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Have a BS in Physics but no interest in Physics

  1. Jul 23, 2005 #1
    I've noticed this with some of the other students in my class. We started out liking physics and so majored in physics, but now, graduating, have no real interest in physics. One of them has decided to become an actuary, another is going to teach English to kids in China, another is going to math in grad school. I don't know if this was a combination of the bad administration at the school and professors who just couldn't teach or hold our interest or prepare us for harder courses (especially the latter: we weren't taught partial diff eqs or div/curl or eigen____ before they were being used regularly in the respective physics courses).

    I applied to various top 10 grad schools in physics, but my physics GRE and GPA were pretty bad (I just quit caring about physics the last year of school), and I didn't really want to go to grad school in physics (and it appears I'm getting my wish), but have no clue where to go from here. I don't want to spend the rest of my life staring at code in front of a computer screen (ie running simulations) and I don't think I have the interest/motivation/brain power to become comfortable with previously covered or higher physics at this point. This latter problem is really preventing me from regaining any interest in physics.

    In the words of Bill Paxton, "That's it man, game over man, GAME OVER!!" :cry:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 23, 2005 #2
    There are plenty of jobs out there that don't care to much what your degree is, just that you have a college degree, like to be a commercial pilot and the like, and millions more administration type jobs that don't really care because they will have to retrain you anyway.

    Undergraduate physics degrees are also in high demand for jobs like media analyst (CNN and the like needs people who can talk about scientific/technological advancements with some knowledge of what is going on) There are also many jobs which will take you on your general mathematical knowledge that you got from taking physics.

    The Physics degree has established you as someone who can think, a lot of times that is more important than what your actual degree is in.

  4. Jul 23, 2005 #3


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    Exactly! You can get almost any job with a physics degree because it shows you are capable of thinking above all else. One of my professors told me of someone who got a really good, high paying accounting job with her bachelors degree in physics above other qualified applicants.

    A lot of jobs where you think of electrical engineering is also well suited for physicists!
  5. Jul 23, 2005 #4


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    I feel the same way - I dont want anything to do with Physics - I just want to know it :biggrin:

    I guess when you get used to a leisurely life of a University you begin to lose grasp of the real world and dont really want to work the dirty jobs and expect to be making dozens of thousands of dollars after you graduate and sitting in an air conditioned comfortable office somewhere on wall street. Well this rarely ever happens, and even so a degree in Physics is only as good as you know the material and can apply it to real world problems and get solutions that are beneficial to others
  6. Jul 24, 2005 #5
    A lot of my friends are like that, and it sort of bothers me. I also have friends that want to be actuaries or go into economics or IT/computer science. They're really unmotivated in classes and have no idea why they're physics majors (perhaps it was their favorite subject in high school, or it just came easy). I also went through that phase where I thought that maybe I should just switch over to engineering. At least they only need to get a bachelors degree, and they know pretty much what sort of job they'll get (and they'll be marketable at that). I've come out of it realizing that physics is my passion, and understanding pieces of it (in my own weird way) is the most rewarding experience I've ever had as a student.

    That said, my advice to you is to find your passion. Sure, there are a lot of jobs out there that would gladly accept a physics major. However, you shouldn't only gauge your job search on that. Since you'll be just entering the career building phase, this is probably the most important time for you to do some soul searching. It's possible that what you want to do will have nothing to do with physics. Maybe someday you'll look back on your college days and think, "wow - I could have spent that time much more efficiently majoring in _______" But there's no better time to cut your loses than now. Find out things/subjects/activities that make you excited. Then try to find possible careers that are associated with those things. Most importantly, research the job. You probably won't want to spend 4 years on another 'maybe-interest' only to realize it was only a phase.

    You've still got your whole life ahead of you. Don't waste it regretting the past. Take active steps toward a better future.
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