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Other Leaving Astrophysics for Econ/Math

  1. Mar 15, 2016 #1
    Hi all,

    I've posted about switching majors before; as of today, that decision has come to a head.
    I love physics, but struggled in my courses quite a bit just to end up with a 3.0 major GPA (I am in my third year). Last week, I started treatment for severe clinical depression/ADD, a week before finals began. Had I been of sound mental health or started treatment earlier, I would not be in the position I am now.

    Physics thus far has been adverse to my physical and mental health, but has taught me things I think are invaluable, that I wouldn't have learned anywhere else, but I do not think I am cut out for studying it in an academic setting. If I stay in, I am looking at an additional year of school (I am not going to pass two of my three finals, taking a medical withdrawal instead), another two to pursue a master's (to make up for a mediocre undergrad GPA), and then 5-7 for a PhD, which I don't think my mental health will survive.

    I have two options: stay in astrophysics with this quarter being a significant setback and hope that with treatment, I will excel, or switch to econ/math as a combined major, and take care of my mental health with a lot less pressure, even if that major is much less interesting. I have considering coming back to study physics later in life, and self-studying in the meantime, but I don't know how realistic that is.

    What should I do?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 15, 2016 #2
    What makes you think a combined major econ/math is easier?
  4. Mar 15, 2016 #3
    I have a large portion of the math classes already completed, and am a lot better at math than I am at physics. I don't have as many econ classes completed, but I've asked a lot of my friends in the major and they say it's interesting and not nearly as time-consuming.
  5. Mar 15, 2016 #4
    When do you need to make a decision? This is a pretty big deal. I don't seem convinced that you'll like economy. Maybe you need some more time to investigate economy.
    After all, your mental health is on stake. So if switching from physics makes you mentally better, then you need to switch. But you need to be sure of it. Also, you don't want to be too quick in dismissing physics, since you might regret your choice later.
  6. Mar 15, 2016 #5
    One of my finals is in an hour; if I don't take it, then I can switch. If I do, can't switch.

    I like some of the concepts I learned in my economics classes, just not in comparison to physics. I also didn't find it challenging so I was pretty bored, but I think to get around this I can challenge myself through self-study.

    If I could do it all over again, I would choose physics every time. Gotten out of my home life ASAP, started treatment ASAP, grind straight through to an astro PhD..but that's not how things went. Factoring in my mental health, I don't think staying in physics is right for me. Not staying in physics means not studying what I love with like minded people, and that hurts, but so does struggling through it and dying inside just to be mediocre at it, when I could be better at if I took care of myself first.

    I guess what I'm struggling with is that either way, physics or math/econ, I will experience a negative outcome. In physics, my mental health will suffer greatly, and in math/econ, I likely won't feel fulfilled, but right now, what I am telling myself is that even if the outcome is wrong, that doesn't mean the decision was poorly made.
  7. Mar 15, 2016 #6


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    What're you going to do with an econ/math major that doesn't involve 7~ more years of graduate school?
  8. Mar 15, 2016 #7
    Nothing exciting, I don't think. I am leaning toward finance work in my uncle's business and learning to start my own.

    I have also considering switching to robots engineering. I contacted the engineering department adviser and am awaiting a response.
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