I am about to graduate highschool and attend either the United States Coast Guard Academy or University of Central Florida and major in mechanical engineering. Would it be a good idea to purchase textbooks that aid in the subject area or should I just focus on my current schooling? If I do get the textbooks, please recommend ones that aren't insanely expensive.
>Would it be a good idea to purchase textbooks that aid in the subject area or should I just focus on my current schooling?
Focus on your schooling. Make sure you're really solid on the stuff that's going to matter to you as a MechE: calculus & physics.
If you've got that down focus on English and public speaking. Why English? Because if you can't stand up in front of a roomful of coworkers and communicate your ideas clearly or write a clear engineering specification, you are fucked as a professional. Seriously, majorly fucked.
> If I do get the textbooks, please recommend ones that aren't insanely expensive.
Ain't no such thang. All current textbooks are insanely expensive. Pirate them off the internet.
And, yeah, the /adv/ board is that way. ->
> I just struggle w/ Calculus for some reason.
Fix that *NOW*. Do whatever it takes, regardless of the cost.
Grab a general college calculus textbook off of bookzz.org (Larson's Calculus seems to get good reviews) and skim the table of contents. You are going to go through that *plus* a differential equations course plus additional math courses. And you'll go through it at 2x - 3x the rate you are doing in high school.
On top of that, every single STEM course you take is going to use calculus. College physics? Uses calculus. Statics & dynamics. Uses calculus. You get the picture.
If you don't have a solid grasp of calculus, it's game over for you as an engineer before you even start.