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Graduate School is hard - A Recovering Physicist's Apology

About Graduate School is hard

Previous Entry Graduate School is hard Nov. 14th, 2007 @ 07:24 pm Next Entry
So I've been looking into grad school. The problem is I don't think I can do physics at the graduate level now. I'm not sure if I could have right out of Oberlin, but I certainly can't now that I haven't done physics competitively for three/four years. So what should I do?

I'm interested in astronomy as well so I've been looking into that. I'm also interested in astro-geology so I would have to get a degree in geo. Those are kind of my standard routes, and then there is a crazy idea I got one night and that is, the philosophy of science. All the critical thinking of science with none of the ego shredding calculus. It sounds interesting because it would be the history and philosophy, which is always fun. I really get my giggles from that kind of thing. The bad news is I would have to learn a foreign language to reading comprehension and as anyone that took Latin with me in High School or knew me in Japan knows, I don't do languages so hot. Still, reading is my strong point and I think I could do it.

I don't know I gotta take the GREs here in the next few days if I am even going to have a chance to apply for the Fall term. I am looking to get my teaching certificate as well as I read a shocking statistic, only about 1/3 of high school physics teachers were trained in physics or mathematics, the remaining 2/3 are teaching out of field -- which explains my high school physics teacher. This is upsetting to me. Expect a delightful rant on education soon.

Any thoughts?
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From:sneakypeteiii
Date:November 15th, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
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Yep, the title sums it all up. All of your possibilities sound good, though I do offer a couple words of wisdom: if it's in a pure science, make for damn sure that you want to go. The average time to a degree at Caltech is now a whopping 6 years, with Physics-related fields towards the +sigma end of the Gaussian. Cosmologists get out relatively quickly, however. Time aside, there is the whole ego-crushing, life-sucking aspect of it.

Don't get me wrong, it can be a great life: autonomy, independence, and flexibility are all things I love now and wish to keep throughout my career, but it took some time to appreciate those subtleties.

Philosophy of science really sounds right up your alley, in my opinion. I don't know if you'd be able to live with yourself, though, without the soul-crushing problem sets that bring you such joy ("shitting ass!"). Oh, speaking of which, it seems as though the Deuteron has joined me on the dark side.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:December 12th, 2007 12:11 am (UTC)
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Patent law, perhaps? Apparently your physics background would suit you for that direction. Philosophy of Science sounds a whole lot more appealing, though.

-Eric-in-Seattle
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