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Loosing interest (last year of undergrad)

  1. Oct 18, 2011 #1
    Hi, I was hoping for just about any advice in my situation, to gain some perspective.

    I'm now on my last year of bachelors degree in physics and I feel that I'm loosing interest in studying physics anymore.

    This begin when I started therapy for an anxiety disorder. The therapy has been successful but from this I have started to rethink my life. I have started to think that I decided to study physics because I was good at it in high school not because I enjoyed it. Because my anxiety is mostly driven by perfectionism that's why I think I chose the field in which I thought I could excel. The situation is more complex but I hope you get the picture.

    Now that I'm getting better I feel that trying to study is physics is really taking it's toll. I feel depressed and trapped like I've spent last few years being miserable and I'm still continuing it.
    I'm still have in a way "the layman's" interest in or fascination off physics but I think that is also slipping away.

    I do not live in the States or a country where education is very expensive although of course not getting a degree would not be very practical.

    So what do you think I should do?
    Have you lost interest too?

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 18, 2011 #2
    Finish your degree, then do something else.

    Yes. Long time ago, I just didn't realize it by then. I finished my 1st degree (German diploma), which I believe was a good decision (although had I realized that I don't really like physics I had finished with an easier choice of topics - and quicker). Then, after some serious reconsideration and deciding not to stay in the field I did my 1st degree in, I applied for a few PhD positions in different disciplines, and ended up doing theoretical physics again, but in a completely different field. I very much enjoyed that work, then. The big tip that worked for me is not doing something that sounds interesting, but instead doing something that you enjoy doing on a daily basis (at least on the majority of the days).
  4. Oct 18, 2011 #3


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    By the time I finished my degree, I was burned out, used up, and worn down. I didn't even go to the graduation ceremony - I had completely had enough of school.

    A big part of my discontent was caused by being so poor for so long, though.
  5. Oct 19, 2011 #4


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    Finish the degree by all means. You've invested a lot of years already, and you deserve to benefit from the benefits it will give you. With a physics background, you can go into many different fields with little additional preparation--computer programming, electrical engineering, signal analysis, medical imaging, etc. If nothing technical appeals to you, the bachelor's degree is still worth something in the job market (trying to get a decent job without a college diploma is really tough!).
  6. Oct 19, 2011 #5
    I am in a very similar situation to you. I love physics, but I do not love math. Unfortunately, upon entering the last year of my 4 year degree, there is a buttload of math all the time. As a matter of fact, it might as well be only math. I don't want to do this for the rest of my life, I don't want to learn the same DE in 4 coordinate systems so I can solve a problem that I'll never encounter, and I don't want stare at a notebook full of greek symbols in bra-ket notation for 30 hours to pass an exam. But I do want "B Sc in Physics" printed on a piece of paper, not because of what it means to me, but because of what it means to the people I want to impress. The truth of the matter is, not everybody can get a degree in physics. As a matter of fact, most people can't. I actually want to go into business(maybe finance, maybe marketing), and I want to be able to show an employer that I have a problem solving skill set that is valuable to them. I won't be using my degree directly per se, but I will be leveraging it. Get your degree, it will give you job opportunities if you need them, and a backbone for your future studies and endeavors.
  7. Oct 19, 2011 #6


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    I hope you have it in you to do this.....

    .....for exactly these reasons.

    Once I finished my degree I'd had enough. I swore blind I would never sit another exam as long as I lived.
  8. Oct 20, 2011 #7
    Same as you throughout high school, especially the perfectionism. And I had gone through what you're going through. Shedding the un-beneficial parts of perfectionism turned out to be a very good thing, but it took some major brain re-wire for me, because the first 20 years of my life was based on advancement by never failing, and my brain was wired accordingly. I don't know about you, but simply realizing the existence of unavoidable failure was enough to trigger some kind of anxiety in me.

    Just so that you know you're not the only one.
  9. Oct 24, 2011 #8
    Getting rid of the perfectionism is really a tricky thing. I have learned to control in many ways the thoughts that cause the anxiety. Like thinking about failure. But it's a constant battle because the idea that it's alright to fail sometimes or even just be average is something I find extremely difficult to accept.

    What is really ironic is that I would probably do better if I didn't need to spend so much time and energy on either anxiety or depression wich usually follows failure.
  10. Oct 24, 2011 #9


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    hang in there. get the degree you have spent so much time on.
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