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I need some advice, academically

  1. Dec 22, 2014 #1
    Something about myself. My father came to the US and has built a business for himself. He talks about how he wants to keep the business for his family. Knowing in this economy, actually having a business is a good thing. But the thing about it I don't know if I want to run the business. He had heart surgery and 5 bypasses so I am always stuck between running the business or pursuing my own goals. School wise I was a pothead. Whenever I had the chance I would skip school, skip classes, or after school we would just chill. I wasn't always like this back in elementary school I used to get folders upon folders of awards. I wasn't bad educationally I had above average grades and graduated with a 3.12 GPA in high school excelling in math. I did one year of college switching from Engineering to Psychology, all over the place and even my habits got worse. Now it's been 6 years and I truly regret it. Now I have enrolled back into college and agreed with myself to ultimately exceed my expectations to do exceptionally well. I have this motivation that would do anything to ace my classes. I was curious about the job look was as a physicist. What are the problems that others have gone through and is it a wise path financially. Don't get me wrong it's not about the money I just have this passion about Physics and Astronomy but I don't want to be out of job. I've thought about doing engineering and designing parts and mechanics isn't something I'm passionate about. I would like to do research especially learning and observing about relativity and gravity especially black holes. Are ideas like this practical?. Does anyone have any advice?

    There is also the problem of leaving home considering the state my father is in. I love my father and I don't want anything to happen to him but I don't want to live in the world of what if's or the pursuit of what makes me happy.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 22, 2014 #2

    Stephen Tashi

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    Lots of people have a passion for wondering about physics and astronomy in a non-technical and philsophical way. If you haven't taken any advanced physics, math, or astronomy courses then it isn't clear whether you have a passion about the technical side of the questions. Have you read much technical material in these subjects? If not, I'd say there isn't any practical evidence that you'll enjoy majoring in them in college.

    Most people who do research in theoretical matters work in universities where their duties also include teaching. Do you have any experience teaching? Have you worked or volunteered as a tutor?
  4. Dec 22, 2014 #3


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    Studying physics will educate you in physics.

    The available data indicate that physics majors do fairly well in terms of finding employment after leaving academia, but most often the employment is not doing physics research and there are frequent posts in these forums about the challenges that physics majors face when transitioning into the workplace. Consider, for example, the number of companies you can name that commercially develop black holes...

    One option to consider is starting out by taking some courses. Maybe enroll in a first year engineering or science program at a university that includes all (or most of) the core courses you'll need to go further with physics or engineering. Once you've done a year of course work, you'll have a better idea if physics is for you.
  5. Dec 22, 2014 #4
    I have taken Astronomy I aced it, the highest level of math I took was Pre-Calc which I loved but I was the kid who mostly talked in class came late and so on. But doing and understanding math problems was the one thing I loved. I was thinking maybe go in as a Physics major but minoring in Computer Science just to make sure I wasn't out of a job. I think you are right Choppy maybe I should just start out small and if it continues I should major in it. Also, I would be starting out at a community college so getting detailed into a major isn't an option. Heck, you actually don't even major in Physics you major in math and get an associates degree in math.
  6. Dec 22, 2014 #5
    Nobody can tell you what to do with your education, and no matter what people on here tell you, it will have to be you that says goodbye to your father, and you'll have to decide if it's worth it.

    As for whether or not you'll enjoy it, the only way to know is to try. Maybe a reasonable alternative to dropping everything and going to a far flung university is for you to go to a local community college and try to transfer out if you really enjoy the work. Taking your trigonometry and algebra-based physics classes will be a good indicator as to whether or not you will actually like doing physics. And if you're low income it won't cost you anything because of FAFSA. I think if you can do this without upsetting your father it will be the best bet for you.

    But you won't be able to get away laughing it up in class and being late. Physics and mathematics are not for the lazy or the simple. You will work hard, lose sleep, and you may not have a professor who's willing to throw you bones like a high school teacher would. You may have a professor you hate, is horrible at lecturing, and gives hard-as-heck tests. And you're still expected to succeed. So if you can do all that and come out with A's and not hate the material, no sense in not giving it a shot.

    And if you're worried about being employed, think about engineering. They do just as much physics and make as much bank as physicists. Only it's not impossible to find a job you want.
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