PathIntegrals92 wrote:First look at my profile and look at my previous posts before decisions started coming out. You'll see that I was doubting myself. My gpa is mediocre and my pgre+gre are also mediocre.
Apply smart and you can get in somewhere.
Highlight your strengths! If you don't know what that is, figure it out!
So I realized that I am not so good with timed exams ( my grades were lower in classes that contained those). However, I also realized that I am pretty damn good at physics. My research experiences are very strong despite not having a publication. I have great relationships with my advisors.
You will wonder how do I know my research experience is strong if I don't have a publication? Well I am not a genius and getting a publication ( especially first author) in high energy theory is pretty damn tough. However, I have proven it to my advisors and big shots in the field that I know what I am doing. The point of me telling you this is not to brag, but to tell you my strengths. I have become more confident when I became more aware of my capabilities.
I also took a year off and I took grad level qft at near by University ( top 10). The prof let me and I took the class and did the problems and had fun. I am pointing this out because if you want to boost your confidence in physics then DO PHYSICS. DO research, problems fromr textbooks, talk to physicists, whatever. Oh and I also highlighted that it was a top 10 because I went in thinking i was going to be the dumb person in the class. I wasn't =P. I was just as smart as some of the students, smarter than some, and ofcourse there were students smarter than me. However, it's not about comparing yourself at this point.
When you apply, apply smart! Do not apply to all top 10s etc. I am pretty happy with the offers I have so far and my career goals are different than yours. I also applied to professional master's programs, but no point in talking about that or listing those I guess...
Last thing: If you want to be a physicist, then you HAVE to want it. DO not expect anyone to tell you that "you can do it" every step of the way. It won't happen. So first make sure you really want it. Next, do PHYSICS. Boost your confidence by doing it more and more and more. STOP asking for help everytime you hit an obstacle or get stuck. FIRST, figure it out on your own. That will take some time. If all else fails, then ask for help ( there's nothing wrong with this). Just not all the time.
Edit: Last Last thing. Believe in yourself. You can do it if you really want to.
TakeruK wrote:From this experience, I learned that, holy crap, this person has a PhD and they are stilled worried about this. I somehow/naively thought professors magically gain the confidence and ability that I've seen in all of my professors. I learned that this feeling is normal and successful academics have it too, so my worries are not well founded, and it does not mean that I am not qualified. Because if you think about it, all the people that supported you and chose you all the way up to now are very smart people.
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