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Considering childhood dream to become a physicist (soft question)

  1. Sep 18, 2014 #1
    Hello everyone,

    I'll start by saying I initially joined this forum to ask this question, because I thought the advice given here would be far more useful and respected than on Yahoo answers or similar. I'm sorry if it doesn't fit in right and I hope I don't offend anyone. I'm a bit lost and could use the guidance of people who know what they're talking about. The internet is my only option at the moment!

    I'm 23 years old. I have been fascinated with space and had a natural curiosity for math since I was too young to fully understand either. Unfortunately I spent my vital teenage years drinking, playing video games and being lazy, because I'd left Christianity at 16 and felt very lost for years. By the time I understood myself, it was way too late, and I was in a dead end job before I knew it (where I still am).

    I don't want to spend my whole life like this. I want to learn again, from the ground up if I have to. I'm just worried I'm too old; if it's even worth it now. I don't want to delve into realizing a dream if It's just going to end up in ruins because I waited too long to do it.

    I'm motivated by my present situation. I'm no longer lazy, and I'm willing to put in the work. I'm no dunce but I'm no genius, either. I'm just a bit lost and could use some professional guidance. I wake up every morning yearning to understand and learn, and lamenting my past choices.

    Does anyone here have a similar experience? Am I too late, is there any point?

    I apologize if this is inappropriate to post, again I wasn't sure where else to ask to get an honest, educated answer. I plan on continuing my membership either way. Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 18, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to PF!

    First off you're never too young to learn new things and it's good now that you have come to that realization.

    In your case, we can't really help until we know more about your educational background and grades. It's admirable to have an interest in Science and Math. The road to mastery will be 8 to 10 years of dedicated full time work if you're starting from a high school degree and the job prospects will not be good unless you choose your field wisely.

    I would suggest that you first look to your local community college, talk with an advisor there and assess your situation to see what your interests are exactly.

    Let us know how your proceeding and what you're thinking and from there maybe we can give better advice.
  4. Sep 18, 2014 #3
    I don't see a reason not to try to get something better, but physics is a pretty difficult option to pursue. Engineering might be something to think about.
  5. Sep 18, 2014 #4
    Why do yo want to be a physicist?

    I would carefully consider the difference between wanting to learn physics and wanting to be a physicist. They are not the same.

    If you want to be a physicist, I suggest reading this to get an idea of what it takes;

    You are not too old, but your age is not going to be much of a benefit either. The older you get the more likely you are to want to buy a house, find a city to put down roots, establish relationships with friends or even a significant other. All of these might get in the way of being a physicist which requires high geographic flexibility for 10 to 15 years. Also know that the vast majority of people who want to be a physicist fail by either washing out or dropping out into something else along the way.

    I think engineering is a great option for somebody interested in physics who still wants a clear career path.
  6. Sep 18, 2014 #5


    Staff: Mentor

    Reminds me of Groot from Guardian of the Galaxy putting down roots... :-)
  7. Sep 22, 2014 #6
    Leaving Christianity was a good start...
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