Once upon a time, I embarked upon a degree program in theoretical physics out of a sincere and heartfelt desire to understand the Universe at its most fundamental level. This dream became obscured during the years of hard-work and stressful self-sacrifice, to the point where I could only rarely see the forest through the trees, so to speak. Indeed, I have recently been forced to admit that, noble though this quest might be, I think that my true guiding passions lie elsewhere altogether.
However: one thing is for absolutely certain: I didn’t get an advanced degree in theoretical physics in order to become a glorified accountant.
Now, as you should all know by now, I consider writing to be my true guiding passion; but as you also know, it is very difficult to make a comfortable living as a writer, and in any case, the only way to go about doing so is to actually write, which is something that I fully intend to do each day regardless of my career path. However, as I am very likely to be reliant on some other activity for money, it seems reasonable to demand that I should enjoy my work as well.
Now, my plan for the immediate future (the next year or so), is of course to work, and hopefully to accrue as much money as I can. But it’s becoming increasingly obvious that my education is going to have to continue at some point. The only real question now is: in what direction shall it continue?
I’ve thought of a few options:
- Get a PhD in Physics: This would be the obvious one. Now, I’m pretty certain that I’m done with fundamental physics, as I found the theoretical aspects to be too much like trying to build a castle in the sky: however, I could pursue a research path which is still theoretical, but somewhat more applied; something such as astrophysics, or even ocean physics or meteorology, where I don’t need to worry about my entire field of study being discredited. The advantages would be that I could continue in physics and probably pick-up coding along the way. The disadvantages would be that academia seems quite intense enough without also trying to be able to write fiction on the side.
- Get an Interdisciplinary PhD in Physics, History and English: This one probably sounds weird at first glance, but I have thought of an absolute doozy of a thesis project upon which I would absolutely love to work, and it can only be done as an Interdisciplinary study. The advantages of this one would be…well, frankly, if I pulled it off, I could essentially get paid money to sit around reading science fiction novels all day; I wouldn’t even need to worry about making time for my writing, because it would dovetail completely with my “real” work. The disadvantage would be that apparently it’s not terribly easy to get a faculty position with an interdisciplinary PhD, as it’s not at all clear in which department you belong.
- Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science: I’m afraid that I shortchanged myself while going through my undergraduate education; I never formally studied programming, and so I found myself at a disadvantage when it came time to do my Master’s. Now that I have looked at it in greater detail, though, I can see that it is, in fact, amazing; it seems to allow you to do practically anything, and I absolutely love the creative and problem-solving aspect of it. The advantages of this would be massively boosting my employment potential while giving me something that’s actually enjoyable to do for a living. The disadvantages would be…well…they’re not exactly obvious, just now; it would probably be more difficult in real life than I would expect.
Anyhow, any suggestions would, as always, be very welcome.