Not sure what direction I'm heading in

  • Thread starter Benzoate
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In summary, your advisor does not provide guidance and does not encourage you to do research during your freshman year. He does not provide clear explanations of the numerical methods and you feel like a failure because you do not understand the code.
  • #1
Benzoate
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I want to go to grad school to either study astrophysics or a topic in condensed matter physics . Its been two years and now I am just starting to do research in astrophysics studying studying globular star cluster over a black hole. I really haven't had a good mentor for my this research project. I probably would not have been able to work on the project I wanted to pursue if I did not walk into his office. He hardly ever responds to my emails that often, unlike most of the physics professors in the department. I know you should work independently on a given project. But he really doesn't sit down with you and tells you why the equations you written inside the code are wrong . He responds by telling me about what how the code should look , even when his explanations are not concise and seem unclear to me. I feel really useless and stupid because in all honesty, I really don't understand what the code really means. Is it normal not to understand the numerical methods when performing an astrophysics simulation for the first time? I really want to understand , my project.

Overall , I have received any real guidance from any professors what direction I should take that will enable me to walk on the right path to becoming a physicist;s Not even sure what physics topics I'd be interested in even if I were accepted into a physics grad program. I've gone to my college library just about every night checking books on different physics topics ranging from General Relativity to quantum computing, to Globular star clusters to atomic physics , to QED , to determined what physics topics interest me the most. These books have served somewhat as a guide for me , since I might so called physics advisor doesn't offer me any real advice. Nevertheless , books are not the best substitute compare to asking another professor about their experience finding out what they've want to pursue a career in as a physics major.

My advisor also did not encourage me as a freshman to do some research over the summer when I was a freshman . Now I'm just starting to developed my research experience in my late sophomore year.
 
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  • #2
You are worrying unnecessarily. You will see what interests you as you take courses. Most people don't do research after freshman year. Grad school applications are over a year away, right now just focus on earning good grades, understanding the material, and your current research project.
 
  • #3
Yeah you still have plenty of time to decide what to pursue after undergrad. as stated above, most students do not begin doing research until sophomore year or later.
Even once you get to grad school, you will take one year doing courses which are most likely general courses again like E&M, Mechanics... etc. then after those you begin to get more specialized.
 

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