38 years old and confused

  • #1
Hi, I have just a few basic questions. I was in the army for about 6 years then worked as a CCNA for about 6 years before being layed off, entire company was farmed out to Philippians I believe. I am a disabled vet with a wife and 2 year old. I was accepted into the VA's chapter 31 program which basically pays for my secondary education 100% plus a monthly stipend. I have bounced around a couple years and have wanted to go into physics but I read on forums that I am too old and that if my math skill set is average I will struggle to much (my business buddies think this).

My math used to be sharper, but I took algebra 101, trig and brief calculus, did ok in algebra (except for logs I start to struggle some) did pretty good in trig and struggled with a 5 week business calculus class. I passed with a C but I usually get B+'s to A's in most classes.

I guess I am just unsure if switching now is wise as it would be almost like starting over. Here is a link to the recommend coarse sequence. I would have to start with a lower physics class for the prereq for phys 211. http://physics.unl.edu/undergrad/Phys_Major_Sequence_12_2_22.pdf

Also, is University of Nebraska a good place to take physics? I looked at a couple rankings and it is not even listed so I am guessing its just average.

Here is the class load I would take if I took the professional track of physics at UNL.

I am not sure what I want to do with a physics degree. But all my classes so far dance around science and I feel like I just want to learn more about the world around me, I am so tired of business classes and I do not really look forward to entering a business admin world, I just took business because it seemed the degree most take to establish a career in the quickest amount of time.

I would have no issue with pursuing grad work, I have really enjoyed my basic astronomy classes and am an avid stargazer.

1. I am 1 year from getting at Agribusiness Degree at unl.edu
2. Money is not an issue, but maybe time is a big issue.
3. I do not feel "satisfied" with my current degree work.
4. I am really torn.
5. Wife is behind me either way as she is making some serious bank, but I have a sneaky suspicion she would rather see me get this business degree.

6. I really started to question my business degree path when I took the business calc class, it was a 5 week summer crash course. 48 people started, 9 passed, I was one of the 9 with a C. It was the ****ing hardest class I have ever took, probably put in 4 to 5 hours a night with 8 hour saturdays. Had an exam every monday and a cumulative final. But I passed and something inside me did not want to waste the hundreds of hours I put into learning that math.

7. I always wanted to study physics but was scared of the math, after the business calc class I feel I may be able to do it, it seems like everyone tells me it is too late.
I just do not know the correct path forward.

Any idea's or advice would be great.

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
If one struggled in calculus, then one might find physics challenging. Calculus is a big part of physics, particularly at the upper levels and in grad school.

Look through these course notes in upper level physics courses and see if one is comfortable with the subject matter

The statement - "I am not sure what I want to do with a physics degree." - is troubling. One should have an idea of why one would wish to obtain a degree in a particular subject.

Nebraska is probably as good as any state university with regard to physics or math and science. They have some interesting facilities - http://physics.unl.edu/

Has one considered engineering, which also requires a fair amount of calculus however?

A business degree is not so bad.

Age is never the issue - proficiency in mathematics and physics is.
Last edited:
  • #3
I have seen, from various similar threads, the general consensus that age shouldn't be an issue.

As for your other concerns, I won't be of much help, but I'm sure there is somebody who will be able to help you find what you're looking for. Either way, good luck!
  • #4
im 29 first year EE student, for a long time i did not exercise my math because of my work,, after i decided to leave my old life and saved money to finish my studies,. for awhile i left my interest in physics and came back again to awake the sleeping passion in me,

i started at square one, basic algebra and rewired my brain to cope to my studies, ELectrical Eng relies heavily in physics and math, so i started it bit by bit until i remembered much better back then...

i guess hard experience in life taught me well to strive hard and love the thing im doing..

im grateful to relive the thing im missing a long time ago..

U can do it dont be afraid of math.. no pain no gain.. think positive thats all i can say

Related Threads on 38 years old and confused

  • Last Post
  • Last Post
  • Last Post
  • Last Post