Weekends in Grad School?

  1. I was thinking about joining the Navy Reserve for help with school money and some extra cash for myself. Going one weekend a month and 2 weeks during the summer is no biggy as an undergrad, right? I could handle it now at least... But it would cut into my Grad school time. Now, if Grad school is sooooo hard that you can't even allow one weekend a month and 2 weeks in the summer for something else, then obviously I'll decide not to go. Is it? I'm a physics major, if that makes any difference.

  2. jcsd
  3. Pengwuino

    Pengwuino 7,119
    Gold Member

    I dunno, i do believe it depends on what subject you are in. I know someone who went to i think Berkeley and was a history or an econ major and his life couldnt even fit in anything fun or extra in for 1 weekend a year lol.

    Do grad students do intensive work during summer just as they do work in spring and fall?
  4. It completely depends upon your advisor, and what field you're in. I would say that with some fields of experimental physics, you might need to be in the lab very often. However, I think that, in general, 1 weekend a month and 2 weeks during the summer seems pretty reasonable.

    Obviously, the more time you spend away from research, the longer it'll take for you to graduate.
  5. shmoe

    shmoe 1,994
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    What's summer? :tongue2: Teaching duties might be lighter in the summer and you likely won't have any classes to attend (those are usually only near the begining of your program anyways) but most programs I know of the research is year round. Most math grad students I know still manage a couple weeks of vacation each year, though they usually bring work with them.
  6. Bah, nevermind. Apparently you can't go reserve until you are 21, and I'm 18.

    The impression I'm getting is that Grad school is 6 years of hell, am I right?

  7. Pengwuino

    Pengwuino 7,119
    Gold Member

    7-9 if your experimental physicist
    6-8 for theoretical physicist

    Every other field is less though :D... except 1 it hink... the chair of my physics department made a joke about the 1 degree that takes more but it might have been simply a joke because all i can remember was him saying russian orthodox something lol.

    And you should be able to get into the reserves at 18! My nephew became a Marine Reservist at 18... I had a friend who was in the army bootcamp as a junior in high school and im sure he wasnt held back or anything. And before anyone starts going 'war in iraq means they dont care about rules'... they both signed up before the war was even being thought of.
  8. I wanted to go Army Reserves and they said it would be fine, but on the Navy website it says "If you are between the ages of 21 and 38 and want to Enhance your life TO THE EXTREME!!!" yadda yadda.

    That's bad news, I want to go into experimental physics. That is, unless I could get a real job as a theorist. =/ By real I mean actually make a steady pay that I can at least live off of. Yeah, I guess I could teach, but I'd rather do research.

    Well... worst case scenario is that I chicken out of grad school and join the military with a BS in physics, then become an officer. Not too shabby, eh?

  9. Pengwuino

    Pengwuino 7,119
    Gold Member

    Pff, get a phD in physics and you'll easily be able to life off of the salary you find. Unless of course 'living off of' includes monthly cruises around the world :P. I say at least a $30,000 salary would be an absolute guarantee with a phD. Im sure im not being too optomistic here... because i mean come on, you have a phd lol.
  10. My dad makes $~45k and he only has some technical school (he's a welder/fitter). If I don't make more than him after spending a total of 11+ years in school, then I'll shoot myself.

  11. Pengwuino

    Pengwuino 7,119
    Gold Member

    Well lets just say the ODDS are that you'll quickly make more money then him.
  12. Your numbers are way inflated. Princeton pushes for 5 years for their grad students, I believe. You can get an idea of Caltech's numbers here:


    However- that list is incomplete, since there are people I know who have gotten degrees who don't have their theses listed yet. But I would say 5-6 for a theorist at Caltech, and 6-7 for an experimentalist.
  13. Honestly, being that you're 18, it's a bit too early to be planning out that career in physics. Take some physics classes, try some summer research, and see how you like it first.
  14. I thought a theorist basically solves equations and such all day long? Whereas an experimentalist makes does a test and crunches the numbers all day long? Even though they sound the same, I think I'll probably like the experimental side better.

  15. Pengwuino

    Pengwuino 7,119
    Gold Member

    I dunno juvenal... im not sure how to read Caltech's page as it relates to how long your going to be in grad school but my profs pretty much take the 7-8 years from getting ur BS to when you get your PHD for an experimentalist stance.
  16. Look at the entering class year. Then look at the year of the thesis.
  17. One person wrote their thesis in 3 years... Look at the 1995 class. But it ranges from 5-8 years on average, so it's still bleah. =/

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