Anxious about majoring in physics — considering a switch to engineering

  • #51
Dr Transport
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yes
 
  • #52
WWGD
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I dont know if this has been dealt with but maybe if you have practical side skills like programming and/or stats that makes you more employable, that may give you some peace of mind in your studies. A middle of the road approach.
 
  • #53
Programming just seems so important nowadays. To me a physics bs is like a math bs, it is interesting stuff to learn at least to me but it has not use outside of academia. No employer gives a dam about delta epsilon proofs or real analysis. The same thing with physics no one will hire you because you know about displacement vs distance and other undergrand physics knowledge. At best you can get a job helping other student do their homework sadly if you cant code...
 
  • #54
This leads to an even bigger question why is the university offering degrees that have no real life application. So much of what goes on in colleges has no real life use English literature,film, most of the fine arts. You do not need to go to college but to be a fine artist, some of the best artist never even finished school like van gogh. Let us not even get into the student loans crisis in the USA.
 
  • #55
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This leads to an even bigger question why is the university offering degrees that have no real life application. So much of what goes on in colleges has no real life use English literature,film, most of the fine arts. You do not need to go to college but to be a fine artist, some of the best artist never even finished school like van gogh. Let us not even get into the student loans crisis in the USA.
So, take initiative and learn programming and/or Stats so you have something to fall back on which gives you some breathing room.
 
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  • #56
symbolipoint
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I am showing emphasis with italicized bold:
This leads to an even bigger question why is the university offering degrees that have no real life application. So much of what goes on in colleges has no real life use English literature,film, most of the fine arts. You do not need to go to college but to be a fine artist, some of the best artist never even finished school like van gogh. Let us not even get into the student loans crisis in the USA.
Some has no real life use, and some does have real life use. A person does not know which until later.
 
  • #57
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This leads to an even bigger question why is the university offering degrees that have no real life application. So much of what goes on in colleges has no real life use English literature,film, most of the fine arts. You do not need to go to college but to be a fine artist, some of the best artist never even finished school like van gogh. Let us not even get into the student loans crisis in the USA.
Regarding your critique of the utility of college education, I would counter that it is not the purpose of universities to offer areas of study with practical use. Universities are places of learning, not trade schools.
 
  • #58
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Let us not even get into the student loans crisis in the USA.
Though, yes, the debt situation is outrageous. If Master's degrees were funded like PhDs, I likely would never have made this thread.
 
  • #59
Regarding your critique of the utility of college education, I would counter that it is not the purpose of universities to offer areas of study with practical use. Universities are places of learning, not trade schools.
I would say not entirely. For example many physics professor get funding from the DOD so they have to pursue research that is useful the for the military not necessarily something for the sake of learning. Also in the social sciences political scientist get funding from liberal or conservative think tanks. so they often conduct studies which favor conservative or liberal view point.
 
  • #60
I do not want to say college is a scam, but there is no relationship between a lot of what they teach and the real world. Instead of colleges I wish we would bring back the old guilds of the 1700s. In the old guild a young man or woman would be an apprentice to an older person in an industry and learn useful skills, then they would have a career. I miss the old guilds.
 
  • #61
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I do not want to say college is a scam, but there is no relationship between a lot of what they teach and the real world. Instead of colleges I wish we would bring back the old guilds of the 1700s. In the old guild a young man or woman would be an apprentice to an older person in an industry and learn useful skills, then they would have a career. I miss the old guilds.
Well, take the best you can get. The web and YouTube are the new guilds. And, again, the whole Stats and Programming thing as hedges against uncertainty of job market.
 
  • #62
symbolipoint
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I would say not entirely. For example many physics professor get funding from the DOD so they have to pursue research that is useful the for the military not necessarily something for the sake of learning. Also in the social sciences political scientist get funding from liberal or conservative think tanks. so they often conduct studies which favor conservative or liberal view point.
Where is the emoticon to indicate, "interesting"? Should the "wow" emoticon be chosen?
 
  • #63
symbolipoint
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I do not want to say college is a scam, but there is no relationship between a lot of what they teach and the real world. Instead of colleges I wish we would bring back the old guilds of the 1700s. In the old guild a young man or woman would be an apprentice to an older person in an industry and learn useful skills, then they would have a career. I miss the old guilds.
Better, change that part to say, "In addition to colleges and universities, I wish we would bring back the old guilds of the 1700's". Other possible adjustments may too be good.
 
  • #64
symbolipoint
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Well, take the best you can get. The web and YouTube are the new guilds. And, again, the whole Stats and Programming thing as hedges against uncertainty of job market.
NO NO NO. Not good enough. You need to put PEOPLE together with other PEOPLE. Hooking them to each other through technology alone will not give them "guilds".
 
  • #65
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NO NO NO. Not good enough. You need to put PEOPLE together with other PEOPLE. Hooking them to each other through technology alone will not give them "guilds".
Fair-enough. How about meetups?
 
  • #66
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Fair-enough. How about meetups?
The nice features about meetups is that initially the members find each other through the internet, and then they arrange to attend regularly scheduled (usually regular) in person all at one physical place. Once they meet in the real place, no technology gets in the way. This can be great for social and interpersonal interaction. Now, on to demonstrations, and training? Well maybe for some demonstrations, but actual TRAINING would still require other direct, live equipment and in a different physical setting.
 
  • #67
symbolipoint
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Fair-enough. How about meetups?
Let me add more to this:

Many districts are now limiting social gatherings to 10 members or less. One may guess that many meetups of 10 or fewer people, each wearing a mask, are possible and reasonable enough.
 
  • #68
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Let me add more to this:

Many districts are now limiting social gatherings to 10 members or less. One may guess that many meetups of 10 or fewer people, each wearing a mask, are possible and reasonable enough.
Of course, I was referring to doing it during " Standard Settings" times and not during extreme situations.
 
  • #69
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Upon further reflection, I have come to the conclusion that I need a more decisive way of going about this choice. To this end, I will put into effect a policy I had considered at the start of the year: continuing in physics if and only if I achieved an A for both semesters of introductory physics. I earned an A in mechanics, and so we shall see if I can continue that record in E&M. As @Dr. Courtney said somewhere earlier in this thread, being excellent is a must. My ability to achieve A's in the introductory courses will, therefore, serve as a litmus test for my ability to be "excellent" in the long term, particularly as my current professor (who was my instructor last semester as well) has an A cutoff of 97.5%.
 
  • #70
jtbell
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my current professor (who was my instructor last semester as well) has an A cutoff of 97.5%.
o_O :wideeyed:
 
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  • #71
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I do not want to say college is a scam,
Unfortunately, THAT is exactly what you are saying!

You also have no idea what's going on, and yet you don't seem the least bit uncomfortable making such over-generalization. For example, what percentage of "physics professors" actually get money from the DOD? Secondly, do you think most of physics funding are for esoteric areas that you find no application for? Look at the percentage of funding out of DOE Office of Science, and pay attention to what are being funded under the Basic Energy Sciences (BES) category.

You have hijacked this thread away from what OP has intended and asked for. Congratulations for not helping the person who asked for help just to advertise your ignorance.

Zz.
 
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  • #72
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So I've done yet more reflection, and I have realized that choice in this matter is an illusion. The fact that I cannot afford a Master's degree after graduation is decisive. I will not permit myself to be in a situation where the only way forward is a PhD. Whether or not I go on to get a PhD will be my choice, free of external pressures. Therefore, I have no choice in the present than to change my major to engineering. I have begun the process of switching to EE, as I reasoned that this is the closest I will get to physics. The system has left me with no alternatives.
I do not like myself for doing this; indeed, I am forced to choose between anxiety and apathy. The former is much more unpleasant.
 
  • #73
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So I've done yet more reflection, and I have realized that choice in this matter is an illusion. The fact that I cannot afford a Master's degree after graduation is decisive. I will not permit myself to be in a situation where the only way forward is a PhD. Whether or not I go on to get a PhD will be my choice, free of external pressures. Therefore, I have no choice in the present than to change my major to engineering. I have begun the process of switching to EE, as I reasoned that this is the closest I will get to physics. The system has left me with no alternatives.
I do not like myself for doing this; indeed, I am forced to choose between anxiety and apathy. The former is much more unpleasant.
It seems you may choose a master's later on maybe even while working ( possible in some programs) if you wish to do so.
 
  • #74
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It seems you may choose a master's later on maybe even while working ( possible in some programs) if you wish to do so.
Yes, I believe a Master's is more plausible if I make the switch to EE, which is part of why I feel the change is necessary.
 
  • #75
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Well, my first year has officially ended and my transfer has officially taken place. I shall see how this all turns out.
 

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