Don't enjoy studying theoretical physics

In summary: Ireland, there are many options for continuing your education after high school, so you're not locked into this path. It sounds like you're really struggling with this course, and it's not surprising; it can be hard to be passionate about something you don't enjoy. However, switching to a discipline that you're actually interested in seems like the only reasonable course of action to me, despite the additional cost. You're not alone in this struggle, and there are many people who have successfully completed this course. If you're feeling really stuck, I recommend talking to your professors and other students in the course. They might be able to offer some advice or help you figure out a plan. In summary, this Irish student is struggling with their passion
  • #1
Dingleberry
1
0
I'd like to start by saying I don't know if this is the right place to post this, but I feel this community will be able to help me more than any other regarding my issue.

I'm an Irish student currently studying undergrad theoretical physics in Trinity College Dublin. Growing up, I was somewhat interested in physics so I decided to take this path, but it turned out to be nothing like what I expected. Most of my modules are more in line with pure maths than physics. Not only do I find these topics hard to grasp, but I have almost no interest in them. I feel anxious everyday at some point thinking I chose the wrong course and feel trapped in this. I don't feel passionate at all about theoretical physics and looking back I feel like I wasn't even that passionate about it in secondary school. I had a deep interest in astrophysics in first year (equivalent of 7th grade) but it had waned by the time I reached the end of secondary school and only chose physics based on the fact that I used to be really into it.

Anyways, right now I'm in second year and the idea of doing essentially pure maths terrifies me as I feel I'll be pigeonholed into a path I do not want to take. Keep in mind, I don't mean to bash the field at all and know plenty of great people who love it, but I can't seem to find any sort of satisfaction in it.

I also find myself devoid of any free time since I'm always trying to figure out what's going on. My relationship with my friends and some family has taken a hit because of this and I feel like I don't have the time to attempt at things I want to do as hobbies like Brazilian ju jitsu or film making. Recently, because of this and the daily feelings of anxiety I stopped going to a lot of lectures and am not putting in anywhere near the effort I am supposed to be. I have tried to switch to general physics but can only do that in third year since in Trinity you have to do either biology or chemistry or Geoscience as well in the first two years and specialise in third year, so I'm missing a whole year of one of those modules. I can't switch to engineering or computer science or psychology either (other fields I'm interested in) since I would have to start from first year, but Ireland only covers fees for 4 years total so I'd have to pay full fees for the final year, which I can't afford.

Most people doing the course, although still finding it difficult, seem very passionate about it which makes me feel like I made a bad choice in choosing this course. Even if I switched to physical science in third year, I'm not sure if I'd enjoy it, nor do I want to do another year of this if I'm being honest (I don't mean to sound self entitled, I understand it's just one year but everyday I feel like I'm inching further into something that I'm not sure I can get out of in this course. I don't know if that makes any sense).

I'm just asking for advise really on what my course of action should be, it was poor of me to dive into this course without fully knowing what I was getting into, I understand.
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
Dingleberry said:
I can't switch to engineering or computer science or psychology either (other fields I'm interested in) since I would have to start from first year, but Ireland only covers fees for 4 years total so I'd have to pay full fees for the final year, which I can't afford.
Switching to a discipline that you're actually interested in seems like the only reasonable course of action to me, despite the additional cost. Staying the course at this point seems like a bad idea, especially since you have stopped attending many of the lectures and aren't putting in the effort that is needed to pass these courses. It seems to me that you have already made your decision but don't fully realize it.
 
  • Like
Likes archaic, berkeman and PhanthomJay
  • #3
Have you considered switching over to the Arts and taking courses in acting, theater, drama, film, and English and history, etc. ? Maybe you are already taking some courses in the arts which might shorten the time to get your BA.
 
  • #4
Dingleberry said:
I can't switch to engineering or computer science or psychology either (other fields I'm interested in) since I would have to start from first year, but Ireland only covers fees for 4 years total so I'd have to pay full fees for the final year, which I can't afford.
That's unfortunate. At least here in the US at some (many?) schools, the first two years of undergrad are pretty similar for Physics and Engineering. I was torn between those two majors at the end of my first two years, but went with Engineering as my declared major.

Dingleberry said:
Not only do I find these topics hard to grasp, but I have almost no interest in them.
If you don't love physics now, I don't think you should continue. Please look at all of your other options. I've said before here on the PF that when I used to buy my textbooks for each semester at the Book Store, I would love to open them up and skim through them. I always got goose bumps looking at what I would be studying and understanding in just a few months. Great stuff. But if you don't feel that same excitement and wonder, that's a strong indicator that it's time to stop and switch, IMO.
Dingleberry said:
I can't switch to engineering or computer science or psychology either (other fields I'm interested in)
Which Engineering field would you be most interested in (and enjoy the most)?

Dingleberry said:
I also find myself devoid of any free time since I'm always trying to figure out what's going on. My relationship with my friends and some family has taken a hit because of this and I feel like I don't have the time to attempt at things I want to do as hobbies like Brazilian ju jitsu or film making.
Well, no matter what happens, even if you find a major that you enjoy, if you want to excel in your studies, you may have to scale back on the normal recreational activities that you love. I was a 2nd degree brown belt in Kodenkan Jujitsu coming out of high school, and had so little spare time in college that I never got back to martial arts. My loss.

Anyway, maybe one path would be to take some time off from school, learn a trade (electrician, plumber, carpenter) and work for a few years as a journeyman. That will help you save up some money for college, and will give you time to explore your options for what you really want to do long-term. Figuring out a career path that you enjoy is really key to enjoying life, IMO.

Best wishes to you in whatever path you take.
 
  • #5
berkeman said:
Anyway, maybe one path would be to take some time off from school, learn a trade (electrician, plumber, carpenter) and work for a few years as a journeyman. That will help you save up some money for college, and will give you time to explore your options for what you really want to do long-term.

Last time I heard, Ireland has a much higher unemployment rate, so learning a trade and working as a journeyman may not be a particularly useful option unless the OP is willing to live and work abroad (in which case the OP may not be able to save money for further university studies).
 

Related to Don't enjoy studying theoretical physics

1. Why is studying theoretical physics important?

Studying theoretical physics is important because it allows us to understand the fundamental laws and principles that govern the universe. It helps us make sense of the world around us and has practical applications in fields such as technology, engineering, and medicine.

2. Is studying theoretical physics difficult?

Yes, studying theoretical physics can be challenging. It requires a strong foundation in mathematics and a deep understanding of complex concepts. However, with dedication and hard work, it is possible to grasp the subject and make meaningful contributions to the field.

3. Can I still pursue a career in science without studying theoretical physics?

Yes, there are many branches of science that do not require a deep understanding of theoretical physics. However, having a basic understanding of theoretical physics can enhance your understanding of other scientific fields and open up more career opportunities.

4. How can I make studying theoretical physics more enjoyable?

One way to make studying theoretical physics more enjoyable is to find a study group or a mentor who can help explain difficult concepts and provide support. Additionally, trying to apply theoretical concepts to real-world problems can make the subject more engaging and practical.

5. Is it normal to not enjoy studying theoretical physics?

Yes, it is normal to not enjoy studying theoretical physics. It is a complex and challenging subject, and not everyone may find it interesting. However, it is important to remember that not enjoying studying a subject does not mean you cannot excel in it. Finding ways to make the subject more engaging and seeking help when needed can make the learning process more enjoyable.

Similar threads

  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
2
Views
1K
Replies
2
Views
826
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
13
Views
2K
Replies
8
Views
376
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
5
Views
602
Replies
35
Views
3K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
1
Views
612
Replies
22
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
12
Views
725
Back
Top