Honest life advise; play it safe or follow my dreams???
I'm going to say a lot so don't bother reading unless you can offer real advice.
Hello my name is Anthony and I'm a sophomore in my fall semester at college and I'm in the Exercise Science major. As of right now, I'm planning on becoming a pharmacist and I'm fairly smart (3.8GPA). Although pharmacy school is VERY expensive and it adds 4 more years of schooling, pharmacists make fairly good pay (ave around $100,000 per year) and they have very stable jobs. So I guess I'd be "happy" as a pharmacist because I pick my hours and make great pay. The problem is, my true passion is space. I love everything about science and space and I can't stop thinking about it and learning new things about it everyday. So I would really love to change my major to physics and astrophysics because my "dream job" is to be an astrophysicist. However, the problem is that changing my major now would be VERY expensive and I would have to basically start all over because the classes for that major are completely different from the classes in the exercise science major. Another dilemma is that I'm in basic college physics right now and I'm really not doing to well (so I often ask myself how would I change my major to physics if I can't even pass the basic class?). Also, my family has very little money so I'm mainly relying on student loans and very small grants.
My personal belief is that we only get one life and once it's over, it's over. With that in mind, I often ask myself how I want to spend my 1 life. Almost everyday I think "do I want to be stuck behind a counter for the rest of my life, selling pills to people until I die anonymous; or do I want to be the next Einstein (so to speak), learning about the cosmos and coming up with equations to solve the greatest mysteries of the universe, leaving my mark on the world and in the history books forever.
So my question is, can anyone offer me any advice?? But before you answer that, I don't want a response like "follow your dreams!" Because I do believe people should follow their dreams but only if it is logical and doesn't result in them being unemployed/bankrupt/homeless. I'm trying to be practical and really weigh out my options, because the clock is ticking down and soon will come a point where I won't be able to change my major or go back to my previous one. So please, I need some real, honest advice of what I should do. And let's say for the sake of argument that I'll be "happy" with either career, but with the information I've given, do you think I should play it safe with the well paying job? Or abandon everything I've worked for thus far to reach for the stars? Thank you for taking the time to actually read this and help me :)
Are there any astrophysics jobs around your area?
My advice (from someone who graduated with one degree and is now getting a different one) is to job shadow. Go talk to a few pharmacists and see what their lives are like, and ask them what they like/dislike about what they do.
Then, job shadow an astrophysicist. See what they do on a daily basis. Ask about similar jobs (because you may find something similar is where your true niche is!).
Honestly, I didn't know how much I hated my first major until we were required to job shadow for a class. I now have a mentor in the field I want to go into and it's invaluable. I think you learn a lot in school, but only by seeing it firsthand can you really understand what it is, or if it's for you.
^ I'd agree with the job shadowing. There's much more to a job than decent money and security. That alone won't get you through the daily slog. What attracted you to pharmacy in the first place?
To answer your query though, why does it have to be one or the other? I would say if you are struggling with a basic class, it wouldn't be wise to switch majors. Why not study it as a hobby? Get the basics down and build on them in your own time. People very rarely stick to the one career path nowadays, and so you don't need to decide your entire life plan by a certain age and be stuck with that forevermore.
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