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  1. Sep 21, 2014 #1
    Hello PF,

    If it isn't too much trouble, how did you guys decide what kind of research you wanted to do in graduate school? I will soon apply to graduate school yet I still don't really know what I want to do. Does this mean that I don't have a passion for physics? I really only have experience in astronomy research so I feel like getting accepted into other fields would be difficult. Also, will universities accept me if I am still unsure, or do they prefer students with concrete ambitions?

    Thanks for all of the help!

    P.S. Sorry if this is the wrong forum. I wasn't sure if this was academic or career guidance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 21, 2014 #2
    It absolutely does not mean you don't have a passion for physics. Personally I hate the word "passion" because it implies and expects so much. Anyway, it took me until after I finished undergraduate physics to find out what I was interested in. The way I found this out was I started reading a book that sounded interesting to me. I had fleeting thoughts about this field while going through my education but they never stood out above others.

    Your experience in astronomy will be most effective if you apply for astronomy programs but it is by no means worthless if you apply to others. Graduate schools are more looking for the fact that you have research instead of the particular area. It's pretty much a given that you don't have enough time to significantly contribute to any field in the undergraduate years. I was essentially in your shoes four months ago when I graduated. I knew I wanted to go to graduate school but I didn't know what area I wanted to specialize in. I decided to take a year off to get my head back on straight and maybe work for a few months. This was PERFECT for me in helping me realize what I really wanted to know about.

    While I won't go so far as to demand you take a year off after you graduate, I will say that it certainly helped me. The pressures of school were off of my shoulders and I could learn for fun again. Universities will still accept you if you are unsure but they do prefer if you have concrete ambitions because it makes your Statement of Purpose so much more captivating. They want to be encouraged by your Statement of Purpose, not have an unknown. My advice would be to talk to professors in different fields and ask them why they chose their field above others. What makes their choice stand out from the rest? Watch videos, read books. The point of doing this is that you should find what they find beautiful about their subject of stufy and in turn it will help you pin down why you majored in physics in the first place.
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