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Any major suggestions?

  1. Nov 29, 2008 #1
    I'm starting school at the University of Arizona soon, and I am very torn on which major to choose. I realize that most people change their major 2-3 times by the time they graduate, but any suggestions would be great! Here is a little bit about me:

    Throughout high school, I excelled in my math and sciences classes. I was one of the few at my terrible school that actually LIKED learning about any type of math. Often times my calculus teacher offered extra credit projects, and I was glad to lecture about the thoughts of Newton and Leibniz. However, I didn't do extra credit projects because I needed them, or because I was an over-achiever. I did them because I would rather come home from school and read further on my current subjects instead of playing X-box.

    I'm not only interested in math. I love all types of science- biology, physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, etc.
    I worked at an obsevatory for a few years, operating telescopes. From my experiences I imagined astronomers as free-thinkers who were able to ponder about the universe endlessly, and were able to attempt to create their own theories, if they wanted. I thought for awhile that astronomy might be my calling. But after watching old, overweight men day after day, sitting 2 inches away from their computer screens, unhappily scribbling down lists of numbers, I no longer really desired to be an astronomer. They seemed imprisoned at their own job. I wanted more.

    So my main questions to you are these:
    If I simply love to learn about how things (any damn thing in the world) work, is there any major that would be right for me?
    Since I love to learn about any type of science, is there such a major that is focused more on broad scientific knowledge rather than a certain specialty?

    Thanks for any input.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 29, 2008 #2
    I suggest obtaining textbooks, reading them, and seeing what you like. Then you can find out what you want major in. The job stuff comes later, as you are not restricted to a career in what you majored in.
  4. Nov 29, 2008 #3
    Wasn't that a kick in the teeth? I had the same idea. I had been reading astronomy books since I was about 7 years old. Then I come to find out the majority of the time you're measuring the distances between objects. Not my cup of tea...

    However, the free-thinking ponderer of theories about the universe is an astrophysicist or cosmologist (two different things). You should look into that. However it's still not a major in any undergraduate school that I know of. You'd need a good combination of physics and math.

    Physics. ;)

    Right now I am working for a professor on biophysics, about how combinations of lipids and cholesterol find their equilibrium point. Other people I know are working on things about how the brain works, etc. Still biophysics.

    I have other friends who work on projects that also involve the chemistry department or the EE department.

    So with physics, you have a very broad range of options for what you finally want to do once you make up your mind.
  5. Nov 29, 2008 #4

    I've tried that, in a way, for years.

    A few months ago a started reading a textbook called Basic Electricty & Electronics. I got about 200 pages through it before I just kind of forgot about it. I picked up another book, Cosmos by Carl Sagan, which interested me greatly. That is, until I got to the section on Goddard and rocketry. Then I stopped reading Cosmos and moved on to Rocket Propulsion Elements.

    So you see my dilemma. I'm sure I'll make my way back to that electronics textbook some day, but no single subject seems to hold my interest more than another science subject.

    That is why I'm not really interested in going to college strictly to prepare for a job, because I have a feeling I may not stick to one field.
  6. Nov 30, 2008 #5


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    What I would suggest is that you find a university that offers a first year general science program from which you diversify into a major subject area later - in second or even thrid year. That way you can be exposed to the subjects that you enjoy now at a university level, which can often make your path decision more clear. There can often be a significant difference between subjects taught at the high school and university levels and you may find that once you get into the university environment, you excell in, or have a passion for one particular field over the rest.
  7. Nov 30, 2008 #6
    Isnt the lower division courses you take for the first 2 years + electives supposed to give you a taste of all the basic majors so that you can make this very decision
  8. Dec 1, 2008 #7
    How about science journalism?
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