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Insight into trying out a Physics major

  1. Oct 1, 2015 #1
    Okay so this might be a little long, but I think it requires some length to explain and elicit answers.

    I am a junior at the University of North Texas. I originally came here to be a music major and spent a year and a half as such. I was and am very passionate about music, but for many reasons I did not find the music program suitable. I don't want to get to tangential, but the method was bad and I was having physical issues related to my instrument that seemed unresolvable. I changed majors to English, under the wrong advice of my advisors. They essentially said I had taken too many credits and would have to graduate right away or suffer super-tuition fees. This information was false, but I was not to learn that until later. So I switched to English because I could graduate in roughly a year and a half and avoid the fees, and also I enjoy reading and thinking about literature. I found I was not enjoying my english classes and generally had low motivation so I started to look around at other majors. In my gen ed that I completing I was taking physical geography and stats. I enjoyed working the concrete problems that stats are uses, even if they are rather basic. I started to find geography pretty interesting when it got covered some physics concepts. I found out I still had roughly 80 credit hours left to me before I hit super-tuition around the end of spring of sophomore year. I spent the whole summer intensely debating many different majors but unable to reach a conclusion. I felt like I had an interest in science, but that I would have to cram it to study any of them, and that I couldn't really do it. So come fall of junior year I kept going with the English major. I wanted to drop out, but I have a scholarship that I lose if I drop out, so I couldn't just leave and come back. My english classes are not really intellectually inspiring me. I'm not worried about jobs that much, I had a nice internship this summer. I can do it again next one if I want, or something different. I'll be okay.

    During my internship I excelled at helping my department by inventing new spreadsheet applications for Excel, such as a formula set to assign languages and time displacement based on countries. I also used what I had learned in my statistics class to manage a project that was given to me. I find I enjoyed this sort of work quite a bit there.

    So here I am. I have three semesters of college left, not including this one. I only need a semester and some spare change to complete my English major. I'm considering doing a trial run of a science major this spring. Taking some gen chem, calc 1. Then over the summer taking Phys1 and 2, calc 2 and 3. If I did this theoretically I could finish a BA in physics by the end of senior year. I also could still finish my English major on time if I didn't enjoy my trial run. If I had to take summer classes I would probably not be able to work at my internship again, which may hurt my employment prospects. My college is not very well regarded, and a BA here is easier than the BS. For these reasons I'm not sure a BA Physics would really change my career much for the better.

    I guess I want to try this because I feel so disinterested in school. Its so boring. I don't feel challenged, my classes are vague, I'm not sure how this helps me in the future, I'm disillusioned about many of my dreams (musician, professor, author, scientist.) I want school to feel meaningful, but I think I lost a lot of that when I quit the music program.

    So the question is, what do you think of my plan? Am I managing my risks properly? Am I wasting my money/time? Will I stand a shot in hell at success (I did well in math/science in high school, but that was forever ago)? Is this all wishful thinking?

    I feel very frustrated at the moment, or rather, have felt very frustrated the whole time I've been in college. I would quit and just return when ready normally, but my parents are supporting me and I'll lose my scholarship if I leave. Sorry if this is so rambling, and quite possibly completely unanswerable, but I guess what I really want to know is, is the scientific education deep enough to be valuable? Is it work-load doable (no more than 15 hours a semester/4 science classes a semester at most)? Will I gain anything meaningful for my career from this?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 1, 2015 #2
    I think only you can answer this. The real question is:

    Which will you regret more, beginning a career in English and always wondering "what if I had done physics?", or trying physics out for a semester or two (I recommend no fewer than two... it really starts to get interesting after the foundational courses), and then finding that you don't enjoy it?
  4. Oct 1, 2015 #3
    Thanks, I feared that was the answer. I'll just keep meditating on it I suppose.
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