Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!


  1. Apr 28, 2004 #1
    How do I find my passion?

    I am a college drop out, who is going to start up again. I was 35 credits shy of a physics degree when I left school. I left because I was no longer passionate about my chosen path. I have been out of school now for a 1 ½ years, and thought I found a new passion. This passion slowly went away, just like my physics passion.

    I am worried that I will continue this trend with everything I do. How do you find a passion to devote your life and or work to? Do you stubble upon it, or does it take a lot of searching and trying different things?

    I want to have something that I wake up thinking about and go to bed thinking about.

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2004 #2

    jimmy p

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I used to have a passion for learning, but recently it has disappeared. I'm sick of where I am and want to get out into full time work. I'm just not in the mood anymore.
  4. Apr 28, 2004 #3
    Jimmy, I wanted the same thing and left school. I loved my work for about 9 months and lost my passion for that too.
  5. Apr 28, 2004 #4

    jimmy p

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    hmmmm so what DO you feel like doing??
  6. Apr 28, 2004 #5
    That is the $20,000 question. I don't want to get knees deep in something untill i know i will be happy doing it. I will more than likley go back to school and drift through classes untill i find something i love.
  7. Apr 28, 2004 #6
    It's totally natural. It's like when a lot of people my age were in 6th grade, and went through phases of video games. Sometimes it reinvigorates the passion if you start learning about totally contradictive things, like when you're learning about physics, talk about psychokinesis in your spare time.
  8. Apr 28, 2004 #7
    About a year ago, I wanted to be a computer scientist working in something such as nanotechnology... but something didn't seem quite right. It was interesting, but not fascinating. After taking a summer program at the local university, I steered myself toward different branches of science. Most of the physics that I was interested in was either particle/nuclear... until I read an article inspired by John Wheeler, Tim Folger's Does the Universe Exist if we're not looking?. A spark occured, and its direction was now pointed towards Quantum Physics.

    Im still in high school and I understand that physics involves high-level mathematical calculations, but I do pretty well in mathematics and science courses.

    Im not sure what college-level science courses would be like, but can a motivated interest in quantum physics be enough to get me through?
  9. Apr 28, 2004 #8


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    How good are you at math? That's the entry requirement. Steve Carlip posted today on s.p.r. that mastery of math has to be immediate; ability to calculate with trig functions, do definite integrals and so on, and do it fast and without help. That's for grad school. In college along with the physics you would have to pick up that ability. Carlip adds that a lot of the grad students they accept don't finish. I'll bet.
  10. Apr 28, 2004 #9
    A's in Precalculus (which is not saying that much, course is fairly easy). Currently studying up on calculus in spare time. Plan on taking AP Calculus AB next year. Know basics of Linear Algebra and Number Theory. Taken trigonometry courses.
  11. Apr 29, 2004 #10
    OH, you kids.

    I beg you to deal with this problem now, before you end up middle-aged and still wondering what to do in life...

    What was it that John Lennon said? "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."

    I have to drag one of my ex-husbands into the conversation: Brilliant, adept at math, handsome, athletic...obtained a PhD in physics, after attending the Air Force Academy and med school...ho hum, after a few years, his passion for physics was gone, just like his passion for flying and for medicine had dissipated...So he whiles away his time, MISERABLE, jumping from planes, climbing on rocks, catching venomous snakes, scuba diving, marathons, etc etc etc. No passion for any of it. Miserable, miserable person. Has zero insight into why he's miserable, so he's doomed, at this point, to continue to be miserable. YOU WANT TO END UP LIKE HIM???





    Please, please, please, go get the book from your library or bookstore titled "I Could Be Anything If Only I Knew What It Was." You've got to find out what is stopping you...
  12. Apr 29, 2004 #11
    thank you holly......

    How did you answer those questions for yourself. btw i'll check out that book
  13. Apr 29, 2004 #12
    There is no necessity for there to be a passion out there for everyone. Particularly one that you can get paid for. Some people miss out. It's just the way of the world. But you should never give up searching for one because it's worth going through some misery to find a passion.
  14. Apr 29, 2004 #13
    pan, your screen name is very telling...peter pan, the boy who wouldn't grow up, correct? But unlike that person, you are striving for "meaning" beyond simply living.

    My best advice is to read that book I mentioned in the other post, as well as Brenda Ueland's "If You Want to Write," which is more a guide to living than to writing.

    I'm lucky in that I've been through the wringer, life-wise. Not everyone is lucky enough to be given tremendous burdens. If they don't break you, they make you very, very strong. The heavier the chains that bind you, the freer you are...

    One thing to ask yourself is this: "What do I really wish to do, regardless of practicality, regardless of others?" Many people can answer that, but they won't, because they self-censor and alter the answer to fit the expectations of others.

    It may be that you need to give in to "sequential passions," which are where you map out various plans, very disparate ones, usually, and you plan to execute them one after the other. Basically, you do what you durned well please...anybody gives you any guff, tell 'em they ain't living your life, to go live their own life.

    Good luck.
  15. Apr 30, 2004 #14
    I'm of the opinion that a person should try everything and then they are more able to make a choice about what to do with their life. I've been everything from a blackjack dealer to a gold miner to an author. Now I'm older and better able to make choices which I feel I can live with. If you've lost passion for something do something else, become passionate about doing it all.
  16. Apr 30, 2004 #15
    Quite brutally, I think that's bollocks. Or rather, I think that it's not a general principle that applies to everybody. Countless people in this world do not escape their burdens, or if they do, they don't become better people because of it -- they often become diminished by it. There are many paths to becoming a better person, a stronger person, and going through hell or being given tremendous burdens is only one such path. The idea that one must suffer greatly to become a better person is a pernicious idea, central to Christianity, which has made something of a fetish of suffering.

    Regardless of practicality, regardless of others, I would like to live on a large medieval castle on the side of a beautiful mountain, and during the morning I would go for long walks, during the afternoon I would teach astronomy at a nearby college for highly intelligent, nubile young women, and during the night I would ... errr umm ... pray to God to forgive my sins. :biggrin: Since this fantasy will never occur unless they invent a holodeck in the next few decades, I must do the things that most people are forced to do in order to pay for their bills: work most of their waking hours, 5 or 6 days a week, 48 weeks a year, and 50 years of their life, in a sequence of boring, crappy jobs. Very few of us land a job which fulfills our dearest fantasies or deepest passions. That's just the way things are. Nevertheless, you should never stop searching for it: you got to be in it to win it, as my good old dad says (17 monosyllables in a row: not bad!).

    Yes, the sequence for many people goes like this: first they accept their boring, soul-destroying jobs; then they convince themselves that they actually like doing it; then they brainwash themselves into believing they would rather do their job than anything else. People come to believe very strange things in the course of their lives: look at the widespread belief in astrology!
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2004
  17. May 1, 2004 #16
    What is it with some posters? They leap upon a remark, try to cast it in the light of something global, when instead it was a specific remark to a specific question brought up with a specific person, and then "refute" this remark that has nothing to do with them, and get in a bit of grinding of their favorite ax (swipes at Christianity, in this case), too.

    Sheesh. :biggrin:
  18. May 1, 2004 #17
    I can only go on what you wrote, and what you wrote seems very general to me, advice that seems to apply to everyone, and thus open to criticism. For example, when you wrote...

    ...did you not think that tremendous burdens, "if they don't break you, make you very, very strong"? Did you not think that "the heavier the chains that bind you, the freer you are..."? Did you not think that "not everyone is lucky enough to be given tremendous burdens"? If you didn't and don't think these things, then why did you write them down?

    When you state an opinion on a public forum, prepare to have it criticised. And please don't take it as a personal attack.
  19. May 1, 2004 #18
    Find practical hobbies and pursue them. Take residence in yellow stone park if you can't pay rent.
  20. May 1, 2004 #19
    Oh Cragwolf, my remarks were in answer to the question posed by Pan:
    "How did you answer those questions for yourself." My reply was information about how I answered those questions: Life answered them for me, by the burdens and my reaction to them. And like I said, not everyone will be so lucky. Just remarking something about myself, in answer to his question. Never felt it applied to others.

    But evidently you wished to use that as something general and as a jumping off place to slam Christianity...man, if you want to pursue a group on the subject of suffering, go after the Buddhists!!! THAT'S A JOKE. Maybe. :wink:
  21. May 2, 2004 #20
    Fair enough. I apologise for the misunderstanding.

    The slamming christianity bit was only a small part of my post. I'm quite willing to criticise Buddhists, too, although I'm not as familiar with their religion, so I won't.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?