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Strategizing my grad school path

  1. May 31, 2014 #1
    Hello Physics Forums,

    I'll be graduating with an Ms in Applied Physics in 2014/15. I could see myself getting deeply interested in high energy theories from SM to SUSY to LGR to string theory. Particularly string theory - even before my first lecture on F=ma I daydreamed about a rudimentary idea of a sort of holographic principle.

    A little background: I've suffered from severe obsessive compulsive disorder my whole life. At 15 I decided I wanted to become a physicist and could think of nothing else. Since then I've spent more time doing math than sleeping. Eventually I lost control - 24 hours a day of math and physics - dreams and everything. In 2013 I realized the severity of my condition and since have spent a great deal of my time learning to manage my OCD. It's been difficult for me to continue going to school, especially in physics where I need time to think, but I stuck in and managed a 3.2 GPA. I know that doesn't reflect my ability, but I'm excited to work with what I have.

    I plan on working with a theorist at my university until I graduate. Over summer I'm learning conformal field theory, it's applications to string theory, and any supporting math. Hopefully this will set up my fall for a senior thesis, or maybe an attempt at getting an article out there (haha yeah right), and to take 1 or 2 independent study courses with different professors. My hope is that with this work, a B.6 GPA, letters of rec and an essay explaining the OCD anomaly I can get into a PhD program that reflects my interests.

    I understand these fields are narrow, and my "poor" academic record makes my chances slim. I'd still like to try while I'm young and passionate and just now coming out of a long period of fuzziness. Any advice on other things I can do with my remaining time at university or suggestions of schools that might be in my range would be appreciated.

    Last edited: May 31, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2014 #2


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    Gold Member

    Are you in a Master's program, leaving a PhD program with a master's, or at your home UG institution leaving with a master's?

    A 3.2 is not quite the end of the world.... What is your physics GPA?

    What sort of tier schools are you applying to?
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