Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

A Problem

  1. Jan 19, 2009 #1
    I have a problem:

    To make a long story short, do you guys ever have the problem of deciding either to lay back and be lazy or to give all your life to bettering the sciences, mathematics, and technological arena's?

    I am a Junior Physical Education Major. 22 years old. Used to be a Psychology major for 1.5 years. Essentially, I am not helping mankind with Physical Education. Just helping some kids learn more about exercising. I am also an elite cyclist on a cycling team. Cycling for hours while bashing your brains to the wall, figuratively that is, in order to better yourself does not make you smart. Its not that it is a job (it's not) but for enjoyment. A selfish one that is.

    It has just gotten to a point where everything I do is to 'better myself' upon others or in other words, society reflection upon you. I want to contribute to the world instead of remain this zombie. Sure I may be fit but am I fit in mind?

    That is my dilemma.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2009 #2
    hope it all works out in the end
  4. Jan 20, 2009 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Whether you believe in a higher power, or the Bell curve, somehow, we're all given differing abilities and interests (which may not necessarily intersect, but that's another thread). Or maybe it's just what you were exposed / subjected to during your childhood. Or all of the above. If we all had the same interests and abilities, this would probably be a pretty boring world.

    Now I'm not a Rand-bot, but a society such as what we have in the western democracies probably best benefits when you be the best you that you can be. Obviously, we all can't be doing what we want all the time (or are carefree, and don't have mortgage / car payments), but I believe that if we use what we have / are given / are interested in, overall, our society works.

    Sure, you might not come up with a cure for cancer but by the same token, how many of the thousands of cancer researchers out there have? As researchers, you put in your flagstone on the path to fusion / the cure for cancer / alternative fuels, and hope that the road you're paving actually leads there. I don't mean to belittle, but we're all (usually essential) little cogs in the great human machine.

    Not to say that you have to (or even should) look at everything from this collectivist stand point, but look at the growing levels of youth obesity and the number of kids that are playing WoW (or whatever it is) all day instead of being outside. Not to say that every kid should be outside all the time doing physical activity, but they probably shouldn't be indoors on the computer / Xbox / Wii the whole day / childhood. If you, as a Phys Ed teacher, were able to encourage the less active kids (whether by inclination or lack of opportunity) to be more active, would that be such a bad thing? (But make sure to try to encourage the jocks to develop the brain muscle too ;-)

    But the above isn't a defense of being one-dimensional, or "knowing your place". How do you know what you're interested / good at without trying a bunch of things? We might not be Einstein, but that shouldn't stop us from learning Physics. We might not be in government, but that doesn't mean we can't read the "World" section, or civics, or be interested in how the government works, and keeping an eye on it. We might not be Lance Armstrong, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy / use a bike.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is be yourself, but don't be averse to new things either (like say, picking up the Feynman lectures). Use, or do not use; just my 2 cents of random musing.
  5. Jan 20, 2009 #4
    It is not that I am one-dimensional. I just don't know what I want to do. As a believer of the Existentialism ideals shown by Nietzsche, I have the choice to become something that I put my energy into. I CHOSE to be a Physical Education major. I could CHOOSE to be a physics or mathematics major. My major does not require much hard work. Shouldn't one challenge ones self in college and throughout their careers?

    I hear sometimes about how some people will put down books and pencils in trade for making money.

    One thing is for sure, I am a huge philosophy buff. But then, it can get you nowhere.
  6. Jan 20, 2009 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    All I can add is that a part of the university experience is all about discovering the ways that you can best contribute to the world. If you're not finding enough of a challenge with the path you're on, then there's nothing wrong with switching majors.

    And there's nothing wrong with making a contribution to the world completely outside of formal education either.
  7. Jan 20, 2009 #6
    To be honest, looking at the current situation in our country, we can benefit quite a bit from more/better Physical Educators...way too many fatties, left and right.
  8. Jan 20, 2009 #7
    When I was in my first job out of college I felt the same way as you. On my vacation I found a psychologist who gave aptitude tests. I took two days of tests (16 hrs.) and in the end found out which jobs would be satisfying to me. After that I didn't even look at other jobs. Most of all I had the satisfaction of knowing that I wouldn't be happier doing anything else and that can be very important.
  9. Jan 20, 2009 #8
    My advice would be to think of your career and self improvement seperately. You should think deeply about what it is you want to do when you graduate, find something you will truly enjoy doing. If physics interests you and you wish to pursue a career n this field then do it. If you simply are interested in the subject matter but dont wish to conduct research, then a degree is not needed. Do what you will enjoy.

    Don't think that your career is the only way in which you can help the community. With a little research i'm sure you would be able to find many ways to contribute.

    As for bettering yourself. Again, there are ways to do this that dont require you to pursue an education in a certain field.

    In the end it depends on how YOU wish to improve yourself and the community. All I ask is that you choose a career path you will enjoy. ( do you want to be the guy who counts the day till retirement in 40 years or the 75 year old who loves his job and has to be force out of his position because he refuses to retire?) Who knows, if you truly are passionate about your work, you could contribute greatly to your community.
  10. Jan 20, 2009 #9
    A part of me really hates mankind for the reason that we just trudge along with our worthless wars. Its humanity against humanity. Who is better than who. Who's religion is better than theirs.

    I'm a fan of Arthur C. Clarke and his vision of mankind succeeding outside of our little planet. Even though I don't read much of any physics or practice any mathematics, I want to hope for the best for both arena's. I want them to have break throughs. This is what the LHC is for.

    I will be honest with you. Nobody will remember you and I in 50 or 100 years. Time moves on. We are just little beings on this planet who need to grow and expand instead of stay boxed in with our little issues.

    So like someone said earlier in this thread "I'm just a cog in big human machine." That is nicely put.
  11. Jan 21, 2009 #10
    So true....
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook