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Really nervous about my future

  1. Aug 30, 2011 #1
    I'm going to apply to http://www.bnl.gov/education/program.asp?q=117" as soon as the application process opens (mid September).. but I am really nervous of my chances..

    I only just had pre-calculus my last spring semester.. which is TERRIBLE !! That means I'm soo much behind of what a normal physics major should be.. Although I pretty much destroyed every single pre-calculus test, my application is going to be very weak at best...

    I'm very confident that I can breeze through calculus (I've already self-studied it) and Calculus based mechanics with the effort I will put in. But the thing is my application will be very dismal.

    Applications to the http://www.bnl.gov/education/program.asp?q=116" at BNL starts February (program starts June) and by then my application would only state that I've completed calculus, physics, computer programming, and intro to computers and computing of my fall semester. By spring I would have completed calculus II and physics II but it would be a bit late for all that...

    ON TOP of all this I got a grade of B+ for intro to physical science... The grade came in a bit late (last month) and when I saw it I was crushed... I didn't expect that at the least. But I suppose its what I deserve. I took physics my junior year of highschool and got 90s+... so I payed very little attention to this class (its much easier), skipped a couple of lectures because I found it too easy, and barely opened the book... I remember my first test I got a 96... but now I can't believe the grade I got..

    I never thought I would be in this situation and I'm VERY embarrassed. I don't really see my chances of getting accepted into the mini-semester program with a B+ in intro to physical science. And if I don't get accepted into the mini-semetser my chances to get accepted into SULI lowers as well.

    Need advice please. =/
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2011 #2
    I don't see how you can hope to accomplish anything in one week of research. You'll probably just learn your way around the lab in that amount of time.
  4. Aug 30, 2011 #3
    Are you a freshman? Sophomore? I didn't get accepted into SULI until my junior year, and they let you go back a second year even if it's the summer after your senior year. So perhaps you should just focus on your future classes and next year's application.
  5. Aug 30, 2011 #4


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    You have plenty of time to get into programs and there are plenty more programs that offer internships and summer research work. Stop worrying and realize if you get in, that's great, if you don't, no one really cares and you will just try again the following year.

    Like Null said, a week sounds like enough time to figure out where the bathrooms are and that's about it.
  6. Aug 31, 2011 #5
    Well the one week program gets you acquainted with the staff and boosts up your chances of getting accepted into SULI.

    Technically, I am a freshman. I am going to be a sophomore starting August 31st.

    But I reallyy wanted to go to the summer internship this upcoming summer... That way I can land another internship before my senior year which would be great.

    Lmaooooo.. that analogy made me laugh. The one week isn't about finding out where to go to the bathroom, rather its about getting acquainted with the staff and increases your chances of getting accepted into SULI. It is stated numerous time on the site that most who enter the mini semester also return to the SULI program.
    So what your saying is I should also apply to other internships?
  7. Aug 31, 2011 #6
    If I may ask: how was your time at SULI? What area of research did you go in? It would also be appreciated if you can give me some details of your experience there. :)
  8. Aug 31, 2011 #7
    If you don't think you can get this one, but you still want an internship, then yes, you should apply to other ones. You'd probably want to do so even if you thought your SULI chances were good, to make sure you had a safety net.
  9. Aug 31, 2011 #8
    Completely true, I felt pretty confident that I can get into SULI, but now I am definitely second-guessing myself. I will apply to other internships as well, thank you. ^.^
  10. Aug 31, 2011 #9


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    Always apply to more than 1 internship. It's like looking for a grad school or a job or pretty much everything else in life. You may feel that your position may even be guaranteed, but who knows, maybe the program will all of a sudden lose funding, the lab may be hit by a meteor, aliens might invade; it's always good to have backups (although that last one may not.... be... backupable). Everyone always assumes you're applying to multiple positions so it's not like you're ever under some sort of contractual obligation to only look at them.
  11. Aug 31, 2011 #10

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    Nano-Passion, I think you should seriously reconsider your plan to go into science.

    You are fretting about a B+ because it may affect getting into a one week course so you can get into a SULI internship which makes you "really nervous about [your] future."

    In science, things don't go according to plan all the time. In fact, going according to plan is the exception, not the rule. Worse, it's possible to do everything right and still fail. If you're this stressed about about a B+, you'll never make it through grad school, much less have a successful career.
  12. Aug 31, 2011 #11


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    I partially agree with Vanadium, here. Reconsidering his career in science is a bit harsh for a freshman going into sophomore year. However, you do need to calm down, Nano! A career in science is wrought with stumbling blocks, and the best scientists are the ones who take them in stride. Focus on learning science and keeping decent grades, but don't obsess over perfect grades and one specific internship opportunity.

    This internship will not make or break you future career in science, and nether will that B+ (your first one, I bet?). There are also many, many other internship opportunities of equal or greater benefit out there. Have you considered the possibility of working with a professor at your own university for the summer, should you not get into internship next year?
  13. Aug 31, 2011 #12
    "aliens might invade".. The way you convey your points amuses me.. and I love it haha.
    What you said is very true. I should have planned to apply to more than one internship even though I felt confident; how arrogant and silly of me. At any rate, I will definitely apply to a few internships now (I think I can use the idiom correctly in this case?).

    Reconsider my plan to go into science? Never. =p If it isn't science it would have likely been mathematics, and I don't think that path is for the 'light-hearted' either.

    The thing about the B+ that worries is me is the class that I got the grade in. Its Intro to physical science, I expected to get beat up a little bit for attaining that grade in this forum. I'm a planned theoretical physicist for goodness sake and I got a B+ in an algebra based mechanics class.

    But I see your point, a PhD in physics is not exactly a smooth ride either. I am aware of that but at the same time I just wanted to start as smooth as possible. I would have a 3.96 gpa but the B+ brings it down to a 3.89. You probably think its a rathar over dramatic state of mind but you also have to note that I've only taken up to pre-calculus. :redface:
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  14. Aug 31, 2011 #13
    Okay, I am calm =) . Beating myself up for a B+ in an intro class serves to only motivate me to work that much harder though. :devil:

    What you said is very true. I just want to add that I have a deeper personal connection with grade than it being a number. What I obsess about is mastery over a material, and its what I love! The grade simply indicates my level of mastery over a subject. My goal is to have a deep and almost 'romantic' connection with what I learn.

    Yes my first one in college. In high school I was a much different person though hehe.

    Problem with working at a university with a professor is that I am in a community college and not a university. Perhaps I should email a professor from a different university and try my chances?
  15. Aug 31, 2011 #14


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    Another thing you're going to find in college is that you definitely should not consider your grade as a de-facto indication of your mastery of the subject. I've known professors who failed entire classes (every single person). I've known professors who rarely ever give an A in their courses. There are also PLENTY of professors who almost give As exclusively (although these are probably a lot less likely in scientific courses). So if you live and die based off your own expectations on the kinds of grade you think you should get, you'll have some problems guaranteed.
  16. Sep 1, 2011 #15

    You've only taken up to pre-calculus, yet you're already certain you want to be a theoretical physicist?

    Have you read some real literature on theoretical physics? And no, I'm not talking about Brian Greene's works or A Brief History of Time. I'm talking arXiv papers, scientific journals, etc. I may sound disheartening, but there are very few string theory/GUT spots in academia. So much so that it makes your odds of winning the lottery seem not far off. That being said, there are plenty of decent jobs outside of academia for theoretical physicists that actually pay quite well (including ones on Wall Street), but it's good to make sure that not doing real physics doesn't bother you.

    Now, while I don't doubt your credentials for getting into such a program, it may not hurt to take a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfxfnokQuLM".
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  17. Sep 1, 2011 #16

    Vanadium 50

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    I think this is another reason you will be unhappy with a career in science. Tell yourself this is romantic when you are measuring the tension in 80,000 wires. One at a time.

    Most of science is about as un-romantic as one can possibly imagine.
  18. Sep 1, 2011 #17
    Ahahaha.. yes you got me, I've only taken up to pre-calculus. But I've self-studied calculus and from what I am aware of so far I love mathematics and I love physics (particularly pondering the most fundamental laws). Therefore I want to be a theoretical physicist. I've always wanted to do it and I've put sooo much thought into it.

    I know I love calculus because I always like looking ahead in the calculus textbook just because it interests me so much even though I don't completely comprehend it (yet). Mathematics isn't all calculus but I'm betting to say that I like mathematics as a whole.

    I've read a couple arXiv papers and scientific journals, although at a very superficial level as my knowledge isn't quite up to par. I know that there are very few spots of string theory etc. But I believe that its journey that matters most. I just love learning and if I could I would learn for the rest of my life. Knowledge is my passion, and this isn't only excluded to physics and mathematics but also among many other disciplines. I see the big pictures in things which allows me to span my interests across other fields or aspects of life.

    I've seen that video before, it doesn't affect me much. The journey there matters a lot to me, if I don't make it so what? I know my chances are very slim. Theoretical physics is ultimately my goal but I am diligent to keep other options open of course and also to market myself appropriately so I may find a job thereafter.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  19. Sep 1, 2011 #18
    Thanks, I've read that a few times around the forum. What particularly bothered me is that I know this class is easy and I plan to take advantage of every A I can acquire. Its totally fine if I get a B or C in abstract algebra (with the effort of course) but intro to physical science? I would wager that doesn't look too appealing on applications. :rofl:

    Sorry, I probably didn't use the best choice of words. It was an attempted metaphor. :D By 'romantic' I meant more of a deep and intuitive understanding of the mathematical concepts.

    I know things can become quite tedious.. but thats just part of life. I want nothing more than to learn, which is why research areas tend to appeal to me most. I don't have enough time in my life to quench my thirst for knowledge, I'm settling with physics and mathematics and we will see where life takes me as I carefully attempt to plot its collision course :devil:.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2011
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