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Physics-my mom doesn't want me to major in it

  1. Jul 24, 2005 #1
    Physics--my mom doesn't want me to major in it

    Arr. No "follow your dreams" bull****. I've given it, and I don't want it.

    Here's the story in short: My mom ended up majoring in a "useless" degree, had a hard time finding a job, and doesn't want the same thing to happen to me. So she is hinting that I should major in something practical and job-friendly--something like engineering. Ideally, however, I would like to double major in physics and philosophy for undergrad, and then get a PhD in physics (and, if it is necessary to say, I'm quite confident I can make it into a high-caliber school for this). Ideally, too, I wouldn't graduate with a debt to pay and wouldn't care about money. But this isn't the case, and these things will happen, and I don't know what to do. Is it possible to major in engineering for undergrad and then jump into a physics PhD program? I don't know.. What should I do? .. blah
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 25, 2005 #2
    Is your mom going to be controlling you for the rest of your life? Is she going to tell you who to marry, where to work, where to live? If so, then do what she says. If not, follow your dreams!!!
  4. Jul 25, 2005 #3
    I know that, but I can't come out of undergrad swamped in debt. Then I wouldn't even be able to go to grad school! I am not mindlessly following what my mom says; what she is saying is rational.
  5. Jul 25, 2005 #4


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    Call her useless because of her useless degree everytime she brings it up :D haha no just kidding. Anyhow... physics does have a huge future and the good thing about it is that it applies to many jobs you cant think of as being physics jobs. Also, you can get jobs that have nothing to do with physics with a physics degree! Whats great about it, and most peopel seem to agree, is that the idea that you can think for yourself and have a solid understanding of reality and mathematics. This is apparent to any employer and there are definitely cases where people get jobs over people who actually have degrees in the field the job is in.

    That applies to BS degrees by the way. I also hear theres a lack of physics high school teachers in the US at the moment...
  6. Jul 25, 2005 #5
    LOL show your mom the US governemnt's Bureau of labor statistics's list of highest paying jobs. You will see that physicist is in the top ten list(or at least in the top 15, i can't remember exactly which place it is in) for highest paying jobs available, even above engineering jobs.
  7. Jul 25, 2005 #6
    I've heard of a few people, one that works for SETI, that majored in electrical engineering, and went on to get a phd in mathematics. Thats sort of parallel to what you're question just was. Although SETI is not a place to make money at.
  8. Jul 25, 2005 #7
    " o
    What are the highest paying jobs?

    Listed below are the 25 occupations with the highest median annual earnings in 2002. The source is the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics survey. For more information on and data from this survey, go to http://www.bls.gov/oes/.
    Occupations with the highest median earnings, 2002. Occupation Median Earnings

    Greater than $145,600

    Internists, General
    Greater than $145,600

    Obstetricians and Gynecologists
    Greater than $145,600

    Greater than $145,600

    Pediatricians, General


    Family and General Practitioners

    Chief Executives


    Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers


    Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates

    Air Traffic Controllers

    Engineering Managers



    Computer and Information Systems Managers


    Petroleum Engineers

    Natural Sciences Managers


    Nuclear Engineers

    Law Teachers, Postsecondary

    Political Scientists

    Marketing Managers
  9. Jul 25, 2005 #8
    Okay, thanks, guys. I'll try to convince her. Her crap basically started when she "convened" with other Indians and found out that physics wasn't a "professional" degree.
  10. Jul 25, 2005 #9


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    What does that have to do with anything?

    That list probably should list a huge # of those people as "doctors" :) Then we can look better haha
  11. Jul 25, 2005 #10
    Also keep in mind that graduate schools typically pay for themselves between tuition waivers and living stipends.

    The fact is that your parents are not going to have to live with your decision. If you're serious about a career in physics, go for it.
  12. Jul 25, 2005 #11
    The local paper had an article about college graduates the other day and "Physics and Astrophysics" was #2 for highest earning majors. (Also note that on that list 9 of those positions above physicists could be more generally described as medical doctors and dentists are up there, too. That moves physicist up to #10.)

    My mother, amazingly, has expressed similar concerns to me but I think I've finally managed to allay those fears.

    Gosh... imagine if you wanted to be an English major? Physics is anything but a useless degree.
  13. Jul 25, 2005 #12


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    ha, my father was an english major. Even he thinks it was a useless degree.
  14. Jul 25, 2005 #13


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    People tell me all the time that Astronomy is a useless degree.

    Bugger them. It's what I love and I'm going to do it.

    Plus an astronomy or physics degree is not something you stop at BSc with, unless you just want to teach high school. Obviously I plan on getting MSc and PhD.
  15. Jul 25, 2005 #14
    Haha, yeah. There's a guy in our town who ended up getting a masters in physics (at our local university), and couldn't find a job. So that kind of worried her too. I'll just have to convince her that I'll get a PhD in a nice university.

    Thanks for all the statistics and stuff.
  16. Jul 30, 2005 #15
    my mums like that, plus im a girl shes not too happy, she bluntly told me that i didn't have the brains for it, even with top grades, shes trying every trick in the book to try and put me off wanting to do a physics degree, wants me to do pharmacy (uggh borring) dad too. its not comforting to know that your parents against what you want to do, plus im not exactly the most confident person, friends and teachers think differently. im worried if something did go wrong and i messed up parents would never let me forget. i wanna get a PhD and go into research (fingers crossed)
  17. Jul 30, 2005 #16
    If you are good at math and enjoy thinking very physically about problems, you have the brains for physics. People think that physicists are child prodigies, and while some are, the vast majority are not. Some of the most capable physicists I've met on our faculty admit to being not that impressive even as graduating undergrads. If you want to be a physicist bad enough, it's an itch that you'll keep scratching over and over again until you finally get there.
  18. Jul 31, 2005 #17


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    There are universities that offer degrees in Engineering Physics. Same physics and math courses with engineering electives.

  19. Feb 20, 2011 #18
    Re: Physics--my mom doesn't want me to major in it

    You are way down on all those, surgeons make upwards of fourhundred thousand. Beyond that psychiatrists make over two hundred thousand. The rest are also off down to about 22.
  20. Feb 21, 2011 #19


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    Re: Physics--my mom doesn't want me to major in it

    Well, what do you expect when those figures are more than five and half years old? :rolleyes:

    [Tip: look at the dates on the previous posts in this thread. :smile:]
  21. Feb 21, 2011 #20
    Re: Physics--my mom doesn't want me to major in it

    There are a lot of things you can do with a physics degree but you have to make sure it's a Ph.D. Your mother is partially right, an engineer get's much better options with a bachelor's degree but that's not what you want to do.

    Maybe you could get an engineering degree with a physics minor or major. As long as you can ace the PGRE then you are a competitive option to grad schools so just practice for that and take some physics classes like quantum, thermo, electrodynamics, etc. to prepare. This is a good option if you suddenly decide you might not want to go to grad school (some people get tired of school at the end of their 4 years).

    Also, highest earning doesn't necessarily mean most employable. There are a lot of astronomers but only a few telescopes for example but they still get paid a good amount.
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