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Adult study and career path

  1. Jul 13, 2011 #1
    I'm not sure what guidance may be offered but I wanted to get some advice from professionals in the field of astronautics. I moved after high school and am finally in a position to follow my goals in education. I'm 27 years old with a semester of undergrad completed. I have always had an affinity for mathematics and physics and did well in high school in both. It has been about 10 years since graduating high school and I'm now attending a local community college to complete my undergraduate pre-req classes. After years of deliberation and personal study I know that I want to go in the direction of astronautics reinforced with computer science. My plan is to finish my first two years of classes at the community college, transfer to a local state college to complete my bachelors, and then move on to an undecided graduate school.

    I think that hanging around this forum and seeing all of the young inquisitive minds talking about schools like MIT and Berkley, instills a certain amount of uncertainty that, at my age, my goals are reasonable being that I'm just getting started with my higher education and that I work a full time job and attend school in the evenings, filling my free time with personal study. I have no doubt that I am more than capable of learning that which I seek to learn. My uncertainty is in whether or not I will be able to find work after completing my education if I go to a school such as Colorado School of Mines (as I live in Denver) or something less prestigious. It excites me to see that the private sector is becoming involved in space flight. I see that as a sign that my interests will lead me to a field that is growing as more companies seek engineers and developers that understand space flight.

    I guess why I'm writing is that I would like to hear from some of the professionals in the industry and to get their take on my situation. Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 13, 2011 #2
    Personally, I'm not optimistic. Astronautics is something that needs sustained government funding, and right now in the US, that's something that doesn't fit with the political mood.

    But one thing that I've learned is not to be too specific with your goals. If you want to do astronautics then you will be at the whim of the political mood and events out of your control. If your goal is "something better than what I have" then things are easier.

    Two things:

    1) What happens next is mostly out of your direct control.

    2) Even private sector development of space requires massive government funding. Space exploration has always been a public/private partnership, and what is different now is not so much that private companies are involved, but they are taking over more design and control responsibilities in the hopes that things will be better, faster, cheaper. But in the end, you still need the Federal government footing the bills.
  4. Jul 14, 2011 #3
    Being in Colorado and interested in Aerospace engineering, why not look into Boulder for school? CSM doesn't even have an "Aerospace" program. The only problem would be getting into the Boulder program because it's very competitive.
  5. Jul 14, 2011 #4
    Thank you for your insight.

    I mentioned CSM only as a for instance. I have been in contact with them about their programs and am aware of what they offer as far as Aerospace and Aeronautics. My understanding of their programs is a primary focus on ME with prep for AE graduate work.

    I have considered CU Boulder as well and have started talking to an academic adviser. Being about a 45 minutes drive it is a viable option.

    Two-fish, I appreciate your perspective. I suppose I did not realize that much of the funding would still fall into a federal budget. You mention that you try not to be too specific with your goals. I am interested to hear how you feel that would apply to my situation or what course you would feel confident in pursuing.

    Thanks again.
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