I finished my B.Sc. in physics 3 years ago, did a year of research, worked a year in tech, and have spent the last year off the grid living in the bush and running away from reality for a while. Now I’m going back for my master’s or PhD, but I’m pretty rusty. I’m hoping someone out there might read this and have some good advice on the best way to do this.
My options are basically the following:
to do a master’s in a field/at a school/with an advisor that are all
not ideal to me, because that’s where I have experience and
to spend a year or so doing a second degree in math and then going
on to do a PhD after that.
My reasoning for the second option is that this will afford me better opportunities for better grad schools in fields I have more interest in. Simply put, I don’t believe I have a strong enough application right now to get into the programs/schools/advisors that I want to get in with.
My undergraduate grades are fine (A-/A average), but not extraordinary enough to carry me by their weight alone. I have two publications and a dwindling number of connections who could write me strong recommendations. Maybe one or two at most, with two others who would write generically positive letters. I don’t think this is enough to get me where I’d like to be.
Grad school seems like too big of a commitment to go somewhere/work with someone I’m not 100% on board with. Is this “greedy” to think this way? Am I being too picky/asking too much? Should I take what I can get now and not waste my time trying make things “perfect”? Every grad student I speak to has the same advice: “Unless you’re 100% sure this is what you want to do, don’t do it,” so I’m kind of going by that.
Is it worth taking a year or so to pad my application with a second degree in math (new networks, fresh good grades, strong recommendations from professors if I can build relationships with them), so that I can get in where I actually want to go? Or should I just suck it up and do the master’s that I don’t care about, do it well, and then go where I want from there (keeping in mind that I’d be wanting to switch fields at this point)?
Thank you very much in advance to anyone who takes the time to read/respond!