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Too late to become a physicist

  1. May 12, 2014 #1
    So as of late, I've really come to taking a serious interest in physics. I'm in eleventh grade. I don't expect to go to a prestigious college like Harvard etc, just to get a physics degree. Throughout High School, I haven't been the best student, I haven't tried as hard or applied myself as hard as I could of, as a result I had gotten B's/C's and the occasional D in 9th and 10th grade. To add to this, my ACT score isn't where I could of hoped it to be. I got a 21 on the ACT. A lot of this is because of my lack of effort in the earlier grades, but I also think the test in general could be better. To add to the predicament, I had signed up for physical science in 10th grade instead of physics. However I have self taught a good variety of physics (not so mathematical). I also am in 4-tri algebra 2 because I had a B and C in geometry. I tried to switch into Algebra 2 (non-4tri) but the classes were full. However, this shouldn't be too much of a problem because I plan on learning Algebra 2B over the summer, testing out of it, and taking trig senior year. On the positive note, I've had completely all A's this year and boosted my GPA to a 3.3. This is mostly because of my new interest in physics and the want to learn. Is there anything you could recommend to help me improve my situation? Is it to late?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 12, 2014 #2
    I'm in a very similar situation to you, except now I'm an undergrad freshmen (although I would be a 12th grader if I hadn't transferred to online school and worked far enough ahead to graduate early). You can read the similar thread I made here if you'd like. I got some pretty helpful and supportive comments from other forum users, and our situations are similar enough that I think these would still mostly apply to you.

    But in short, what matters is that you care now. You're (in fact, we're) still quite young, so we've got plenty of time to remedy our situations. If you're serious about pursuing a degree, start getting really serious about your Math classes. Don't overdo it, of course, but I'd say make sure you've got Math on your schedule every semester if possible. You'll need up to Linear Algebra and Differential equations at least, so it looks like you've still got College Algebra, Trig., Calc. I-III, and then the two I just mentioned. I'm waiting until I have all of those Math courses under my belt until I move on from Community College to a University.

    But... Don't give up. It's easy for people in our shoes to feel discouraged, and I still beat myself up a Hell of a lot over it sometimes, but I guess I'm saying that there's still hope even if we're quite behind.
  4. May 12, 2014 #3
    It's definitely not too late to major in physics, if that's what you're asking. I was in a similar situation in high school and now here I am finishing up my junior year as a physics major. I'll share a bit of my story.

    I didn't apply myself like I should have during high school and when I discovered an interest for physics as a junior (also in algebra 2), I too felt that it was too late. I had never gotten straight A's, scored a 23 (22 math) on the ACT, and didn't feel "smart enough" to do physics. My senior year, I decided to get very serious about school and made straight A's taking precalc, college algebra, and physics (we didn't have trig) by practicing mathematics every day. I studied for the ACT, retook it and got a 29 (33 math). This was a critical time in my life where I discovered how to really learn things effectively on my own and more importantly, that anyone can succeed in learning just about anything with enough effort and discipline.

    When I told people that knew me in high school that I was majoring in physics, they would roll their eyes. Now, I'm finishing my junior year with a 4.0. If I can do it, anyone can :biggrin:
  5. May 12, 2014 #4
    Thanks for the replies. At my school, after algebra 2, you can take calculus, pre-calc, or trigonometry. Which would be the best to take?
  6. May 12, 2014 #5
    Based on the advice that I've received, I would say do Trig. and then Calc. when you're done.
  7. May 12, 2014 #6
    From my experience, precalc will cover enough trigonometry that a trig class is not necessary. It depends on the topics covered in your precalc class though.
  8. May 12, 2014 #7
    I will just support the opinions by saying that it is absolutely not too late.
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