Hi everyone, I’m a 23 year old female, currently in my final semester of a mechanical engineering degree. I’ll start with some background information... I've loved physics and astronomy since first reading about black holes and the life cycle of stars in Dad's ancient Encyclopedia Britannica set when I was a kid. In high school we had some career advice, where we were supposed to write down three careers we would like to pursue and show the year 12 coordinator so that we could choose our subjects accordingly. At the time I wrote Astronomer, Physicist, and then Engineer because I thought it was essentially applied physics. The coordinator had a good laugh and told me to cross out the first two and replace them with something realistic. I couldn't think of anything else, so I was just left with engineer. Year 12 didn't go well - I had a lot of personal and family issues going on at the time, and study was a fairly low priority. I ended up with an enterscore of 61, which meant I could just scrape into engineering at a fairly average university. I didn't know much about the different disciplines of engineering, and so I enrolled in civil engineering after being advised that it was the most broad option. First year was mainly physics and math, but when the different disciplines branched out mid-way though second year, I realised there was very little physics in civil. I was fairly depressed at the thought of never having to do math more complicated than rearranging an equation, and so I transferred to mechanical engineering. As the majority of the subjects were common up until then, this only set me back six months. After transferring to mechanical I was introduced to the possibility of doing a PhD in engineering and working in research. I thought this would up my alley as it would be more science-y, and so I finally pulled my finger out and started studying regularly. My average grade is now around 90%, and I just completed an undergraduate summer research program. However, I’ve spent a fair bit of time looking into potential engineering research projects and really haven’t found anything that jumps out as interesting. Throughout the course I’ve had people ask me what area I want to work in after graduating, and I’ve never had a good answer. The course has been okay, but there hasn’t been anything I’ve liked enough to specialise in. I’ve never been excited about any of it, the final year in particular I’ve found quite unchallenging and tedious. About six months to a year ago I was having lunch with an old friend who was asking me about my future plans. The conversation went something like this: “What are you going to do when you graduate?” “I’m hoping to get a PhD scholarship.” “Oh really? Do you know what your topic will be?” “Not really sure yet.” “Oh okay. I think you should only do a PhD if its on a topic you’re really passionate about.” I thought she made a very good point. I really don’t think I can find a topic in engineering that fits that criteria. I then started looking into options, like doing Master’s in science, or doing a PhD in cross-disciplinary field but these seem like compromises. I feel like the only way I could be happy working in engineering is if it was something very physics/astronomy related - like designing space craft for example. That’s a very ambitious career path though, even more so for someone who isn’t that into engineering in the first place. I’m also very concerned about climate change, and so I guess working in alternative energy would be okay. I’ve thought about ditching engineering and doing a science degree for quite a while, but I was always held back by the thought of giving up a career with relatively high pay and job security, as well as the obvious time commitment. I’m looking at another 5 - 6 years of study compared to getting an engineering job at the end of this year. I thought I could keep physics as a hobby, and just read books and watch documentaries in my spare time. The problem is that this just make me want to know more. My main interests are the big “why is anything here” questions in physics, I suppose that fits into cosmology. I also really love planetary science, so I’m not sure yet which of those areas I’d prefer. I’m applying for entry into the Bachelor of Science at Monash University, with the aim of majoring in both physics and applied mathematics. I’m 95% sure that I want to go through with it, but I still have some nagging doubts about this potentially being career suicide. I would appreciate any general advice about whether or not this is a stupid decision, and I also have these specific questions: -If for some reason I couldn’t get a job in physics, would my engineering degree still be worth anything after doing a science degree and postgrad? -Will my engineering knowledge help me in physics at all? Thanks in advance for any input, and sorry for the massive post. Courtney.