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Help me please?

  1. Jun 10, 2009 #1
    I have been having serious doubts all of a sudden. I have a deep interest in nanotechnology, cellular biology, physics, oceanography, chemistry, political science, and the military (primarily air-force).

    I want to do all of what I stated above but I won't be able to do it all, so I was thinking that I should take biology as I was also interested in NASA and would like to work in the new field of astrobiology. Then I thought biology is a wide field and would help me but I need something that is of another field of science as well. Astrobiology encompasses most fields of science and has become quite interesting, but so has biophysics. I was wondering if I should just take biophysics as the program rests upon most of the choices I have a deep interest in. I will be joining the military after college because I've always had the dream to become an air-force officer (pilot as a child).

    However, I need some guidance on the matter as most Biophysicists have PhD’s and masters whereas I would graduate and then head onto the air-force. I was thinking though, whether I should earn a masters and then head off but haven't actually contemplated what I want to major in exactly.

    Thanks for any advice given...
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 10, 2009 #2


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    Most people have many career changes in their lives so desiring to do a variety of things is not uncommon. However I would try and see if you can take it one step at a time.

    As far as I know you need to rack up so many hours and pass a few qualifying exams and flight exam to be a pilot. Obviously the air force have their own restrictions and I know nothing about them.

    Knowing a tiny little bit about biology, it sounds like you would be interacting a lot of chemistry with physics and be learning heavily about fluid dynamics, some pretty advanced electrodynamics and a tonne of cool stuff.

    You might want to in your undergraduate decide on a major and then pick up some electives in things you are interested in. I remember in my first year I picked up electives in accounting, management, communication, biology, applied math, stat, discrete math, pure math, physics, and statistics. Needless to say I tried to take on more than I could chew and had to drop some.

    I would pick an area that you know for sure that you want to excel in and study further and pick up electives in things that are interested but not as high in priority. If the priority changes once you pick up things you can always change degree, but at least if what you think is your highest priority becomes your passion you'll be on target to finishing it.

    Also remember that there are interruptions along the way and sometimes you might have to defer what you're doing and come back to it later. If you become an air pilot for the air force and enjoy it don't feel like you need to go to biology. If you're happy in one
    thing then thats a sign that you've found your passion. If course like I said many people change their careers many times during their lifetime so don't worry too much.

    I don't know much about astrobiology but I do know that if you're going to nut it out through such a degree you will need some sort of support network while you do it. It might be your parents, your friends, your lecturers, your tutors or combinations thereof. Don't do what I did and try to go the whole thing solo. Find people with similar drive, ambitions and so forth so that you can share thoughts on your subjects, and to generally enjoy the course that you're doing.

    As for things like masters or PhD's I can't really advise you there. One aquaintence has told me that a PhD is more perspiration than anything else (as I imagine high level study is).

    Keep busy with your interests and I hope everything works out for you in the end.
  4. Jun 10, 2009 #3
    I love: you think about everything that "you want to do everything"!, but that take long time, and if I am your supervisor, i also don't want to wait to see no result in an unlimited duration, right ?
    Pick one. later in job if any, spread your major into other area.
    Get more money, then hire people in charge of the area you not major in, then embroid you guys each other. Who knows what level you are ?
  5. Jun 10, 2009 #4
    The, unfortunate, fact of the matter is that it would takes you 80 years to be come specialized in all those areas and at the end of it you probably wouldn't be particularly skilled or recognized in any of them (jack of all trades master of none). However, I think you will find that if you start one as a college major and just take a course in the others to see how you like it. My hunch is that you will quickly find that a lot of the things you thought were great on paper may not be exactly what you were hoping. Personally I'd recommend majoring in physics since, in my experience, you can always move "down" the ladder to chem and then to bio and oceanocraphy a lot easier then you can go up (i've never heard of anyone going from bio to physics in like their 3rd year). The reason is MATH, which you will find applies to a lot of fields but you'll need to know the most of it in physics.
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