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Quitting physics/math academically

  1. Apr 5, 2009 #1
    so i'm a senior math + physics major. i'm done with the physics degree this semester and finishing up the math degree next year. but i'm done, i'm almost completely resolved to not go to grad school so i'll probably just keep up with the math and physics as a hobby.

    i'm done because i'm sick of devoting long hours to something that essentially has no bearing on anything and never will. i'm also sick of being stagnant socially. i used to be an introvert and so math/physics was conducive to that but in my time at college i've become more extroverted and i've realized i greatly enjoy people and the more existential things in life.

    but being in academia has exposed me to a lot of smart and creative people and they are kind of like the best of both worlds. so my question what i can do with my life ( occupation/vocation/job/etc ) that will allow me to interact with relatively intelligent people?

    just throw some ideas out there.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 5, 2009 #2


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    hrm, I hear grad school is a good place for that.
  4. Apr 5, 2009 #3


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    no, but, seriously. I switched to engineering for my masters for this kind of reasoning:

    (by the way, this reasoning is wrong logically, but I understand and can relate with the emotional feeling that causes it.)
  5. Apr 5, 2009 #4
    i meant more so in the helping people type way and even beyond that we all know that 90% of the stuff that gets published will never see the light of day.
  6. Apr 5, 2009 #5
    Contrary to popular opinions, grad students do have social lives. For the most part I work an eight hour day, and I'm a physics grad student. The first year of grad school is tough, especially before you've passed your qualifier. But after that it's not so bad. Yes, there are times when I have to stay late in the office, but this is also true in industry jobs. So if this is all that's keeping you out of grad school, I'd say you should still consider it.

    If you want out of academia though, I guess engineering is the place to go. Engineers are smart...at least I assume so. Since you've got a year left, you should start looking for jobs immediately. You've got to send out a lot of applications, and it takes a long time. I guess the other thing you could do is go to grad school for two years, get a masters, and teach community college (here the intelligent people would be your fellow teachers, and maybe the more interested students.

    Sorry I can't be more helpful. My personal experience is that unless you go to grad school, physics isn't as employable a major as they tell you.
  7. Apr 5, 2009 #6
    you've missed the point. i don't want a physics/math/engineering job. i want a regular job where the people i interact with aren't bricks. this might be the wrong place to be asking...
  8. Apr 5, 2009 #7
    Well, typically physicists, mathematicians, and engineers are intelligent, and you said you wanted to interact with intelligent people. With physics and math degrees, there's not much else you can do (I know, because those were my majors in college too). I guess you could try finance. But without a PhD, and with the current economic issues, that might be a problem. Other than that, I can't think of much else that you could do.
  9. Apr 5, 2009 #8
    Bricks: people without emotions :confused:
  10. Apr 5, 2009 #9
    Just what kind of people did you want to interact with?
  11. Apr 5, 2009 #10
    Don't move to Norway =D
  12. Apr 5, 2009 #11
    Also, physicists aren't bricks. Not that I'm saying I particularly enjoy hanging out with my fellow physicists, but they definitely aren't emotionless.
  13. Apr 5, 2009 #12
    People are very diverse, you can't expect to go to one place and resonate with everyone.
  14. Apr 5, 2009 #13
    I think you should consider social studies (Economics/Global /Politics/Global religions/cultures).
  15. Apr 5, 2009 #14


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    Hang out at PF. :biggrin: Rumor has it that there are smart people here.

    One can apply mathematics and physics in many jobs while interacting with people. Engineering is a job in which one can apply math and physics, and interact as a colleague or supervisor. There are interesting jobs in sustainable development.

    What kind of interaction does one wish?

    Besides working 5 days/wk (Mon - Fri), one could spend weekends meeting interesting people.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2009
  16. Apr 5, 2009 #15
    yea online forums are ok but person to person interaction would be better.

    btw i didn't mean physicists are bricks, even though they have qualities that make them brick like, i meant i'd prefer to hang out with people that aren't as dumb as bricks.

    basically i'd like a job with variety - where i'm outside sometimes being active, inside sometimes studying, sometimes talking with people of both sexes, sometimes being by myself.

    it's not enough for me to partition my life into the work week and the weekend. 2 days isn't enough time to be alive.
  17. Apr 5, 2009 #16
    It looks to me like you are imagining barriers that do not exist and demanding guarantees in life that are not available to anyone. We all have to make our choices and live with them. If you think this is not the life for you, then by all means, look elsewhere.
  18. Apr 5, 2009 #17
    You could go teach in a highschool.
  19. Apr 5, 2009 #18
    My current employer worked as a consultant before. A really cool job and challenging! You go around the world, meet different people :biggrin:.
  20. Apr 5, 2009 #19
    :uhh: i am. i already said it in the first post: i quit, actively looking elsewhere.
    consultant for what?
  21. Apr 5, 2009 #20


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    Ice, the emotional tone of your post sounds very familiar to me. I could have written it, the last year or two that I was finishing my degree. I was so fed up with the poverty, the blunted social life, and the long hours spent studying that I didn't even go to my graduation...I had just had it, was totally sick and tired of school.

    A career in technical sales might suit you...you'd be interacting with relatively intelligent people. Very sociable people tend to do well in sales.
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