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Grad School Concerns

  1. Sep 1, 2005 #1
    It is just now really dawning on me that it's time for me to register for all the GREs and get ready to start applying to grad school, and I'm starting to get really nervous. This is probably my irrational insecurities taking over again, but I'm concerned about every step of the process:
    (1) My GPA isn't as high as I would like it to be (even though I'll be graduating with High Honors, I still should have a higher GPA than I do). I also have very little fruitful research experience (although I do have experience), and I have very little desire to take the GREs, which will probably appear on my score. I'm really afraid that I won't be able to get into one of my top choices for grad school, not matter what I do.
    (2) Even if I get in to my choice grad school, I'm REALLY worried about what I'll find there. I have no idea how prepared I am for the coursework, or what it will be like moving away from home for months on end. I go to school in basically my back yard, so I've never really strayed too far from where I was born.
    (3) If I do get over my hatred of travel and make a new home somewhere, and I find the coursework to be as easy as I have found my first four years of physics (which has included a year of graduate coursework, but I'm not sure how our grad school compares to other grad schools), I really don't feel like I'm able to contribute a piece of original work to physics so that I can get my Ph.D and move on. I've never written a research paper. I have no desire to be one of those grad students that gets in and stays there for ten years working towards nothing.
    (4) Even if I get all the way through, I don't know what the job market will have waiting for me on the other end. I would hate to become one of the most educated people on the planet only to have to take a job as a research librarian because there are no choice research jobs out there.

    Can anybody make me feel like I'm being an irrational worrier like I usually am, or provide some advice on some pitfalls to avoid? I've read a lot of that "Becoming a Physicist" thread and it's put me at ease a bit.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 3, 2005 #2
    Well you have listed your reasons for being weary of entering a graduate program. I'm curious, what are your reasons for considering going the phd route?
  4. Sep 5, 2005 #3
    I really enjoy physics and, despite how I feel, seem to be fairly proficient at it. I just have concerns about where I stand relative to other students across the country.
  5. Sep 5, 2005 #4
    I've just been presented with an interesting problem: where can I find information on open questions with the renormalization group (as in the phase transition renormalization group)? would arXiv be a good place to look?
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