Author Topic: Mediocre Son Wants to Be a Rocket Scientist  (Read 1360 times)

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Mediocre Son Wants to Be a Rocket Scientist
« on: November 30, 2020, 11:50:41 AM »
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  • My son is only mediocre in math and science.  Actually it might be more accurate to say he really dislikes those subjects.  However...a few years ago he participated in a Lego Robotics club and loved it so much he wants to "build space ships" as a career.  He's due to graduate from high school in April and we're getting ready to enroll him in the local community college.  He's been homeschooled so we are very familiar with his academic abilities.  This kid is NOT analytical and has low tolerance for hard work.  The leader of the Robotics club misled the kids into thinking building Lego robots was the same as a "STEM" career.  I've tried everything to convince my son that engineering is very hard for even the smartest students.  He keeps telling me that he doesn't want to do math equations....he just wants to design the spaceships.  He believes he can design spacecraft based on ideas he already has.  ???? :facepalm:  

    Do I go ahead and enroll him in the engineering program when I know he will wash out?  Let him learn through experience that it's not the right path even though he will incur massive student loan debt?  How do you get through to a teenage boy that he's just wrong?  

    Offline Frank

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    Re: Mediocre Son Wants to Be a Rocket Scientist
    « Reply #1 on: November 30, 2020, 12:17:09 PM »
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  • Have you heard of “Industrial Design”?
    It’s designing stuff without being the one doing the math. He would work with engineers rather than being the engineer. Industrial designers are usually are the ones that come up with ideas and solutions that then are engineered to make buildable. 

    However, I would not recommended a desk job. I would get him into construction or farming.   Much better for the soul and a greater ability to work alone and be self-employed in these horrible times. 
    And, avoid college.


    Offline Matthew

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    Re: Mediocre Son Wants to Be a Rocket Scientist
    « Reply #2 on: November 30, 2020, 12:24:12 PM »
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  • If you DO sign him up, just sign him up for a couple classes, don't go into deep debt or anything. WHEN he washes out, you don't want to be out thousands of dollars or worse.

    Start small. What is a single class, $100 or $150? You want to keep his wake-up call as cheap as possible.

    Now that I've thought about it longer than 60 seconds, the solution is simple: He needs to pay for that wake-up call. Have him pay 100% of the first few classes AT LEAST. There is no law or guideline that says parents must pay for the college of their kids. It's not even advisable.

    The smart kids who belong in college will get scholarships due to their awesome grades and SAT scores. Kids who can't do that aren't meant for careers requiring a Bachelor of Arts. My point? There is also Trade School and other certifications that aren't nearly as expensive or useless as a "well rounded but expensive college degree".

    Unless there is no other way, college should be avoided at all costs. (Hint: computer programming, graphics design, and many other careers DO NOT require a degree). In many fields, other proofs of competence do BETTER to get you a job. Portfolio, enthusiasm, raw skills that can be demonstrated.
    Feeling generous? Want to say "thank you"? Feel free to send gifts from my Amazon wishlist!
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    Offline claudel

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    Re: Mediocre Son Wants to Be a Rocket Scientist
    « Reply #3 on: November 30, 2020, 08:06:12 PM »
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  • The leader of the Robotics club misled the kids into thinking building Lego robots was the same as a "STEM" career.

    Oy vey! Remember this print ad?

    Microsoft's copy reads: "We see a rocket scientist." Nobody else did, however.


    Offline SimpleMan

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    Re: Mediocre Son Wants to Be a Rocket Scientist
    « Reply #4 on: November 30, 2020, 09:25:17 PM »
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  • My son is only mediocre in math and science.  Actually it might be more accurate to say he really dislikes those subjects.  However...a few years ago he participated in a Lego Robotics club and loved it so much he wants to "build space ships" as a career.  He's due to graduate from high school in April and we're getting ready to enroll him in the local community college.  He's been homeschooled so we are very familiar with his academic abilities.  This kid is NOT analytical and has low tolerance for hard work.  The leader of the Robotics club misled the kids into thinking building Lego robots was the same as a "STEM" career.  I've tried everything to convince my son that engineering is very hard for even the smartest students.  He keeps telling me that he doesn't want to do math equations....he just wants to design the spaceships.  He believes he can design spacecraft based on ideas he already has.  ???? :facepalm:  

    Do I go ahead and enroll him in the engineering program when I know he will wash out?  Let him learn through experience that it's not the right path even though he will incur massive student loan debt?  How do you get through to a teenage boy that he's just wrong?  
    Father of a homeschooled son here, who is mediocre (and that is putting it charitably) in math, just OK in science, and beyond hyper-literate in reading and composition.

    I have to wonder if your son's aspirations might be the catalyst to improve his math skills and science aptitude.  He wants to do this, and if he sees that the only way to succeed, is by being good in math and science, he might get better in math and science.  Who can say?

    Sometimes the most challenging subjects are the ones you end up developing the most proficiency in, because you have to work so hard at it.



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    Re: Mediocre Son Wants to Be a Rocket Scientist
    « Reply #5 on: December 01, 2020, 06:57:40 AM »
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  • Obviously you know your son better than any of us. Still, what Simple Man said should be considered. Sometimes the problem is one of motivation as opposed to raw cognitive skill. If your son finds motivation to learn math via STEM, maybe he will transcend his mediocrity. 

    Offline Ladislaus

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    Re: Mediocre Son Wants to Be a Rocket Scientist
    « Reply #6 on: December 01, 2020, 07:55:51 AM »
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  • Enroll him in a tough "weed out" class, just the one, and see if he can hack it.  If he can't, then the question will be answered for him.  In a lot of competitive fields, the schools have weed out classes to eliminate those who will likely not succeed.

    Of course, if your son has any claim to being a minority, there are many, many jobs for mediocre "rocket scientists" at NASA.  I knew many of them.  Don't get me started.

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    Re: Mediocre Son Wants to Be a Rocket Scientist
    « Reply #7 on: December 01, 2020, 08:35:49 AM »
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  • Of course, if your son has any claim to being a minority, there are many, many jobs for mediocre "rocket scientists" at NASA.  I knew many of them.  Don't get me started.
    Exactly. Just look at the ad Claudel posted.


    Offline SimpleMan

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    Re: Mediocre Son Wants to Be a Rocket Scientist
    « Reply #8 on: December 01, 2020, 09:30:49 AM »
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  • Enroll him in a tough "weed out" class, just the one, and see if he can hack it.  If he can't, then the question will be answered for him.  In a lot of competitive fields, the schools have weed out classes to eliminate those who will likely not succeed.

    Of course, if your son has any claim to being a minority, there are many, many jobs for mediocre "rocket scientists" at NASA.  I knew many of them.  Don't get me started.
    I know it is not always well-received on these forums to put in a good word for the black race --- and with all the politically correct social engineering and mass brainwashing that takes place these days, to the effect of the African race being the best thing that ever happened to this planet, paragons of virtue and strength both physical and spiritual, it's entirely understandable, I get just as sick of it as anyone else because it's so overblown and dissent is forbidden --- but here goes...

    I found repeatedly in my working life, that for some inexplicable reason, many black women (women, not men) were almost supernaturally good at math and accounting.  I've never seen anything quite like it.  It's every bit as profound as the usual Asian stereotypes.  I even heard one of them comment on it --- "did you ever notice how many light-skinned black women are good at math?", and no, I don't think she was playing the "let's all boost each other" card that so many of them do.  I haven't seen the film Hidden Figures but I'd be interested to see it.  Math proficiency isn't the kind of thing you can fake.

    I've wondered if it could be something in the way the different racial genes combine, and many "light-skinned" blacks are far more white, genetically, than they are black.

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    Re: Mediocre Son Wants to Be a Rocket Scientist
    « Reply #9 on: December 01, 2020, 09:38:30 AM »
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  • Engineering programs in the US are set up expecting students will be in or beyond Calculus I in their first semester, first year. They may have allowance for students to take a math refresher first and then Calculus I second semester, but any later than that is behind schedule.

    My suggestion is take Calc at a community college. Cs may pass, but they're not good indicators for success in engineering school.

    If someone really wants to work in STEM without calc or strong math, consider a program emphasizing computer aided design (CAD). It may be called something other than CAD, such as product design, industrial design, or manufacturing technology.  CAD specialists make good salaries.

    Offline Stanley N

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    Re: Mediocre Son Wants to Be a Rocket Scientist
    « Reply #10 on: December 01, 2020, 09:39:13 AM »
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  • I thought I checked the box. Last one was me.


    Offline Minnesota

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    Re: Mediocre Son Wants to Be a Rocket Scientist
    « Reply #11 on: December 01, 2020, 09:42:01 AM »
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  • If he's mediocre at math and science, the engineering classes will eat him alive.
    Get off the internet and say your rosary!

    Pray for one another.

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    Re: Mediocre Son Wants to Be a Rocket Scientist
    « Reply #12 on: December 01, 2020, 09:47:00 AM »
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  • Quote
    ..a few years ago he participated in a Lego Robotics club and loved it so much he wants to "build space ships" as a career.
    It's good he's passionate about something.  Often that can change a person into working hard for a goal.  Even if he ends up not being an engineer/scientist/designer, maybe he can go work for NASA (it's a huge place) and be around space ships.  He could be in finance, or a chef in the kitchen, or whatever...
    .
    Lots of really good college athletes don't make the professional level, but they go work for pro teams in the office or work go into broadcasting as commentators.  They just like being around the industry/players.

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    Re: Mediocre Son Wants to Be a Rocket Scientist
    « Reply #13 on: December 01, 2020, 12:54:29 PM »
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  • Encourage him to follow his dreams BUT make him aware that it’s on his coin.

    I wanted to be an “Artist/illustrator”.  After a few classes...and student loans...seeing other students who were more talented AND the subjective nature of art...what one teacher said was an “A” and an incredible reproduction of a still life, another said it was a “C” because simply drawing what you see is “unimaginative”, preferring Pico-soesque drawings...I quickly changed my major to something I could make a living at.

    Sadly, fellow students who’s parents were funding their dream, graduated with a degree that was relatively useless while their parents were stuck holding the bag.

    I’d simply say “Follow your dreams, but remember, you have to pay for them”.  It’s amazing how quickly priorities can change .

    Hope this helps. 

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    Re: Mediocre Son Wants to Be a Rocket Scientist
    « Reply #14 on: December 01, 2020, 01:12:32 PM »
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  • … another said it was a “C” because simply drawing what you see is “unimaginative”, preferring Pico-soesque drawings.

    … fellow students who’s parents were funding their dream …

    Hope this helps.

    "Pico-soesque" s/b "Picasso-esque"

    "who's" s/b "whose"

    So after you won the National Spelling Bee, what did you go on to do? [wink]


     

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