Changing academic direction (am I being foolish?)
July 10, 2008 12:46 PM Subscribe
Trying to transfer to a four year college, and changing direction mid -stream. Am I being foolish to consider shifting from aiming for a landscape architecture degree to one in ecological engineering, especially when engineering colleges have completely different requirements than what I've been focusing on?
posted by oneirodynia to Education (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I've been going to community college on-off for many years now. A year ago last February, I decided to quit my job and go to school full time, with the intent of transferring to a four year college. At the time, I was designing and building gardens for a design-build landscape company, and had been taking numerous horticulture and drafting classes, plus the basic GE requirements. However, I'm kind of ... bored by basic landscape stuff. I want to design gardens that perform a function, like rooftop gardens that recycle HVAC water, or living machines. It seems to me like a degree in ecological engineering is the route to take, but it means basically starting over, with 2 years of calculus, plus physics, biology, chemistry (per UC Davis' website) The issues are:
I'm nearly able to transfer for Fall 09', but this change would definitely set me back. I'm impatient, and afraid of burning out.
I'm not good at math. I finished trig in high school with a D. That was 20 years ago, and I haven't taken math since. Surprisingly, I'm actually a little better at understanding it (I had no problems with the algebraic equations needed in my soil science and plant nutrition classes), but I've got to pass a math assessment to be placed in any math class, let alone get to where I can do OK in 2 years of calculus. Does it make sense to study for the assessment test, and try to get placed as high as possible, so I'm not going to school for 3 more years? I'm OK with any science or physics, but will I be killing myself trying to do all these more intense classes as quickly as I can? More realistically- is it even possible to cram for a math assessment course, and not wind up over my head in calculus?
My community college bureaucracy is understaffed, and no one in the transfer center will return my calls. I've been told to send emails to UC Davis and Berkeley, to talk to professors in the departments I'm interested in. I feel incredibly shy about writing to randomprof at dot edu.
Is this the right thing to do?
My other option is to stay the course and go for landscape architecture, with a minor or something in ecological engineering. My fear is that I won't get the toothy, nitty gritty science background I want to be able to build these types of ecological recycling systems, or that I'll be forced to mess around with a bunch of fluffy theory classes. But I'm also worried that it doesn't make sense to try to go for broke and start over on a course that may be extremely difficult, time consuming, and frustrating. If you've done this, please let me know how it turned out.