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Having second thoughts about graduate school.

  1. Jan 13, 2014 #1
    I'm currently half-way through my third year as a physics major, and I'm starting to reconsider my initial plans of attending graduate school. It's not so much my grades are bad (cGPA ~ 3.5, 3.8 so far in my third year and am will likely maintain this until I finish), but I'm just not at all sure if I could keep up at the expected pace and not flunk out along with tending to other duties such as research and teaching assistant. With all the studying I do everyday to keep up with the material, I easily average anywhere from 6-7 hours per day. I rarely have any time to do anything else throughout the school year, and couldn't possibly imagine taking on other duties such as teaching and doing research simultaneously.

    Basically, how can one be sure that they could survive graduate school before actually going? I don't want to expend so much time and effort only to find out graduate school isn't for me. Should I start considering other options at this point?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 13, 2014 #2
    You should always consider other options, but what do you have to lose by going to grad school for a year or two and seeing how you do?

    BTW, I did wash out of grad school and had to leave with only a MS.
  4. Jan 13, 2014 #3
    I'm in my third year as well, and this past semester the professors at my small college did a little question and answer panel on grad school. The advice one of the professors gave was to avoid graduate school unless it offered the only career you want. For instance, I would like to become a physics professor, I have little choice but to go through with it.

    I know people who were not especially talented and they are doing well in graduate programs, yet I have whom loath their first year of graduate studies. I can only speak through the experiences of others, but the people I know seem to adjust to it well enough, they also take 3 classes per semester rather than 4-6 (depending on your school and personal load).
  5. Jan 13, 2014 #4


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    Unfortunately there is not test that will tell you unequivocally whether you will be successful in graduate school (other than actually attending).

    For what it's worth, if it's just the workload that concerns you, spend some time really looking into the programs that you want to attend. In the system I went through, there wasn't a lot of pressure to do research while we were completing our course work. We were expected to chose a project, do some preliminary reading, and put together a project outline, but otherwise we were free to concentrate on course work and teaching. Other programs were different, I'm sure.
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