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I'm having problem deciding what I want to be. I'm taking A-Level Maths,Chem and phys

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  • Thread starter Pawa
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  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

I'm been interested on becoming a scientist (Though this guy is pretty discouraging... I know it's from 1999 but still, he's really scaring me... Should I listen to him?) ever since I felt joy on learning science but the problem now is that I have to choose what type of scientist I want to be.

Some information:
-I think I'm more interested in Physics.
-I'm currently taking A-Level.
-Interested in a job that doesn't make me have to live outside my country.

It's either a Scientist or an Engineer but then what type of Engineer? *Facewall*

All help is appreciated.

Answers and Replies

  • #2

Things are a lot worse than in 1999. I'm not sure opportunities are that much better in engineering:


"Nearly a quarter of UK engineering graduates are working in non-graduate jobs or unskilled work such as waiting and shop work..."

Given the sorry state of the world economy, listen carefully to your careers adviser, read articles like the above *carefully*, and try and suss out what kind of engineers are in demand.
  • #3

Another thing you should consider when dealing with advice that's thrown your way is "who is this guy who's telling me things and why is he right/wrong?".

In my experience, career counsellors have been pretty rubbish at advising...or at anything for that matter. Most probably were not so sharp either, which might explain why they're sitting behind that specific desk. Yeah, I know I sound like a total jerk but I've had a lot of advice given to me by such people and they usually ranged from "true when the person was still in high school" to "utter drivel". Often, when there's money involved (especially if its yours going into the pockets of somebody else's), people will try to convince you that they have your best interests in mind. Actually, you can replace money with "anything you have that somebody else wants", which can range from some kind of possession to "yourself". This reminds me of an interesting thought of twofish where he says that if an employer is lying to him about his job during an interview, then the odds are the guy must really want him! What I want to say is, you should really think through what people tell you and always cross-check. I've had people tell me I could do physics and engineering with IB SL Physics as long as I had HL Maths...*rolleyes*

Don't worry too much about what comes next. Do the best you can at school and outside of school. If you're good enough to have a crack at the Olympiads, go ahead. I'd have loved to have gotten that chance. Don't just limit yourself to the UK (lots of great places to study at there but I don't really know much besides what's on the internet - never set foot there), look into other places. When choosing universities and subjects, look closely into their syllabus. Some places go into far more detail than others. Some are more flexible. Some attract another kind of "crowd". Some have colleges where students live in. There's many things to consider and when you're free, it would be cool if you could travel to a few of them and see for yourself.

Since you want to do physics and math, and are doing A-Levels, I think you should really consolidate your math over the holidays. A-Level work is not very complicated and depending on where you go to uni, things could go smoother but it's also likely that things go at a fast pace and you can't catch up. Coming out of my A-Levels, I found that my algebra sucked and I didn't really know any math at all. That's coming from someone who can work through C1-4 with relative ease. Books that people on here have told me to look at are Principles of Mathematics by Allendoerfer and Oakley, Elements of Algebra by Euler, Basic Mathematics by Serge Lang, Calculus by Michael Spivak and Tom Apostol's first volume of Calculus. If you think you can handle the latter two, start with them. They will show you calc under a different light. Otherwise, look into the other books. Personally, I'm working on A-Levels (while I truly hate them, I *have* to excel in them because of uni) and dabbling into the Euler book and another Algebra text by Hall and Knight. These math texts should also give you a better insight as to what higher math is like.

Also, consider that you will graduate with a BSc/BA (some universities award those...) or MPhys/MSci in about 5 years' time and the world might be very different then...

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