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WILLIAM NOT
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Comments on my post-undergrad life plans?

TL;DR.

I graduated from university some time last year with a degree in physics (minors in chemistry and math). I applied to graduate school for physics education but I did not get into the places I applied to (I had applied to five schools, all top 20, but my file wasn't the most competitive--3.5 GPA, 3.2 in the major, ~37%tile physics GRE, 530/740 on general GRE).

I was able to work out something with my department to continue TAing for some physics classes in order to gain more experience and to get better recommendations from one of the professors. I'm not sure whether I'm going to retake the general or physics GRE, though it has been recommended by a few people I have talked to. I do plan on applying again for the coming academic year.

Additionally, by the advice of a few friends and my mother, I have considered taking the LSAT this year, as I do have a bit of a knack for law.

Anyway, making big bucks is not a big deal to me, but I do have loans and credit card bills to pay off. On top of that, I do wish to travel fairly often, but not for particularly expensive activities (the plane tickets would be the most expensive part of these trips).

Part of my worry is that I will not like what I end up doing. I had originally thought that I would love physics research, but I was not enthused by the repetitive and tedious experimental work that I had done for an undergraduate thesis. I would choose to do theoretical work, but I don't have the attention span for the math learning required (and I would almost definitely have to retake the physics GRE for that). I decided on physics education because I enjoy TAing for physics classes and tutoring.

Comments, suggestions, and thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 09-01-2011, 02:51 PM WILLIAM NOT is offline  
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Forever Domon
 
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umm, i dont see any plans.
Old 09-01-2011, 03:03 PM Forever Domon is offline  
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Gibonius
 
What sort of program were you applying for for physics education? Masters or PhD? Stipend or no?


I wouldn't advise going into research, especially for physics (unless you're in particular fields like semiconductors). The job market is bad for physicists in general, and you have to be extremely self-motivated to slog through a PhD and it's a soul sucking experience with very high opportunity costs. You don't sound passionate about research, so you conclusion to stay away sounds good.

Education is a mixed bag (I taught chemistry at the community college level for two years). It can be rewarding, but it's repetitive, there's lots of administrative bullshit, and there's a general move towards making the careers themselves a lot less financial rewarding and secure. Tenure is going away, especially for teaching only positions. You're likely to go through a series of adjunct or "full time temporary" positions, making 35-50k a year with no benefits. It's not the worst thing in the world, very low stress, very little supervision.

I'm not entirely sure how easy those jobs are to get with a PhD. I got one right out of school and have been offered other positions since, but that may not be representative. A friend of mine with a masters in science education had a HELL of a time getting a job, it took him a year or so to get a position teaching a single class and it's almost two hours away from where he lives (only once a week class though).

High school isn't so bad, decent pay, apparently can be very long hours sometimes with grading and all. But...you have to deal with high schoolers, and with the administrative and testing bullshit.



Stay the HELL away from law school. It's a disaster these days, very difficult to get a decent job and you'll be up to your eyeballs in debt. It's really not a good thing to get into unless you have a tremendously high LSAT and go to a top 12 school, or get a full ride to a second tier school. The days of law being an easy pass to big money are over.
Old 09-01-2011, 04:36 PM Gibonius is offline  
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WILLIAM NOT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forever Domon View Post
umm, i dont see any plans.
Sorry, I wasn't clear about it. Current plans are to reapply for grad school in physics education while taking the LSAT again this year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post
What sort of program were you applying for for physics education? Masters or PhD? Stipend or no?
PhD. Physics education is an actual physics degree, so (ideally) I'd be able to teach physics at university rather than at just the community college level.

Quote:
I wouldn't advise going into research, especially for physics (unless you're in particular fields like semiconductors). The job market is bad for physicists in general, and you have to be extremely self-motivated to slog through a PhD and it's a soul sucking experience with very high opportunity costs. You don't sound passionate about research, so you conclusion to stay away sounds good.
Right. The research I'd be doing in physics education would be more related to pedagogy.

Quote:
High school isn't so bad, decent pay, apparently can be very long hours sometimes with grading and all. But...you have to deal with high schoolers, and with the administrative and testing .
I thought about that, and it's definitely an alternative. However, as you pointed out, it's a lot more than teaching university, so I'd rather avoid it.

Quote:
Stay the HELL away from law school. It's a disaster these days, very difficult to get a decent job and you'll be up to your eyeballs in debt. It's really not a good thing to get into unless you have a tremendously high LSAT and go to a top 12 school, or get a full ride to a second tier school. The days of law being an easy pass to big money are over.
Well, again, I'm not looking to make big money, and the kind of job I'd be looking for would either be environmental, federal, or non-profit. Still, I am aware that law school is notorious for racking up educational debt, and I already have a good chunk of that.
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Old 09-01-2011, 09:31 PM WILLIAM NOT is offline  
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Gibonius
 
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PhD. Physics education is an actual physics degree, so (ideally) I'd be able to teach physics at university rather than at just the community college level.
University jobs (or teaching college) are nice because you get a more selective group of students. The same general stuff applies though, tenure track positions are rare and you'll find mostly adjunct and full-time temp style positions available. The tenure positions go to researchers in general.
Quote:
Right. The research I'd be doing in physics education would be more related to pedagogy.
Yeah I don't really know all that much about education specific grad degrees. I didn't take a single education related class and ended up teaching.

Any idea if you'd be getting a stipend? That's really a critical thing, if you aren't getting paid for it, it's hard to justify grad education.
Quote:
Well, again, I'm not looking to make big money, and the kind of job I'd be looking for would either be environmental, federal, or non-profit. Still, I am aware that law school is notorious for racking up educational debt, and I already have a good chunk of that.
From what I hear about law school, the question isn't so much about making big money but more like "holy shit I'm 40 and haven't paid off my student loans yet." Lots of people making 40-50k for their career while trying to service 150k+ debt, and starting their career late at that.
Old 09-02-2011, 10:18 AM Gibonius is offline  
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From what I hear about law school, the question isn't so much about making big money but more like "holy shit I'm 40 and haven't paid off my student loans yet." Lots of people making 40-50k for their career while trying to service 150k+ debt, and starting their career late at that.

this... IMHO going to law school at this point is dangerous unless you are able to get into a top tier one, or have a great passion for the job that will help you survive... and neither of these seem likely based on your feedback above
Old 09-02-2011, 11:15 AM illig is offline  
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asdsad
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lawl school
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/bu...pagewanted=all

with those scores on the gre, doubtful you'll handle the LSAT well. getting into HS teaching though would be a shoo-in with a physics bachelor's
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Old 09-02-2011, 11:53 AM asdsad is offline  
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Law school is for people who had a shit major in undergrad. It is just massive debt to buy more time to figure out your shit.

Plus, there are very few lawyer positions open, and unless you are top 10 from a top 10 school, you won't get anything reasonable.
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Old 09-02-2011, 01:38 PM zumpiez5 is offline  
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WILLIAM NOT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post
University jobs (or teaching college) are nice because you get a more selective group of students. The same general stuff applies though, tenure track positions are rare and you'll find mostly adjunct and full-time temp style positions available. The tenure positions go to researchers in general.
On the plus side of that, I don't really want to stay in one place for that long (I get kind of bored of living in one place).

From the looks of it, the physics education thing sounds like my best bet with teaching HS as my alternative. Obviously, I'd be looking for a stipend/fellowship assisted PhD program.

Too bad; I was curious as to how I'd fare in law. The GRE scores are a sad result of my not really taking the time to prepare for them, and I have no doubt I could get a decent LSAT score assuming I actually bothered to study for it between now and when I'd take it. Unfortunately, I doubt the kind of job that I'd want would be able to reasonably support paying off the debt I would incur.
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Old 09-03-2011, 12:51 AM WILLIAM NOT is offline  
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Old 09-03-2011, 01:12 AM mehamgul101 is offline  
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Gib and others, what advice do you have for someone interested in becoming a humanities professor, say of philosophy or social theory?
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Old 09-03-2011, 05:01 AM fapling is offline  
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Gibonius
 
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Gib and others, what advice do you have for someone interested in becoming a humanities professor, say of philosophy or social theory?

Don't :-/


It's a tough road, some friends of mine are trying it. Basically you'll be dirt fucking poor until you finish grad school at 30 or so, then there's a really tough job market, a severe dearth of tenure track positions and no signs more are ever going to be created, and low pay even if you get a job. You need to be really committed to it, more or less irrationally so.

Some good articles. Strongly recommend reading them if you're thinking about grad school, especially in the humanities.

http://chronicle.com/article/So-You-...to-Grad/45239/
http://chronicle.com/article/Is-Grad...-a-Cult-/44676
http://chronicle.com/article/Graduat...l-in-the/44846
http://chronicle.com/article/Just-Dont-Go-Part-2/44786
http://chronicle.com/article/The-Big...Life-of/63937/
Old 09-03-2011, 06:57 AM Gibonius is offline  
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U Caught The Gay
 
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Originally Posted by theLiberator View Post
On the plus side of that, I don't really want to stay in one place for that long (I get kind of bored of living in one place).

From the looks of it, the physics education thing sounds like my best bet with teaching HS as my alternative. Obviously, I'd be looking for a stipend/fellowship assisted PhD program.

Too bad; I was curious as to how I'd fare in law. The GRE scores are a sad result of my not really taking the time to prepare for them, and I have no doubt I could get a decent LSAT score assuming I actually bothered to study for it between now and when I'd take it. Unfortunately, I doubt the kind of job that I'd want would be able to reasonably support paying off the debt I would incur.

Have you ever looked at the lsat?
Old 09-03-2011, 08:02 AM U Caught The Gay is offline  
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asdsad
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Have you ever looked at the lsat?
it sounds like OP has a history of not taking his career seriously and has no plans to fix that. domon's initial reply was correct; what plans?
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Old 09-04-2011, 01:54 AM asdsad is offline  
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get a job
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Old 09-04-2011, 06:49 AM wwilliam54 is offline  
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