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Phyco-Babble, straight from my microsoft word! college major, need halp

  1. Nov 26, 2009 #1
    Phyco-Babble, straight from my microsoft word! college major, need halp!!

    Hello, who ever was foolish enough to open this post! Just kidding, i just thought that i
    should say something to all of you, before you read this little short story-ish thing.

    I’m a senior in high school, 18 years old, and am going to college next fall, and I have been leaning towards of physics/math or engineering (undergrad) degree. But thinking about the things that I wrote above have really got me questioning things; the future.. I’ve been pretty obsessed with astronomy and physics, basically the universe in general, for the past year or so.

    and here is what i was writing/thinking:

    I can’t stand the thought of me, fifteen years from now, sitting at a desk in a high rise building in new york, reviewing stock a portfolio or managing taxes and spreadsheets. I like to think of myself as an academic person, maybe even smart, but I’m not the sort of person who could, for instance, be a math or physics professor at a college level, and though I understand, am interested, and am fairly good at both calculus and physics (in AP physics and AP calculus BC); I am just not creative enough with my logic to sit in an office and produce answers from complicated equations that no one has ever devised or solved (at least I don’t think so, at this point in my life). Fifteen years from now, I want to be working on things that no one is working on today. I don’t even know what, if any, major in college would prepare me to start this career. I want to be working on things that involve unsettle areas of our planet and solar system; settlements on mars, the moon, the ocean –and the other necessities that will be involved with these settlements, like food, water, transportation, communication; the things that will enable these places to have self sustaining civilizations.

    If this makes sense to any one, and you have words of wisdom, advice, information –anything –I would really appreciate any and all of the above.

    I honestly don’t know what I am asking, but I think it is along the lines of ‘what majors are relevant to the interests I discussed’


    And hello! i've perused the site from time to time, finally got around to registering =p
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 26, 2009 #2
    Re: Phyco-Babble, straight from my microsoft word! college major, need halp!!

    It sounds like you'd be into engineering. I don't think we'll be settling on Mars in your lifetime, but the kinds of thing you describe would be things engineers build.
  4. Nov 26, 2009 #3
    Re: Phyco-Babble, straight from my microsoft word! college major, need halp!!

    It definitely sounds like engineering is for you. I am a mechanical engineering senior and I am currently working with a professor to build a vehicle to test out new control and guidance systems for future probes that will explore the surfaces of other planets. I spent last summer working on extracting oxygen from lunar regolith which has quite a few potential applications for future settlements.

    You should check out a lot of the stuff NASA is doing. This is one of my favorite webistes http://www.space.com/

    But there are a lot of different fields of engineering and many of them can get involved in this sort of thing. So you just have to find what interests you the most.

    And one last thing, when I started college I had no idea what I would do and I also didnt think I was "creative enough" because I had never really done much related to science or engineering in high school. But I got really involved in research and other engineering activities at my school. Now I am doing things I never would've thought I was capable of a few years ago, and next year I hope to start grad school and get my PhD. For me it was just all about finding something I could get really interested in and excited about.
  5. Nov 26, 2009 #4
    Re: Phyco-Babble, straight from my microsoft word! college major, need halp!!

    Thanks for both of your replies, and that regolith research project sounds pretty awesome, ive actually read a little about it, think i saw it on the discovery channel too...just sayin lol.

    You said that you plan on going to a grad program next year, would your (my) chances of getting accepted to a competitive program like purdue go down if applying after a 4 year commission in the navy or airforce? I want to fly, or not (ie: its not the end of the world for me if i dont get selected), for a period of time after school. It seems like getting solid letters of recommendation would be pretty tough that long after having no contact with old professors.
  6. Nov 26, 2009 #5
    Re: Phyco-Babble, straight from my microsoft word! college major, need halp!!

    Would it be better to know that the reason you are looking at the spreadsheet is because it's connected to a 1000-node supercomputer that is running massive monte carlo simulations? Finance is pretty cool because you are dealing with tons of math and computer systems.

    Get good with math. Get good with computers, and then you'll be in good shape to do whatever needs to be done.
    There aren't any. The problem that I think a lot of high school students get into is that they think of majors as lottery tickets in which you choose a ticket and it wins or loses. That's not a useful way of thinking of things, since no one knows what is going to happen in twenty years, and the things that make you perfect for a job if history goes one way, will make things useless for you if things to another.

    I think the better thing to do is to get a good general education as an undergraduate. Get good with math, get good with computers, get good with expressing yourself. Read history, art, philosophy. If you have a strong undergraduate education, then you can adapt to whatever happens rather than be limited by what you've been taught. The other thing is that you are going to be in bad shape if you just accept what the world gives you, and you need an undergraduate education that gives you both the skills and the motivations to change the world, if you don't like the way that it is.

    Physics and math are pretty good majors, because although the world will change radically, the Newtonian physics doesn't change very much, and the basics of numerically modelling won't change very much.
  7. Nov 26, 2009 #6
    Re: Phyco-Babble, straight from my microsoft word! college major, need halp!!

    Both the Navy and the Air Force have good post-graduate programs, and if you get a commission in the military, you likely won't have any shortage of people that are willing to write strong recommendations for you.

    The good/bad news is that I don't think any decisions that you make on majors will make a huge difference, and you really do need to explore a little bit before making too many decisions.
  8. Nov 26, 2009 #7
    Re: Phyco-Babble, straight from my microsoft word! college major, need halp!!

    Thanks for all of the replies. Very helpful, no bull is a big ++

    Thanks again.
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