you're never too old to enter any field or discipline.
So I'm making my first motions in my attempt to go back and get a degree.
I had started college way back. The problem was I didn't know what the fuck I wanted to do, so I lingered for about a year and dropped out.
Fast-forward nearly a decade later and I have the urge to actually do something with my life. I've been looking at Portland State, since they're pretty good, aren't OMGexpensive, and I saw that they have a materials science major. It intrigues me.
Anyone here have any experience in the field? Is it something that would be viable for someone that's nearly 30 to get into?
you're never too old to enter any field or discipline.
I don't know much about that specific field but generally if it has 'science' in the name of the degree, and it's not a social science, you should be good to go after graduation. I made the mistake of getting my undergrad degree in psychology and found out pretty quick I needed to go to grad school or enjoy working at Starbucks my whole life.
Your age will only be a good thing. Professors will respect you more, you'll take the courses more seriously than your average 20 year old and understand their application better. If the price is right and you can balance it or do it part-time, I see no reason why this would be a bad idea. Make sure this is a field that actually interests you though. Once you graduate it shouldn't be too difficult to get an entry level research assistant position or something like that, especially if you live near a decent sized metropolitan area.
I went back to school at 21 to study engineering, Im 25 now and am very glad I did. Still have a few years left (working near full time and taking some of these classes is pretty intense). I didnt have nearly the discipline when I graduated HS as I do now, and I take my education more seriously than probably ~80% of my peers in class.
Chemical Industry specialist headhunter here...I see a lot of people with material science degrees...what kind of role do you want to get into?
I'm fascinated by the idea that there are things that act in counterintuitive ways. Materials that expand when cooled or compressed, for example. Non-Newtonian fluids. That kind of thing. And of course there are nanomaterials. And crystallines. Really, I've just always been kind of interested in what makes stuff stuff. It just took me a long time to figure that out.
Don't devote the enormous amounts of money and time to study something at university because "it intrigues me." If something really intrigues you, you can study it on your own or elsewhere for cheaper (or even free). Especially when you're older, you should make sure you're going to actually get something useful out of the time and money you spend getting your degree.
I know nothing about materials science, but will it lead you to a viable career (or enhance your current career)? Does your current area have many job opportunities in that field? If not, does your current-and-near-future life situation allow you to relocate? Will such a degree require additional training and/or degrees to make it a viable career? I'd answer all of these questions before settling on a degree to go after.
I went back to school when I was 25 and got my associates in nursing. I'm 32 now and I'm about to finish my masters. Nursing is cool because you can get an associates degree and do pretty well or you can go all the way and get a PhD or DNP if you want to continue your education.
Went back to school when I was 24 and graduate after the next fall semester with a BS in computer engineering. Going for my masters immediately after. I'm going to be 30 during my last semester so it is a bit weird in school but there are people going that are still twice my age. I got a job out of it in the end too. Just do your work and have a goal in mind and anything is possible man. You aren't alone!
Last edited by Noodleface; 05-28-2013 at 01:45 AM.
I'm 33 finishing up my BS. I'm not the oldest person in any of my classes but sometimes come close. I know that I work harder now than I would have at 18 and take it much more seriously. On the fence about my masters, not sure if it will be worth the time and expense in the IT field. If I had unlimited money and time, I would go balls out and get my PHD and teach somewhere, but that just isn't reality.
The worst part of school is group assignments. Because I am older my life has to be very schedule din order to complete my work. Some of these kids just don't seem to give a shit. I have only had one good group experience in college, and that was a kid who was failing out of this class and busted his ass on this project to get a good grade. Other than him, it is hard just to get these kids to return an email. Goddamn kids.
I got a GED and went to work and didn't go to college until 24. Best decision I ever made was to not go to college right away. I made enough money at the time working part time to get thru school debt free and I didn't waste time partying and actually paid attention and learned a few things.
I had group assignments in the field mostly (double major BS in Forest Management and Wildlife Management with a minor in biology and eventually a MS in Wildlife Management) and we were allowed to pair up or groups of 3 on our own and there were a few others who were serious about school that I grouped with. Of course most of my classes had between 8 and 10 students.
Group projects were the worst, and being in business school, there was a lot of it. My time back in school I basically didn't have to study and I would shit out 'A' papers in an hour the night before they were due. But if I had to write a paper with a group? They'd want to meet at the library for 3-4 hours where we'd sit around and accomplish exactly dick. I'd leave and just think, "Why in the fuck did we even meet today? We didn't do anything. I've just wasted all of my free time for these stupid people." Or even worse, my last management class (strategic management) where we had a group of 4. Within the first week, one of the people in our group just dropped the class altogether. So now we've got 3 people doing a project meant for 4. One of the guys basically just decided to say fuck it, probably since he was graduating and who gives a shit? So the other two of us basically had to prop this asshole up. Super fun!
Group projects are bullshit and a waste of time. Teachers just do it so they have fewer papers/projects/whatever to grade.
For the original poster:
Materials science is a great field. I do a lot of chemical / materials engineering work on biomaterials, and there is a lot of interesting work being done. It is a very employable degree because you will have the background to enter numerous big industries for processing / manufacturing work as well as the research side of things for both big and small companies. The medical applications of materials science that I am familiar with is a very small subset of that field, yet all my friends from undergrad and grad school haven't had problems finding work. I'd highly recommend joining a research lab or getting an internship while you are in school, even if it's on a very part time basis. Employers look for things to set you apart from the stack of résumés, so if you have some expertise in an interesting research field that you can talk about at interviews you will be golden.
I've been learning more about the field in the past few days. I'm more and more interested the further I go.
And I'm fortunate that there's a fairly large employer of materials scientists/engineers in the state.
So I'm basically relearning all the math I've forgotten over the past 10 years. Mostly coming back to me easily enough (fuck that domain shit, though... it brings my mathlexia out in full).
I will need to prep for calc though, which I've never had any experience with. Any suggestions on what I'll need most from pre-calc courses? Things I need to focus on or that I can skip entirely?
The biggest thing you'll need for Calculus is strong Algebra skills. Things like visualizing functions, reducing functions in creative ways, thinking outside the box a little, quadratic equation, etc.
A lot of calculus one is going to be like this:
Calculus I: Professor spends months making you do derivatives by hand. Finally teaches you derivatives are easy as shit and made you learn it the hard way for fun. You might get into integration but depends on your school.
Calculus II: Integration. This is where most people die. Integration doesn't make sense unless you really think about it, and there are a lot of rules. A lot of people will fail or get bad grades here. If you do your HW and think logically this class is actually a joke. Series/sequences can be a bit hairy at the end - they require you to think a little differently.
Calculus III: Pointless class. It's calculus but with multiple variables. It's basically everything you've learned but transposed on a 3D plane. I don't remember anything from this class at all. Literally not a thing.. except maybe double + triple integrals and partial differentiation (important).
After Calc III you'll branch off into other math, but none of it will really bust your balls like calculus will. Pay attention in these classes, they are the foundation for literally everything in physics/engineering.
Edit: I should add, if you're worried then take a pre-calculus course at a community college this summer for a couple hundred bucks. I took one because it was mandatory when I went to a CC, but it really made me extremely strong with algebra. I think it helped set me apart in my future math classes.
My biggest problem is patience. I can do the math, I just have to allow myself the time and to slow the fuck down.
I'm pretty good at algebra. Especially when it comes to quadratics especially. And the closer it is to geometry and trig, the better I get. I make a lot of stupid mistakes because of impatience, though.
So it kind of sounds like its not quite as bad as I've been dreading.
It's not that bad as long as you're patient. And if you don't understand a concept, keep working at it until you do. If you get lost, calculus keeps building upon previous concepts so you will get fucked.
So, so true. I breezed through Calc I and then hit a brick wall in Calc II. I got halfway through the semester before giving up. I got my midterm back and saw I had failed horribly, so I stood up, walked out of class and went to th guidance office and changed my major then and there.Calculus II: Integration. This is where most people die. Integration doesn't make sense unless you really think about it, and there are a lot of rules. A lot of people will fail or get bad grades here. If you do your HW and think logically this class is actually a joke. Series/sequences can be a bit hairy at the end - they require you to think a little differently.
Integration doesn't make sense? What doesn't make sense about the area under the curve?
Hardest part of integration? Remember the correct noun form of 'convolve'.
I guess I don't understand it then. I was the asshole in 8th grade trig figuring out the derivative of e^x is e^x while the rest of the class was measuring it by hand.
I would think if integration trips you up, you shouldn't even take Calc I.
Kind of chicken or the egg situation there. You need to know calculus to know if integration will trip you up.
Didn't bother me, just saying what the class was like in my view. I got an A+ and I think the teacher wanted to have sex with me.
I got a 42% on my Calc II final. I was ecstatic. The average was a 25%. One of the best grades in a class of hundreds.
I'm a returning Chemistry major with 2 years left. Just finished the first of the two years. Straight A's through my first semesters of organic and analytical but on the math section I'm pretty worried. I took Calc I and II about 5 years ago and next fall I have Calc III. I had A's in my previous calcs but it's definitely going to take some hard studying to get through my next semester. On top of that the rest of my schedule is just assbeat everything (Bioorganic Chem, Physical Chem, Organic and Inorganic Synthesis, Chem Lit., and Senior Research). Anyone have any tips or resources for someone returning to Calc III with no memory of Calc I and II?
When I took Calc I after like 7 years of no math, they had all the homework in an online component. I forget the website it was through, Pearson or something probably. But they had a really good algebra review built into the coursework. I hammered that as soon as I got access, like an hour or two every day. It comes back quickly.
i advanced from college algebra to differential equations and linear algebra. i didn't think the higher level math classes were that difficult and i hate math.
anyway, it's a myth that liberal arts degrees are useless. people are just lazy.
Don't be the guy that asks questions when you actually know the answer. Nobody likes that guy.
Originally Posted by supertouch
for those who asked:
i haven't sucked her penis but i have stroked it. it sounds odd but i don't view it as a masculine organ on her.
Holy shit I wish I had this kind of dedication to learning math way back in high school. I've basically gone through 3 years of math in a week.
(And yes, it's sticking. I randomly go back to various parts to review.)
Last edited by Troll; 06-02-2013 at 07:36 AM.
In my nursing cohort, there are several people in their 50s who have never received a degree. :-) It's never too late.
If you don't know what you want to do, then I highly suggest you take one year and do a lot of different classes to see what you might be interested in.
I went back to college starting in remedial math, and am now taking Cal 3 over the summer. Ive made A's in all the maths I've taken; I used to dread math and hate the fuck out of it, but once I put some time in, I began to genuinely like working problems and now look forward to exercises. Its surprisingly turned into an enjoyable activity for me. Then again, Im not sure you can make it through without at least taking some enjoyment in it, fuck, I couldnt imagine going through problems with the same attitude I had a few years ago.
Calc wasnt nearly as bad as people make it out to be.
Any situation is better than working graveyard as an unarmed security officer.
I'm getting paid to type this.
And this: FUCKSHITCUNTCOCK
Or how about not being able to even get a security job because you're overqualified?
Not trying to be discouraging, just saying that you should make sure there's a real market for whatever education that you're going for. People who go to school only to find out that their newly available opportunities aren't nearly worth the cost of the education is almost a cliche now.
I teach at a university and I've seen a fair share of shitty teachers. The ONLY way these teachers are ever disciplined/corrected/outright removed is if students go to the department office and complain. Anecodtally, last semester I was brought in to replace a teacher halfway through the semester. She had been teaching there for a while and apparently had a pretty bad reputation amongst students (which is what several students told me after I took over the class). However, she wasn't removed (fired, actually) until one student decided to go to the department office and complain. Her complaint prompted the department head to visit the class unannounced and observe some lessons, which allowed her to see first-hand how shitty the teacher was.
So, if you ever feel like your teacher is truly awful go to the department and file a formal complaint. If you just sit in the class and take it then nothing will change. Universities really don't give a shit if students fail because failing = retaking classes = more money. But they DO care if students start complaining because complaints = dropped classes = less money.
You just have to realize that teaching at many (and all the renowned) places is seen as a necessary evil. No professor ever got tenure because of their teaching skills -- there are incentives only for doing research. So, basically, don't do your undergrad at a research university unless you're looking to get into research early. Small liberal arts colleges (SLACs) is where it's at. They'll make you write a lot more (important) and the faculty is hired primarily to teach.
That said, failure rates in Calculus are going to be high no matter what a professor does. You learn this shit only by doing many, many examples. More than the assigned homework. But in an environment where many students don't even complete their homework, you're just not going to have a whole lot of students who will go beyond that. Some pick it up quickly and they'll pass, but many others won't and have apparently no interest in trying to do what's necessary to understand it. Instead, they'll just tell you how they "can't do math" and somehow still deserve an A 'cause they tried soooooo hard.
You'd be shocked how many students think their grades should be a function of how much time they (claim to have) put in, even if that time somehow wasn't applied to doing the homework. Which is still not as frustrating as students figuring out the morning of the final exam that they didn't get a concept from the beginning of class that was at the heart of the rest of the semester.
So for those getting ready to return to school: if you don't get something after a lecture, go to the next office hours. Don't be afraid of your professors... they'll like you more for showing up not just the day before the exam.
Just putting stuff here so I remember where it is...
Man, I'd always had this edifice built up in my mind that calculus was a horrible, hard subject.
It is, but it's not nearly as impossible as I thought.
Yeah. People get conditioned to think math is hard, it really isn't. You just have to practice it.
I think a lot of it was pop culture saying how hard calculus is. I'm assuming for a lot of people, it probably is very difficult. Personally, I had the same reaction in that I thought it was much easier than I was led to believe.
Some people just can't handle math. My brother (business major) can't handle the stuff that I can breeze through so easily, on the same token I wouldn't want to have to do all the things he does (profit margins, scheduling, lots of spread sheets) so it's all relative.
That said, if you have math problems (or anything) post them here. I enjoy math and I like to help with it when I can. There are a couple topics that don't make much sense.. like when you have to do series convergence/divergence/etc. Just don't make no fuckin sense.
Math/physics departments also tend to be fine with weed-out classes, so they don't have a problem failing 50% of students. If you talk to people in the English department, they'd usually also like to fail (at least) 50% of students because they can't write worth shit. However, they tend to be under more pressure to pass along students. So they just can't fail all the people who really would have to retake the course.
Attending college (and post grad) is like buying a really expensive key. You should make sure it unlocks something you care about before you pay for it. College is great, but don't go pay thousands of dollars without a plan. Plan your work. Work your plan.
Then, by all means, twerk your plan.
Calculus is extremely powerful, it is a foundation for almost everything in life.
I'm a computer engineer, and we take a blend of software engineering and electrical engineering classes - and I will never fully understand how a capacitor does what it does, might as well be magic in a tiny box for me.
Yeah. And I shouldn't say I'm actually understanding things yet... it's more like I'm understanding that the things people are saying are actually words, and that I've been finger-painting with my own shit all these years.
I'm planning to get a bachelors in Math and maybe a Master's in statistics on a part time basis because it covers so much interesting territory. I tend to spend a good chunk of time at work looking at and working with statistical models (quantile regression, GAMLSS, monte carlo markov models, etc.) that I sort of understand, but a stronger math background would definitely help in that area. The fun part is that I'll get these degrees and then never use them in my work because by the time I graduate I should be in a more senior management position.
Ideally, I would just learn the math on my own, but I need some sort of forcing mechanism to make me do the studying. Plus I wouldn't mind getting another degree. I might as well collect them.
Don't know if this is common knowledge or not, but a website a friend of mine showed me that's extremely useful for double checking your work is Wolfram Alpha. You can enter pretty much anything and get the answer, find the derivative, show a graph, the integral, the roots, does essentially anything you can think of. You can even get step by step solutions to up to three (I think) problems per day for free.
Step by step used to be unlimited. It is if you have the app. One of only 2 I've ever purchased. Totally worth it.
When I took calc 2 and 3 step by step was unlimited and saved my ass a bit when I didn't understand problems. Unfortunately with the rise of wolframs popularity it now costs money. You can make unlimited new accounts though.
Start my final undergrad semester this coming Wednesday. It is an awesome feeling. Engineering was harder than I could've ever imagined but I am leaving school feeling smarter than like 80% of the population.
And then be prepared to use .01% of your classroom knowledge in industry.
True enough, already in the industry. With computer engineering at least my job directly relates to what I'm doing now though.
I have come to the conclusion that the online program we use to do math homework this semester is like a bad abortion gone horribly wrong.
I'm not normally one to nitpick things like this, but since this is The Back to School Thread I'd hate for someone to read your post and start writing redundancies such as "bad abortion gone horribly wrong", "time period", or "difficult math" on their college essays.
I was imagining like a cheap prostitute going into a really low scale abortion clinic, so she's already having a bad abortion, and then mid proceedure, something happens to make it just so much worse.
Oceans of blood and baby parts everywhere.
Like Dr Gosnell's office.
Last edited by Troll; 10-01-2013 at 12:52 PM.
I have come to the conclusion that early Calculus isn't hard. Its just tedious.
Yeah, its not "hard" per say, but just takes a shit load of practice before you're good at it, like anything else really. Cal 2 can be a bitch (depending on your professor) due to having to memorize trigonometric identities. Cal 3 was fun, I enjoyed that. Im in Differential Equations right now, and its not bad. Whats nice, is after the calc series, the class size drops, at least at my school. Only 17 people in my class, which is much better than those fucking auditorium shit shows. I can actually engage the professor with a legit question during class rather than hastily copying notes.
Been using calculus a lot in digital electronics (diodes, transistors, circuit analysis) and my discrete-time signals courses, glad I did well in Calc1-3.
I accepted a job offer for when I graduate in December and it really dropped my school motivation to like 10%. Anyone else ever have that happen? How did you deal? I know I'll pass and probably do well enough, but I really wanted to hit straight A's for when I apply to grad school in a year or two.
Sequences and series aren't too bad. The trig identities aren't too bad so far, either. It helps that the guy doing the course on Coursera is a good teacher (Jim Fowler from Ohio State).
I just submitted my college application. I'm excited as fuck. I'm actually doing this.
P.S. Enjoy the "multicultural" classes every major gets shafted with.
Yeah. Every time I get demotivated I go to work and have a 15 minute conversation with my boss and that cures me. Jesus fuck this place.
Congrats Troll, that first step is really the hardest part, for the most part college is easy. The programming classes I am doing now are pretty hard but mostly because of the arbitrary as fuck way they grade it. Everything else I have done has been cake.
I would've signed up a while ago but: a) I needed to have some job security so I didn't go homeless while taking classes and 2) I wanted to make sure I was at least kinda ready, not having taken classes for almost a decade.
Just had the last class of my undergrad today. Feels good man.
4 finals separate me from graduation... bring it!!!!
Congrats to you guys just starting, never give up! There were many moments as an older student that I felt like giving up, but my support system wouldn't allow it.
Congratulations. It feels so good to finish a degree. I had such a shit eating grin on my face when I walked out of my last exam.
I'm starting my masters in January with a block week course that is 11 hours per day. At least they give us a free breakfast!
I was unbelievably happy the day I walked the stage from undergrad. It was really the first time in life I felt like I conquered something. Graduating from law school was more like "holy shit what did I just do"
I have my last final for the semester in the morning, differential equations. Im nervous as shit.
My last final is tomorrow in discrete-time signals. I only need a C to graduate, and the final is only worth 20% so even if I fail I'll still get a B. Not really worried but it's a lot of material, and a lot of strange material. Never gonna use this class.
One last final today for some bullshit hardware class I was forced to take. Last for the semester, not the degree program of course. I have a really interesting course load next semester. Doing project management, more it security, more programming, and telecommunications.
Just finished.. my butthole is sore. Don't care what grades as long as I get a C- or better. Literally gave a million fucks for 4 years and right now giving 0.
Taking my placement tests in the morning. Yay.
Welp, I think I did about as well as I can have expected. Perfect reading score lulz.
I didn't test into taking Calc 1, so I'll have to take Stats first. Which is fine, because I don't think I ever actually took a Stats class. So all-in-all, pretty happy. Not as bad as I thought.
I'm doing a lot better at math and enjoy it a lot more than I used to.
Why would you take stats to prepare for calculus? Honestly, classes in stats without calculus are fucking boring and teach you nothing. Memorizing a bunch of statistics without knowing why they exist is silly.
Fixed it to make it more general and sum up 90% of college education. I hate all the "well-rounded" bullshit you have to deal with and take shitty classes like sociology and gender studies when you're not remotely interested in those fields.Memorizing a bunch of facts without knowing why they exist is silly.
Sorry for the semi-tangential rant.
Ugh calculus is the reason I am hesitant about doing comp sci when I go back to school in another year or two. Haven't taken a math class in 12 years and really not excited about the prospect.
Calculus is definitely the barrier for entry for a lot of degrees. It's honestly a lot easier than most of you probably think it is. You can do it!
I also don't understand Stats -> Calculus at all. Usually if you don't place into calculus they make you take pre-calculus (Algebra IIIish or whatever it is). I didn't have to take stats, but I did take probability.. that class can get the fuck right off. I think my brother took stats for his business degree but required no calculus, from looking at his work it always seemed like plug and chug with no real derivation or reason. Seemed like a worthless class.
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