I’ve been hesitant to write much about this, but I applied for physics education doctorate programs for fall 2010. I got into one about a month ago and still waiting to here back. For me, switching fields is kind of shocking and I suppose I’m still thinking about that. While I believe that switching fields will be positive, I’ve also been doing physics more or less for the past 10 years of my life (I took my first physics class at age 15). Not being in science or engineering has not occurred to me in this time frame.

So why am I switching? I’ve grown rather disenchanted with physics, quite honestly, and simultaneously, as result of this disenchantment, grown more interested in physics education. I love work in a lab, doing experimental research, but I’ve realized that in other ways, physics will not be able to provide me with the kind of life I want. Quite honestly, I am sad about this. Partially because I feel that I am fairly adept at and passionate about research, partially because this has been my life for a decade; that’s nothing to be flippant about. I imagine being a bit sad and in denial that problem sets and lab research are not going to be a part of my life anymore has played a role in me not discussing this much.

Today I met my prospective advisor. I thought it was nice that he wanted to  meet prior to anything; there’s an open house that I may attend. We talked for about a half hour. I didn’t really get a good feel for him, but I did get a feel for the humanities. I’ve been away from the humanities for quite some time. My last class in them was a philosophy class in 2003; everything else I took I believe is considered “the arts” (theater and English). I also have very little familiarity with the grad level aspect; I can pretty much tell you everything about physics grad school, but any grad school outside of the sciences, I know nothing.

The only concern right now I have is financial aid. With physics, you get a cushy deal. It doesn’t initially sound like it, but $25k or so a year, with free insurance and tuition, to be a student for approximately 5-6 years? That is pretty sweet, considering undergraduate doesn’t pay. With the humanities, the financial aid seems spotty and that there is no clear answer. The funding isn’t as strong from what I gather, even with something as important as education. I’m waiting to hear about financial aid.

I have other scholarship money, but it isn’t enough to cover both tuition and living expenses. I could conceivably work, but I want to finish my schooling up sooner than later. I’m not old, but I turn 25 this year. Schooling will take maybe 4-6 years if I go full-time. I want to start establishing my career when I’m in my early 30s, not later on. I know people do that and I applaud them for it, but I’d rather start sooner for personal reasons. From what I understand, finishing a degree when you’re older can be difficult. Not impossible, but you have more responsibilities.

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