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How do you tell?

  1. Nov 12, 2006 #1


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    How do tell if your going down the wrong career path or not? In Highschool I had no doubt that I wanted a degree in physics but now I have recently been thinking this is not the career path for me. How do you tell if your self doubt is from choosing the wrong career path or from just being in a academic rut? Also, is it too late to switch majors in your junoir year? Is it better just to stick it out at this point if I did decide leave physics?
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  3. Nov 12, 2006 #2
    Wow... that's tough. Junior year in particular is rough, but switching at this time is a little late and might require an extra year. Switching to related fields -- i.e. chem, computer science, or some engineering thing might still work depending oncourse requirements, and taking an extra year to "do what you want to do." would probably be worth it if you haven't switched majors a million times and actually now KNOW what you want to do.

    What's got you down on it? Is it the classes, tough homework? I know in my junior year we got a lot of "class bonding" going on doing homework together until late hours, which got us all through it. Quite honestly, I switched fields quite a few times. In undergrad I switched from Chem to Physics -- and finished with the physics degree although I was pretty burned out by the end, then I did an Education certification and taught high school, then I got an engineering degree and did research for the Air Force Labs, then I went back to grad school Physics (because that is always what I thought I'd do --I just got burned out frequently and needed to do a lot of other things to take breaks). Now I get to combine all that experience in my current career path! It's exciting.

    What did you enter the field of physics thinking you would do with the degree? While a lot of programs teach students only for grad school, have you really explored what you COULD do with a physics degree and maybe some extra classes in education, engineering, business, math, computer science etc? (Some people on the forum might have speciafic comments on that. What are you thinking of doing now? Could you talk to a trusted faculty member in the department about these things?
  4. Nov 12, 2006 #3
    Finance hires physics majors. Aerospace hires physics majors. If it is a job, I wouldn't sweat it. If you are considering grad school, there are a lot of directions you could go with the physics degree -- engineering, finance, computer science even medicine. You don't have to stick with physics even if you get your degree in physics.
  5. Nov 13, 2006 #4
    Its never to late to switch a major, if you find yourself not enjoying the classes, then why get in a degree in somthing your going to dislike? If you arn't doing well in the classes but still have a passion for it then stick it out, but if your finding urself fretting to go to class then you might want to think about changing. I switched from Computer Engineering to Computer Science and its my Jr. year, it doesnt seem like that big of a switch but alot of the courses I had to take for CE arn't counting for anything but extra credit for the CS degree. Just go with your gut feeling.
  6. Nov 13, 2006 #5


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    I think a good exercise is to look back at how you got where you are. What events shaped your mind so that you found yourself choosing this career?

    I was totally unaware, but recently when I thought about it, I realised that many events impacted on me. Silly things like that my dad dropped out of university and that my mom always told me I was such a technical person got me thinking that I was, and maybe I am but it wasn't my own thoughts.

    If you look back you might just find that your unease is because you haven't really chosen what to do; perhaps you haven't thought too much about it or have taken others' word for things that you now perhaps feel differently about.

    I think if you critically review how you have got to be where you are, you will be able to make your own mind up and be comfortable with that choice, whether others are or not.

    Especially noteworthy is thinking about the best things you have done in the past, what I call "the best part of me". What is the best part of you? If you identify that, I think you will know what to do.
  7. Nov 13, 2006 #6
    I switched from a lot of things to physics and for me it came down to this: in my other majors, like art, when I'd spend entirely too much time on a project (read as "every single second"), and didn't get the grade I wanted, or even if I did, I felt like I'd wasted a bunch of time. But with physics, even if I end up spending the whole night just on one of my classes, on one or two problems, it doesnt seem like a waste because I actually get something out of it, and it's fun. So I'd think about what you'd like doing every day. For me I need a puzzle everyday, so it works.
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