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Thread: Too late for science / a career? Honest opinion appreciated

  1. #1 Too late for science / a career? Honest opinion appreciated 
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    Hi, I'm new to the forums, and I've got a question, and I'd like an honest opinion on my "situation", preferably from someone experienced in these regards! =)

    Due to some circumstanes in life, I'm currently in what would be High School for an american. I'm 18 years atm btw. I'm done in 2 years, and then I was planning to go to a university and study. I was thinking of studying science, but I'm afraid it's too late; some of my friends have told me that.

    I was never good at math in primary school, (going to have math next year). I didn't understand the purpose of it, and all we did was calculating the yearly interest or something boring. I have always been very good at language (haven't had any science besides chemistry, which was a fun subject but the lessons were boring). I've been interested in science for as long as I can remember, I've loved astronomy since I was 12, and I also have some telescopes.

    In High School this year I've got 2 subjects, both language. And I've come to realize that this is something I DON'T want to work with, even though I do well in those. I really can not see myself in a job where I didn't have the possibility to contribute with anything of importance. Sitting in an office from 8 to 16 doing finances or the likes would make me insane, literally.

    The type of sciences I'm thinking of would probably be something like an (evolutionary) biologist, a biochemist, or an astrophysicist (etc). I think pure physics would prove to hard for me considering my difficulties in math. (This is however, a problem I'm working on - it's not like I'm retarded at the subject, I just never cared to study it).


    All the scientists I've read about started when they were very young, and went to university when they were 17-18. Do you people think there's any possibility of me going to a university at the age of 21 and make something out of it, or am I simply too old?

    Also, thanks for any answers :-)


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  3. #2  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    You can start at any time in your life, all you need is a willful mind to deal with the intellectual side of science, and a cunning tounge and actions to get past the people who will stand in your way. Good luck


    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quantime View Post
    You can start at any time in your life, all you need is a willful mind to deal with the intellectual side of science, and a cunning tounge and actions to get past the people who will stand in your way. Good luck

    Well, certatainly sounds motivating
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  5. #4  
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    No, you're not too old for study. There are plenty of people who only found out their interest after they'd completed their qualifications in something else and their science degree was completed after they already had accountancy or history under their belt. Check out the career section of Andrew Dessler's wiki page. Andrew Dessler - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Language. As a tutor, I've found that students with good English comprehension and writing skills do much better at high school level science. They're much better at seeing the linkages between the words of science vocabulary and their skills in understanding how theories work logically are better.

    Maths. If you're not naturally adept, there's a solution. Practise, practise, practise. Just like a musical instrument or a sport. Find your starting point skill level in various topics and do lots of exercises at that level and the level just behind and just ahead of it. Reading and understanding as you follow along with a lecture, online or in person, is not enough. You have to master the skills and make them part of your equipment for further learning.

    Have a look at free online maths lectures/courses and do a few sessions to find the one that suits you best. Go to a 2nd hand bookshop, in person or online, and buy some - really cheap to do. (Having a couple of different textbooks for the same year level can be handy. I've often used that for students having difficulty coming to grips with something - simply using another writer's version of the exact same thing with a different approach to working through examples can be just what you need when you're at the 'tipping point' of not-quite-there-yet.)
    KALSTER likes this.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    No, you're not too old for study. There are plenty of people who only found out their interest after they'd completed their qualifications in something else and their science degree was completed after they already had accountancy or history under their belt. Check out the career section of Andrew Dessler's wiki page. Andrew Dessler - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Language. As a tutor, I've found that students with good English comprehension and writing skills do much better at high school level science. They're much better at seeing the linkages between the words of science vocabulary and their skills in understanding how theories work logically are better.

    Maths. If you're not naturally adept, there's a solution. Practise, practise, practise. Just like a musical instrument or a sport. Find your starting point skill level in various topics and do lots of exercises at that level and the level just behind and just ahead of it. Reading and understanding as you follow along with a lecture, online or in person, is not enough. You have to master the skills and make them part of your equipment for further learning.

    Have a look at free online maths lectures/courses and do a few sessions to find the one that suits you best. Go to a 2nd hand bookshop, in person or online, and buy some - really cheap to do. (Having a couple of different textbooks for the same year level can be handy. I've often used that for students having difficulty coming to grips with something - simply using another writer's version of the exact same thing with a different approach to working through examples can be just what you need when you're at the 'tipping point' of not-quite-there-yet.)
    I will do that Thanks a lot for your advice!!

    I assume you live in the US; What's the normal age to start university there?
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  7. #6  
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    You are NEVER too old to study; in life we learn new things all the time. Never let age be a barrier as it is not one. If you want to achieve a goal, be focussed, single-minded and determined. You seem to know broadly what you want to do and this is to be applauded. I had no idea what to do at your age.
    I would speak to some science teachers, say, at your high school as they most likely studied science at quite a high level. If you know someone in science or even you know someone who knows someone.... try to arrange a quick chat with them to find out more. Perhaps find out in there is a science fair or exhibition somewhere. Networking where possible will give you other people's perspectives and help you decide which type of science area is best for you.
    Maths will definitely be useful for most sciences, so it looks like you know what you need to do.
    Good luck !
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabman View Post
    You are NEVER too old to study; in life we learn new things all the time. Never let age be a barrier as it is not one. If you want to achieve a goal, be focussed, single-minded and determined. You seem to know broadly what you want to do and this is to be applauded. I had no idea what to do at your age.
    I would speak to some science teachers, say, at your high school as they most likely studied science at quite a high level. If you know someone in science or even you know someone who knows someone.... try to arrange a quick chat with them to find out more. Perhaps find out in there is a science fair or exhibition somewhere. Networking where possible will give you other people's perspectives and help you decide which type of science area is best for you.
    Maths will definitely be useful for most sciences, so it looks like you know what you need to do.
    Good luck !
    Hi, ty for answering.

    Now I'm not very experienced in the whole science world, but I know that back in the start of the 1900's people were reluctant picking up physics as an object of study in schools, because they thought everything there was to know was already discovered.
    These days we have so much knowledge in almost every field of science. Is it not hard to make new 'discoveries' nowadays?? Simply put, are there still lots of things to be worked out, other than, say, the origin of life / the universe? (Talking about most sciences here)

    :-D
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  9. #8  
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    The curiosity about the world brings discoveries, I refuse to believe that people in science either teaching it or researching new fields and theories are not sat there often asking 'what if'? And why?. The way I see it keep asking questions until you don't know the answer and when you do find an answer ask 'what if I am wrong?'

    This is my basis for growth and learning, my current research is the lateral thinking behind unifying Quantum theory and relativity and I have recently discovered string theoy and believe it is the solution. We should be taking it more seriously as we are hitting the roadblocks in QT the same way relativity hit road blocks as well as classical mechanics.

    And when I say 'disovered string theory' I don't mean read up on it, I mean am coming to understand why it works.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  10. #9  
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    No, I'm not in the US, I'm Australian.

    As for what's yet left to do in science. Everything we know we need to know + everything we don't yet know we don't know.

    Your approach needs to be to find a subject that excites and interests you that you feel you can do. Whether it's marine biology or daredevil vulcanology or maybe fluid mechanics because you want to know how the atmosphere works/you're keen on something else. Life sciences - maybe immunology or how to save frogs from extinction or materials science for human prosthetic limbs. Maybe you could work on archaeological materials or renewable energy or crop protection from pests. There are thousands upon thousands of things you might do.

    If you read the updates at ScienceDaily every day you'll find out that there's work going on in subjects you didn't know had subjects.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    No, I'm not in the US, I'm Australian.

    As for what's yet left to do in science. Everything we know we need to know + everything we don't yet know we don't know.

    Your approach needs to be to find a subject that excites and interests you that you feel you can do. Whether it's marine biology or daredevil vulcanology or maybe fluid mechanics because you want to know how the atmosphere works/you're keen on something else. Life sciences - maybe immunology or how to save frogs from extinction or materials science for human prosthetic limbs. Maybe you could work on archaeological materials or renewable energy or crop protection from pests. There are thousands upon thousands of things you might do.

    If you read the updates at ScienceDaily every day you'll find out that there's work going on in subjects you didn't know had subjects.
    Okay, will do Thanks for the link.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    Hi, I'm new to the forums, and I've got a question, and I'd like an honest opinion on my "situation", preferably from someone experienced in these regards! =)
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post

    Always am by friend! J

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    Due to some circumstanes in life, I'm currently in what would be High School for an american. I'm 18 years atm btw. I'm done in 2 years, and then I was planning to go to a university and study. I was thinking of studying science, but I'm afraid it's too late; some of my friends have told me that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post

    Shame on the friends who told you that. They are speaking out of pure ignorance. Of course you can go to a university and study science.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    I was never good at math in primary school, (going to have math next year). I didn't understand the purpose of it, and all we did was calculating the yearly interest or something boring. I have always been very good at language (haven't had any science besides chemistry, which was a fun subject but the lessons were boring). I've been interested in science for as long as I can remember, I've loved astronomy since I was 12, and I also have some telescopes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post

    Being interestedin science is a good sign that you might be good at it. In highschool I always did well in science since I have always loved science. I always did lousy in math though. But in college all that changed. I knew it all had a purpose and I studied with a vengence and worked as many homework problems as I could ge my hands on. I ended up graduating with a BA with two majors, Physics and math. I excelled at both of them. I’m told that I’m still the best physics and math major that they’ve seen for the last thirty years. IfI can do it then so can you!


    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    In High School this year I've got 2 subjects, both language. And I've come to realize that this is something I DON'T want to work with, even though I do well in those. I really can not see myself in a job where I didn't have the possibility to contribute with anything of importance. Sitting in an office from 8 to 16 doing finances or the likes would make me insane, literally.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post

    If I were in your shoes and still wanted to major on physics and math them I’d study German and another language that is often used in physics. At college you’ll have to study a foreign language.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    The type of sciences I'm thinking of would probably be something like an (evolutionary) biologist, a biochemist, or an astrophysicist (etc). I think pure physics would prove to hard for me considering my difficulties in math. (This is however, a problem I'm working on - it's not like I'm retarded at the subject, I just never cared to study it).
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post

    I cann help you learn some math so that you can really determine if you’d like it and be good with it. I’m a disabled physicist and that’s the kind of thing I enjoy doing since I can’t work. In this way I can still contribute to other people’s lives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    All the scientists I've read about started when they were very young, and went to university when they were 17-18. Do you people think there's any possibility of me going to a university at the age of 21 and make something out of it, or am I simply too old?

    Those peiople that you read about are the people who were so speciall that they made it into a book. They don’t represent the standard person who becomes a scientist. I was 24 when I started college. And since I had a lot to make up for from my lack of paying attention in high school it took me two years longer. So already, you’re ahead of me.

    Don’t listen to those people who said it’s too late. They have no clue what they’re talkng about.

    If you want it, then do it! And I’ll be more than happy to help you prepare for it by helping you get up to speed in math.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    Hi, I'm new to the forums, and I've got a question, and I'd like an honest opinion on my "situation", preferably from someone experienced in these regards! =)
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    Always am by friend! J

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    Due to some circumstanes in life, I'm currently in what would be High School for an american. I'm 18 years atm btw. I'm done in 2 years, and then I was planning to go to a university and study. I was thinking of studying science, but I'm afraid it's too late; some of my friends have told me that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    Shame on the friends who told you that. They are speaking out of pure ignorance. Of course you can go to a university and study science.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    I was never good at math in primary school, (going to have math next year). I didn't understand the purpose of it, and all we did was calculating the yearly interest or something boring. I have always been very good at language (haven't had any science besides chemistry, which was a fun subject but the lessons were boring). I've been interested in science for as long as I can remember, I've loved astronomy since I was 12, and I also have some telescopes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    Being interestedin science is a good sign that you might be good at it. In highschool I always did well in science since I have always loved science. I always did lousy in math though. But in college all that changed. I knew it all had a purpose and I studied with a vengence and worked as many homework problems as I could ge my hands on. I ended up graduating with a BA with two majors, Physics and math. I excelled at both of them. I’m told that I’m still the best physics and math major that they’ve seen for the last thirty years. IfI can do it then so can you!


    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    In High School this year I've got 2 subjects, both language. And I've come to realize that this is something I DON'T want to work with, even though I do well in those. I really can not see myself in a job where I didn't have the possibility to contribute with anything of importance. Sitting in an office from 8 to 16 doing finances or the likes would make me insane, literally.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    If I were in your shoes and still wanted to major on physics and math them I’d study German and another language that is often used in physics. At college you’ll have to study a foreign language.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    The type of sciences I'm thinking of would probably be something like an (evolutionary) biologist, a biochemist, or an astrophysicist (etc). I think pure physics would prove to hard for me considering my difficulties in math. (This is however, a problem I'm working on - it's not like I'm retarded at the subject, I just never cared to study it).
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    I cann help you learn some math so that you can really determine if you’d like it and be good with it. I’m a disabled physicist and that’s the kind of thing I enjoy doing since I can’t work. In this way I can still contribute to other people’s lives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    All the scientists I've read about started when they were very young, and went to university when they were 17-18. Do you people think there's any possibility of me going to a university at the age of 21 and make something out of it, or am I simply too old?

    Those peiople that you read about are the people who were so speciall that they made it into a book. They don’t represent the standard person who becomes a scientist. I was 24 when I started college. And since I had a lot to make up for from my lack of paying attention in high school it took me two years longer. So already, you’re ahead of me.

    Don’t listen to those people who said it’s too late. They have no clue what they’re talkng about.

    If you want it, then do it! And I’ll be more than happy to help you prepare for it by helping you get up to speed in math.
    What a nice read! Thanks for all those motivating words.

    I'm grateful that you're offering me your help in math, since I've been trying to get some text books on the subject lately, but they don't really seem appropriate for me, level is either too low or high. You got any links, etc?

    I'm in a hurry now but feel free to PM me if needed!

    regards
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    What a nice read! Thanks for all those motivating words.
    You're most welcome. I'm curious. What qualifies your friends to make such a claim? Do they have superior intelligence? Are they successful in science or are physics professors? Or what?
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  15. #14  
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    I was 24 before I started electronics school. I spent the years after high school partying and working in tanning salons. It's never to late to start. My sister is 48, and just finished her Bachlors in Art history....after a 26 year break for raising a family.


    Ahhh...those were the good ole days:

    Fixin' shit that ain't broke.
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  16. #15  
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    And at the ripe old age of 52 I might just restart my post-graduate work.
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  17. #16  
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    What qualifies your friends to make such a claim? Do they have superior intelligence? Are they successful in science or are physics professors? Or what?
    I got the impression they were mainly high school graduates or college freshman who were reciting their own versions of the received wisdom of parents and teachers. You know the stuff "You'll fail at life if you don't do well - now!" And their main personal knowledge is of people who've dropped out, at some stage, and now have horrible jobs or no jobs at all. They're not old enough to have met people at university who've had to save for years before doing what they've always wanted to do, nor is their age cohort old enough to have many/any who've finished school, done something else for a while and then gone back to education.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hans35 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Sabman View Post
    You are NEVER too old to study; in life we learn new things all the time. Never let age be a barrier as it is not one. If you want to achieve a goal, be focussed, single-minded and determined. You seem to know broadly what you want to do and this is to be applauded. I had no idea what to do at your age.
    I would speak to some science teachers, say, at your high school as they most likely studied science at quite a high level. If you know someone in science or even you know someone who knows someone.... try to arrange a quick chat with them to find out more. Perhaps find out in there is a science fair or exhibition somewhere. Networking where possible will give you other people's perspectives and help you decide which type of science area is best for you.
    Maths will definitely be useful for most sciences, so it looks like you know what you need to do.


    Good luck !
    Hi, ty for answering.

    Now I'm not very experienced in the whole science world, but I know that back in the start of the 1900's people were reluctant picking up physics as an object of study in schools, because they thought everything there was to know was already discovered.
    These days we have so much knowledge in almost every field of science. Is it not hard to make new 'discoveries' nowadays?? Simply put, are there still lots of things to be worked out, other than, say, the origin of life / the universe? (Talking about most sciences here):-D
    IMO, nano technology offers a very exciting future.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/ma...-stuff-smaller
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  19. #18  
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    Oh good lord. I read "Too old for science career?" thinking you were 40-something and I was going to come in here all encouraging...

    I was 28 when I went back to school for my EnvSci and Geology degrees. No, you're not too old.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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  20. #19  
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    I didnt start studying before I was 26.
    My English teacher started at the age of 45 and was done at 50.

    Never to late.
    A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. - David Stevens
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  21. #20  
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    And there's one thing, maybe more suited to when you're over 40. My father was a quiet man who didn't feel the need to take on new things, whereas my mum is, even now at almost 88, always thinking about things to take on. But ... she's a worrier and a fusser, and for a long, loooong time her main worry has been that she's too old. Dad never discussed anything with anybody, but he'd let her faff about for a few hours or days, and then drop his killer punchline ....

    "You'll never do it any younger."

    Words to live by.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  22. #21  
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    I dont know about science but choose subjects which will keep you busy.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Oh good lord. I read "Too old for science career?" thinking you were 40-something and I was going to come in here all encouraging...

    I was 28 when I went back to school for my EnvSci and Geology degrees. No, you're not too old.
    That was my expectation too. 21 too old? Never. I'm still contemplating the possibility of a Ph.D. when and if I retire. Now that is insane.
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