Do I follow my heart and do physics, or do I do what is reasonable and stable?

  • Thread starter AnnieF
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  • #1
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I'm going to college next year and I am having a really hard time choosing what to do. I really love physics. It is my passion and I am really good at it. I want to major in physics, but I know getting a lucrative job in that area is not going to be easy. I have been poor my whole life and I don't want to struggle anymore. My other option is pharmacy. Everyone wants me to do pharmacy. I don't really have any interest in it. It is a stable and lucrative job though, and it would satisfy everyone. So..what do I do? Go with my heart and do what I want, or do what will satisfy everyone and guarantee me a stable flow of money..?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
radou
Homework Helper
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Go with your interest. You may regret it later. It happened to me.
 
  • #3
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Have you thought about engineering? It's a compromise between your two dilemmas. But if it's either one or the other, passion.
 
  • #4
lisab
Staff Emeritus
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You won't starve with a physics education. It may not be as easy to find work, but there are jobs available.

But it seems you're focusing too early on only two choices; there are many interesting fields to consider. What about engineering? It has many overlap areas with physics, and it's a much easier skill set to market.

Edit: Just saw Null's post :approve:
 
  • #5
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If you really dislike pharmacy, then don't do it. You WILL regret it later!!

And it's not that you cannot find any job with physics. It may be a bit difficult, but there certainly are jobs available!!

And, as others suggested, do consider other fields. Engeneering uses a lot of physics, and the number of jobs available in it is huge!!!!

Maybe you can even double major in physics/engineering. You can choose later what interests you the most...
 
  • #6
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Following the engineering idea, what about Engineering Physics? I'm not sure how desired they are though.
 
  • #7
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You can always learn physics by self-study or just taking physics courses as your electives..
Say, you are actually doing pharmacy later, just do physics in your spare time..

I also agree with other post, most engineering will learn much math and physics, so engineering is also a viable choice
 
  • #8
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i'm starting to see a trend here... i've met so many people (including myself) torn between (exactly!) physics and pharmacy

I self study physics in my spare time. sure, i'll probably only get c's in pharm school, but that's just a degree anyways. i hope to find a physics club in my school to join... hoping to make some computational model for pharmacy some time.

sometimes i feel like a chemical engineer...

EDIT: But beware not to neglect your studies too much if you want to WORK as a pharmacist. you can put someone's life in danger. so if given a choice i'd still rather just study plain physics because i still have to study A LOT and be alert at all times to not make stupid, trivial mistakes. once i get my stuff together to see what i truly will do, time will tell what will happen
 
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  • #9
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Find the overlap between what you're good at, what you're passionate about, and what makes you money, in that order of priority. Physics sounds like 2/3 for you. Pharmacy sounds like 1/3.

Anything you study is going to get difficult and stressful at some point and you will feel burnt out. It's easy to lose sight of why you're in school at those times. That's where a genuine love of the subject comes in and motivates you to continue. Don't bother studying something you do not care about because that's asking to fail.

Nevertheless, if you study ONLY Physics and do not branch out, you may find yourself in a difficult situation. Definitely explore other areas of study: engineering, chemistry, biology, or materials science (isn't solid state physics one of the biggest areas in research these days?).

Again, if Physics is what you're passionate about, don't settle for self-study. Yes, you can "learn" it at a basic level, but it will seem very "one-dimensional." You also won't become a true scientist that way and it will probably take a lot longer. Being able to speak with faculty, do research, attend seminars, and spend time with like-minded students is the best part of studying science in college.
 
  • #10
Pengwuino
Gold Member
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Don't go into a field you don't want to do. And NEVER do something this important because "it would satisfy everyone". Remember, YOU have to live your life, not other people. You'll have to be doing your job 40-50 hours a week for the next 20-30 years. "Everyone" will be off doing their own stuff and won't care what you're doing for the most part.
 
  • #11
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Don't go into a field you don't want to do. And NEVER do something this important because "it would satisfy everyone". Remember, YOU have to live your life, not other people. You'll have to be doing your job 40-50 hours a week for the next 20-30 years. "Everyone" will be off doing their own stuff and won't care what you're doing for the most part.

But, the parents will care.
The thing is if not because of his parent's suggestion, he will not even consider pharmacy.
The parents just want their son to have sufficient money to live happily.
 
  • #12
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If it's about the money then why doesn't he become and anesthesiologist? Don't let your parents tell you what to do in terms of study, listen to their advice but you have to make your own decision.
 
  • #13
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I'm going to college next year and I am having a really hard time choosing what to do. I really love physics. It is my passion and I am really good at it. I want to major in physics, but I know getting a lucrative job in that area is not going to be easy.

There's a big difference between getting a job in physics and getting a job with physics. You do need a bit of initiative and creative thinking to figure out what to do with a physics degree, but I don't know anyone with a physics degree that is sleeping in a cardboard box.

My other option is pharmacy. Everyone wants me to do pharmacy. I don't really have any interest in it. It is a stable and lucrative job though, and it would satisfy everyone. So..what do I do? Go with my heart and do what I want, or do what will satisfy everyone and guarantee me a stable flow of money..?

If you aren't satisfying yourself then you haven't satisfied everyone.

Also getting a physics degree is not like trying to start a rock band. I think if you look at the dollars and cents, it's not that much worse than pharmacy.
 
  • #14
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The parents just want their son to have sufficient money to live happily.

But the parents could be very misinformed about the job market.
 
  • #15
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But the parents could be very misinformed about the job market.

That's very true.
Just saying, the parents just want the best for him.

More often than not, physics department is filled with people thinking physics are the one in those pop science books.
Many regret it later.
 
  • #16
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More often than not, physics department is filled with people thinking physics are the one in those pop science books.
Many regret it later.
Even if that is true, the solution then isn't to forego studying Physics, but learning about what that really entails and then making an informed decision. If AnnieF knows what Physics is really about at the university level, then I don't think the general statistics (btw, "many regret it later", is a very sweeping and anecdotal statement, plus, if it is valid, it is equally valid for any other major) should discourage her, because she could then be one of those people that don't regret their decision.
 
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  • #17
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I should point out that pharmacists WISH they made as much as twofish-quant does.
 
  • #18
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Haha! That's true, you can get into quantitative finance with a physics degree and they make A LOT of money! There's a lot of math involved and even physics, this includes using Stochastic Calculus, Random walks (Brownian Motion), Monte Carlo Method, Numerical Analysis, Partial Differential Equations, Ergodic Theory etc. Those are very interesting fields especially ergodic theory and stochastic processes!
 
  • #19
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Right. And there are some people who are badass systems admins (as physicists) that can get hired to work in defense or some other government sector and make more than a pharmacist. Or if you're willing, get certified in something IT like database architecture and become a contractor for government projects and make upwards of 150K. It's really about skills. People need people who know math, and they also need people who know about fast computing, data storage, retrieval, networking, and all the other things that make the world go 'round.
 
  • #20
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More often than not, physics department is filled with people thinking physics are the one in those pop science books.

I don't think that's true. You'll find with the first course in mechanics that physics isn't very much like pop science books.
 
  • #21
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I don't think that's true. You'll find with the first course in mechanics that physics isn't very much like pop science books.

What I want to say is some people enter physics thinking they will be doing a lot of fancy physics like those in pop science books.
Some people got the wrong impression of what they will learn in a Physics Bsc.

I am sorry for the misunderstanding , English is not my native language.
 
  • #22
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Thanks everyone. I have a big decision to make and I feel that you guys have given me more options to think about. Also, I would like to say that I am positive that I will not regret a choice in physics, but rather I will regret NOT choosing pharmacy. I have no doubt that I want to study physics farther.
 

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