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Late start academically

  1. Sep 10, 2008 #1
    Unfortunatly I discovered my passion for physics well into studying for my bachelors degree in philosophy, and now I'm in a position where by the time I'm done taking all of the lower division physics courses required to re-enter my school (UC Berkeley) as a physics major, I will be almost 25 years old by the time I graduate with a B.S. in physics. This is really depressing since most physics students are well into graduate school studies by that age, and I will be around 30 by the time I can begin post-doc research. I'm just wondering whether my late start will affect my career much. I don't want to seem like the dumb guy who's older than all of my peers studying physics.

    I don't know...I'm really excited about deciding to pursue physics and I've never been more sure and excited about my future, but I'm still depressed since it's such a long way off. With everything going on with the LHC in Europe I feel like I'm missing out on the most important research during my life span. Maybe I'm just being too negative but all of this is really bothering me...
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2008 #2
    You'd be what... 3 years behind?

    You're not that old. Make sure its something you want to do though, and have the finances to back that up.
  4. Sep 10, 2008 #3
    It's not how you start its how you finish. And you are not alone either! :approve:

    You and I are lot alike. I'm not doing great in Academics, its not like I didn't try, I do put 10 hours a day studying and only to recieve poor results in College. But never say never, don't you quit. By the time I am done in EE (25-26) I would be considered a Grampa Engineer, but who gives a **sniff** I could be doing something better like going into Medical Career and make tons of money or be a Dentist and cashing in $25,000 a month but No I am dumb, and ignorant, I decided I wanted to be an Engineer. That's what I'm going to do, Yeah!

    Even if it means going broke doing this haha. For the love of Science! :cry: :grumpy:
  5. Sep 10, 2008 #4
    Yeah...perhaps I'm making too big a deal of this...I mean the age differences amongst grad school students is much larger than undergrads so I'm sure no one would be too alarmed to see someone of that age anyway. I guess I just need to cheer up.
  6. Sep 10, 2008 #5


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    I never understand why people think that there's some kind of a race to get finished - that they won't be successful if they don't complete a PhD by the time they reach some arbitrary age. Often, older students have a bit of a leg up on the rest because they have just a little more focus on their goals, and more life experience to draw on. And in you're specific case, we're only talking a few years - people won't even notice your age difference unless you tell them.

    If physics is what you want to do, pursue it.
  7. Sep 10, 2008 #6


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    Precisely! Not everyone goes directly from undergrad to grad school either. Many grad students have taken time to work jobs before deciding they wanted to further their education, or have taken time off to raise young children. Some go straight to a Ph.D. program, and others do a Master's first. And, everyone's research progress goes at different paces...some manage to finish in 4-5 years, while others drag along for 8 years.
  8. Sep 10, 2008 #7
    I agree grad school is vastly different the undergrad age wise. A lot of Physics major go out an teach or do other work just to try it and earn some $$$, a lot end up unhappy and go back to school.
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