blazeitOne more year to go to college, i want to be a physicist. Physics really interests me. Does anyone here know what it is to be a physicist?
Oh fantastic! I'm currently in my last year of physics (though I'm doing another year to finish a math double major after this one) and going to grad school for physics, hopefully going all the way to Ph.D. It's perfect for me since I want to do teaching, but I understand it isn't for everyone.
First things, gotta master calculus. I mean MASTER it as much as you can, go more in depth than your class might require because if it becomes second nature to you, it makes everything far more manageable. It doesn't matter if you're not a "math person," work hard at it and make sure you have a grasp on it. I don't consider myself especially great at math, but I'm diligent and do lots of practice in my off time which leads me to have a very strong grasp on the math required. And never stop learning math. My physics program lacks a lot of math that I think is essential, so I constantly check out books at my school's library (textbooks are amazing resources) to improve my knowledge of math and science. Lots of Ivy League schools have lots of lectures online, be sure to use those to your advantage. Another valuable resource is the science subreddits, though the ones I found most helpful are /r/askscience, /r/physics, /r/askphysics, /r/math, and /r/askmath. PhysicsForums is also wonderful to nudge you in the right direction without giving away the solution to problems. And talk to your professors. A lot. Even if you don't need help with the lessons, challenge yourself. Give yourself harder problems. Don't be okay with "trust me on this one" when it comes to proofs, try and figure out WHERE equations come from. Follow their logic, and it'll be so much simpler to deal with when you have problems come up.
Second, figure out all your school's resources they have available. I absolutely LOVELOVELOVE ScienceDirect, helps a ton to find lots of research papers. Speaking of which, learn how to read research papers. They're incredibly interesting to read. Also, get some research done with a professor. Figure out what branch of physics you wanna dip your feet into, though it might take a while for you to figure it out. For a long time, I thought mine was general relativity but I'm far happier doing research in biophysics than I ever was with GR.
Most importantly, don't confine yourself to physics. Learn chemistry, biology, philosophy, etc. It's really easy to focus entirely on your major especially if you're incredibly passionate about it, but you might find that a related field might interest you far more.
Feel free to add me if you have any questions. I don't really like helping with homeworks but I'll definitely answer any questions you might have about the physics field.