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    Hi, recently my parents have been talking to me about what I plan to do in the future. I know that it may be a bit early to start thinking about it since I'm only in Year 11 but it's been bothering me. Before today, I had always been set on doing physics related (as for me it is the best thing in the WORLD) but my parents have been urging me not to do physics. They say that there are no jobs in that field, it doesn't pay well, and essentially physicists are useless to society.

    My mother has been telling me to go into the medical field. However, I would hate being as personal with people as doctors and surgeons are- and honestly, I detest biology. My dad has been telling me to look into actuarial science. It sounds nice and I love maths, however I can't imagine myself working in finance/business. I've never actually expressed an interest in it.

    Another option for me could be engineering (mechanical/aerospace especially), however when I told my mom about it she said that they don't get paid well either. I guess for her, it's all about how much I'll end up making in the future. Same goes for pure mathematics, however she's surprisingly more accepting of pure mathematics than pure physics.

    The subjects I am taking for A-Levels is Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Psychology. However, I'm also passionate about Geography and Music- I'm sad that I can't take all of them.

    Does anyone have any ideas about what I should take for my undergrad? Any help would be greatly appreciated
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    First off the graduate job market doesn't really work like a conveyor belt from a degree to a set career, although it's easy to get that impression. I think loads of people go for what I'd call 'set career' degrees like Medicine or Law because it's seen as a guarantee of a bourgeois lifestyle. High earnings are obviously a perfectly good reason to go into a particular career, but only as one of a multitude of reasons. If that's the sole reason you go into Medicine you'll probably end up miserable. You seem smart enough to have understood that so I won't bang the drum on that issue. I will, however, say that the earning power of Medicine is very overrated, especially given the working conditions. If you were in the USA it would be another story, but NHS doctors are basically paid peanuts for the work they do. If you only want to earn money, which I gather is what your mom is trying to project on you, it would be much better to pursue finance.

    Speaking of finance, you probably should at least look into actuarial work a bit more if you like maths. It's well paid; more so than medicine. It's also an in-demand field. However, being an actuary, as I gathered, is really a business with maths job rather than a maths with business job. This will become increasingly true as you progress in a career and also as technology obliterates any task which could possibly be performed routinely. It's also a relatively small sector and there are only a certain number of locations and firms in the country where actuaries are employed. On the other hand it can be fairly flexible; if you acquire the right skills in your career you can be employed in other types of finance jobs and command a high salary.

    However, actuarial work is not the same thing as picking actuarial science as a degree, which in my opinion would be a pretty bold mistake if you have maths and further maths under your belt. This brings me to my point; your parents have no idea what's best for you for your future earnings or career satisfaction. For instance, if you wanted to be an actuary, Physics or Maths at a prestigious university would be much better than Actuarial Science. As far as I know the best universities don't offer it as a degree. If you came out of university with no internships or experience then actuarial science could feasibly be better but your chances would be abysmally low in the first place. Someone with a pure Maths degree from Cambridge and relevant work experience is going to be more employable in practically any area of finance than someone with a degree in actuarial science.

    I can't really tell you what degree you should do, I just want to provide a bit of rebuttal to your parents' simplistic views on careers. What I'd recommend is that you at least try and think as far ahead as what you might like to do after university, and see what kind of routes people have taken to get into those careers. I think you'll find that people come from more varied backgrounds than yo-, well, your parents might expect. The other thing is to keep your options open, and to do that you should make sure you do well in your AS year and can make a good application regardless of which degree you want to do. I think you're right to be considering Maths, Physics or Engineering. Mathematicians and Physicists tend to go into a broad array of different fields, especially further study, whereas the majority of engineers will choose an engineering job. I'll leave it to you to do research to elaborate on that.
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    (Original post by Bunnell)
    Hi, recently my parents have been talking to me about what I plan to do in the future. I know that it may be a bit early to start thinking about it since I'm only in Year 11 but it's been bothering me. Before today, I had always been set on doing physics related (as for me it is the best thing in the WORLD) but my parents have been urging me not to do physics. They say that there are no jobs in that field, it doesn't pay well, and essentially physicists are useless to society.

    My mother has been telling me to go into the medical field. However, I would hate being as personal with people as doctors and surgeons are- and honestly, I detest biology. My dad has been telling me to look into actuarial science. It sounds nice and I love maths, however I can't imagine myself working in finance/business. I've never actually expressed an interest in it.

    Another option for me could be engineering (mechanical/aerospace especially), however when I told my mom about it she said that they don't get paid well either. I guess for her, it's all about how much I'll end up making in the future. Same goes for pure mathematics, however she's surprisingly more accepting of pure mathematics than pure physics.

    The subjects I am taking for A-Levels is Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Psychology. However, I'm also passionate about Geography and Music- I'm sad that I can't take all of them.

    Does anyone have any ideas about what I should take for my undergrad? Any help would be greatly appreciated
    Firstly dont let your parents influence your subject/career choice as everyone who I know that did this have now dropped out as they hated their degree

    You need to think about what you want to do as a career really before deciding what to do at undergrad

    Doing science, maths and engineering wont close any finance doors off
    Engineers on average are the highest paying careers outside of finance

    If you want to do a physics degree do one, just dont go in thinking youre going to be a physicist in research, as very few people do, there are plenty of useful applications of physics

    Example

    I do physics at uni and my career plans options I am aiming towards are

    1. Physics researcher (main goal but highly unlikely to happen)
    2. Quant developer/researcher
    3. Software developer
    4. Nuclear/energy engineer
    5. actuary
    6. Investment analyst

    So as you can see physics can lead into many areas (the ones listed are just the ones I am interested in) but its just harder for a person with a physics degree to break into some fields as they have to develop some of the skills outside of the degree (ie teach yourself how to program, get internships in nuclear engineering etc)
 
 
 
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