Thanks for the responses guys.
I'm very fortunate in that my parents somehow managed to pay for my entire undergraduate eduaction, so immediate money is not a necessity for me. As for programming or engineering jobs. Computer programming has been a hobby of mine since middle school, and I worked the four of five summers before this one at programming jobs. So I've always known programming was an option for money after school, but I think I'm just plain sick of it at this point. Maybe if I could do some sort of management job related to programming or something, but I think somebody would have to offer me quite a lot of money to get me to spend more of my life typing at a computer all day. As for engineering, I don't really know what that entails exactly, but it sounds fun. Would I be able to get a good position as a physics major with no actual engineering experience? I guess I had always assumed not so I haven't really thought about engineering jobs. I'll take the GRE and ask my professors for recommendations even if I don't decide to apply this year, I think, so hopefully that will avoid the problem you're having now, if grad schools don't mind 5-year-old recommendations.
Nice to hear you have your eye on the greatest school in the whole wide world!
I'd love to talk about all this any time. The standard for the fearless youth is AOL instant messanger, where you (or anybody else here) can message my screen name Capooky. Otherwise we can work something else out. Being clever enough to make money while following my true interest sounds good to me. The only problem is I have no idea what my true interest is! And even if I did, I'd have no idea how to even start being clever with it--I just know nothing about the types of jobs out there. Can't solve a problem 'till you know what it is.
I said I have no idea what my interests are, but on second thought that isn't entirely accurate. I have some interests, but they're very juvenille so I don't trust them. For instance, working on a project trying to develop some cool high-tech futuristic gadget like a star-trek phaser weapon sounds very cool to me. Same for working on some top secret project at los alamos, coming up with a breakthrough method of propulsion, or discovering the secrets of the universe as an out-of-touch fundamental theorist. The only interest I have that strikes me as real is not for me but for humanity--I'd like to see us exploring the cosmos a lot more rapidly than we are. But I think a life of work toward that end would just be frustrating; unless some national security or prestige issue gets the people motivated again, a life working on space exploration would just be a life of disappointment. So I feel like none of my "interests" for lifelong satisfaction are attainable, so I should just spend my time doing whatever physics makes me good money, any type of which I think I'll enjoy as a day to day occupation. (But I might not enjoy day-to-day other occupations, such as investment banking (now that
would be chasing the dollar)). I have a rule that as soon I'm tempted to use nested parentheses I stop writing immediately, so that I don't put my readers through any more misery. So I'm done