Hello everyone! I just finished my first semester of graduate school in physics, and I have been struggling with some serious doubts since virtually the first day. During my time as an undergraduate, things were fairly easy for me. Most of my peers were spending 8 hours per day studying and what not while I was able to get by with much less effort and still graduate magna cum laude, phi beta kappa. I worked in the Army Research Lab for a couple summers and also had great success there as far as writing papers and giving presentations of my research. At the time this was great, as I got to enjoy having a lot of free time and still do very well. The problem now is that being in graduate school the workloads are tremendous, and it seems that for one to be successful they must be willing to pretty much do nothing but physics! Now I am in a situation where I need to be willing to spend many hours a day doing physics. . . and it isn’t so easy. I enjoy doing a lot of things, and I have a lot of hobbies. I enjoy reading and writing fantasy novels (Robert Jordan, George RR Martin etc…), I have a girlfriend of two years that I spend a lot of time with, I’m close to home so I still hang out with a large group of great friends every weekend, I love watching football and mixed martial arts (the UFC for example). My biggest hobby is nutrition and physical fitness. I train a lot like a competitive athlete and spend a lot of time researching training and nutrition, being outside, and building training equipment. So obviously I simply don’t have the time to do all these things and be a successful PhD student. I’ve noticed that the majority of the other graduate students don’t really do much or have many interests outside of physics, and it’s frustrating! Am I supposed to just put a lot of these hobbies of mine on the back burner and let physics pretty much be my life for the next who knows how many years? Thus far this rant only concerns coursework (and pre-lim exams…*sigh*), I have seen a little light in this situation in the form of research. When I wasn’t sitting around bored with nothing to do, I really enjoyed my time as an intern doing research at ARL. My concentration is soft condensed matter (probably with a biology emphasis), and I hope to find a job in a government/national lab or in industry... NOT academia. This semester all the professors have been giving a seminar for the new grad students in order to help us determine with whom we want to do our research, and I feel excited and motivated when I hear these things. When it comes time for coursework however, I’m again feeling a depressing lack of interest. I hope my intelligence didn’t trick me into getting into something that’s going to make me hate life for the next 5,6,7 years! My boss at ARL said that if you don’t contemplate quitting at least 3 times during graduate school, something is wrong… but I’ve only completed ONE semester!