1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

An interesting situation and UBC questions

  1. May 4, 2012 #1
    Hello PF,

    I am a Sophomore in high school in the US and have already led what I would consider to be a pretty awesome life, but I have an interesting dilemma.

    All my life I have loved to ski, I ski competitively, and I believe that if I continue to pursue skiing I could possibly become a professional. Last year I left school and entered into a Online school so I could pursue skiing without having to worry about failing my classes.* (I travel a lot).

    In addition to skiing I have always had an affinity for math, it has come fairly easy to me all of my life, and I also have a fascination for space exploration and physics. I have always been an adventurer, but even more so, I have wanted to change the world in a profound way, or "Put a dent in the Universe," as Steve Jobs would say. I have realized skiing is (obviously), not a great path to do that. I'm coming to realize there are a myriad of ways which I can do that, I am not only interested in Physics, but philosophy, consciousness, enlightenment and what it could mean for the human race, and the basic human perception of what we call reality.

    Online school has interestingly given me a lot of perspective and allowed me to re-evaluate my passion for learning and specifically, exploring my curiosity for how the world works. In regular school I hate the regimented way they taught, and truly I just felt bored, because things came easier, so I didn't have to stay as engaged.

    Until recently I have never felt a desire to learn or look deeper at things, I think the school system beat it out of me or something because a few years ago I wouldn't have given two damns about QM or anything like that. It would just mean me sitting in a class room getting lectured at.

    So finally we come to the meat of the problem, I want to continue to pursue skiing at least until I have finished my Undergrad studies, mostly because I feel like it would be wrong not to push myself to my limit in that regard. But I also want to study Physics.

    Anyways, I want to go to a college that:

    A): Lets me pursue skiing.

    B): Is in Utah, Colorado, or British Columbia.

    C): Has a good physics program.

    I am thinking that UBC would be a great option because the best skiing is there out of the three, it is a perfect place to be a pro skier, and of course they have TRIUMF.

    So here are my questions:

    Is it possible to have 3 days a week while enrolled in a Physics program where I could entirely devote the day to skiing?

    What happens if you miss 1 week - 2 weeks of class at once during the winter for a trip?

    Could I just take Classes in the Spring, Summer, and Fall?

    I will have already completed one year of college credit (through the Running Start program), will that mess with the undergrad Physics program at UBC?

    How many hours of work week for a moderately-to-bad Physics kid in that program?

    In general, how possible is it to pursue other interests while in an UnderGrad Physics program?

    If I have a GPA of about 3.7 (not quite there yet but when I work hard i get things done), and a 30 on my ACT with physics, chem, and of course pre calc on there too, what are my chances off getting into UBC?

    Also, how good is TRIUMF really? I am not "in the know."

    Last question: What is physics work actually like? Like give me a problem you might have in your intro to physics class. I have spent all my time learning the results of physics work, learning about wave functions and the behavior of light and stuff, the interesting findings. But how much is the actually Physics work like that? Is it just a billion symbols on a paper or is it more hands-on? With real corollaries to events and happenings?

    Thanks so much for any help,


    *none of this is to boast, it's just background info.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 4, 2012 #2
    I can't give you exact info on UBC, but can give some general idea of University in BC. For all of the things I am about to say, please check with the UBC website or contact the university directly for full information.

    Yes, UBC has a highly-rated physics program. It is fairly competitive to get into, but I can't conjecture on your chances. Vancouver is a great city.

    If you have done university-level courses, UBC will probably give you some kind of transfer credit.

    You have some flexibility in your course load and may be able to schedule your classes to only be 3 days a week if you don't mind taking longer to get your degree. However, it will depend greatly on the things you are interested in and when they are actually offered. Most, if not all, courses will be offered during the daytime so pursuing skiing every day is out of the question.

    There is generally a break over Christmas and some shorter breaks during the school year. Check their site, I am sure they are listed. If you are in lab-oriented classes, you don't want to skip out for a week. Even with a reduced class-load, you will need to allocate time for homework. Lots of it, if you really want to dent the world.

    You will need to ask them directly if you can take classes Spring/Summer and skip the Fall term (or some other variation). I suspect it may be possible, but it is easy to trip up on some unexpected rule if you are not careful.

    If you are interested in broad questions, there is a (smaller) University even closer to the mountains:


    Quest University is a fairly new teaching-oriented school that has an innovative program. Their approach may not be a match if you want to got the traditional physics route, but check them out anyway. Their block-plan allows for athletes to take time away from school.
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook