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How can I make the most money out of my physics education ?

  1. Dec 24, 2011 #1

    I am a second year undergraduate physics student. By no choice of my own, I find myself in a very difficult situation. Without sharing to much details that might bore you, I am in a position where I have to not only make my own future and support myself but also support some of my family members (e.g younger siblings) financially.

    I used to be an engineering student, but I switched to physics instead. I simply couldn't manage an engineering program, due to the difficulty and that engineering studies are very demanding. I also had numerous responsibilities outside school that I hand to attend to at that time. Hence, I switched to physics, something I really enjoyed, was good at in high school, and a program much more less demanding then engineering. Please excuse this bold claim of physics being "easier" then engineering. It is based simply on personal experience.

    The only Reason I applied for engineering in the first place, was because of the job prospects. Engineering is a professional degree, made to prepare you for a job in the industry. This is evident in the fact that a one full year of personal experience working for a company is needed before graduation - at least in my university it is. Physics is more academic oriented, and jobs after graduation aren't necessarily well defined, at least not as well as I think engineering is.

    My predicament is the following. I need to make money. As simple as that. I can assure you that it is not for some selfish reasons, but it stems from the responsibilities that I have.

    To remedy this situation, I have thought of specializing in the field of physics that offers the following:
    1) highest wages and highest job positions available
    2) the ability to branch out on myself and perhaps open my own company. This might be a bit unusual to consider, since starting up your own company might include years of hard work with zero return and also the risk of failing. But I feel that working independently, might lead me to reaching my full potential as a prospective scientist.

    Returning to Engineering school at this point isn't really an option for me. And so through research on the internet, I have looked at the different branches of undergrad physics my school offers and narrowed them to the following:

    1) Geophysics: Essentially finding work in an oil/mineral company. Having looked at statistics, it seems like a good field to go into.

    2) Condensed Matter Physics: My school webpage says that this field has the most applications in industry, and closely related to electrical engineering, and nanotechnology. I have no information about the job prospects with this specialization.

    I also believe that these fields, allow some room for some entrepreneurship and possibly even some innovation.

    Other then a curious scientific mind and a passion for physics, I don't have the social skills that most people have, I don't feel comfortable around people let alone interacting with them. Finding summer research internships is difficult for me, I don't have a very high GPA at the moment. So my prospects of going into graduate school are slimmer - I recognize that graduate school is a necessity for these fields.

    My question is, what do you think about What I have suggested above? and how can I make the most money out of my physics education ?

    Thank you for reading this far, I would be grateful for any input/comments/advice.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2011
  2. jcsd
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