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Programs Wannabe phd, but want to delay: is this a problem?

  1. Mar 18, 2010 #1
    its a long post i for the question i ultimately ask i know, but i would really appreciate some advice. I t

    recently graduated, and have been applying to phds but I have been finding that the thought of commiting to a phd doesnt excite me at present. genuinely think that if i get an offer i may end up turning it down.

    here's why:

    I enjoy physics (and mathematics) and a certain extreme sport. Im not particularly good at either but they give me such satisfaction.

    heres my dilemma: i still love the sport that i do: I only have until i am thirty before my knees give out (it can be pretty brutal - some dudes are still killing it into the late 30's but they are rare) and I have to become a weekend warrior. It also affords me some great possibilities to travel, to meet very diverse people and generally get up to no good, soemthing which i enjoy. I've been doing it for the past 9 months all the whilst Ive been fitting at least two hours (often more) of solid physics study in my downtime (instead of watching TV. working it out, its more than i ever did at university). however, if i do a phd, physics will take more than its fair share.

    quite possibly i may just want to move around for the next few years: i may do a TOEFL course and city jump, and the thought of being static for the next 4 years is simply making me uneasy.

    In short: rather than start a phd virtually straight out of undergraduate study like all of my peers, is it possible for me to delay doing a phd until im a bit older and have calmed down a bit more (maybe when i have a nice girlfriend, that sort of thing) and got all the stupid out of my system? that way i'll be able to focus entirely on my phd and do the best i can. I mean, provided i can demonstrate that i've kept doing, and learning NEW physics during could i still apply for a phd 4,5 even 6 years after graduating from my UG course?

    i mean, if its cool for brian may to go off and rock out with queen, and 25 years later complete his phd, then surely mine can wait less than quarter that time?


    ive read this thread before posting


    cos im sure my question is no different to many others, but im fairly certain that the intersection on a venn diagram of people who are physicists and people who do what I do is pretty small. ( i can think of one other person, but once he graduated he never looked back).

    p.s. if it matters im hopefully gonna get a job in the optics sector so im hoping that should show ive not totally 'wasted' my in between time
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2010 #2
    It is possible: you'll still have much of your working life left at 30, afterall! But, the most important thing is that you're clearly not ready for a PhD just now so it would be extremely unwise to start one. A PhD is something you should only do if you really want to. Clearly this sport is more important to you for the time being, it sounds as though you have already made effort to weight up the options.

    The thing is: even if it wasn't possible to go back and do a PhD, would you still make the decision?
  4. Mar 19, 2010 #3


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    Just keep in mind that it may get harder later on. You mention waiting until you have a nice girlfriend. Well, a PhD very likely means a long distance move; the more ties you have the more difficult that will be.
  5. Mar 23, 2010 #4
    thank for the replies guys!

    thats good to hear. thats my reasoning. its not like i intend on becoming a beach bum. iI wholeheartedly wanna keep learning new stuff. physics, maths, science and higher intellectual pursuits will provide me with more long term happiness than what im doing now, but i see nothing wrong with celbrating and revelling in the transitory nature of my sport as well......

    ....haha that is a good question! im not really sure to be honest. I tend to just wait until the options are all laid out and then come to a decision when i have to walk home drunk after a night out. Some of my best life decisions gets made on those walks.......

    haha yeh, thats a good point, but i dont mean it too literally. i just mean it in the sense when im ready to settle down a bit more and do the career i want to do the rest of my life. getting a girlfriend is just a euphemism for that i suppose.

    it meant dying to paul erdos though! ....some truth in that :P
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