Hi there, I'm new here.
This may seem slightly odd, but I created an account on the xkcd forums just to ask you a question. Given that (I hope) most of you are geeks, I hoped some of you might be able to help me out here.
Basically, this is the problem: my first semester starts at the 1st of September, where I live we're required to declare a major *before* going to college, and, uhm, I haven't decided yet. I'm stuck between physics(+math) or CS(+math). Given a list of reasons I can think of to do either major, I was hoping you might help me make a decision.
- I think I would enjoy this major more than I'd enjoy CS. I've seen a list of classes for both majors, and with CS I could only see five or so I'd find interesting. The others either seem quite boring or are about things I already know (I'm quite the geek).
- Stuff like this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_electrodynamics#Mathematics - I can't post URLs) excites me. Like, "I absolutely don't get this, but ohmypizza I'd love to get to understand this."
- I'm quite ambitious, and quite frankly, physics is simply the harder degree at the university I'm going to. For example, for physics and math you get the whole Calculus I to III series, whereas for CS you get 'Calculus for CS', which makes it kind of obvious that it's watered-down. I like to do hard stuff. (On the other hand, see the second point under CS.)
- I can minor in world domination! =) On a more serious note, I'm rather... futuristically inclined, a bit like beret guy here: http://xkcd.com/786. I want to work on those exciting things, and think it would be easier to do so with a degree in physics than a degree in CS.
- Probably better employment opportunities than physics. The jobs I can think of are probably also more enjoyable. I like programming, for example, but I don't much like going into finance, or any such thing. There's also the fact that - other than becoming a professor - many of the things that are in my head of what I'd want to do with my degree in physics are very entrepreneurial in nature, and thus not the only 'plan' I want to have.
- Less stress. I have a history of depression, and am fairly certain I'll keep having periods of depression where it's very hard or practically impossible to get stuff done. In light of that, it might be wise to lower my standards a bit (also see the above about entrepreneurial stuff). Though this may be a clear sign that CS is simply not what I want to do, the simple fact is that I'm terrified that I'll end up majoring in physics and then flunk out or won't be able to get a job just because my depression killed that. I also already know (if I may say so) quite a bit of CS. And let's face it, I can do a lot of CS while I'm comfortably seated in my chair in my room, which may be a good or a bad thing for my depression, I seriously don't know.
- I can't say I'm super-excited about physics laboratories, although I think this is likely more because of the presentations and the possibility of screwing up in front of people (there's the stress again) than because of the experimenting itself.
- Uhm, this is slightly embarrassing, but I've forgotten most of my high school calculus this year (I've done pretty much nothing this year - depression, don't ask), so although I want to do the more advanced calculus classes, I'm worried about those, too.
So, can anyone help me out? Are some (or many) of my assumptions about either major wrong? Which major would you recommend I do?