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Continue with Aerospace Engineering or switch to Astrophysics?

  1. Sep 16, 2011 #1
    I'm a second year Aerospace Engineering student and I'm wondering if this is the best career path for me to take. Since a young kid I've always been fascinated by the universe and everything related to it. I want a career that will let me progress our knowledge of space forward whether it's via engineering, astrophysics, research, etc. The main reason why I've chosen Aerospace Engineering is because there really aren't many career jobs in Astrophysics outside of teaching. However, people like Neil deGrasse Tyson make me extremely motivated to go along the Astrophysics route (If you don't know who he is shame on you). It would be the perfect job but like I said there are very few opportunities to make a decent living in astrophysics.

    I'm also afraid that work as an engineer wouldn't be what I want. The last thing I want is to be a pawn for a company and not have any room for creative development or progression through the ladder at the company. If I'm going to become an Aerospace Engineer I want to work on cutting edge space technology, not defense systems or planes. I've heard horror stories of older engineers not being able to find work for numerous reasons or having a "boring" engineering job and I don't want that issue. I would LOVE to work for companies like Space X, Boeing, NASA etc. if I'll be constantly immersed in space-related work. Otherwise I'll eventually get tired of my career and become depressed.

    On the subject of depression, sometimes I get really down because it seems all I'm doing is studying and studying for hours on end while my close friends are out partying, socializing, and enjoying their life. Now I'm not saying that I'm not enjoying my life because I am, but some times the endless studying can bring my spirits down. I've met a lot of really cool physics/engineering students in school so far, but being around them 24/7 is boring to say the least. I don't want to go all the way through school missing out on tons of socialization and friendship opportunities because I had to study for countless nights. There are also NO cute girls in our Engineering/Physics department. I'm a very social guy and I don't fit the mold of an engineer or physicist at all: I play sports, work out a lot, club, party etc. but I'm also very smart. I feel like I was destined to work in a space related field but I didn't know it would be such a lonely path. Any advice would be appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2011 #2
    Look at these two sentences. You can do both with proper time-management, but you may have to sacrifice one or the other at times. Reevaluate your priorities. Just how badly do you want that career?

    ... and their are plenty of other things astrophysicists can do other than lecturing, but I'll leave that to the more knowledgeable forumers to expand on.
  4. Sep 17, 2011 #3
    Engineering isn't just corporate work. You can work for the government, and you can also work in academia and research labs. Also, quit with the constant studying. Your grades will actually improve if you put the books down and relax for at least a few hours per day (finals and major projects exempted of course).
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