OMG UPDATE: Question? Answer.

Updated on Saturday, September 13

#6334

QUESTION: I feel like an impostor.

Small-town kid gets small-town good grades. Learned the hard way that this is bush-league to the kids who did AP, IB, every other more-prepared-than-me program. Then comes Engineering.

After a few Algebra lectures, I'm seriously wondering how I even got in. Fluke? Error? Cruel joke? I want to pass, I really do. I'm planning to put every fibre of my entire being to the grindstone this year, no exceptions, because failure is not any sort of option. But, with my insignificant background, who's to say even that will be enough?

20 comments

  1. if there is a way to get into a mess, there is a way out, question is, can you find it? Its doable, just keep studying, or worst comes to worst, fail the term, and restart next year, and come prepared. Good luck

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  2. Hey OP, I know how you feel. I didn't come from a small town, but my high school didn't have a very strong math program. I somehow made it through first year thanks to cramming and curves (sometimes I wonder how I made it to third year). A lot of my stress came from the fact that I had bad study habits, but you seem determined to study well. I think you'll be fine!

    Which algebra course are you taking? 115?

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  3. Don't worry about it OP. Come 2nd year, everyone gets mutually buttfucked.

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  4. It's only one week in. Wait until midterms... But seriously if you made it into the program you should be capable to make it through.

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  5. Hi OP. I felt (and feel) the same way. But I made the mistake of not taking it seriously and failed 1A. Got my shit together and came back.
    Trust me when I say that if you are trying this hard..you will be just fine. Keep it up! (Don't forget to take breaks too..mental health is important)

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  6. Hi OP. I had the same feeling first year. Was average in high school (high 70s) was really taken back in University how intelligent everyone else was (the high 90s lol). Currently in my first years of my Masters at UW, don't focus on others focus on yourself, thats the best advice I ever got to stop getting caught up in what others were doing! work hard you can do it my friend !!!!

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  7. I'm from a small town too. Just remember that it really comes down to how many hours you put in.

    IB/AP kids might have a slight advantage in first year, but after that the material is new for everyone.

    Remember that first year is hard for everyone, you just need to put in enough time.

    ~3rd yr Eng.

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  8. I would like to add, don't get discouraged if you're only average... I was a 90s student at a very small rural highschool and came here and have never even made honour role and I'm in psych arts... It's honestly just way more competition here.. And the work is waaaay harder! I went from honours Arbus co-op down to honours arts psych co-op down to reg stream co op and now I think I want to be a teacher and go to college after cus it's more my avenue. I'm in 3rd year now. Just roll with it, the more you stress the worse you do. Check out online resources such as studyblue.com and stay on top of your studies! I have friends from my highschool who went on to exceed at UW and other great schools, you can do it too!

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  9. ^ whoops butchered this.. I'm in reg stream didn't make it into co op and now gunna finish up my 4 years and go to college* so ya things will change as u go! :)

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  10. I was admitted with a relatively low average compared to everyone I knew in first year. (I had an 80% in Alberta, everyone I knew was 90+ in the math fac) Don't let other students fool you, a lot of kids enter Waterloo expecting to be able to face it, but eventually come to terms with the extent of their abilities. You shouldn't think in comparison of how you'll perform compared to your peers, but how you perform overall.

    Study hard, ask questions when you need to, and don't be afraid to fail or alter your plans. That's all the advice I have for you. :)

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  11. You won't be able to compete with the people with stronger backgrounds this year 9try to though). Just work hard, learn how to learn, and outperform them in upper years.

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    1. This. Your average takes a hit in 1st year because they're much better prepared but they don't learn to study and work hard at the university level while you do.

      Went from 70th to top 10 rank in my engineering class coming from a smaller town and different background than IB + AP kids that had basically already done 1st year.

      How? Just work, keep working. Remember you had it easy all those high school years and pay it back with more work now and don't complain about it.

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  12. I'm also an engineering student from a small town. First year is tough, just put in the hours of studying, get the assignments done, scrape through first year, even if you do fail a course or two. You'll do better in second and third year, as courses become more relevant and interesting.

    For the record, I failed math 115 and chem 102 and im still in the program here.

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  13. I'm also an engineering student from a small town. First year is tough, just put in the hours of studying, get the assignments done, scrape through first year, even if you do fail a course or two. You'll do better in second and third year, as courses become more relevant and interesting.

    For the record, I failed math 115 and chem 102 and im still in the program here.

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  14. Try not to psyche yourself out. Use your own advantages to stick it out for first year if you truly believe this is the right path for you to the future you want. This may include getting a tutor, seeking help from your professor (assuming the content is relevant), adjusting your study habits, or perhaps just some extra studying of any material you feel you may have missed from previous education. Try to think of the big picture as right now may suck complete ass, but just realize after this year everyone will have the same education levels as many other posters have said.
    I have no idea what you’re future plans are, but realize that you are what you make of yourself. Challenge yourself always and when you succeed you’ll start realizing your full capabilities, don’t back down, don’t puss out. I entered with a decent average, after picking up a few courses needed to enter university, after a number of years working; I entered as a mature student. I was surrounded by AP/IB/over-achievers galore going into my program and felt the same way as you. But after I realized they are just another student, among many others, and everything became easier as I focused on the material for what it actually was (relatively simple, logical) rather than what I thought it was (some abstract notion of impossibility that I couldn’t achieve and should just give up on without even trying). Just focus on yourself for now and with time you’ll develop the confidence to be successful in your studies.

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  15. Lmao first week and you're already overwhelmed? Turn back now before it's too late

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  16. Chances are you'll be experiencing this your whole life. Now in grad school everyone around me has parents who are professors or have PhD's and have been groomed as a grad student their entire life. My Waterloo friends who went into the industry are competing with MIT and Stanford graduates at their workplaces. Fact is, if you have ambition you'll always end up surrounded by those with a better pedigree/education. In the end it seems the ones with weaker backgrounds always come out on top since they have the insecurity and ambition pushing them to work harder.

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  17. AP and IB mean nothing after first year. Especially in an engineering/science program.

    (From small town, finishing up my degree in math phys)

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  18. AP and IB are meaningless even in 1st year. I did really well in IB but had a very exhausting ride in 1A eng. You just need to work hard. Good luck. We believe in you! :)

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  19. Everyone is faking it.

    Engineering students, arts students, masters students, PhD's... even profs are faking. Nobody ever really has a clue what they're doing. You'll be just fine.

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