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Dreaming to become a scientist (physicist), can I?

  1. Feb 8, 2017 #1
    Hello, my name is Andraž, I am from Slovenia(east neighbor of Italy, and southern neighbor of Austria for those of you who don't know) and I am very determined to be a physicist. I am 18 years old and as a student of the fourth year of high school, I am about to apply for the university.

    Firstly, I love this world, not as much in a political or historical sense as in the natural sense. I am extremely curious and fascinated by the nature of this universe. The laws of the universe thrill me with excitment, since they are so unhuman that we tend to think how crazy they are; it gives me goosebumps hearing about something exciting haha:biggrin:. I want to understand it all and I want to be a part of people like me, who would do everything to understand the world that they live in. Richard Feynman was the one who inspired me the most, since he was just like me, he loved to play with science and enjoyed understanding it.

    Furthermore, I enjoy doing math and solving problems. Not only that but I really enjoy the rigour of math, since I want to understand everything deeply, but this is where the problem shows up. I was always good at math but never very good. Having been confused about what is good for me, I have never delved into math too much after primary school. I never knew that calculus even existed until a year ago, whereas most physics enthusiasts do. Moreover, I was never good at physics competitions, since I could never prepare myself for it and I always did them with my left hand kind of(I heard that I need prizes from these for the graduate study :nb), which scares me).

    I always knew physics is the way to go, since I found myself talking to the physics teacher in 7th grade about black holes and relativity and I didnt know jack but was still sooo excited to think about it and talk about it. But then reality hit me when everyone was saying I should get into a career where I can be useful for the country and have a good job. As a kid I thought physics was pretty good for jobs too, which it is, but then people, who didn't even have engineering degrees, left alone a physics one, kept saying that I'll end up without a job if I pursue physics. They "motivated" me to be interested into something profitable, but deep down I was sure that this is no go.

    I always loved computers. They were the magical devices that did awesomeness and as a very curious kid I wanted to know how they worked. So that's what I was getting into, computer science. I started self-studying programming and learned pretty fast how to make simple stuff, when I found out that it's pretty boring to just do some random programs for sanding mails or to sort stuff. So I started game dev, which is very cool and I still like it very much. I learned C, C++ and Java well and I love doing very performant game engines, engines that are very well optimised, because that requieres clever tricks to make the game hardware friendly, it's an interesting thing to do:smile:. I also love implementing awesome algorithms for procedural generation and pahtfinding, those are quite challanging and usefull in game dev.

    I spent 4 years for advanced programming stuff, whereas I could have spent it delving into math and physics. I know A TON about computers, but not much more than a typical highschool student about math(well I did self-study calculus but didn't get far before we did it at school, because the book "Calculs Made Easy - Thompson" wasn't rigorous enough for me, but was still a good book though, got the Spivak now, it's very hard, but I think I can do it). I am very passionate about physics so I tend to spend huge amounts of time on internet watching science physics videos, which I am very very very very glad I do, because I would forget about physics and I would go into computer science and I would regret it all my life.

    I am very sory for this long tireing post about my life. I know I sound very edgy, but I am very scared, to be honest. As you can see, I wasted my time, whereas I could have known so much more math and physics by now. You will probably say I didn't waste my time, but I did my research and only the most genious tend to get into physics research (the ones who master baby maths almost before university):frown: . I am no genious, as a mere mortal I am just very curious and spend tons of time working but I am no genious who would do magic at age of 15.

    Also, here is another piece of information, that is probably pretty bad. I was found out to have Multiple Screlosis just a week ago, that's probaly why I am so nervous right now as well(I can't sleep, I am awake till 5 am every night, where my brain is going into racing turbo super saiyan mode of thinking about physics and my life), I tend to get depressed that it will make me stupid and that I won't be able to make it :frown:.

    So here is finally my question from the title: Can a mere mortal + MS like myself hope to pursue a career of a scientist where the title of PhD physicist working as a scientist on a university or an institute is luxorious and only avaliable to the elite geniouses(I may be wrong, but sleepless nights spent googling, reading through comments and forums about it convinced me)?

    (Optional) Being a Slovenian I am very limited to just one research institute here(Jožef Štefan), so I want to ask if I stand a greater chance with graduate work abroad?

    P.S. I hope this post doesn't bore you too much with me going on about my life, however I am trully in dilemma about what I am supposed to do and wanted to tell you guys the whole story so you have a clear picture. I am also very very thankful for anyone who answers(be it positive or negative) :smile:.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 8, 2017 #2


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    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    You are only 18??

    You still have plenty of time to learn physics and maths (and music, sports, computers....etc etc). You may not be a genius but you already know a lot of things.

    If you are confused about your career, you can ask for help in the career guidance forum here.

    Welcome to PF!:smile:
  4. Feb 8, 2017 #3
    Thank you for your reply so much :)

    Do you think I can copy this post and post it on the career guidance forum, or do I have to rewrite something original again? After all it took me more than 2 hours to write this xD.
  5. Feb 8, 2017 #4


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    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Yes, you can copy this post and paste it there. But I think you should remove some part (which is not necessary while asking for career advice) so as to make your post more specific.
    Good luck!
  6. Feb 8, 2017 #5
    Ok, I will do so, however I have no idea what to remove :/ . I posted everything i had to tell and how I feel so people will hopefully understand why I am going crazy about this.

    Thank you for your help :)
  7. Feb 8, 2017 #6


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    Science Advisor

    Of course. All physicists are mere mortals who decided to study physics. But you have to take it one step at a time. Try majoring in physics in a university. After you've taken some physics classes, you can decide if you really want to keep doing it. In the later part of your undergraduate program, you can decide if you want to go to grad school. You might change your mind. Don't try to plan out your life just yet.
  8. Feb 8, 2017 #7
    Thank you very much :smile:.

    I will listen to your advice and work hard and think about graduate work after a year or two on undergrad. I know im planning too much, but it was this stupid disease that really made question my future and life and so I couldn't help it but ask what I wanted to know myself. I hope I didn't sound too rude.

    Again, thank you sooooo much as this really calms me down and I can be at peace of mind about it for now. :smile:
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