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Too old to start?

  1. Sep 25, 2010 #1
    Well... first of all, I'm not from U.S. and english is not my native language. So please excuse any crude grammar mistake. Besides, the way college institutions here work might differ a little bit.

    I'm seriously considering starting Physics college.
    Problem is I kinda spent my life thinking it was impossible and I focused on other subjects. After high school I went to a law school for 1.5 years and then to a linguistic school for another 2 years, only to realize that altough i liked the subject I didnt want to spend my life working with that.
    after that I spent 2 years idly (which was a probably a terrible mistake)

    Now I intend to study physics, but the thing is, I'm already 24. Most people I see or hear about start at 18 or something.

    I want to know if I am just too old for this or if there is hope.

    Thanks for the attention
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2010 #2


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  4. Sep 25, 2010 #3


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    No, you aren't too old. Go for it, and best of luck to you!
  5. Sep 25, 2010 #4
    Hey, OP, I guess we have a lot in common. I just turned 25, as well, am not from the US, have a Law degree and have worked in the field for a year and a half only to realize I don't want to do this for the rest of my life. I also realized Physics is where my true passions lie. I probably already made a topic on the same question you just posed as I was worrying about the same thing. Well, you know what? I'm a first year Physics student now and I don't regret it one bit. Not yet at least :smile:
  6. Sep 25, 2010 #5
    I am nearing 30, and doing excellent in the study of physics. It just took a little while to get back into the swing of things. I was initially worried about this at first, but after a while I noticed that there are many other people in the same situation.
  7. Sep 25, 2010 #6
    The only thing that changes when you get older is how fast you can learn. If you feel you can still learn (that is teach an old dog new tricks) then go for it.
  8. Sep 25, 2010 #7
    Mozart was playing piano at 5 years, so given your rule, everyone at 14 or 18 is too old to learn to play piano.

    Go for it.
  9. Sep 26, 2010 #8
    I agree, age is no barrier to learning.

    I am not sure why you mention someone who won Senior Wrangler and the first Smith's prize at Cambridge around the age of 21?
  10. Sep 26, 2010 #9


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    So don't you think it might help to give us some idea of where you are? We might actually have someone from there who can give you advice! :smile:
  11. Sep 26, 2010 #10


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    I just wanted to point out that people can have multiple passions that are far away from each other and yet practice them(even together).Cayley was a lawyer. But I do emphasize having the minimum technical skills like math, because if you do not have it at an early age it is very hard to play a catch up. And physics is very dependant on good math for undergrad let alone the real interesting part of physics in the high end like LQG,string ...etc.
  12. Sep 26, 2010 #11

    I began my physics degree at the age of 25 and finished it at the age of 29 with a First Class Honours (It took 4 years at that time to com-plete it in the country where i am from). Dont be worried about your age. in fact its even a plus as you have more maturity to really appreciate the stuff.

    Good luck!!
  13. Sep 26, 2010 #12
    I've got socks older than you are. You've got a ways to go before you are too old for anything... so go start already!
  14. Sep 27, 2010 #13
    Yes, multiple passions are entirely possible. I understand that Cayley published hundreds of mathematics papers while he was a lawyer, so it was hardly like he was 'starting over' when he returned to academia.

    Mathematics is very important, as you say, and many people returning to the sciences at university seriously underestimate how much mathematics they need to do. However, with discipline, it is completely possible to start from scratch. It just takes a lot of work...
  15. Sep 27, 2010 #14
    First of all thank you evryone for your encouraging words.

    now, let's see...
    well, what if my math is not "very good" but just "good"?

    I'm from Brazil.
  16. Sep 27, 2010 #15


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    I thought you would be at least 35 when I opened the thread. 24 is hardly "too old".
  17. Sep 27, 2010 #16


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    well, then you have to work a bit harder. Some people thrive on challenge some get de-motivated, just make sure you are of the former.
  18. Oct 1, 2010 #17
    Hey substitute "finance" for "law", and you got exactly my life!:smile:
  19. Oct 2, 2010 #18

    Vanadium 50

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    In 4 years, you are going to be 28. Would you rather be 28 with or without a physics degree?
  20. Oct 4, 2010 #19
    That's one of the reasons that convinced me I should start studying. A few months ago I wasn't sure if I should do it or not, and feeling like I was too old played a big part in that. I didn't want to be the oldest person in a class full of kids. Reading the posts on here and speaking with a university convinced me that it's never too late! I'm now in college studying maths, physics and chemistry in order to meet the entry requirements for uni next year. Funnily enough, i'm actually one of the youngest in my class! I'm 23, where as the oldest is mid 40s. I absolutely love it!

    Also, my guidance tutor is in her 50s and she only recently completed a masters degree in psychology. That helped reassure me too.
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