What to do as a Student to Help your career

  • #1
217
21
I thought that posting this in career guidance was better since it is more related.

Anyway, I want to know what is it that I can do as a junior in physics and math to aid myself later. I hope to be able to enter a research career in Cosmology. This is the only field where I feel that my interest will never fade away. It led me into doing physics and it is the reason I am still in physics. (not to say I hate other areas of physics, but this one is way more exciting)

I am currently working in a lab in fluid dynamics and turbulence. I know that It is not related but am acquiring some good skills in coding and statistical mechanics.
However, I did try once to work for the cosmology team back when I was a sophomore but they told me that I was not ready yet. I might re-ask them once I finish the project in my current position.

I try to educate myself on the topic even though it has been hard. I am currently reading "The large-scale structure of Space-Time" by Hawking. It is one of the more accessible books, I am just lacking a bit of topology that I am studying now. It is the first one that I am reading on the subject since that I am just now getting better at abstract mathematics. After this one, higher books will be hopefully accessible.

My GPA is not the best, I do try my best and I am looking for ways to try harder (this was included so that maybe I getting into specific programs might help)

What else can I do or stop doing?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
marcusl
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,756
408
I assume that you will be starting junior year in the falll. (If you are a senior, there isn’t much time to make corrections.)
The single best thing you can do is:
1) Raise your grades.

Figure out why you are doing poorly and address that.
Make sure you master the concepts and skills in your courses (necessary to accomplish #1).
Reduce distractions, including your outside work on advanced topics and in research labs, if necessary for #1.

2) See #1.
 
  • Like
Likes jamalkoiyess
  • #3
symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
6,116
1,164
What to do to help career?

Work part time. If not in major field, then it at least helps you with funds. If in your major field, it helps with funds and gives you experience for the major field.

Choose a few practical courses, like vocational, or some engineering, so you learn to become practical, and an improved candidate for jobs later.

Internship if you can get into one. You may want this as useful part of your development.
 
  • Like
Likes jamalkoiyess
  • #4
Choppy
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
4,636
1,778
It's great to have a goal of having a career doing research in cosmology. But it's important to realize that odds are really stacked against you. Like a lot.

I think it's still worth pursuing though. As far as advancing in academia, you probably already know what you need to do. As an undergrad, I don't think you need to worry too much about the type of research that you get involved in, so long as you enjoy it and you're learning something. Get the best grades you can. Make sure to learn the material for the sake of a foundation in physics and not just passing exams. Go to conferences, colloquia, seminars. Read up on the material that interests you.

But you need to have a backup plan for if and when your academic train reaches the end of it's line.

One little exercise is to fast forward the clock a little. Imagine that you've just finished undergrad and for whatever reason you didn't get into graduate school. Now what? What's your plan to support yourself? What skills have you acquired that you can market? What kinds of positions are open to you? You could actually go so far as to conduct a mock job hunt - go through the job boards and decide which positions you would apply to if you had to find a job today.

You can repeat the exercise for having finished the PhD, and not having any academic options.

Now come back to the present. What can you change now to make your employment options better?
 
  • Like
Likes jamalkoiyess
  • #5
1,847
213
Raise your grades and aim for something besides cosmology.
 
  • #6
217
21
I think it's still worth pursuing though.
Thank you!! That's the first positive feedback I've ever gotten :)
 
  • #7
217
21
aim for something besides cosmology.
Why? I know from the upper posts that the employment options are not the best. Is there any other reason?
 
  • #8
1,847
213
I was partly being snarky. Not going into cosmology is actually not a great way to get work in cosmology.

But there really are just way more people who want to perform that research than there are positions. So it becomes one of those cases where if you have to ask questions about how to become one, you probably won't end up being one.

But you still might, so do what you've already decided to do.
 
  • Like
Likes jamalkoiyess and symbolipoint
  • #9
StatGuy2000
Education Advisor
1,817
915
I was partly being snarky. Not going into cosmology is actually not a great way to get work in cosmology.

But there really are just way more people who want to perform that research than there are positions. So it becomes one of those cases where if you have to ask questions about how to become one, you probably won't end up being one.

But you still might, so do what you've already decided to do.
Locrian, the points you raise above beg the question of what other areas of physics research have more positions that are open. If the OP was to remain in physics, which research avenues may well be more promising?
 

Related Threads on What to do as a Student to Help your career

Replies
12
Views
4K
Replies
13
Views
2K
Replies
6
Views
7K
Replies
52
Views
4K
Replies
6
Views
7K
  • Last Post
Replies
8
Views
3K
Replies
11
Views
20K
Replies
5
Views
3K
Replies
1
Views
3K
Top