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Just seem some direction

  1. Oct 30, 2010 #1
    I am switching from the practical and career based path of EE to physics because I really love physics and astronomy and think it would be great to go and get a PhD whether or not I end up pursuing any sort of academic research. I realize how hard it is to go that path.

    But my EE research advisors were pretty down on that career path. I really want to get involved in undergrad research not only because I need to for grad school but because I find it much more fun than just taking classes. However, going to a large public university I don't know how easy or difficult that will be. I personally kind of feel that undergrad research should just part of the program because you don't learn to do science by just taking courses. The fact I already had a position in an EE lab is great but I am really pretty sure EE stuff doesn't interest me very much.

    However, when I talked to advisors about research they kind of brush it off as "maybe later" and don't really want to talk about it or don't see it as important. I meeting with some new advisors in a few weeks but I don't know how that would differ. Essentially I am unsure if I want to go into Physics unless I can definitely get involved in some research on campus. I'd try for REU's by my shoddy academic past and bland demographics probably make that a very very long shot.

    Combine that with the fact that I decided to review Intro Physics material to get ready for next semester and just in general feel horrible about how much I forgot and how a simple conceptual question could trip me up.. I feel like I get better at things as they become more abstract and for some reason I kind of suck at Intro Mechanics, or at least I feel like it should come to me much easier than it does. Like if I went back to Calc I level book it would be trivially easy. What does this mean about me and my prospects in high level physics?

    I really wish I had some real people to talk about but I have found the senior people on here to get some really amazing advice at time so I am hoping for some of that I guess.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2010 #2


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    Only one way to find out...

    Sounds like you are talking to the wrong advisors. I never had anyone brush off the importance of research in one's physics career at any level.

    It means you'll have to study, perhaps a bit harder than the rest. If you "love" physics, it shouldn't be too much of a chore.
  4. Oct 30, 2010 #3
    Getting research can be very difficult.
  5. Oct 30, 2010 #4
    Could I be doing something wrong? Do people more advanced get tripped up on easy stuff? Or is there some sort of flaw in how I learned it? I mean I can successfully do most of the "challenge" problems from the book I am using but some times I really feel bad about myself when it takes me like 10-20 minutes to do a problem I feel like I should know cold? And a few of the challenge problems here and there I haven't been able to complete on my own.

    Like I said if I went back to first semester Calculus to review I feel like I'd feel much stronger on that material. Is that sort of math just inherently easier? Could it be that I haven't had to use physics in many of my other classes while Calculus is key in almost everything I've taken since?

    So far I've only taken Physics I & II and we be refreshing my knowledge over the next few months. After taking a few more semesters of advanced physics classes will I start to get that confidence I have in math in Physics? I feel like the way Intro Physics is taught is sort of broken. I'm taking Modern Physics next semester and hope I that will sure up my Knowledge of intro stuff and introduce me a bit more to what the pace and tone of real physics courses are.
  6. Oct 31, 2010 #5
  7. Nov 1, 2010 #6
    Then the 'maybe later' advice is probably sound. You can't really start research when you're still at the very start of your knowledge. I also wouldn't decide what your major is based on whether or not you can 'definitely get undergraduate research'. It's potentially a life-long career changer, don't base it on something so small.

    Well, hopefully. I don't know how you expect anyone to actually give an answer to this. Work hard and hopefully you'll gain a good understanding. If you do, then hopefully you'll also gain confidence.
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