Thanks for dropping by this physics advice 'brain dump' page, which will almost certainly evolve with time. I'm using this space to offer some stream-of-consciousness reflections on the study of physics (and engineering) based on my experiences to date. I'll add bullets below as I'm reminded of them over time. Would love to hear feedback from any readers who stumble on this page!

You might be a high school kid interested in physics, or a college student studying physics who is harboring some deeprooted questions, curiosities, or anxieties about whether to continue, or whether to instead explore a related field like engineering. Maybe you're later on in your career and curious about rekindling a dedication to physics and to the pursuit of truth and knowledge.

Here's my story: I got a bachelors degree in physics at Harvard. I didn't really follow the 'pile on as many hardcore physics courses as possible' path. Instead, I also took courses in computer science, hands-on engineering, philosophy of science, and language. My dedication to physics stemmed from a deeprooted commitment for as long as I can remember to the grandest question of all: "what is this?" - a question I've also approached from the lenses of zen, existentialism, and surrealism. I'm more of a philosopher in search of truth and drawn to physics for its empirical effectiveness, whereas some of my peers in college were more like mathematicians with a preference for equations that have some physical relevance.

The force driving someone towards physics matters a lot, as far as I can tell, but isn't often discussed. For instance, when it gradually became clear to me in late high school / early college that physics is a model approximating reality rather than some interpretive claim on reality itself, I felt wildly confused about how (and whether) to proceed. Not everyone studying physics shares in this anxiety, however. The 'shut up and calculate' mindset can be satisfying to some - it really comes down to your motivations for studying physics in the first place.

I am doing an engineering PhD now (a really a-typical one) (because I find hands-on building to be fun!) so have not had the traditional physics PhD experience. Still, my commitment to fundamental physics remains strong - I'll be pursuing opportunities following my graduation to apply my engineering skillset in the context fundamental physics research. So, with this context in mind, here are some thoughts: