How do you reconcile performance and curiosity?

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Hello everyone!

I originally decided to be a physicist when I took an online course in Astronomy which talked about the greatest unsolved mysteries of the universe. After coming to university and conducting research in Particle Physics, I think I like it better and would pursue it instead.

However, I think I'm noticing a change in my outlook and my goals for the future. I, initially, took courses online just because I wanted to learn more about how our universe worked and pure curiosity. But after going through the process of applying for colleges and being in the university for a couple of years, I think I've deviated from that initial passion and being driven instead by getting good grades, publishing more papers so I can get into a good grad school.

While I don't think that there's anything wrong with wanting to go to a good school or getting good grades, I feel like it would be better, in the long run, to want to continue doing Physics, not to be a professor at a top university or "be a good physicist," but wanting to explore Physics just for the heck of it and because I love it. Does that make sense? Let me know if I need to elaborate further.

My question: is this normal? Did any of y'all feel this way before? How did you respond to it?
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Tom.G
Science Advisor
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You are just picking up what your social environment is, part of being Human.
There is an old quote; "Get all the advice you can, then do as you damn please." Something to consider.
 
  • #3
kuruman
Science Advisor
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It is perfectly normal to wish to pursue what you enjoy. However, unless you are independently wealthy like Prince Louis de Broglie, you should consider what course of action will put food on the table and balance one against the other.
 
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  • #4
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You are just picking up what your social environment is, part of being Human.
There is an old quote; "Get all the advice you can, then do as you damn please." Something to consider.
I like this advice the best, I think I'll go and do as I damn please now.
 
  • #5
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My question: is this normal? Did any of y'all feel this way before? How did you respond to it?
I think this kind of conflict is perfectly normal. I too had such period, when reality came knocking on the door. Just take this conflict as fuel instead of trouble.
 
  • #6
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I'm a first year undergraduate so I can't really asnwer your question, I'd just share one of my favorite quotes from Einstein:

Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn a living at
it. One should earn one’s living by work of which one is sure one is
capable. Only when we do not have to be accountable to anyone can we
find joy in scientific endeavor.
 

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