Saturday, April 22, 2006

the Fundamentals of Engineering

i remember hearing about the FE exam several years ago, probably from nathan, and thinking, "i could never do that." a test that tests you on everything you've ever learned? where anything that's been taught in your entire college career is fair game? i probably asked, "do i have to take that test, too?" and nathan probably laughed at my innocence.

but now, some four years later, it is done. well, hopefully it's done, if i didn't pass i'll have to take it again. but i'm fairly confident that i passed, because, despite my freshmen nightmares, the test wasn't that bad. the morning section was especially breezy, and i found that two minutes per problem wasn't a bad restriction, and actually that i had a lot of time at the end to look up the problems i couldn't figure out in that 200-page cheat sheet they gave us, which is pretty ridiculous. but all the time in the world wouldn't have helped me on a couple of those problems. if i had stayed awake in majumdar's class (or even his study session last week) maybe i would have know the atomic structure of pure iron. and the thermo problems were really obscure.

the hardest part was just the sheer endurance you need to finish the thing. four hours in the morning, four hours in the afternoon... it's hard to stay motivated that long. it doesn't help that the afternoon problems are a lot harder than the morning ones, and then you get that afternoon i-want-a-nap feeling, and you just don't know how the thermal deflection of a column translates into critical failure, and what's that noise? and it's a gorgeous day outside, and look, most of the people have left already, and you wonder if you've answered enough questions to pass without trying the rest, and then you suddenly realize that you haven't done any work for five minutes and start over with renewed determination that this was the last time you space out. but it's not.

but i'm proud of myself. i stayed until the end and tried to find all the right answers and now i feel like having a night of hard-earned slacking off to make up for that mental battering. even if i didn't pass, i got a new mechanical pencil out of the deal. nice, huh? only cost me $65. and it's red, everybody likes red.

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