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Physics Working on bachelor's in physics, need work / income

  1. Sep 26, 2008 #1
    I am extremely passionate about certain parts of physics, especially relativity, matter energy equivalence, forces, etc.

    I am over two years into my bachelors degree, and 23 years old. But I am having a very hard time affording school working at fast food restaurants and grocery stores to support myself.

    I am having a hard time finding a better job when I can only work part time.

    I would very much like to begin working in the field, if that is at all possible.

    What jobs are available for people studying, but not yet finished, with a physics bachelors degree?

    What about after I get the degree?

    I am at the point where I need to study other fields (internet and computer programs) so that I can make a better income to support myself, but is there any possible way I could make money using what I am currently studying - physics?

    Also, are scholarships a viable option to "make money," or reduce living expenses? So far, I have not been able to get any financial aid, and have been struggling to even have the time to go to school at all.

    I feel that I should be able to go to school more easily than I am, because getting my degree will help society in terms of scientific advancement.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 26, 2008 #2


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    Strange that you don't qualify for financial aid if your economic situation is as desperate as you imply. Call or see your school's FinAid representative. My experience is that they are reasonable to talk to and make adjustments in aid based on changes in situation. If you prepare documentation and make the case that you are needy, they might be swayed--at least they can explain why you don't qualify. Keep in mind that they are usually very busy people.

    Definitely apply for scholarships. The big ones (from Coca Cola, Target, etc.) receive thousands of applications and are tough to get, so definitely look for local sources as well. Our local credit union gives two nice awards each year. Check with the local Elks lodge, ham radio club (if you are a ham), etc. My son won a $500 scholarship, renewable each year, from the local model rocketry club he was part of. Put enough small awards together and you can make a real difference.

    Part time work is hard to find, and interesting, well paying part time work much harder still. Sometimes local companies offer paid summer student intern programs. Contact your school's placement center, and ask about engineering (companies looking for engineers are often willing to take a physicist instead, especially if you have some electronics, signal processing, systems and/or data analysis skills, etc.). Think about other marketable skills you may have, too. Have a gift for computer debug, repair and networking? Graphics or web page design? You can earn a reasonable supplemental income doing that for neighbors, local businesses (doctors and dentists, e.g.), dorm residents.
  4. Sep 27, 2008 #3


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    Hi jaguar-

    I don't know where you live, but if you are in a large city, try a temp agency that specializes in technical work. You may be able to find something in a lab in your area. Don't expect really exciting/interesting work, they may offer only menial lab work. But you may get your foot in the door, then prove your value.

    Good luck!
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