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I Don't Know What To Major In!

  1. Jul 31, 2010 #1
    hello, I am about to enter my sophomore year of high school and I'm thinking about what I should major in in university I want to do physics because and become a theoretical physicist, or do pure mathematics, but my parents want me to study engineering beacause they think that if I study physics or math I'll end up as a high school teacher and starve to death.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 31, 2010 #2
    I think the best answer is a question...

    What are you interested in?
  4. Jul 31, 2010 #3
    Most people who study physics/math in university don't become high school teachers... unless they go into the education stream. Additionally, I don't remember the last time I saw a high school teacher starving to death. Over here in Canada they do alright.
  5. Jul 31, 2010 #4
    You might want to focus more on getting the best grades possible for your next 3 years of high school. Take as many math and science courses as your school offers and make sure to prepare well for standardized exams(AP exams, SATs, etc).

    If you can get into a decent college with a full scholarship, your parents probably would let you major in anything you want.
  6. Jul 31, 2010 #5
    Don't listen to your parents. Follow your heart. You'll thank me later. (And this is coming from an engineering major who is always encouraging people to go for engineering.)
  7. Aug 2, 2010 #6
    Okay, I think that it's way too early for you to decide what you want to major in. Chances are that you have a skewed perception of what theoretical physics and pure math are. As a sophomore, I was definitely into the whole idea of theoretical physics, but I don't think I really understood what theoretical or experimental physics were, and I think a majority of young people interested in theoretical physics don't really either. Just take your time and take a wide variety of science classes and see what you like like. You can even take a wide variety of classes in college. High school courses are much different than college courses, and you might find in college that you like something you didn't before, and don't like something you did. A physics degree is vary versatile, and if you get an ungergrad in it, you can go on to many different graduate or professional schools (med school, law school, engineering grad school etc...) so you would in no way be wasting time getting a physics degree. Even if you did become a physicist, you wouldn't be working as a high school teacher, but the job market is pretty competitive so you'd definitely have to fight for jobs. I would say, just hold out and decide when you have a better understanding of what physics really is, and after you have taken courses in other topics to make sure physics and math is what you want to do.
  8. Aug 2, 2010 #7
    Agreed with above posts. It's pretty unlikely you really know that you want to do theoretical physics because you probably haven't been really exposed to it yet (if you have kudos to you). Your interests will *probably* shift a lot over the coming few years, so take a lot of different stuff. Study biology, robotics, history, music, whatever. You definitely want to keep your options open.
  9. Aug 4, 2010 #8
    thanks everyone for the advice

    I can't choose which courses to take at my school, in grade 10 I have to choose to go either scientific or literary, and in 12th i have to choose to go between General Sciences, Life Sciences, Or Sociology and Economics
  10. Aug 4, 2010 #9
    Huh that's interesting. If you don't mind me asking, where do you go to school?

    So what courses do you have available for next year? Surely you don't have to take *only* science courses or literature courses.
  11. Aug 4, 2010 #10
    One question,have you ever read books about mathematics or physics?
  12. Aug 4, 2010 #11
    I go to the International School Of Choueifat, it's a private school in Lebanon

    These are my courses for the Tenth Grade

    1. English
    2. Mathematics (Calculus and PreCalc)
    3. Physics (Mechanics I)
    4. Chemistry
    5. Biology (Biology 10th Edition by Sylvia S. Mader)
    6. French
    7. Arabic
    8. Social Studies (Geography and Civics)
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  13. Aug 4, 2010 #12
    yes, I am currently reading The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene, The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics by Clifford A. Pickover, and using Thomas' Calculus for self study.
  14. Aug 4, 2010 #13
    Well,keep on reading.If you want a good book about physics,there's the "Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking;and a one about mathematics,"Fermat's Last Theorem" by Simon Singh.
  15. Aug 4, 2010 #14
    I read A Brief History Of Time and i plan on reading Fermat's last theorem
  16. Aug 4, 2010 #15
    very well.Keep on the reading!!!
  17. Aug 4, 2010 #16
    As always, I feel like I must barge into threads like this and give a recommendation for everyone and anyone who's reading to read books by/about Richard Feynman. They're not always technical (the biographies at least), but they're hilarious and great fun to read. The Feynman Lectures are a great tool for physics, you should try those at the very least.
  18. Aug 6, 2010 #17
    Why are people so fond of this expression?
    When have you ever met a starving high school teacher?
  19. Aug 6, 2010 #18
    Some people just take the bringing an apple to class too literally.
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