Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ode to the choice...

Having reached the place where I have almost completed my psychology and philosophy degrees, I have begun looking to the future, and right now I'm not incredibly happy with what I see as my current options. (Curse my high expectations for life!) So where can I go from here? 'Here' being next May when I am slated for graduation of course.
Well, I could take some time off from school and look for a full time job. Not too hip with that plan. I've always intended on grad school and with the current economy looking for a new job and allowing loans to come due doesn't sound like the smartest choice I could make.
I could push down any misgivings I have and go ahead and apply to psych grad schools, cross my fingers and hope for the best. But hoping for the best isn't really a strategy that I like to rely on that heavily.
And thirdly, I could stay at Purdue and go for yet another undergrad degree! If I did that then I would probably get either just a BS in physics or a BS in applied physics with a specialty in astrophysics. If I were to go with that second option it would open another door because after you get that degree you can apply to Purdue's one year master's program in ApplPhys if you want to.
I think, having looked over the numbers, I could get a physics degree in about 2 years. Maybe a bit less. The applied physics would take longer because of the extra "applied electives" (astronomy in my case.) That would probably take 3 years. Am I willing to do that? More importantly, am I able to do that? I don't know. And there's the problem. I'm a little lost. Well more than a little.
Can anyone sell me a map?


Ryan said...

So you are currently set to graduate in May 2010? Hrm.

You could apply to grad schools, and if you don't make it in (or can't afford it, whatever the situation), that kinda narrows it down for you, right?

Also, for the other degrees option, could you take any summer courses to shorten the time it took?

Anonymous said...

I second Ryan's Motion!
Please don't get discouraged Bunny- you have so many options open to you.
mean old mammy

Renee L. said...

Well there are several large problems to the apply and see plan, the first being that I don't know that psych grad school is what I want to do.
To begin applications I'd have to narrow down the dozens upon dozens of psych specialties there are and decide on which one I want to go into. Then I'd have to find schools that offer that degree, hopefully instate. Having done that I'd have to send those schools GRE scores (the taking of which will cost a couple hundred dollars), transcripts, essays, and letters of recomendation from at least five professors. (Unlike undergraduate psych programs, psych grad programs are incredibly competitive.) There would likely also be application fees at every school. All of this would need to be done before Jan 1 if I hoped to be admitted for fall 2010, and I might not hear back from anyone until the spring semester was over or nearly over.
So, a lot of stuff that I'd prefer to not have to go through twice if I don't need to.
It would take slightly less time to get either of the physics degrees if I took a couple of classes in the summer, but I did allow a little elbow room in my musings in case I should say, need to retake a course or something like that. Not that I've ever...had to do that before...or anything. :)

Jamie said...

You're right. Applying to graduate school is expensive and doing it multiple times is annoying. (I know personally!)

That being said I recommend you still give it a try! Make the investment in the effort it takes ASAP. Talk to professors, ask for letters, get their advice! (You may strongly disagree with this advice, but get it anyway, it gets you thinking.)

Try to write a statement of purpose. It does more to show you wether or not you want to study a subject in graduate school than it does your prospective institutions. You may find in doing it that you really don't want to study psych in grad school and you really want to move into Physics. On the other hand you may find that your really love a particular field and want to study it.

One idea to buy yourself some time to make these decisions is to put philosophy on hold if you don't plan on applying to philosophy programs, and then start doing your Physics requirements side by side with what you need to do to finish Psych.

But start ASAP putting forth the time and effort necessary to apply for Psych grad schools. Just don't put forth the cash until you absolutely have to.

Please keep thinking about this stuff and feel free to bounce what your thinking off of me any time.

I remember one time last year I didn't think I was cut out to be the type of mathematician I wanted to be. The other students knew way more than me, and what books to turn to when they didn't know. I didn't think I'd ever be able to keep up with them.

One Friday night I confided this in a good friend. They then proceeded to open my eyes and remind me who I really am, and that I love doing Mathematics.

I'd be happy to pass this favor along if ever I can.

Anonymous said...

Jamie, you are a true friend, what wonderful advice.