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Returning Student Guidance?

  1. Oct 18, 2013 #1
    Hi all,

    I graduated recently with a bachelor's in physics and I have found myself a (fortunately) steady job with a steady income. However, I've been slowly feeling my soul escaping from my body, and regrets itch out the rest of it for not going to graduate school.

    I didn't do so well in undergrad, with a cumulative GPA below 3.0, so my odds were slim. However my major GPA was decent, a solid 3.3 , and I had some research under my belt in plasma physics at a pretty top notch institution, but no publications or anything fancy. But I had over 9 dropped courses(Math/Physics alike) over a span of 5 years, so yikes, yeah, 10 straight rejections.

    I thought about going back sometime in the near future maybe in a year or two, re-taking the courses I got C's and and a single D on, (all in Math!) and maybe trying my luck at the electives and graduate level courses (for fun, really).

    I think I'll do it regardless of looking good on a transcript or taking a shot at it, money isn't too much of a problem, but would anyone really care enough? I probably look like a horrible, pitiful failure under the eyes of academics, perhaps laughable even, my adviser was never really honest about it. (Maybe I'll backdoor my own institution! Ah, but probably just a tragic fantasy.)

    I don't mind not getting into the top 50 programs or even 100 really, I just want to have some real, sexy challenge in my life.

    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 18, 2013 #2
    You and I are probably in the same situation, I think, although the data is quite incorrect about me. :biggrin:
    The only thing I regret about myself during the time I was in college was my inability to speak up what I really thought and the only fact that I didn't have the right to do that either. It was all about the minor, unspoken discrimination I was being exercised over when I wasn't treated equally in my class. Looking back upon what I have been through, I realize it was just issues that were minor to me but I could add into my book of life experience which now definitely helps me clarify my objectives for lifestyle and humanitarian values to achieve from the rest of my life.
    I used to yearn very much for being a graduate student again but I didn't have a chance in both time and money. Time passes by, my enthusiasm for going to school has waned. I become more interested in online sciences and technologies related debates, any of which is to remind me a lot of what I learned as well as need to learn and relearn. I also consider two questions many people here have discussed
    1. "Who is going to hire you after you finish your degree ? " and
    2. "Will you work in the area you spent lots of time and effort on during your graduate time ? Plausible ?"
    I never consider things I have learned or worked with will become useless later in life; they actually can broaden my mind in many ways. A single minor detail is meant to complete a larger picture depending on the view we put on about it.
    Many of my job interviewers asked me what was my career path in the next 5-10 years; I tended to get straight to them with "I would like to be in your position in the next 3-5 years". Who knows I told them the truth or just a lie! Yet, no one was ever to ask what did I learn from each of the jobs I landed anyway.
  4. Oct 18, 2013 #3


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    If you REALLY want to do this, i.e. pursuing a graduate degree in physics, then with your academic record, you will have to consider not going in directly into a PhD program.

    The problem with your application is that your last set of results weren't that good. So you need to remedy that. The one thing you can do is to try looking for smaller schools that, say, offer a terminal Masters degree as their highest granting degree (i.e. schools with no PhD program). I think, with your GPA, you may have a reasonable chance of getting into these schools. This is where you have to do very well, and will have the chance to redo some of the courses that you crashed before. If you do this, then your last set of results will be considerably better than your undergraduate results, and may look more favorable in your application for PhD graduate school.

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