Here goes another wild stab in the dark: As a quick refresher, I will be graduating with a bachelors in physics in a month. I was not successful in getting into grad school this year (I got waitlisted at UMN but was ultimately turned down, I also should have applied to more schools/bigger departments, but personal reasons prevented me from doing this at the time (a 2-body problem where the self-interacting potential between the two masses was turned off along the way)). I have clear motivations behind wanting to get a PhD and they are not exclusively professional, before that question comes up. I am 4 years older than a typical fresh American graduate. For reasons unrelated to academics, my senior year grades took a turn for the worse, but most of my previous core courses have decent grades, by my country's standards. I have a single experience doing research: senior thesis project in a field that I'm no longer seriously considering for grad school (high energy astrophysics), given that most of the active departments in it are pretty much top universities that are well out of my league. I come from a foreign grading system, so quoting an exact GPA would be a fairly gross representation of my preparation. I do not have straight-A's, but I can do problems from books of the likes of Goldstein, Landau and Cohen-Tannoudji, if that means anything. I have some ideas of departments that I think may be realistic for me (or not). I have very strong rec writers from relevant/cognate fields, but clearly that has not been enough. I have also applied to and have been waitlisted and turned down for nearly every summer research program I've applied for, all over the world (7 out of 8, should hear back on the last one next week) since they were all fiercely competitive. I've also applied to over half a dozen temp science jobs advertised for fresh grads in physics, but no reply after a few months, and I've bugged my profs about getting some sort of funded position anywhere but they don't really know of any opportunities. I also applied for about a dozen entry level engineering positions, hoping any STEM-experience would prove valuable in the grad school application process, but you can all guess how that went down. I now have little/no chance of doing any additional research now that I have no contact with academics. I may try pestering more of my profs for some work or projects to do even if it involves no funding, provided I can manage to get a job to pay for rent at my university (on another island), or I may try living off my savings if it comes to that(living in the region of the EU with the highest unemployment doesn't help). I know I will no doubt need to retake the GRE's, in fact I am thinking of taking the PGRE twice this year and sending the best of the two (I'm aware this will be much more costly, but if it will increase my chances I am willing to pay for each individual forwarding of my best results). With my inability to procure research experience, is there any reason I should even bother spending more time and money on this endeavor? I cannot afford a masters and don't live close to a university where this would even be feasible without getting into huge debt (I graduated debt-less, scholarships and awards all the way through, and in fact was able to save a little bit). Is it now time to start the painful process of forgetting my physics training and sticking with any job outside of academics?