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Career with physics, philosophy, psychology , history or music?

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I apologise for how long this post is but, I'm very passionate about physics (especially theoretical like quantum but i do enjoy almost every aspect of physics), music (mostly jazz and classical, but every genre is interesting in its own way), philosophy as well as psychology/neuroscience and history (again, almost everything but mainly ancient/medieval history). I've been thinking and researching careers but I can't find anything that feels right for me. Does anyone happen to know a career that would allow me to work with preferably most of these subjects? I have alot of interests and I can't decide how I should narrow them down - which ones to keep as an interest/hobby. The thing with music is that I could easily keep my piano and violin playing just as a hobby, but I would love to include music somehow in my future career. I feel like I should mention this, I don't really care about the pay I would rather do something I enjoy. And I love studying so multiple years of school in the future wouldn't bother me. #career-counseling

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Joshua’s Answer

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I'm a Physics and Jazz lover myself so I can definitely relate to this question! You may want to consider a profession like acoustical engineering, where you can design soundscapes or audio equipment. You also couldn't go wrong with electrical engineering or software engineering, which will open many doors for you.

You might notice that I am an attorney despite loving Physics and music (and also Astronomy). The truth is that you may be interested in many things but they do not all necessarily have to match up perfectly with your career. Find a career with a good work/life balances and one in which you think you can be happy, and you can explore your passions outside of work as well.

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Dalena’s Answer

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It depends on how you want to approach this - I faced a similar situation when I was fresh out of college, whether I wanted to go into a corporate job that allowed me to use my business management skills or whether I wanted to pursue my other passion in dance. I ended up working 4 years in a local startup while starting to teach dance part-time, and then I left to take a 6 month break to try out teaching dance as a career to see if it was something I liked enough to pursue as a job. After that I realised that I preferred dance as a hobby, not as a full-time job - it was something that I only figured after I tried it out for real. I went back to work in the tech world (where I am now) but still teach and compete at a professional dance level, so I would say I found a way to balance both of what I wanted to do.

So I would say that if money isn't the driving or limiting factor for you, try out a couple of jobs or tracks that you think would be interesting. Thinking and researching is all good preparation, but you need to actually commit and try it out to know for real whether this is something you could see yourself doing as a job day in and day out. A hypothetical situation is really different from a real thing, that's why internships or attachments are so important!
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Ry’s Answer

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Hello.

I'd recommend looking into Software Engineering.

I'm a Software Engineer, and much of my career has been spent focusing on problems of concurrency and scale. I really do love what I do, but it took me some stumbling around to get here because it was hard to align my interests with career paths.

In high school and early college, I was extremely interested in physics and math, and I have always been interested in "pulling back the covers" to understand _why_ things were the way they were.

I pursued Civil Engineering in university, but ended up dropping out after 2-1/2 years as it became apparent that the first 10 years of my career would be either drafting out the details of someone else's design (never seeing things to completion) or on job-sites managing subcontractors (never having much input on the designs themselves). I needed a tighter feedback loop between my effort and results.

I got into software development through a series of fumbles, largely involving what I call "aggressive laziness": avoiding redundant and repetitive (boring) work by any means necessary, often expending significant amounts of effort to simplify and automate.

As I developed into a software developer, interacting with other people's work (and even my own from years before), my need to understand "why" something was the way it was became a useful tool on a daily basis. I spend my days discovering _why_ things work the way they do, communicating _why_ changes I am proposing to a piece of software are the right solution to a problem, and working to ensure the features we build satisfy the current need without preventing the software from continuing to evolve as we better understand future needs.
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Adam’s Answer

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That's a cool combination. History and Philosophy will underpin everything you do, no matter what field you end up in. Both of them will make you better at any job, and on top of that just a better human being.

Physics, music, and psychology seem like pretty distinct topics on the surface to me. Given that, my advice would be to think: what's the quickest way I can find out if one is the career for me? For example, you could decide that for the next 6 months you're going to pursue music professionally. In a (relatively) short amount of time you'll know one way or the other. On the other hand, I think the worst way to approach it would be to do things that require a long time to find out. For example, saying you're going to do a Phd in Psych before you can find out if it's right for you will chew up a huge amount of your life, with no guarantee at the end.

Do the least amount of work you need to find out if each is right for you.
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Tara’s Answer

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I was in a similar place to you when I started college. I began as a piano performance major, then changed to a physics major. Ultimately, I graduated with a degree in Russian, East European, Eurasian studies. I couldn't decide on a major and was overwhelmed by choices, so when I got to college, I used my electives to take anything that interested me -- advanced math, art history, cultural geography, Russian and Czech language classes, and all kinds of history and politics.
For me, that ended up being a healthy approach. I grew up in a very, very small town with a very limited high school, so I'd never really had the chance to figure out what I was good at. Now, 15 years later, my degree has end up being well used and I have a good understanding of what I'm good at and what I enjoy, but if I could go back, I would do things a little differently.
My Russian degree was great for a long time. I traveled and worked in relevant jobs that I loved for a long time. I never regretted a minute of it; however, my job market collapsed when Russia annexed Crimea. I rebounded and have a great job now in a related field. But I've still never stopped wishing that I'd also gotten an engineering degree. I still love math and I still love knowing how things work. My appreciation today for the flexibility of engineering jobs and the job security are so much greater. STEM degrees can't be undervalued, in my opinion. You sound very bright, and chances are you may find yourself wishing that you had the extra challenge that a STEM career will provide at some point in your life.
So! My advice is to be adventurous. Explore your potential and maybe make the leap and get that fun, fascinating, challenging major. You never know what doors it will open for you. But consider double majoring with that STEM degree that you're also drawn to. Double majoring doesn't necessarily add much time to your overall time in college, either. A meeting with a college counselor can help with planning your credits so you don't lose time once you decide what you want to do.
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Jennifer’s Answer

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Hi, Sinna!

What a super interesting question you have! I think immediately about acoustics. Acoustics is the branch of physics that deals with the study of all mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids including vibration, sound, ultrasound and infrasound. In other words, the science of sound. In addition to studying physics and music, you could incorporate neuro/psychology by considering how the brain processes these sounds throughout history. (How's that for incorporating all four areas of interest?!)

To get an idea about the careers associated with acoustics, I would encourage you to look at the Occupational Outlook Handbook (bls.gov/ooh) where a wealth of information can be found. I'd also recommend taking a look at acoustical engineering - programs offered, courses taught, job possibilities, career outlook. There are many resources online to help get you started, but I'll follow this in case you have additional questions.

Good luck!
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Carla’s Answer

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History and Philosophy of Science is one major/degree you could get. I took some HPSC classes when I was in college and I thought they were great. 20 years ago my university, Indiana University in Bloomington, was one of only a handful who offered this degree but I'm sure there are many more now.
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Col Sen’s Answer

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Hello Sinna,
This is going to be long answer so be prepared for it.
On your interest in Physics and Philosophy : both are good as they compliment each other. I would like to know how much Physics excites you? have you noticed that when you are standing next to heavy physical body like Pyramid....time shrinks or say cars appears to be slower than it is, why? Do you believe that you are an energy despite being a gross object with all its attributes like mass...? Do the duality of nature excites you? if YES then take physics.

If you enjoy these yet you want to know what is the ultimate truth? which path leads to ultimate freedom? Then take Philosophy....In fact in Indian vedic scriptures it is said:' Yat pinde tat bramhande' ...meaning thereby whatever is inside you, exactly the same is outsideof you in the universe. This is philosophy and Physics is trying to prove it.

So you have to decide whether you want to see through the mathematical formulations of quantum physics or you want to understand the mystery of universe through knowledge of higher level sages...philosophers.

Einstein used to say I want to understand the mind of God who created such a perfect and beautiful universe! He never questioned the existence of God!

Music you can pursue as hobby always. History can be your passion too.... I myself is a student of Physics, studied Indian Philosophy a great deal on personal interest, did research and wrote on history of South Asia and I enjoy Music too.
So decide where is heart lies. If you are good at Mathematics then only go for physics else go for philosophy or history.
All the Best ,

Col Sen recommends the following next steps:

  • Read the Book : The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
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Paul’s Answer

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Hi Sinna! With your kinda complicated range of interests, I think of a story I heard. If you follow music, you might have heard of something called Auto Tune. If not, its the software artists use to fix their pitch when they're singing. (Whether or not it's a good thing is a topic for another post :).)

Did you know that software was developed by a geologic physicist? He developed software for oil companies doing geographic surveys using sonar and other methods. Somewhere along the line, he realized the physics of analyzing rocks worked for vocal cords. He developed several audio programs, most famous of which is Auto Tune.

Another person I know was interested in both architecture and law. After much study, he became an architectural attorney, reviewing contracts for construction projects - very specific, but very rare and quite lucrative.

So, maybe think of ways that you can combine your interests into something unique. Good luck!
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