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Dylan Doctoche

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I am very confused. What should i do?

Hello and thank you for taking out time to read my question :)
I always had a profound passion for electronics when i was 8 years old, i used to make circuits and think i was the best at it. Obviously, i was not. Anyway, this interest evolved into something different, a passion for physics. No longer am i interested by electronics, but what really catches my attention is quantum theory. I am extremely confused. I always wanted to do something for the society, something like Schrodinger, Albert Einstein and many other great people.
I have come to understand that i am not the person who possesses such intellectual capacity. Even though i am one of the brightest students in my school, and i am capable of getting into great universities, not exceptional. I am 14 years old currently, and sadly, i am confused. I cannot figure out what to do with my life. I know it is too soon, but i cannot imagine doing anything other than science.
I am starting to give up now, as i do not possess the "brains". I am thinking of just doing engineering and then MBA and get any highly paid jobs (

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  • Sep 19 2012: Dylan, you are focussing on issues that are irrelevant. You are smart enough to do what YOU want to do. Follow your interests. Do not compare yourself to others or compete with others. This is your unique life. Live up to your own standards. You need to respect yourself and obey your own internal positive whims and wishes. That is the route to getting to where you want to go. Everyone at your age feels confused about everything....career, friends, family, love, education. Trust yourself. Live according to your own highest awareness of what is good and right. Do what you find interesting. It's okay to learn and work in multiple areas. You can pick one now, pursue it and change later, if you feel like it. One thing leads to another. Just make your decisions a function of positive anything and everything and all will be well AND you can have a lot of fun all along the way. Life is here to be enjoyed. Breathe deeply. Breathe slowly. Relax. ENJOY. Happy Today.
  • Sep 25 2012: All you need is the WILL to accomplish anything and not so called "brain". The brain will work where the Will makes it work. Keep your imagination open and not limit it to science - it could be a default red-herring so keep your options open - find out by experiment, trial and error where your heart lies. Try not to jump to easy options like 'highly paid jobs' - in the pursuit of money you may well kill your will. This world needs more people in 'humanities' rather than science, math or commerce, but there is little or no money in 'humanities'.

    "Your work is to discover your work - and then with all your heart to give yourself to it"...Buddha

    "Our will is for our own good, but we do not always know what that is."...Roussou
  • Sep 25 2012: Dear Dylan,
    You are absolutely crazy. And that is why, you are going to make it, kid. Don't be miserable, don't suffer. Do what you want to do in this moment now. Try your best whatever it is you want to do or are doing. Just keep going. Don't let fame, fear, or even your greatest idols intimidate you or deter you from your own path. Einstein would not have been himself, had he followed anyone else's heart but his own.

    keep your chin up.
  • Sep 21 2012: Hi Dylan
    Don't pressure yourself. Put compassion at the forefront of your choices. Recognize that making mistakes is the most likely outcome of any choice you make. Recognize that the more mistakes you make, the more you learn who you are and what you should do next. And the hardest thing is... don't lie to yourself.
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    Sep 20 2012: Please stay confused because that is the first prerequisite to embark on a journey of science and life. See your questioning, faltering, frustrating mind as one great attribute. You may not know, doing hard-core science is more often a grinding, back breaking, non-glamorous job - ask a professional scientist. I simply don't believe you don't have the "brains', possibly you don't have enough love for it. If you have, don't give up.
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    Sep 20 2012: Treat it like a game,game it hard,non-stop,if maths was a level then you would expect it to get harder with each stage until you get to game it on Legendary,eventually you will become that good you will start creating your own maps and invite others who play at your level to try your maps out.

    Follow your instinct and passion.

    Good Journey.
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    Sep 20 2012: Say what! stick with it you got the brain otherwise you wouldn't be on the website. Einstein didn't become a genius over night. He was ridiculed by most of his peers. Make the choice you want and stick to it. You'll get the awe ha moment. Just so you know maybe you could follow in Einsteins foot steps. His E=mc2 has been smashed to bits by gamma ray burst and others. See if you can figure out why our math/physics is not correct for all natural phenomenon. Personally I think it has to do with our assumption of zero. Seeing how you can never have absolute nothingness as a base or starting point. Conceptually the idea of zero is great. I want an apple. But i am in a complete void of apples. I don't have a single one. Not even applesauce! I have ZERO apples. But I do not need to know that you have zero apples to know when you have 1 apple. On the other had I do need to know that you have 1 apple to understand that now you have 2 apple. I could be wrong. It just something that bothers me. Best of luck
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    Sep 19 2012: I agree that you are too young to count yourself out. You say you are fourteen, so it is unsurprising that you don't understand twelfth grade mathematics and physics.Perhaps you will when you are actually prepared, which is to say in twelfth grade.

    My younger daughter always loved math and physics. When she went to university, we had a frank conversation. While there was little doubt in my mind that she could pursue math or physics successfully as a major at many universities, we could not be certain of her success at the university to which she was headed.

    She went in taking a solid program that would allow her to test the waters in a variety of sciences (physics, biology, chemistry, and interdisciplinary combinations) and see where she found her niche.She worked hard, graduated in physics and math, and is now pursuing a doctorate in physics at a major university.

    Keep your options open and work hard on your math.
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    Sep 19 2012: It sounds to me like you love the field of science in general, and science is a field that is constantly changing and there are constantly revolutionary breakthroughs.

    The kind of career you will pursue may not even exist yet, why do you need to limit yourself when you can pursue a field that involves a combination of your interests/backgrounds? And don't forget that a career is different from just a job. A career is something that you enjoy doing, a mere job does not require the same level of passion.
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    Sep 19 2012: There was a similar thread on this a while ago: http://www.ted.com/conversations/13333/what_really_do_you_want_can_y.html

    My response from that thread:

    "When I came out of high school, I wanted to be an artist, but I also was pretty good at math. So I looked into something like animation, but my parents didn't want me to do this because it wasn't a very secure profession. The fact that I began to question myself whether I really wanted to go into animation/art meant that this wasn't my passion.

    I am now at Georgia Tech as a Computational Media major, some new major that is a blend of communication and media studies and computer science. And now, being exposed to so many cool things like games, media, digital technology, film, digital art, web design, social media, programming, computational logic, etc. I am no longer limited to just simply math, art, and animation, and I feel that this unique mix of backgrounds give me an edge over a lot of people, even though I don't go into too much detail into each field of studies. And really, I could go into any one of these fields, do well, and live a sustainable life if I really wanted to.

    So my point is, don't limit yourself just because your major tells you that you shouldn't do statistics. The exam itself and the PHD label itself are not important, what's important is the opportunities that the exam and the PHD provides. You do what you think needs to be done and what you think are important.

    And personally, I don't see why you shouldn't do ecology and statistics. That would make an interesting combination of knowledge/skillsets that would put you an edge over a lot of other people.

    And finally there was a recent tedtalk where there was one girl who stopped pursuing her Master's to do what she believes needs to be done: http://www.ted.com/talks/caitria_and_morgan_o_neill_how_to_step_up_in_the_face_of_disaster.html"
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    Sep 19 2012: Hey please don't do anything just for highly paid job. Just sit alone and think or you should give time to yourself at least 2 years. Actually the main question is that you have to spend your 30 years in the field you chose, so your selection must be satisfied to you. It may happen you may get trouble at the start but if you feel that you are happy with whatever you are doing then great,.
    If you love Physics then you have a bright future and believe me if your physics is good then maths will be a joke for you so please don't give up by just seeing the small part of maths. Its a interesting subject which needs practice and time. And now you have enough time so use it effectively..
    keep smiling:)
  • Sep 19 2012: make your own life plan you are responsible for the life you want to create.
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    Sep 19 2012: Dylan,

    Do not believe those who say that Einstein and Schroedinger have brilliance beyond yours. It's probably not true. When I was in 9th grade, my math teacher told me that not a person in the room would ever be able to understand Einstein's theories. Was she wrong. Now they are taught in as 101 courses and all first year physics students understand them.

    It does take a shift in how you perceive yourself and the world, but quantum mechanics is FASCINATING and anyone with even an average IQ CAN understand the theories coming out of that field. If I were to sit with you for a few days, you would be thoroughly familiar with what is happening, and you would understand the foundations of the theories.

    Do not blame yourself if you are smarter than your teacher or if you teacher is not a good teacher. Just learn what you can from the Internet and books and other sources that you find that reach you.

    And 14 is way too early to give up. My goodness, you haven't even grown up! Now is the time to follow your passions wherever they take you. You do not need a PhD in physics to understand enough quantum physics to create your own theory. Many of us have already. The difference is that we do not believe that we are not smart enough. You have to believe that you are smart enough before all that you want to know is attainable.
    • Sep 19 2012: "When I was in 9th grade, my math teacher told me that not a person in the room would ever be able to understand Einstein's theories. Was she wrong. Now they are taught in as 101 courses and all first year physics students understand them."

      Physics students are already a tiny minority of the population and many of them only superficially understand relativity after a first year course, that's why more in-depth courses are given in the second and third years.

      "It does take a shift in how you perceive yourself and the world, but quantum mechanics is FASCINATING and anyone with even an average IQ CAN understand the theories coming out of that field."

      No, it's very hard to really understand these theories and be able to perform even the most basic calculations (for example the energy levels of the "particle in a box"). Do you understand what "spin" is, or why "spin-orbit coupling" occurs, or why no two fermions of the same kind cannot exist at the same location at the same time? These are very basic principles, taught to undergraduates, but they are not easy to understand or work with.

      "And 14 is way too early to give up. My goodness, you haven't even grown up!"

      You are right about that: he still has 4 years ahead of him and that should be more than enough if he has at least a slightly above average IQ.

      "You do not need a PhD in physics to understand enough quantum physics to create your own theory."

      Actually you do, I have a bahelor in physics and completed quite a lot of master courses already but I don't pretend to be able to come up with a new piece of quantum mechanics. It's really all at or above PHD level, and that's just if you specialized in quantum mechanics for your master's degree. Whoever wants to be a theoretical physicist has a long, hard journey ahead of them, but the only way to know if you've got the right stuff is to try and even if you don't succeed a physics degree is still very valuable on any resume/cv.
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        Sep 20 2012: John, Just because you don't get it does not mean that I do not. You are misleading Dylan
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    Sep 19 2012: Knowing your limits is nothing to be afraid of, but trying to stretch those limits is what makes you great!

    You just have to decide what you love doing, then you'll end up being good at what you do. Who cares if you're not the best? As long as you have fun, you will live a fullfilling and fun life ;)
  • Sep 19 2012: Do universities in your countries offer "engineering physics"? I think that would be perfect for you. It's a fusion of physics and engineering where the heavily theoretical physics stuff is replaced by engineering shop classes. Having said that, how do you know you can't handle physics, you're only 14?
    • Sep 19 2012: I know because i tried grade 12 physics, I understood EVERYTHING perfectly, except for the maths. Its annoying :(
      (Maths is essential in physics)

      Thank you for answering my question :)
      • Sep 19 2012: "I know because i tried grade 12 physics, I understood EVERYTHING perfectly, except for the maths. Its annoying :( "

        You are only 14, you still have 4 years to learn basic calculus and algebra (that's all you need to know, at first, the rest you'll learn at university, at least that's how it works in Europe) if you go to university at age 18. I think you should first finish high school and then decide, chances are you'll be a lot better at math by then and if not, you can always go for engineering physics, both physics and engineering physics require you to take the same courses in high school anyway, so what do you have to lose?
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        Sep 19 2012: If you want to learn independently, have you tried Kahn Academy (it's online). He offers tons of courses in math - all for free.