What nobody tells you about studying a STEM subject at university

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#1 It's hard, no matter how good you are


Unlike with some other majors, studying any natural science truly is a long and difficult task. It's not something that will happen overnight and will certainly take a lot of effort on your side, unless everything comes naturally for you.

Photo by John Moeses Bauan on Unsplash
Photo by John Moeses Bauan on Unsplash

#2 Non-STEM students won't understand your journey


I honestly didn't realise this until recently - I have more to talk about with my friend who also studies a STEM subject than with the ones who don't.
Of course, not studying the same subjects isn't an issue, but it's interesting how much more you have in common when you study a similar science!

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash
Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

#3 You may miss reading about something and then getting an assignment on it...


This is definitely the case for me. I miss picking up a textbook, learning about a topic in general, researching about it in more detail and then summarising everything in an essay. I know, for some, that may seem boring, but at least for me, studying Computer Science hasn't exactly been too reading-heavy and I miss that.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

#4 ... but at least, you have something to show for at the end of the day


This is really, really good. Nothing is more satisfying than being able to run a good piece of code after obsessing over it for a few hours or being able to admire a long proof or calculation. Just anything that delivers results will be good enough.

Photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash
Photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash

#5 People will always try to get you to solve their math, health or tech related problems for you


No matter what natural science you study, there will be a point in time where you'll be approached by someone expecting you to have all the answers.

This can be a little challenging, especially when you feel the pressure, but it's always okay to admit that you don't have the required knowledge :)

What nobody tells you about studying a STEM subject at university
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Most Helpful Guys

  • Adam1978
    Sounds right, it's moments when a economy student complains about their math and you just roll your eyes. Because they got so much easier math that you can solve it without taking their class. And they wonder how that is possible. In the end its much more rewarding to take stem then anything else because it free your mind and open so many possibilities. If you have taken any higher studies like this you know how to aquire the knowledge to tackle any problem or challenges.
    Is this still revelant?
  • TallAnon
    Isn't computer science a stem subject?
    Is this still revelant?
    • Yes, it is :)

    • TallAnon

      In that case I can chime in and say that some of these points aren't correct, haha. I personally thought CS was super easy and fun, when it comes to programming it just clicks or it doesn't. I was a horrible student before college, but when I started CS I was just like.. yeahhh, I got this. Then for 4 months I was basically glued to my screen making different things and ended up getting the best grades. After the first year I could finish the entire 10 week project in the first week. It really is the case where programming requires a certain mindset, but if you get it, you won't really have trouble with it again.

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What Girls & Guys Said

214
  • rachel776
    it's the same in the arts

    there are 50,000 who say they're a great writer or musician or whatever, and only a few who really do it

    enjoy your success and ignore the rest
    • I can only imagine! True artists are rare to find.

  • CubsterShura
    It's difficult but also fun that's why I'm in for the torture lol. Haven't officially declared my major yet but it's going to be biochemistry and microbiology. Many NASA astronauts are actually microbiology majors... Not saying I will become an astronaut, but as a kid I wrote in essays that this is what I want to become and it's satisfying to take a path where the door is still open. ❤️
  • exitseven
    Yes, it is tough. I have a CS degree and am now teaching it. The amount of work I had to do to pass the courses was ridiculous. I actually hired a tutor to get me through the year of a programming language.
    In a couple of my courses I give a term paper as an assignment. It can be on any computer related subject the student wants. I do it to get them to think a little and because it is such a wide open field to maybe think about what exactly they want to do when they graduate.
  • MTC29
    BS Civil Engineering- structural engineer.
    Master of Engineering- materials science.

    Easy? Of course not. On the other hand, since very few students who aren't up to the task attempt STEM subjects, most get through.

    Downside? #5 rings true: everyone in the family, as well as your neighbors figure that you'll be happy to assemble their new Ikea bookcase, change out a faucet, install shelving, or hang a ceiling fan for them. Well, I hate doing that crap! I'm an engineer and not a handyman. Of course if an attractive single woman needs help with a project in her house, that's another matter.
    • exitseven

      Yes, everyone calls me for free tech support for their computers. Some expect a house call.

    • I don't, mind the handyman stuff. But I also keep busy, hard to pin me down. As for the IT stuff, I enjoy that too. People "break" their computer I fix it, I don't like planned obsolescence; so I rather fix peoples computers with free labor, or it is cheaper to replace it. The other thing, when people have a really bad OS, I've gotten good at forensics because of it.

  • dolemite89
    your job prospects are so much better when u go into a major involving math. liberal arts students are doomed 😂
    • I agree that the job prospects are awesome :)

  • DWornock
    For a few guys, learning math and physics is less difficult than mastering English grammar or learning another language especially if they don't have an outstanding memory. Math and physics are primarily logic so there is not much to memorize.
  • Havill4nd
    I studied aerospace engineering. It really difficult for me and I didn't get a very good grade.

    I still love the subject. But I'm slowly losing that love.
  • 007kingifrit
    most college majors are so easy and useless nowadays, you may have a harder time in college but you'll have an easier time in the rest of life
  • SHREYASH007
    IT Engineering basically CS, totally agree with you.
  • msc545
    Ok, so it isn't easy. I remember it as not being quite as difficult as you portray, but that was a while ago, and I could be wrong.
  • zagor
    LOL yeah I still provide tech support for my family. And their neighbors.
  • Avicenna
    I teach STEM subjects, so this was interesting
  • COMMODOREII
    Sounds like any class at my university
  • Paulychicago10
    Lol, #5 is absolutely spot on
  • Anonymous
    Took physics. There’s a lot to read. And I really don’t like reading too much.


    I prefer tackling problems, doing the math, and coding.
  • Anonymous
    did you take chemistry and can you make meth?
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