Back to School as a Physics Major

In summary: I'll try to squeeze in a little more. In summary, S is going back to school to finish his BS in Mechanical Engineering. He is unemployed and will be auditing a course starting tomorrow evening. He is happy to have the opportunity to go back to school, but is very nervous about the situation.
  • #1
S_Happens
Gold Member
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3
After working in the real world and saving for the past 4 years I'm headed back to school tomorrow. Due to a technicality (sorry) I'm actually a physics major until next semester.

Since I'm now married with a house, I'm staying local and finishing up my BS in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston. It's taken a lot of hard work to get to the point where I can leave my job and go back full time, but I'll never have an opportunity like this again. I have enough vacation that I am going to try and work through this semester while I take two classes, but after that it will be school full time.

I'm excited at the possibility and very nervous at the same time. It's certainly a much different situation going back, than it was just starting (more drive, lessons learned, etc.).
 
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  • #2
S_Happens said:
Since I'm now married with a house, ...

Kids? How's your debt right now? If zero, I would recommend going into debt and NOT work while finishing your degree. The payback potential is very high, compared to "not having time enough to do well enough."
 
  • #3
Sorry, I guess it wasn't clear.

I am 27, dual income, no kids, and our only debt is our mortgage. I work shift work and while I take 2 classes this spring semester I can use my vacation and swap shifts around to work just weekends. This will get me through most if not all of the semester. The financial gain to this would be normal salary as well as a significant bonus based on last year's performance if I stay until March. My goal is to attempt this only if it doesn't interfere with the classes (Tu-Th 8-10 AM and 4-7 PM). I don't plan on working after this semester except for summers, since the ME classes aren't offered during the summer.

Back to the debt. We've been saving for four years, and have enough to cover tuition/books, plus our budget (living expenses, mortgage, etc) for the time that I'll be in school. We're not the typical American couple that has debt and no budget. We've been lucky and worked hard enough to save this money, build a house, pay off student debt, pay off a new vehicle, and invest significantly in retirement.

So, I'll see your "NOT work" and raise you a not going into debt.
 
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  • #4
I'm unemployed right now. I'm not enrolled in school, but I will be auditing a course in Advanced QM starting tomorrrow evening. At least I will have adequate time to study. If I find work though, I may have to quit the class.
 
  • #5
S_Happens said:
After working in the real world and saving for the past 4 years I'm headed back to school tomorrow. Due to a technicality (sorry) I'm actually a physics major until next semester.

Since I'm now married with a house, I'm staying local and finishing up my BS in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston. It's taken a lot of hard work to get to the point where I can leave my job and go back full time, but I'll never have an opportunity like this again. I have enough vacation that I am going to try and work through this semester while I take two classes, but after that it will be school full time.

I'm excited at the possibility and very nervous at the same time. It's certainly a much different situation going back, than it was just starting (more drive, lessons learned, etc.).

S Happens, I went back to school at about your age and under much the same conditions, except I only had a handful of classes under my belt at that time. Talk about pressure! I had to completely walk away from a successful career as I was always on-call. At times I could only attend part time while working full or part time, and I was forced to take menial, even humiliating jobs, in order to stay afloat.

It was one the best choices I've ever made. I wish you all the best.
 
  • #6
Thank you. I know that my situation couldn't be any more optimized for going back. Knowing that others have overcome much more difficult situations is just that must more motivation.
 
  • #7
Best of luck to you! Let us know how it's going, too. You won't have much spare time, but making a quick post doesn't take much time.

It's not like PF is addicting, lol! I can stop anytime...:uhh:...sigh.
 
  • #8
Hey S! That's wonderful news!
 
  • #9
I lurk a lot, but I could definitely work on my post count. This semester I have 6.5 hours in between classes and ~40 minute commute (meaning I'll stay all day) so I'll have time to study, do my homework, and play on PF.
 
  • #10
S_Happens said:
I lurk a lot, but I could definitely work on my post count. This semester I have 6.5 hours in between classes and ~40 minute commute (meaning I'll stay all day) so I'll have time to study, do my homework, and play on PF.
It'll be great having you around again.
 
  • #11
S_Happens said:
So, I'll see your "NOT work" and raise you a not going into debt.

Why the H*** are you asking us for advise? You could tell Suze Orman a thing or two!
 
  • #12
Chi Meson said:
Why the H*** are you asking us for advise? You could tell Suze Orman a thing or two!

You think you're joking, but I only had to adjust my line of sight from the monitor about 30 degrees to count 10 Suze Orman books (ok, 9 of those are only around 50 pages each). But I can credit most of the work to my other half. That's what happens when you marry a finance major.
 
  • #13
Go forth and do not look back. I am in a worse situation than yours, barely moving forward, but I will eventually make it, somehow. Best of luck, friend.
 
  • #14
S_Happens said:
You think you're joking, but I only had to adjust my line of sight from the monitor about 30 degrees to count 10 Suze Orman books (ok, 9 of those are only around 50 pages each). But I can credit most of the work to my other half. That's what happens when you marry a finance major.

So this isn't so much a "help me" thread, as a "dig me!" :smile:
 
  • #15
Chi Meson said:
So this isn't so much a "help me" thread, as a "dig me!" :smile:

Just stating that I'm going back to school. Although it does feel good to show all the hard work that we've already put into it.
 

1. What are the most important skills to have as a physics major?

As a physics major, it is important to have a strong foundation in mathematics, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and the ability to think abstractly. It is also important to have good communication skills and the ability to work well in a team.

2. How can I prepare for a physics major before starting college?

To prepare for a physics major, it is recommended to take advanced math and science courses in high school, such as calculus, physics, and chemistry. It is also helpful to engage in extracurricular activities related to physics, such as participating in science fairs or joining a physics club.

3. What types of courses will I take as a physics major?

As a physics major, you will take a variety of courses in areas such as classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, quantum mechanics, and thermodynamics. You may also have the opportunity to take specialized courses in areas like astrophysics, biophysics, or particle physics.

4. What career opportunities are available for physics majors?

Physics majors have a wide range of career opportunities, including research positions in academia, government, or industry, as well as careers in engineering, finance, data science, and education. Some common job titles for physics majors include physicist, data analyst, and engineering consultant.

5. How can I make the most of my time as a physics major?

To make the most of your time as a physics major, it is important to actively engage in your coursework, seek out research opportunities, and build strong relationships with your professors and peers. It can also be beneficial to attend conferences, participate in internships, and join professional organizations to expand your knowledge and network in the field.

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