Vanilla Forums has been nominated for a second time in the CMS Critic "Critic's Choice" awards, and we need your vote! Read more here, and then do the thing (please).
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

My brother is changing majors from Molecular Biology to Philosophy

Giggles_FunsworthGiggles_Funsworth ParanoiacBay Area SprawlRegistered User regular
edited February 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
Spoiler:

TL;DR: My brother currently has a full ride scholarship in an honors program studying Molecular Biology, he wanted to do genetic research with it. Now he is saying that he wants to get a Philosophy degree so that he can teach because God is telling him to, and my dad and step-mom are supportive of this even though it might mean taking out HUGE student loans. This is a terrible idea right?

Giggles_Funsworth on
0101001101000111010001100111000001100010010000010011110100111101001100000111100000110010001100000011000001111000001101000011100000110000011110000011011100111001001100000111100000110110001101000011000001111000001101110011001000110000011110000011011000110001

Posts

  • ToxTox I kill threads Pharezon's human garbage heapRegistered User regular
    Terrible or not, it's his life, not yours.

    One of the weird things about being an adult is that if it's not illegal to do it, you're allowed to do it, and nobody really has any right to stop you unless it somehow affects them. Since it's not your life, it doesn't affect you, so it's not really your call.

    Grey Ghost wrote: »
    James Dean was the actor, Jimmy Dean was in the sausage business.

    James Deen is both an actor AND in the sausage business.
    Secret Satans! Post | Gaming Wishlist | General Wishlist
    Dilige, et quod vis fac
  • Giggles_FunsworthGiggles_Funsworth Paranoiac Bay Area SprawlRegistered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Fully aware, have definitely made some horrible decisions in the past, will almost certainly make some more in the future.

    I don't really care if there is as much chance for success under his new course of action, if there are actually decent odds of him being able to be a teacher with a philosophy degree and pay off his debts I am okay with that! On the other hand, if this is in fact as moonbat crazy as I suspect it is, I would like to do my best to street him down a better path as his older brother that he continues to look up to for reasons that elude me.

    I am looking for advice on how good of a decision this is and how to convey that information in a way that will get around "God is telling me to do this." Not a rather condescending bit about how I should just watch him fail because he's an adult now.

    Giggles_Funsworth on
    0101001101000111010001100111000001100010010000010011110100111101001100000111100000110010001100000011000001111000001101000011100000110000011110000011011100111001001100000111100000110110001101000011000001111000001101110011001000110000011110000011011000110001
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Phrase it like this. He should double major get his degree in molecular biology since it's paid for and take the extra classes needed to get a degree in philosophy that way he has more options with where to teach, because most philosophy degrees have only about an extra 15-30 credits extra the other requirements are usually taken by just about any other major.

  • Giggles_FunsworthGiggles_Funsworth Paranoiac Bay Area SprawlRegistered User regular
    @zepherin You rule, this is the sort of thing I needed. Will call my dad today and find out what was actually said before proceeding though.

    0101001101000111010001100111000001100010010000010011110100111101001100000111100000110010001100000011000001111000001101000011100000110000011110000011011100111001001100000111100000110110001101000011000001111000001101110011001000110000011110000011011000110001
  • JHunzJHunz Registered User regular
    For what it's worth, he's on the right track with planning to teach with that degree. There really isn't anything else you can do with one. He'll probably need a PhD if he actually plans to teach philosophy though.

    bunny.gif Gamertag: JHunz. R.I.P. Mygamercard.net bunny.gif
  • Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF Captain East CoastRegistered User regular
    Seriously, just get both. Use the Molecular Bio to get the Philosophy degree paid for.



  • UsagiUsagi Feminazgul ~*special snowflake*~Registered User regular
    You might point him and your parents to the WSJ college major unemployment matrix

    Jormungandr? Damn near killed 'er!
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Spending too much money eating out. That's about it. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    zepherin wrote:
    Phrase it like this. He should double major get his degree in molecular biology since it's paid for and take the extra classes needed to get a degree in philosophy that way he has more options with where to teach, because most philosophy degrees have only about an extra 15-30 credits extra the other requirements are usually taken by just about any other major.

    Where is the crossover in class load? I'm looking at requirements at my school and I don't see much or anything at all. He's looking at probably an extra 40-50 in reality.

    Honestly, I'd leave the guy alone and let him major in what he wants. It's his life.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • WildEEPWildEEP Registered User regular
    Ahh yes, the almighty "God told me to" or "God showed me another path", guide to "How the fuck do I stop taking these hard classes".

    The most you're going to be able to do here is tell them you think its a bad idea, but I wouldnt worry too much about the God angle - its just a convenient dodge that your folks will accept. I've seen the same stuff happen to all the people who just KNEW they were going to be doctors...until they found out that it involved passing Organic Chemistry..and suddenly...BOOM...GODTOWN....God says, "GO FORTH MY CHILD, AND EARN YOUR PSYCH DEGREE!!!"

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Esh wrote:
    zepherin wrote:
    Phrase it like this. He should double major get his degree in molecular biology since it's paid for and take the extra classes needed to get a degree in philosophy that way he has more options with where to teach, because most philosophy degrees have only about an extra 15-30 credits extra the other requirements are usually taken by just about any other major.

    Where is the crossover in class load? I'm looking at requirements at my school and I don't see much or anything at all. He's looking at probably an extra 40-50 in reality.

    Honestly, I'd leave the guy alone and let him major in what he wants. It's his life.
    Different schools different requirements. At the schools (3) I've been too Philosophy has a 30 credit program with a 60 credit core course load and 30 credits of electives, molecular biology has a harder core coarse load and unless your school is a bunch of bitches (which may be) the cross over occurs there, and in the electives. In one the other schools I looked at the philosophy degree was vague as shit and it was 5 classes with a bunch of electives, and the basics requirements.

    You'd think that with accreditation there would be more parity between degrees.

    It's best not to think about how many colleges I went too before I got a degree.

    zepherin on
  • finralfinral Registered User regular
    For what its worth, switching to a philosophy degree sounds like a terrible idea.

    I would approach it from the angle of getting both degrees just to hedge his bets and ensure he can get a job out of college. As a side note, he'll probably need an advanced degree to get anywhere with molecular bio as well.

  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    As someone who did molecular biology and had the opportunity to also do a philosophy module, they're very different things and I found the philosophy module to be one of the more frustrating ones I did despite really looking forward to it.
    Has he got any experience of philosophy before, or does he have the option to sit in on a few to see if he likes it?

  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    He's a freshman so it doesn't matter, but FWIW, I'm a philosophy graduate student slightly north of him at UCSD, so you can pass this on to him: the vast majority of professional philosophers are atheists, and even worse, many (if not most) of them think there are no good arguments for believing God exists, and a fair amount of philosophers are outright dismissive of religion. So he's not exactly entering a nurturing climate. Moreover, you're correct about teaching job prospects. If he actually wants to be a college professor, the chances of getting a good job are basically nil.

    On the other hand, a Philosophy degree is as good as any other generic liberal arts degree, and in fact it's generally a bit better because the critical reasoning/writing skills it teaches you are at least useful compared to, say, all the worthless shit you learn as a PoliSci major or something. He's not throwing his life away by swapping majors as a freshman (although if his scholarship doesn't transfer he's probably making a really big mistake).

    My best advice would be to tell him to take some philosophy classes to make sure he likes it. It's probably just a phase.

    TychoCelchuuu on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Yeah, I strongly suspect Organic Chemistry is the driving force behind these revelations he's having.

    That being said, your brother is an adult, and can make his own decisions. You should really sit down with him, talk to him about your concerns, explain that Molecular Biology, while way more difficult, is a much better degree for a career path. There is nothing that says you can't teach with a Molecular Biology degree (in fact, you can teach more with a Molecular Biology degree than with a Philosophy degree). Ask him if he's looked into double-majoring. Explain that you feel you made some mistakes when you were his age, and you're just trying to help him avoid making similar ones, because you're concerned for him.

    And then, tell him that whatever he decides, he is an adult, and you'll support him in his decision. You did what you could to help, but trying to fight him on something like this that he's determined to do is just going to make him more obstinate, and make your relationship with him worse.

    Also, to Tycho's post above: Philosophy Majors have a 20% higher unemployment rate than Political Science majors; but hey, that's okay, I understand. Unlike Political Science, Philosophy doesn't have a statistics requirement, so I'm happy to explain it to you.

    Thanatos on
  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Thanatos wrote:
    Also, to Tycho's post above: Philosophy Majors have a 20% higher unemployment rate than Political Science majors; but hey, that's okay, I understand. Unlike Political Science, Philosophy doesn't have a statistics requirement, so I'm happy to explain it to you.
    The WSJ numbers suggest not (Philosophy has a 1% higher rate of unemployment) but whatever. I double majored in both, so I picked PoliSci to beat up on, but the general point is that Philosophy is just as good as any other generic liberal arts degree. You're right that learning stats will get you jobs, but many/most universities (including SDSU I'm guessing) let you grab a PoliSci major without learning anything more interesting than high school statistics.

    edit: yeah, you can major in Political Science at SDSU without ever taking one statistics course.

    TychoCelchuuu on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    Thanatos wrote:
    Also, to Tycho's post above: Philosophy Majors have a 20% higher unemployment rate than Political Science majors; but hey, that's okay, I understand. Unlike Political Science, Philosophy doesn't have a statistics requirement, so I'm happy to explain it to you.
    The WSJ numbers suggest not (Philosophy has a 1% higher rate of unemployment) but whatever. I double majored in both, so I picked PoliSci to beat up on, but the general point is that Philosophy is just as good as any other generic liberal arts degree. You're right that learning stats will get you jobs, but many/most universities (including SDSU I'm guessing) let you grab a PoliSci major without learning anything more interesting than high school statistics.
    Political Science is at 6.0%. Philosophy is at 7.2%.

    6.0% * 120% = 7.2%

  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    And I majored in Political Science! So you see? It gives you no practical skills whatsoever.
    Spoiler:

    TychoCelchuuu on
  • big lbig l Registered User regular
    My best advice would be to tell him to take some philosophy classes to make sure he likes it. It's probably just a phase.

    He will probably have to take some kind of general humanities classes anyways, so he might as well take a philosophy class to see if trying to decipher Kant will be as fun as he thinks it will be. Spoiler warning - it probably won't be.

  • President RexPresident Rex Registered User regular
    It may be important to note - if he has already taken an introductory Philosophy class - that deeper level philosophy and logic can be much more frustrating and ridiculous than an introductory class. This is true for most majors, but seems to be a common hang-up for people checking out a new path (I liked learning about general writing style in English 101, I'll certainly love reading Ulysses and deconstructing it point by point in English 350!).

    So, I guess the advice would be "make sure you enjoy every aspect of it more than what you're doing now". Especially since the only direct application of Philosophy that seems to exist is teaching, which will inevitably require a Masters (if you're lucky) or a PhD. But then a humanities major by itself can be useful in the general sense of a 4-year degree being useful.


    Although if there weren't a scholarship involved, I'd recommend what every freshman really should do: take a bunch of classes that pique your interest from a wide swath of subjects and then develop the one you enjoy the most (even if it is the most difficult). Science-based degrees tend to be more immediately applicable to the workforce; humanities wil make you have to battle every other humanities major for general, "this job needs a 4-year degree because a 4-year degree is the new HS diploma" jobs for anything outside your immediate experience.

    Join the Crew: Sink to the level of sinking those trying to sink us.
    PR-SH3-sig2.gif
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    The best advice in the short term would be to tell him to stay with the biology major for scholarship purposes, and just knock out group requirements in the meantime. If he is a fresman this shouldn't be a big deal at all. There is leeway built into the college curriculum to step away from your major for a semester or two.

    That being said if he really doesn't like biology, there's no margin in sticking it out for 4+ years to get a degree in a field he's uninterested in working in. Better to figure that out as a freshman than have an existential crisis three years into the program.

    gkcmatch_zps97480250.jpg
    stand up! It was the smallest on the list but
    pluto was a planet and I'll never forget
  • Giggles_FunsworthGiggles_Funsworth Paranoiac Bay Area SprawlRegistered User regular
    Great advice in here, thanks everyone.

    I'll call my dad tonight and find out what they actually told him, figure out what's going on when not distorted through my brother's bias, he lives kind of in his own world a lot of the time.

    As far as I know, he has no previous exposure to Philosophy coursework. It's POSSIBLE he had an intro course last semester, but if he did it was his first exposure as I'm almost positive he didn't get any in high school at the fundie private Christian school he went to, especially not the way it's going to be taught in a secular university.

    I'll advise him to look into taking a few elective courses in Philosophy to see if he still enjoys it from a more in depth perspective, and look into doubling up if it's still something he wants to learn a lot about to improve his employability. Already strongly suspected that his new interest in Philosophy had to do with the difficulty of the coursework, as he was struggling last semester, though his GPA was almost up where it needed to be to stay in the Honors program and keep the scholarship, and a lot of it was adjusting to the learning curve of what was expected going to college versus what was expected in high school where he could just coast at everything.

    If he's just not interested in the sciences anymore than that's cool, I am behind whatever makes him happy, but that is not the impression he gave me just a month ago, not that that could change.

    0101001101000111010001100111000001100010010000010011110100111101001100000111100000110010001100000011000001111000001101000011100000110000011110000011011100111001001100000111100000110110001101000011000001111000001101110011001000110000011110000011011000110001
  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    If he wants to do Philosophy because it's easier, I'll be down at SDSU next Friday and Saturday, so I could smack him with my copy of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and then tell him how I just gave 60% of the kids in my Intro to Metaphysics class a C or worse on their papers because they sucked. Philosophy is only an easy A if you read quickly, understand what you read even though it wasn't well written, have a knack for writing, and can effectively form arguments. If you can't do all of that, then Philosophy takes just as much work as science. Granted, it's a much different kind of work, and he might find it more amenable and in that sense easier, but "I gave up because it was hard" isn't a good way to rule out life options when you're a freshman in college.

  • If he doesn't feel suited to Molecular Biology, he shouldn't study it, and the sooner he changes out, the better.

    His lack of clear, rational reasoning would probably also be a major issue in Philosophy, however. Pro-religious philosophical arguments will be held to a harsher standard.

    A huge amount of students change their majors, it's normal. He probably shouldn't go with either of these two options though.

  • Giggles_FunsworthGiggles_Funsworth Paranoiac Bay Area SprawlRegistered User regular
    He is a TERRIBLE writer so there is that. Like, awful.

    0101001101000111010001100111000001100010010000010011110100111101001100000111100000110010001100000011000001111000001101000011100000110000011110000011011100111001001100000111100000110110001101000011000001111000001101110011001000110000011110000011011000110001
  • BasketballsBasketballs Registered User regular
    My younger brother recently changed majors from architecture to theology. I was not a fan of this either. But, in the end it really comes down to his decision.

    It probably depends on exactly how the majors are constructed, but it is more than likely possible to be a "double major" for a year and then decide which one he likes better and just drop the other major. In most cases the core curriculum plus the major does not equal enough credits to graduate. I've ended up with a bunch of extra science and english classes simply because I wasn't interested in anything else. There is no reason those extra classes at the the end can't be philosophy.

    Also, I bet that he will encounter the same amount of arguments against christianity as a molecular bio major as he would as a philosophy major. The arguments will just come from different angles.

  • RadicalTurnipRadicalTurnip Registered User regular
    Yeah, most Philosophy classes take a lot of writing...

    That being said, it's his choice...it's his life...better him being stuck in a lowish paying job than a job he hates (or so the motto goes).

  • OgotaiOgotai Registered User regular
    I know a guy that works with our lab that got his undergrad in biology and is working on a masters in philosophy. Doing both is an option, and both have their problems employment wise. Molecular Biology of various forms (I tend to lump BioChem in there too) has alot of funding going towards it and alot of jobs for it, but its also what dam near 75-80% of the non-premed students in our department are doing, so you end up compeating for jobs with a shit ton of people. Unlike say Anatomy, where in the largest department of the largest university in the state, there are 3 grad students learning it. And the job market for anatomist is to the point where our vet school gave up trying to find a trained vetrinary anatomist, or even a DVM that could teach anatomy, and settled on someone that could at least teach something else to free up their current anatomy teacher (who they had to bring in from Germany).

    Philosophy, if you take it seriously, ends up being descent training for a lot of stuff do to the thinking/reasoning skills as people have said. If you want to teach it specifically, you need an advanced degree probably. Teaching something like high school would probably be differnt though and its not a bad major to do with some education courses like for a minor if he just wants to be a teacher.

    Anyway, both Molecular bio and Philosophy are in the same level interets as watching paint dry to me personally, but I can see the merits of both if its what you want to do. I also had to teach labs to freshman science majors and seen alot of, "fuck, this is going to be hard, what else can I major in?" If he just wants to teach though, not really at a specific level, stay with the bio major as I think science teachers are more in demand.

  • KhavallKhavall Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Yeah, I know when I was in college, I'd see a lot of people who "decided to follow their passion" and switched from science to music... for like a week. Then they realized that holy shit this isn't just sitting around on the quad playing wonderwall on an acoustic guitar, but instead it took an unbelievable amount of work, in fact more than their science courses. Then they changed back and all of a sudden they weren't that passionate about music anymore.

    Philosophy sounds like it'll be easy. And if you take a course or two it feels like it'll be easy. And then you'll start actually getting to the point where hey, you're still doing really in depth study of stuff. If it turns out he wants to teach philosophy and he actually really likes it, then no it's not a mistake. Shit, I majored in music history and got a job like, weeks after starting the search. In music. But if he's doing it because he just doesn't like doing work and thinks this is easier, or because he took one class and liked breezing through it, and as soon as he gets to real work he'll explode and want to go back to science? Then yeah, that's a huge mistake if he loses his scholarship and then realizes that he was just being lazy.

    Ultimately it's his choice, but I would recommend to him that he go deeper into philosophy without dropping his current program. If he loves it and sticks with it, then that's great. If he goes "Oh shit, what happened to the blow-off course?" and sticks with his current program, then great. There's nothing inherently wrong with majoring in philosophy with the intent to teach.

    Khavall on
  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    I was a terrible writer.

    Then I majored in english.

    Then I became an awesome writer.

    I'm sure a lot of mechanical engineering students would make awesome engineers in their first year.

    That was sarcasm.

    sig.jpg
  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    I am finishing up a biochemistry degree and I dabbled in philosophy a whole bunch, mainly because it is fantastic for learning ways of thinking and internal consistency. That being said, I could never major in Philosophy, because the upper levels are a nightmare to my way of thinking (mostly Continental) and I really just wanted to use Philosophy to enhance my reasoning skills. Have you suggested that he get a minor in Phil? Most Phil departments will bend over backwards to work with you.

    Also, make sure the whole God message thing doesn't get too serious, since 19 is about the right age to be receiving special messages from God (i.e. not the religious kind and most certainly the schizophrenic kind) that involve immense life changes and social isolation. We just watched a friend go through it, so I may be projecting a bit.

    39kEWYh.jpg
  • Giggles_FunsworthGiggles_Funsworth Paranoiac Bay Area SprawlRegistered User regular
    SkyGheNe wrote:
    I was a terrible writer.

    Then I majored in english.

    Then I became an awesome writer.

    I'm sure a lot of mechanical engineering students would make awesome engineers in their first year.

    That was sarcasm.

    Right, but he was already struggling with the writing
    requirements for his science degree.
    I am finishing up a biochemistry degree and I dabbled in philosophy a whole bunch, mainly because it is fantastic for learning ways of thinking and internal consistency. That being said, I could never major in Philosophy, because the upper levels are a nightmare to my way of thinking (mostly Continental) and I really just wanted to use Philosophy to enhance my reasoning skills. Have you suggested that he get a minor in Phil? Most Phil departments will bend over backwards to work with you.

    Also, make sure the whole God message thing doesn't get too serious, since 19 is about the right age to be receiving special messages from God (i.e. not the religious kind and most certainly the schizophrenic kind) that involve immense life changes and social isolation. We just watched a friend go through it, so I may be projecting a bit.

    I don't think that's the case, he was very vague when I asked how he knew it was what God wanted him to do, and my father is a child and adolescent therapist by trade and a licensed MFT.

    0101001101000111010001100111000001100010010000010011110100111101001100000111100000110010001100000011000001111000001101000011100000110000011110000011011100111001001100000111100000110110001101000011000001111000001101110011001000110000011110000011011000110001
  • ceresceres Just your problem OoSuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    I think you should let it go.

    I've got my own life and I've got my own plans
    I hope you understand, and like the way that I am
  • Marty81Marty81 Registered User regular
    Khavall wrote:
    There's nothing inherently wrong with majoring in philosophy with the intent to teach.

    Except that those jobs are few and far between and very hard to get.

    Seriously, your brother should go look up employment opportunities at each level-bachelor's, master's, and PhD-before he decides. I would say that to anyone interested in majoring in philosophy.

  • MuridenMuriden Registered User regular
    I'd have to agree with most of what is being said here that it's his choice and it's hard for you to find a ground to stop him.

    I will say that my roommate was in a nearly identical situation when he started in college. He started in a double major math and computer science program that was a fully ride and got burned out. He switched to Philosophy when he couldn't handle the stress of the program anymore and finished his bachelors. This was prior to me meeting him. We met working in a call center for barely above minimum wage after he got his degree. We've both found better opportunities since then but getting a mindless job after graduating didn't garner respect for the field. He is now working on a masters in management of information systems.

    MrGulio.332 - Lover of fine Cheeses. Replays
    301787-1.png
  • Magus`Magus` Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    I just wanna point out that if he thinks God is telling him to go into Philosophy, he's really, really, really bad at it.

    Magus` on
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    My younger brother recently changed majors from architecture to theology. I was not a fan of this either. But, in the end it really comes down to his decision.

    This might have been a great decision. Architects need to be fervently in love with their discipline to succeed, and are otherwise unemployed (especially in this market).

  • Giggles_FunsworthGiggles_Funsworth Paranoiac Bay Area SprawlRegistered User regular
    Finally got a hold of my dad this morning.

    So he had nearly the same conversation with my brother as I did on Facebook when he talked to him, so their "support" was a little distorted. He'd even brought up the same concerns I did about how marketable a Philosophy degree would make him and the state of teaching careers.

    BUT in the time since I'd seen my brother, I guess he's been having trouble in school, and is already down to pass/fail in his math class, so he won't be keeping the scholarship, and since he can't do the math, he needs a new major anyway. He's in an Intro Philosophy class now so that's what drove his newfound "passion".

    My dad already told him to actually talk with an advisor to find out what would make him most marketable as a teacher, and between that, what I said already, and him not being able to continue with his current major there's nothing else for me to say. Thanks for all the help guys, this can be locked or whatever.

    0101001101000111010001100111000001100010010000010011110100111101001100000111100000110010001100000011000001111000001101000011100000110000011110000011011100111001001100000111100000110110001101000011000001111000001101110011001000110000011110000011011000110001
This discussion has been closed.