and teachers that it will fit in ...

  • Priyanka asked Patricia Galloway, Pegasus Global Holdings, Inc.

    Added Tuesday, March 12, 2019 at 2:26 AM

    Hello, I am a 2015 Civil engineering graduate, I have 2 years experience in Educational field as a Content Developer. I want to get back to my field, hence I need assistance to go about it like which software's to study. What do you suggest?

    Answers 1
    Patricia Galloway, Pegasus Global Holdings, Inc.
    Answered Friday, March 29, 2019 at 1:28 AM

    Glad to see you want to re-enter your field!!! The question is whether you want to use your 2 years as a content writer to promote engineering or whether you want to go back to engineering. As a content writer it is important to know have a fairly good ...

  • Atif malik asked Natalie White, CyberSource

    Added Sunday, March 3, 2019 at 2:58 AM

    I am becoming a software engineer and I am in 2nd semester of school.

    Answers 1
    Natalie White, CyberSource
    Answered Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 8:59 AM
    Great question! You have so many resources at your fingertips than we did even a few years ago. You can  learn basic coding concepts with Scratch (  and find a local coding group through Girls Who Code ( ...
  • Laura Buker

    Added Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at 8:56 PM

    I have a BS and 2 MS in engineering (one in CE/Water Resources and another in Civil/Environmental engineering) and yet I feel dumb and lost at work everyday, to the point of considering a career change.

    I've been working for a small Land Development company for a little bit over a year and still feel unfit and lost. Daily feelings of impostor syndrome. I 'learn' how to do something and by the time I have to do something similar again I don't really remember how to do it or there are ...

    Answers 1
    Molly Lebowitz, Propeller Consulting
    Answered Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at 9:36 AM
    So glad you wrote, Laura. There could be a few things at play here, all of which I've experienced at some point in my own career. Only you can determine what mix of the below is actually going on. 
    (1) Size of Transition. I've typically measured the ...
  • faiza asked Hannah Noll, ATI

    Added Friday, February 15, 2019 at 1:30 PM

    Hi Hannah – What is nano-metallurgy? I've heard a lot about it but i don't understand what is it and can't find information that's easy to understand. Can you explain it please and give some examples?

    Answers 1
    Answered Friday, March 22, 2019 at 12:00 PM

    Nano-metallurgy is the study of metals on a nano scale! As our electronics are getting smaller (cell phones, medical devices, etc…) a better understanding of the materials that go into them is required. Let’s say you want to make a very small electrical ...

  • Leyna

    Added Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 6:57 PM

    Do all grades matter or just math and science grades? I know most engineering is mostly math and science and I LOVE math and science. I want to be an Engineer when I grow up

    Answers 1
    Ursula Gibson, Dartmouth College
    Answered Friday, March 22, 2019 at 11:57 AM

    While the math and science grades can be enough to get you where you want to go, often your GPA will be used as a filter when looking at your admission file, so other courses could count against you. Perhaps you can find a school that has enough of a ...

  • Added Monday, March 11, 2019 at 8:48 AM


    I was told I should have a mentor to help me into an engineering career. Is it necessary to have a mentor? Did you all have mentors? If so, how did you find them? What should I look for in a mentor?

    Answers 26
    Kristin Sweeney, Pennsy Supply Inc., A CRH Comany
    Answered Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 11:22 AM

    The need for a mentor is a great question. For me, this wasn’t something I actively sought out, meaning I didn’t go up to people and say “will you be my mentor”, rather I when I encountered someone, be it an educator, co-worker, one of my employees, ...

    Hope Bovenzi, Texas Instruments
    Answered Monday, March 11, 2019 at 10:42 AM

    Everyone's journey is different and sometimes it’s challenging to find an engineering mentor before you start a career in engineering. With that said, I highly recommend you do find one as soon as you can and definitely once you enter the workforce. ...

    Alicia Bailey, Sain Associates
    Answered Monday, March 11, 2019 at 10:41 AM

    While it’s certainly beneficial to have mentor, it’s not required to excel in your engineering career. I have had several mentors. They have been natural relationships through work, rather than ones I specially sought out to be my mentor. The mentors ...

  • Madeline Heinle asked Kathy Moseler, Paradise Robotics

    Added Thursday, July 26, 2018 at 2:23 PM

    I have trouble staying in one place and staying focused for extended amounts of time. As an engineer I want the freedom to move throughout the day but still get work done. As an electrical engineer do you have this problem?
    Answers 1
    Kathy Moseler, Paradise Robotics
    Answered Friday, March 1, 2019 at 6:48 PM
    Hi! Don't worry, you won't be chained to your desk. Much of the work you will do requires a lot of "thinking" time. Some engineers think by sitting at their desk, looking like they are staring off into space. Others (myself included) think better while ...
  • Alyssa

    Added Sunday, January 27, 2019 at 4:43 PM

    Hello, I am a sophomore college student in need of advice. I originally decided to be a civil engineering major in my first year of school because I thought the jobs were interesting. However, my professor recommended that I look into industrial engineering because it suits my personality and my skill set better. I have been comparing civil jobs vs. industrial jobs. What I have gathered is that there is (currently) a better job outlook and slightly higher pay for civil engineers. In ...

    Answers 1
    Jessye Talley, Morgan State University
    Answered Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 10:35 AM
    Hello Alyssa,
    I am an Industrial Engineering professor. Industrial Engineering is a very diverse field and I believe the job outlook is great. We do everything from cost estimation, human factors, operations research, manufacturing, process improvement  ...
  • Jeni

    Added Saturday, January 19, 2019 at 4:45 PM

    I have a little bit of a hard time talking and people either cut me off, or don't always listen to me. I have a very small stammer, so it's hard for me sometimes to say the right thing. I sometimes get mixed up and say things differently then what I meant to say. Could that affect me with someday working as a Mechanical Engineer?

    Answers 1
    Diana Manning, Base2 Solutions
    Answered Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at 10:42 AM
    I don't think that should stop you.  A couple of things, begin to work on your communication skills now, to build your confidence.  There are organizations out there that can help.  I am assuming you are sill in school, so your school counselor may be ...
  • Added Monday, February 4, 2019 at 7:16 AM


    I’ve heard some engineers say they were the only woman in a class or club in college, or after college on a project or team at work. Has this happened to you? How did you deal with standing out like that and not having any other women around?

    Answers 27
    Kristin Sweeney, Pennsy Supply Inc., A CRH Comany
    Answered Monday, February 25, 2019 at 8:33 AM

    For me, starting in High school taking Engineering classes, I was one of 3 girls in the room. However for me this was never a deterrent, I saw it as a challenge. I wanted to prove myself that I can do anything and just as well if not better than the guys.

    Priscilla Bennett, Spire / Laclede Gas Company
    Answered Friday, February 8, 2019 at 4:23 AM

    Not only in college classes, but also the work environment did I find myself as the only female working/teamed up with only male counterparts. When we learn to view others for the person, the talents, the traits, the contributions they bring to a ...

    Jamie Krakover, The Boeing Company
    Answered Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 4:15 AM

    I have been the only woman in the room before, but luckily it is become more rare as more women pursue STEM. It can alienating when this happens, but it's less about standing out (because you already do if you're the only woman) and more about making ...

  • Paula , Troy High School asked Patricia Galloway, Pegasus Global Holdings, Inc.

    Added Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 9:12 PM

    Hi! I'm a junior in high school and I'm currently enrolled in my school's magnet program and because of it I have been able to take a class that is very much involved with engineering. Very often than not I find myself very confused and discouraged in this class. I know engineering is something I aspire to work in yet being surrounded by so many people that know what they're doing makes me lose that confidence I have in knowing I want to be and engineer. My question to you is : Have you ever ...
    Answers 2
    Patricia Galloway, Pegasus Global Holdings, Inc.
    Answered Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at 5:00 PM
    Discouragement can affect everyone at some point.  I was discouraged in high school when I told everyone I wanted to be an engineer and they told me I would "flunk out" and "fail" because I did not have the aptitude or the "smarts" to be an engineer ...
    Patricia Galloway, Pegasus Global Holdings, Inc.
    Answered Friday, December 29, 2017 at 4:52 AM

    My sincerest apologies for being so late in responding to your question. This past year has been a bit challenging for me as I have had some personal family health issues and am entering the next phase of my own career as I will be stepping down as ...

  • Qwynci Bowman

    Added Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 11:12 PM

    Is it possible at all the be an engineer when you don't fit the mold of one on paper? I believe I will excel in it but it's extremely hard to transfer to the engineering school at this point. Is it still possible for me to work in this field?
    Answers 1
    Lauren Gordon, State of California
    Answered Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at 8:45 AM
    Hi Qwynci!
    Absolutely. In high school, I was told by two teachers and a guidance counselor that I did not have the grades or qualifications to become an engineer. And that I should consider another field. I broadened my search and found an out-of-state ...
  • Dolor, Vinna L. asked Margaret Byron, Penn State University

    Added Saturday, January 5, 2019 at 5:34 AM

    Cause, I had seen in my research that says that some companies don't hire many environmental engineers and it doesn't really apply. Thanks.
    Answers 1
    Margaret Byron, Penn State University
    Answered Friday, February 1, 2019 at 5:36 PM
    Hi Vinna!  Short answer: yes, environmental engineers are definitely needed.  
    One thing you might not realize is that the term "environmental engineer" applies to a lot of different scientific disciplines. My area of expertise is environmental fluid ...
  • Answered Thursday, January 24, 2019 at 9:01 AM

    Hi Angela! I apologize for being late in my response.

    My experience as an engineer has been a long road of learning who I am, what I want to do, and growth. There has been a lot of fun involved too. I love engineering because of the platform it puts you ...

  • Added Friday, December 21, 2018 at 2:25 AM


    I like being with people, but I don't like to be the center of attention or push for my own way. I like to think about things and work out details before I jump in with an answer. But I often hear that women need to speak up and be more aggressive to be successful in their careers. Is that true for women in engineering? I’ve also heard that ...

    Answers 29
    Maria Marenco, Robert Bosch
    Answered Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at 12:10 PM

    You don’t have to change the way you are, no matter what you decide to study or where you work. What I think happens in these work areas where there are fewer men than women, is that you feel constantly insecure. Especially is you enter a new subject, ...

    Answered Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 12:44 PM

    No, you do not have to be really outgoing. It takes all personality types to make a really great team and teamwork is an absolute necessity to accomplish great things. Most of the engineers that I have worked with during my 20+ year career have been ...

    Nicolette Yovanof Little, The Boeing Company
    Answered Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 11:47 AM

    In my experience, the best engineers and leaders know their strengths and use them to their advantage in how they interact at work. You can still be an introvert and be a successful engineer, but you will need to find a balance of speaking up and ...

  • Saaimah Ali asked Gillian Montgomery, Buehler Engineering, Inc

    Added Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 3:41 PM

    how difficult was the physics aspect, and applying that to real life situations?
    Answers 1
    Gillian Montgomery, Buehler Engineering, Inc
    Answered Sunday, January 13, 2019 at 9:24 AM
    It may sound cliche but the most difficult part is working with different people and personalities. Like all aspects of life everyone comes in with different perspectives, experiences and personalities.  unfortunately the engineering part can be a lot ...
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