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Should I study physics?

  1. Definitely go for it :)

    5 vote(s)
  2. Better do something else

    5 vote(s)
  1. Aug 30, 2011 #1
    So I think physics is amazing and I want to study it at university.
    I got 299/300 for edexcel AS physics. I am able to to about 50% of a STEP paper.
    Will if find it too difficult? Because only understanding what is going on is fun. I am going to apply to the UK. After I graduate, I want to have a social life as well without having to think about physics all the time.

    So is physics for me? Is it worth getting a degree in average university? Does anyone regret having chosen physics?

    Thanks in advance :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2011 #2


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    Well, ten years ago I'd have told you, go for it - learning about physics is so much fun, you won't regret it.

    But now, with the economy in bad shape, getting a job is a lot tougher than it used to be. Even in a good economy a person with a physics education must learn to sell themselves to a hiring manager. But IMO, physics people tend not to be good self-marketers (yes I realize that's a big generalization).

    I'd advise you to take a good hard look at engineering. It has plenty of math and science to satisfy you, but it's sooooo much easier to get a job with an engineering degree.
  4. Aug 30, 2011 #3
    So based on 5 sentences you want complete strangers to help you decide if you should study this subject? Seems foolish to me.

    So, what exactly do you think you can do with a UK physics degree? Assuming it is the equivalent of a US masters in physics. Have you searched around these forums for similar threads - there are probably a 1000 of them.

    Why do you think if you get a physics degree (again assuming you stop before a PhD) that you have to "think about physics all the time."

    I cannot imagine many successful university students who are not immersed completely within their major field. That is part of the uniqueness of the university experience in my opinion.
  5. Aug 30, 2011 #4


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    Your poll will not illicit objective responses, if that's what you're looking for, and we've no way of knowing whether or not physics would be the best choice for you without knowing your career plans/goals, if you have any. I'm also not sure what you mean by, "Because only understanding what is going on is fun."
  6. Aug 30, 2011 #5
    Why? Just because my instinctual answer to the question, "Tell us why you're the best person for this job" is to answer. "Well, since I'm a scientist, I have to answer that I'm probably not the best. I'm sure a PhD with over 50 years in the business would be better.":tongue2:
  7. Aug 30, 2011 #6
    Dont really care about how much money I make, but yeah i'll reconsider engineering.

  8. Aug 30, 2011 #7


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    :rofl: A response that amuses scientists, but leaves interviewers baffled, I'm sure!

    My experience with HR people (who do a lot of the first round of interviews): they are quite impressed with a physics degree, but have *no* idea what it means. So as an interviewee, you must educate the interviewer about what is involved in earning a physics degree. I think it's something a lot of mechanical or electrical engineers don't have to do.
  9. Aug 30, 2011 #8
    You are not likely to be doing research with a masters degree. Typically research is done by PhDs. The reason we ask, is that, no it is not too soon to be sure. Well, ok, that is over stating it. But you are about to invest a serious amount of time, effort and money into an education. What do you hope to get out of that education?

    I have only watched a few episodes of this show - but aren't the main characters all grad students/post docs/professors? The academic world is much different from the non-academic world. A professor has very different problems/issues compared to a design engineer working in industry (for example).

    How much time do you imagine a fresh out engineer has? I think you may be surprised at all the answers here. As a Postdoc in Physics - I usually work 50 hour weeks and I have plenty of time to spend with my kids and wife. No complaints from the time department for me. But I am just one data point. I had friends who did software engineering who when they started in the workplace put in almost as much time as I did in graduate school. There is going to be a huge amount of variation and no guarantees on the job you get. In addition, the assumption (many times - again absolutes fail) with these professional jobs is that you are not going to be a 9-5 type person.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
  10. Aug 30, 2011 #9
    Do it only if you don't have anything better to do.
  11. Aug 31, 2011 #10
    Mainly a good idea of how the universe works. Then hopefully get a job in physics (not finance)
    Thanks for the help :)
  12. Aug 31, 2011 #11
    Personally I really enjoy the intellectual challenge of physics, and I really want to do research, and very much enjoy the idea of lecturing.
    But i have thought about leaving the degree (not the only one), and notice that all of the things i hope to get from the degree I'm REALLY looking forward too.
    Its alot of work, especially towards the end, you'll probably put more effort into your degree than people studying medicine along side you, you really have to want it.
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