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    Why is physics so hard?

    TA'ing some 3rd year physics majors and getting to know some fellow grad students from around the world, I've noticed a few things. Those do well on exams typically do not follow the syllabus to the letter and do problems beyond what is required of them through homeworks. The mathematical...
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    I'd like to know how you got your research

    Talking directly to the ones that seem approachable.
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    Does Anyone Else Learn Better On Own and Hate Class?

    One of the better prof's and researchers at my undergrad school openly admitted not having gone to lectures at all as an undergrad, he spent all his time self-studying (and honestly probably ended up learning more than his peers), telling us straight up he would not hold it against us if we...
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    Day in the life of an astrophycisist?

    I can provide some examples as a grad student that doesn't have the added responsibilities of applying for grant money., observation time, teaching and other bureaucratic worries of a practicing researcher in a university or national lab setting: Read the latest papers related to your field...
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    Awesome textbooks

    Cohen-Tannoudji's QM Landau's Mechanics Marsden/Tromba's Vector Calculus MTW? I don't have a favorite GR book, but I've always felt very attached to this one and grab it whenever I find it at a library.
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    Which religion do you affiliate with?

    The big 3 (some would say the only 3) monotheistic flavors are up there, I really don't think there's a degeneracy problem here. Atheist/agnostics are clearly the only ones that should be picking the "none" option.
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    Which religion do you affiliate with?

    I like the fact the OP used "None" as an option. It's always nice to see when someone bothers to get it right, ie: not labeling atheism as a religion.
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    Benefit of external funding for phd?

    On the topic of being able to TA part time: it will also depend on the terms for the fellowship/scholarship. I know of a fellowship at my school that explicitly prohibits taking up assisstantships for pay (fortunately it pays better than both RA's and TA's!), and discourages seeking outside...
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    'I Want To Do Theoretical Physics'

    I think I made a thread a while back asking about graduate schools with research programs that focused on this topic. It turns out the "pure" research on it is carried out by very few schools IME, but I have come across many that deal with it through the goggles of other disciplines, since it...
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    How to do problems

    I am surprised no one has brought up a third option: picking easier exercises appropriate for one's skill level. Allow me to stretch the weight lifting analogy even further: start with the empty barbell, make sure you can go through the motions properly, then progressively add weight to it... A...
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    Schools Getting into graduate school with average grades

    Where do you obtain official reports of the total number of students taking the GRE's? Is this something that's only available to academic institutions?
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    Schools Getting into graduate school with average grades

    Yes. The research, even if it's not in GR topics will help you (not just for application purposes, but for giving you a head start in the game with some hard skills), especially if you get the bulk of your rec letters from the people who supervised your research instead of just your lecturers...
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    Schools Getting into graduate school with average grades

    I will give a stern word of caution on converting foreign grading scales to US GPA, it does NOT give an accurate picture of your performance or preparation. In the UK, obtaining a first class (70%) is non-trivial and very unusual among physics majors IME. In my country (Spain), where a 1-10...
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    Schools Getting into graduate school with average grades

    A 1/20 admitees/applicants ratio is very typical and not that bad, it can be better, but for the most part at the bigger schools it tends to be even worse. I remember having made a spreadsheet with info like this that I managed to get from all the schools I was seriously interested in applying...
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    University prestige: how much of a factor?

    I disagree, but you picked a very safe example that has a reputation for having a very tough physics bachelors program. Alma mater may have also been a result of how wealthy your family is and what contacts you have, and things like grade inflation, plagiarism and cheating are still present even...
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    University prestige: how much of a factor?

    For actually getting a private sector job, this is in direct contradiction to what I have been told by a sibling and his co-workers at a big corp., most of which hire new engineers fresh out of college. For advancing once you're in, what you said is pretty much what I've always heard. Though...
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    Can I be a physicist?

    I want to dwell on this for a bit. I have also observed (and heard directly from advisers, also corroborated with many threads here) that a significant fraction of late stage PhD students grow tired of research and tend to doze off or lose interest in their (science) job search at the time where...
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    Can I be a physicist?

    In b4 the storm of dissuading comments. I have to say this is about right. It may well be a selection effect, but almost universally I have found that all of those that remain in academia for a long time are extreme workaholics by most societal standards and have a very high tolerance for...
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    Prospects as a US student in Mexico

    Absolutely. I don't know why you're asking the question, you've got numerous examples showing this. I know one postdoc at my school (US) that went to Oxbridge after his bachelors in Mexico, which I think is an even greater feat competition-wise compared to most US grad schools (much bigger...
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    Programs Chemistry Major Thinking (too much?) about Physics

    Going to grad school in physics coming from a bachelors in chemistry can and has been done. But if you don't have a semester of quantum+E&M under your belt, or thermo/stat mech (physchem may count for this) or physics research experience*, you are going to have a hard time making a case for...
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    Grad options aside from physics?

    Any masters program that is willing to take your money. More practically, any STEM MS makes sense: optics, a myriad of engineering subdisciplines and/or computer science, but these last two may require some additional ground work on your part if your background in electronics or programming is...
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    Programs Chemistry Major Thinking (too much?) about Physics

    Different situation: I spent some years in a chemistry bachelors program before I switched to physics for reasons similar to yours (in addition, physics was not available at my school and I had a prior pre-university degree in chem, so it was the default option). The questions you should be...
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    Starting a date

    If the villagers have no bread, let them eat cake. This is more often than not a 1 way ticket to the friend zone for males. Avoid this if you actually want a date.
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    Budding Astrophysicist

    Ignore the condescending blanket statements like Rika's and make your own thoroughly informed decisions. I think I would reserve the term 'budding astrophysicist' for an academic who works on astrophysics that has recently gotten tenure, is starting to establish his/her research group, getting...
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    IQ is everything?

    Concur with the above and... Attempting to quantify these things is largely a waste of time when their translation into real-world performance is dubious at best. Asking if some achievements are out of reach because one wasn't "born with it" is not helpful, especially if it is not incurring...
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    Physics Work opportunities for physicists

    It would be helpful, I think. It would certainly cut down on the repeat discussions that most of us have read in full that while do go off on interesting tangents, they rarely help the OP's situation (ie: I want a job/a job better than the high school-level job I currently have and cannot find...
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    Disillusioned: do I have what it takes to finish?

    Not a concern if your grades and GRE's are good, have relevant research experience, pick your grad schools right and are lucky.
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    Disillusioned: do I have what it takes to finish?

    One thing I forgot to add was: do not rush to the finish line by any means, do well in the remainder of your courses no matter if it takes 1 semester or 4. Not doing so will negatively impact any avenues to graduate school if that is what you intend to do with your degree.
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    Disillusioned: do I have what it takes to finish?

    Being a good college student full-time should have the same demands on your time as a full-time job. It is clear your work is tapping into your study time. You are lucky you can even do ok with one class per semester with a 60hr. work schedule, many can not even do that much. You should be proud...