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I don't know what career I want.

  1. Mar 21, 2013 #1
    Those who read this will probably think I'm all over the place, because I am. I really need help in sorting out what I want for my undergraduate education and my career prospects for the future.

    I'm currently a sophomore majoring in Biophysics. I have a decent overall GPA (to my knowledge), but I struggle through my science classes. I've recently learned how to study more effectively, so my progress in upper-level science class has improved. However, sometimes I question my life choices when I'm slaving over a lab report or stuck on a problem.

    As I'm creating my schedule for my 5th semester, I'm considering quite a few options:

    • Drop my Biophysics major to become a Physics major, because it is 18 credit hours less and I don't have to take Organic Chemistry.
    • Drop my Biophysics major, become a Physics major, but take Orgo to fulfill the pre-health requirement to have the option of going to pharmacy school. (Leaning towards this one)
    • Dropping Biophysics also gives me the option to graduate a semester early.
    • Keep my Biophysics major and suffer through these extra classes, but not have to take Linear Algebra or Differential Equations.

    My biggest issue is considering what I want to do in the future. Physics is like the English major of the sciences, but I'm genuinely interested in the topic and I'm not particularly interested in majoring in anything else. However, I really want to get a degree that will prepare me for the future and I'm not sure if physics will get me there.

    Here's what I've considered:

    • Take all the pre-health requirements alongside my degree to have the option of entering healthcare if all else fails. I used to be pre-med but that ship has sailed.
    • Patent lawyering
    • Science journalism (I've always liked to write and I'm currently involved in the school newspaper. I'm also aware this is a dying career.)
    • Become a re-entry student by taking some engineering courses post-undergrad to become an electrical engineer.
    • Work for the media in companies such as Discovery Communications to put my love for media and science to use (This is kind of a far-fetched option, but if I'm going to be honest, I've thought about this a lot.)

    Are there any other options out there that seem promising for a person with a BS in Physics/Biophysics? If you were to choose, which degree would you consider more marketable? Also, how important is GPA in the real world? It's by no means low, but it's not impressive either.

    I would love any guidance or suggestions that you provide. Also, if you've reached this far, thanks for reading my long tangent.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 21, 2013 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    You should be aware that the discipline in physics will help you no matter what career path you end up on. Biophysics does have the option of heading for computational simulations, bionics, prosthetics, and robotics.

    Journalism is a long way from dying as a career - but the nature of the career is changing.
    If anything there are more opportunities to make a living as a writer these days. But you do need to live by your wits and a good sense of opportunism. You may also want to add documentary film-making to the mix here.

    It's looking like media/journo type thing would light you up the most and that med is pretty much a downer right now - however, you are also risk averse?
  4. Mar 21, 2013 #3
    Thanks for the reply!

    I guess my problem is having a smattering of interest in everything. Robotics and prosthetics sound extremely interesting and I'm sure I'd enjoy working in that industry if I had the hardware know-how or a biomed engineer background.

    I've been interested in all things media/film since I was in elementary school, and being a filmmaker was what I wanted to be for a while. However, common sense hit me and I figured that it would be unreasonable to go down that path. It's extremely risky. I'd love to incorporate media and science to promote widespread science education in a changing world, but I don't really know how I would get there.

    Sure, I don't NEED to do what my parents ask me to do (pharmacy), but they are right in that health professions are secure and in demand, which is nice to have in this job market.
  5. Mar 22, 2013 #4

    Simon Bridge

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    Funny - my parents told me the same thing... and hoped I'd go into pharmacy or engineering to the point of refusing to help when I shifted to pure science.

    A fallback occupation is good. I picked teaching ;)
    The interesting thing about media stuff is that you can start doing it right now :) but if you plan for someone else to give you a job, that's not the way to go. OTOH: there is no such thing as a certain career: you have to be pro-active to get anywhere reasonable.

    Probably you should see if you can find out what a low-end job looks like in the "secure" careers and see if that's what you are prepared to live with.
  6. Mar 22, 2013 #5
    So far, I've decided (maybe on a whim, so I probably need to consult my advisors) to take up just Physics with a Biophysics minor. Since I only need the 2 biophysics classes and need to take 2 upper-level classes, might as well take up the minor. It frees up my schedule tremendously and I feel as if a lot of pressure has been lifted off my shoulders. I might even be able to graduate early, if all goes well!
  7. Mar 30, 2013 #6
    I thought I'd just throw out there, that the science writing / journalism is something you can do in all of the eventualities. As your learning your course material your probably thinking a lot, gee, I see how that relates to this other thing, and that other stuff I learned. I wonder if thats why... etc etc.

    Write blog posts about that, etc, make them catchy, funny, witty, readable. Build up a portfolio of funny witty smart blog posts about science stuff you study, then try contracting publishing companies and see if they bite. Contributing to huffpost or similar things for notoriety is a good bet - they don't pay, but they build cred.
  8. Mar 30, 2013 #7

    Simon Bridge

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    ... though science types are notoriously bad writers.
    With any ideas towards writing, perhaps audit (at least) a journalism writing paper?
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