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Studying I'm 16 and want to study physics, should i take a gap year?

  1. Dec 24, 2017 #1
    I was fascinated with physics since i was 14, when i actually began my learning journey, i got into Newtonian mechanics and eventually learnt some electronics and programming. Noticing the math that was involved, i decided to first get started with math before i proceed into learning physics. The idea of attending college has never bothered me until now. So i would need some advice on this topic. I'm from Greece by the way.
    Well, recently i've found out that in order to obtain a degree in physics (Theoretical/Experimental), one has to be proficient in many different topics, such as math,physics,chemistry and biology,and i've been thinking of the time required in order to obtain such knowledge, and it looks like that i still have a long road to go. I'm in high school right now (7 hours/day!!!), which annoyingly interferes with my learning, and i self-study every day for about 4-6 hours, the rest 1-2 hours go into trying to explain and exercise what i just learnt, obviously i only spend 10-20 minutes into studying for school because i don't want to waste much of my ACTUAL learning time. Furthermore, in my country conscription(which i despise) is still a thing, lucky for me i have some eyesight problems, so i won't be serving in the army anytime soon(that's +9 months . The time i have left looks plenty, but i can't be entirely sure without first confirming it, so i'm left with the question: Is a gap year before college worth it? If so then what would be the advantages and disadvantages of doing so before attempting to enter college?
    Main goal:
    My main goal is to become a successful researcher in the field of physics(theoretical preferably) and make some contribution to the field if possible, i plan to achieve this goal through continuous exploration and hard work. I'm already determined about what i'll be doing AFTER college. I've already read some threads like this so i know what's out there.
    Current knowledge:
    • As for my current knowledge in math, i've mastered algebra(l,ll),geometry(which i found really cool ,trigonometry(also fascinating) and calculus(single variable only), and my problem solving is currently limited to the subjects that i just mentioned.I generally love math and don't have any sort of problem with it.
    • About the physics, i'm currently reading The evolution of physics(by Einstein and i'd REALLY urge you to give it a go), but sadly the only things i've learnt so far is Newtonian mechanics and a little bit of electronics.
    • I was able to make a joystick-controlled stepper motor with the aid of Arduino , so i also have some background in programming,specifically C and C sharp.
    And that's pretty much all i have to say, if you had the patience to read through it, then I give you my warm thanks for the attention. Any answers will 100% receive a like if they prove helpful :wink:. Ask a question if you feel like it. Thanks a ton.
    Bonus Question: Is it a good tactic that i first get super proficient in math before i finally get to study physics?
     
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  3. Dec 24, 2017 #2

    Orodruin

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    Why would you take a gap year to study physics when you could be following an actual university physics program?
     
  4. Dec 24, 2017 #3
    Thank you for your reply.
    Does this mean that when i finish high school, i will be prepared to begin my studies? If so then of course i would choose to begin.
     
  5. Dec 24, 2017 #4

    Orodruin

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    Why would a university program be tailored to require more prerequisites than students obtain in high-school? That would make no sense.

    I don’t know about the Greek system, but assuming your high-school program was reasonably directed towards scientific subjects, it should prepare you for physics studies.

    A university physics program generally includes mathematics courses sufficient to understand the physics. Anything else would be quite absurd.
     
  6. Dec 24, 2017 #5
    So i've searched for universities near my region and i've found Aristotle university which happens to be 10 minutes away from home xD. And indeed there are some fine programs. So by the looks of it, taking a gap year would just slow me down if i'm right. It typically lasts 5-6 years according to a friend of mine. As for the scientific subjects in my high school, the last thing we learn in math is derivatives, and in physics we learn basic electronics in practice(resistors, diodes, caps etc). I'll be back in a few hours, sorry if i've kept you waiting
     
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