Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Studying Thinking of studying physical sciences

  1. Nov 13, 2005 #1
    Right now, along with many other high school students in North America (and the rest of the world, I guess), I am faced with the dilemma of what I’m going to do after high school, and subsequently, the rest of my life. I know that with my limited knowledge of the world outside of high school, any decision that I come to right now will most certainly change in the next few years, but nonetheless, I feel as if I need to formulate some kind of plan, no matter how tentative.

    Not continuing my education is really out of the question for me; it’s what my friends and family expect of me, and more importantly, what I expect of myself. I’ll be first to admit that I have very few skills outside of academics, and am looking forward to going to university to study quite a bit. But with that excitement, there’s also quite a bit of anxiety as my own aspirations, my parents’ expectations, and reality collide. Coming from a middleclass family, I have been bombarded from childhood with expectations from my parents, both of whom also come from middleclass backgrounds and with university educations. For as long as I can remember, as is the case with a lot of parents, mine would lecture me of the value of a ‘professional occupation’; how one’s salary determines his worth and happiness. It goes without saying that nothing would please them more than me telling them that I’m off to study to be a doctor or a lawyer.

    But the matter of fact is, as of right now, I have very little interest in going into the medical field (and even less in studying law). To be honest, I am naturally dispositioned to dislike people (even my friends candidly call me arrogant sometimes), and to be frank, don’t want to deal with people for a living. Of course, this might have to do with the limited exposure I’ve had to medicine or people in general, or all of this might even be a product of an innate desire of mine to rebel against my parents, and might change over time. As of right now though, the only subjects I truly enjoy learning about in school are mathematics and largely the physical sciences. Looking over some of the degrees offered at the universities around here (I am from Canada), the only areas of study that truly appeal to me are in pure maths and theoretical physics.

    Now, in an ideal world, my parents would support me no matter what I want to do, but the truth is, they are hell-bent on me studying something where there is a lot of money, and since I will be largely dependant on them financially, I feel pangs of guilt when thinking about going into physics, mathematics, or what-have-yous that are not related to medicine. I really have nothing against my parents, as we all know that money is what makes the world go ‘round and drive people do to whatever it is that they do. To further complicate matters, I am not even entirely sure on my abilities in succeeding in the physical sciences, my interest in them notwithstanding. Although I do very well in the maths and sciences (hell, I’d even venture to say that they’re the only things that I’m good at), and am a pretty good student overall, I know for a fact that I do not excel in any of these subjects; that I am a mere speck when compared to countless other students who are also going to be registering for university. On top of that, I know that even if I do succeed in my studies, scientists are grossly underpaid. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that science isn’t a field that you go into hoping to cash in and retire by the time you’re 40, and have absolutely no desire to, but I can’t help feeling guilty when all my parents ever bring up when I talk about university with them is how much money I’ll be making once I’m done my studies. A big fear of mine at the moment is the possibility of me finishing a science degree with a mediocre grade and being at a complete loss of what I’m going to do with my life after wasting my parents’ money.

    Sorry about the length of the post (I really mean it); I know that most people don’t bother reading posts this long, but if you happen to have skimmed it, please leave some words. I guess at the very least, writing all of this out has had to have some therapeutic value for me. :tongue2:
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2005 #2
    I have similar problems. My parents support me in whatever I choose but they expect too much. My dad is electronics technician so we kinda have similar interests. I always did better in social sciences, I'm even in an academic team, and last year I was in an allstar team, but I can't deal with people neither. I got in several fights in last 2 years, and I might have problems getting into college because of that. I'm already overstreched in school, I mean I do well but 5 AP and 2 HN classes just take too much work. From what I heard it takes much more work in college, especialy if you choose engineering, and so I can already see myself giving up in my sophmore year and going to Tibet or something. The only thing I always really liked was fighter planes but being 6 ft. 6 in. I'm too tall to be a pilot so I gotta find something else. You are lucky to know what you want so I suggest you just go into whatever you want and if your parents won't help you just take loan, and think how to pay it back later. It is not your parents who will have to do same job from 30-40 years but you, so it should be your choice. Possible problems with money are not as big deal as the choice of career. I find it unbelievable that some poeple just don't care about their careers. They just major in whatever comes to their mind first...:surprised Well...Like I said my advice is to major in whatever you wanna major and think about the consequences later. Good luck!
  4. Nov 13, 2005 #3
    Who said there was no money in physics? Physicists make quite a bit of money ;)
  5. Nov 13, 2005 #4
    Yeah if you have a phd in physics. Not every undergraduate majoring in physics will earn a phd even if they try as hard as they can. I'm not saying there's no money for for ones with just a bs or masters.
  6. Nov 13, 2005 #5
    That is why one should also get degree in engineering and then make a decent money if one fails in getting PhD.
  7. Nov 13, 2005 #6
    Medical science is where it all begins to connect, thus I took up neuroscience/neurosurgery.

    You don't have to like people. No one is going to make you, just try not to stomp on others so much. Learn to guide them, not hate them.

    I think you need to look inside yourself as to why you hate people, find that reason and then change society. It's what I do almost everyday trying to push along transhumanism and humanistic advancement.

    I want you to remember and understand something, if you don't like people, how come you are part of the group that comes under the psychological control of the material culture which revolves around money which is paper?


    Which would you rather be?

    A stupid business man who doesn't know how to tie their shoes, or someone who can take the world by storm?

    Not everyone takes credit cards. :biggrin:

    In this type of scenario I will go out of my way and call your parents idiots who are still stuck in society and never reached self-actualization and societal comprehension of the world around them. Don't worry, a lot of people are idiots.

    So in other words, find something you like, not only like, but want to excel at.

    I won't become a lawyer because there is no law. It's all psychological control. I hope you understand what it means to be controlled, to be constrained by social facts. That there is an Anarchy once you step outside the fake box, but people still live in a make believe world.

    If you revolve the rest of your life around money, you won't get very far. You'll be able to feed yourself while succumbing to the mind games the world plays, just being another pawn hidden among the bush so farther advancements in science don't happen.

    Easily put, when people become teachers, how come they don't teach properly? How come they don't give it their all?

    Some do, some understand that money isn't real, and they are the true teachers who understand that knowledge is more powerful than money.

    Other people put so much work into their jobs only to get a bit of cash and call it a day. It's a repetitive game where people are only controlled and never set free.

    Never let yourself down, be what you want to be, but understand why you are doing it.

    Don't let people push you, allow people to guide you.
    Be accepting of guidance, but don't let others force you into a position.

    The upside about medical science is you won't need a doctor so much. ;)
  8. Nov 15, 2005 #7
    Hey, thanks for the replies. After some more thought, I decided to just study whatever it is that I want to study. You know, I thought about the same thing a while ago, BioHazard, about money. It seems like so many people are captivated by job prospects and money when it comes to a university education, but when it comes down to it, we only have so many years on this Earth, and spending your life trying to make money, only to propagate your existence does seem silly. That's not to say that issues with tuition and so on aren't major factors, but that I shouldn't be thinking of what I want to do for the rest of my life based on how much money I'd be able to make. Right now, my passion is for math and science, so I guess that's what I'll go into.
  9. Nov 15, 2005 #8
    That's an awesome post BioHazard. Thanks for sharing your wisdom
  10. Nov 17, 2005 #9
    I'm sorry about replying to this post late in the game, but I thought it might be helpful for me to share my experiences.

    When I entered college, my intent was to pursue a career in the military and therefore majored in International Affairs and German. The problem with this was that my desire for a military career was not really my own; it was my father's. Not that he really pressured me to do this, but in some strange way, I felt obligated to follow his example. I finally realized I did not want to go into the military and finished out my education.

    I currently work in a job most people would consider very successful making an excellent salary, but the problem is, I really am not interested in my work, I don't find it challenging or at all stimulating and the fact that I make good money does not make me feel any better about it.

    So here I am, a 27 year old, taking math and science classes at a Jr. College at night trying to work my way into a field that I do enjoy. Hopefully, I'll do well in my classes and will be able to quit my job and go back to school full time.

    The point is, if you are intrigued by something, then that is what you should pursue. In the end, its you that has to live your own life, its you that has to go to work every day, not your parents. Consider yourself very lucky that you have at least an idea of what you want to do with your life, because there are a lot of people who never figure it out.

    Anyway, it sounds like you've made a decision, so good luck in school! Work hard.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook