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3rd year without a major...

CheeriosCheerios Registered User regular
edited April 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
So lately I’ve been experiencing a major existential crisis as to what I want to do with my future. Right now I’m just finishing my second year of university and I’m still without a major or any direction in life. In order to give some perspective I’ll give a brief rundown of my past 2 years of university. If you’re not interested in reading the whole story then feel free to skip to the last paragraph.

Basically, after high school I had no idea what to do, so I figured the best course would be to go to University. This decision was made without any real career aspirations, but rather I was bored with my hometown and figured that I might as well continue my education. So I ended up getting into several universities and enrolled in the history program at a school 2 hours from my home, despite pressure from my parent to attend the school in my hometown. So that fall I moved away, and ending up living in residence with some of the most terrible people I've ever met. Before hand, I had heard rumours that the school was very rich and snobbish, and unfortunately all the stereotypes turned out to be true. My upbringing greatly contrasted this, as I had come from a modest working class family, so needless to say I had little in common with most my classmates. Luckily, there was one girl (who we’ll call H) on my floor that shared a lot in common with me. We soon became good friends and after a few weeks, the friendship quickly turned into a relationship. As the year progressed we became very serious to the point where she had moved out of her dorm room and into mine.

During this time I became bored with my history courses and had set out to find a new major. Not to say that I didn't enjoy studying history, but the essays and assignments were very dry and it felt like a chore to write them. At first, I considered changing majors to English literature because I was enjoying my lit course, but soon the continuous process of analyzing characters and motifs got very old. Overall, it seemed like English was a very limited discipline and I concluded that I could just as easily read the classics on my own time. At this point, I was taking a course in MIT (media, information, and techno culture) which really captured my interest, but I decided against choosing it as my major for the same reasons as lit. As well, I was also taking a philosophy course which I quickly fell in love with. The course focused on topics like as hard determinism, AI, and personal identity and almost every class resulted in a heated existential debate. At this moment, I felt like I had found the perfect discipline so I changed my major to an honours program in philosophy. As the year was coming to a close, I began to seriously contemplating transferring to a different university because I was unsatisfied with the overall environment at my school. When I told this to H, she got really upset and eventually I agreed to stay. After school ended, I moved back home to work for the summer and H stayed to take some summer courses. My summer was then spent working as a janitor for the city and traveling back to school to see H nearly every weekend.

So fast forward to the beginning of my second school year. Although H had been looking forward to me moving back to school in the fall, we soon began fighting on a frequent basis. I could probably write a book on this one, but I’ll keep it short and just say that we ended up breaking up early on in the semester. Afterward, I became deeply depressed and went on anti-depressants. As well, I was quickly growing bored with my philosophy courses (linguistics, ethics, ancient Greek philosophy, and political philosophy) and I felt like I wasn’t learning anything that new. As well, the same topics (free-will, god, etc) were reoccurring throughout all my courses yet instead of seeing them as being enlightening as I did in first year, these discussions were becoming tedious and frustrating. At this point, I began putting forth very little effort into my school work, yet somehow still managed to maintain a solid GPA. By my second semester, I had become disillusioned with philosophy because: A. I’ve realized I won’t be able to get any job with a philosophy degree upon graduation, and more importantly B. The study of philosophy never provides any answers, only more esoteric ways of presenting the same old questions. This just made me frustrated with my major, and I have decided once again that I need a change. Now, that it’s the end of the year, I’ve decided that I have no reason to return in the fall, and instead I’m transferring to the university in my hometown like my parents had first suggested. Although it’s not quite as prestigious as my current university, I’ll be able to save a lot of money by living at home, and my house is only 5 minutes away from the school. Also a lot of my friends still live in town, and go to school here, so I figured it would be a good environment. Though I’m looking forward to moving back home, I’m faced with the problem that has been plaguing me for the last 2 years: what should I major in? As of now, I’m signed up in the anthropology department, even though I haven’t taken athro since high school. I’m not entirely sure that I really want to major in anthro, and I’ve been considering changing to a psychology, because I really enjoyed my psych course this year.

So after much rambling here is my question: Would it be wise to take another year to survey the anthropology and psychology courses at this new university? Although I’d really like to take another year to survey a few more courses (I also wanted to take economics, physics and computer science), I’m not entirely sure that this is a good idea, as it would require a fifth year to complete major and my parents are getting pissed off at my indecision. So should I just suck it up, and settle with a history major (possibly with a minor in philosophy), or take the extra year to explore more options? I know without a doubt that I could easily get the credits to graduate with a history major by fourth year; the only problem is that I don’t really feel passionate about it. Also, not to sound pretentious but I know that I could major in any of these subjects with little difficulty, the only problem is that I get bored very easily which discourages me from staying in one area of study for too long. Furthermore, I’ve begun to wonder which of these majors will actually make me employable in the long term. Although I’ve always seen university as a means of expanding my mind, at the same time I don’t want to be one of those pseudo-intellectuals with an arts degree who can’t find work other than a clerk at a used book store. Also, keep in mind that I’m not opposed to going to grad school because I know that a BA doesn’t go very far these days.


TL;DR: I’m in third year and I’m still unsure of what I should major in? Do I continue searching or just settle for a history major and finish my BA? Also how useful is a history degree? Thanks.

Cheerios on

Posts

  • BurnageBurnage Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I'd say a psych degree is more useful than a history degree, but since I'm in a different country results may very. None of my friends with history degrees have been able to get graduate-level jobs, all of the ones with psych degrees who haven't gone on to further studies have been able to. Anecdotal evidence, of course, but if you think you'd enjoy a psych degree, I'd say go for it.

    Burnage on
  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I'm in Boston and a degree is a degree for a lot of entry level positions. Also, if you can't figure out what you want to do for undergrad, don't even think about grad school.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • Kate of LokysKate of Lokys Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    This is the way it is.

    School is boring. School is a relentless tedious repetitive grind in which you spend four years straight excreting out the same neatly formed little piles of shit into slightly different subject baskets. English is year after year of rhetorical and thematic analysis, sociology is year after year of the same four theoretical models, history is year after year of examining almost-identical cyclical patterns of [freedom/equality/oppression/war] repeating themselves in every era. Very rarely, if you're lucky, you'll get one or two classes out of the ten you take every year that genuinely interest you and teach you new and exciting things and show you new ways of thinking about the world; the rest of the time, it's an entire semester of Canadian Literature and The 18th Century Novel and 20th Century Poetry and you're doing the same fucking thing in all of them.

    In a perfect world, university classes would be like the Dead Poet's Society, taught by profs who desired nothing more than to fill their students with the joy and love of learning, and the purpose of taking those classes would be to sit wide-eyed soaking up every scrap of information about each wonderful author.

    In the world we live in, university is just an elaborate credentialing system. Unless you're in a more specialized field like finite mathematics or biochemistry or something, it doesn't matter what courses you take, and it certainly doesn't matter how much you actually learn or remember: the whole point of going is just to prove to potential employers that you have the self-discipline and motivation to grind out four years of doing the same shit over and over and achieving a concrete result at the end of it. The piece of paper I have half-buried on my bedside table doesn't tell the world that I'm an expert in conflict theory and a damned fine analytical rhetorician; it says "Hey, I stuck with this crap for four years and got it done, which proves I have the ability to complete lengthy, boring, arduous tasks."

    It's remotely possible that somehow anthropology will light your world on fire and you will love every goddamned minute of sitting in that library at 2am working on your fourth goddamned essay that week. But I don't think it's especially likely.

    Pick a subject, stick with it, grind out your degree, get it done. History is really as good as any other, as far as general arts goes. You can teach with it, you can get any sort of office/managerial job that requires a generic degree, your job options are really as narrow or as broad as you make them. One of my high school buddies got a history degree from a small-town university here; he's now living in Toronto working for one of the big newswire services. What does news have to do with history? Sweet fuckall, that's what, but the degree showed his employer that he managed not to fuck up too badly for four years in a row, and that's good enough.

    Kate of Lokys on
  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I'm in Boston and a degree is a degree for a lot of entry level positions. Also, if you can't figure out what you want to do for undergrad, don't even think about grad school.

    As a recent Poli Science graduate, I discovered this. Right now I'm working at Chase's fore closure dept, which doesn't have much to do with my major at all.

    I still don't regret my decision though. I love studying about politics, gov, and philosophy and I did great in my classes because of it. I have the option of teaching if I want to down the line, or I can pursue grad school.

    Kyougu on
  • CrashtardCrashtard Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I'm going to third the fact that in many places just having a degree is all that matters. I know someone with a marine biology degree that got a job at an insurance company. Just having the degree is the important thing.

    Crashtard on
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  • admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    For some reason that is not the kind of post I expect out of Kate.

    At the same time, it is: insightful, well-written, and direct.

    admanb on
  • Little JimLittle Jim __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2009
    have you tried any sciences courses? A lot of arts majors at my school take a math class every semester because they have a hard time just having one set way of thinking all semester. That's neither here nor there for actually having a direction, but a bachelor's of science can have plenty of humanities credits, at least at my school. Maybe look at a program of general mathematics or even a degree in general studies?

    like people have been saying above, if you're just looking to get into the white collared world you just need a sheet of paper with your name on it. Business is also an option.

    Little Jim on
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  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I would lime Kate's entire post. It's the cold hard truth. Even for specific/technical degrees, it's the same grind. Your degree could say you are proficient in whatever major you took, or it could say that you're adept with critical thinking skills and tenacious enough to follow through with a long-term goal. Which one are entry-level employers looking for?

    Also, you could break it down into broader scopes. For instance, you're a college graduate FIRST and a historian SECOND. If you have a specialization or minor, that's THIRD. And so on. You are marketable at any one of these levels.

    VeritasVR on
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  • CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Cheerios wrote: »
    TL;DR: I’m in third year and I’m still unsure of what I should major in? Do I continue searching or just settle for a history major and finish my BA? Also how useful is a history degree? Thanks.

    A history degree is what is, it gives you a degree and sets you up to take further qualifications and schooling if you so desire.

    Unless you want to go into teaching or further on into academia, you aren't likely to use the actual historical knowledge you gain doing a history degree for a job, but you will use the skills at research, analysis, and critical thinking that the degree gives you. Don't go do a Master's in History unless you're wanting to have an academic career path, there's really no point otherwise. You could do your History degree and then think about a career focused grad degree like Law, MBA, whatever.

    Speaking as a guy with a history degree here, I think maybe what you should do is go sit down with the counsellors at your university, maybe look into the career centre your school may have and start thinking about what kind of work you want to do.

    I think I have a book somewhere called "What Can I Do With A History Degree" there's a series of them for just about every major I think maybe you should check those out.

    Corvus on
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  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Also, know a kid with a history degree. He's going into historical preservation with the parks service.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • BrotherVoodooBrotherVoodoo Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    You sound a lot like me. It seems you might be helped best by persuing a major that actually gives you real challening work to do that also presents some kind of definable answers. You haven't mentioned what you like but more or less what you don't like. You haven't liked the social sciences or literature at least in the form of schooling, where do you stand on sciences/business?

    What do you like doing, what do you see yourself doing, and do you want your job to be something similiar to your education? These are all good questions to ask, also, you really really need to focus on this. Don't screw off, really work at looking into prospective careers/majors and what roads they might lead you in. Have you thought about grad school or law school or business school post undergrad? You could very well pursue a philosophy degree and later pursue a legal career...

    BrotherVoodoo on
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  • ChopperDaveChopperDave Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    If you think you'd be interested in anthropology, I think you ought to take one or two courses as electives. It's a fairly young and still evolving discipline (everyone in both Anthro AND Polisci is having all kinds of wonderful headaches trying to wrestle with transnational cultural exchange) with some intriguing theories and case studies, so you might find it more interesting than the stuff you've taken so far.

    I wouldn't recommend switching majors this late in the game for all the same reasons other people have listed. But hey, might as well check it out, see how you like it. If it lights your fire you might be able to pursue it in grad school.

    ChopperDave on
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  • CheeriosCheerios Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Kyougu wrote: »
    I'm in Boston and a degree is a degree for a lot of entry level positions. Also, if you can't figure out what you want to do for undergrad, don't even think about grad school.

    As a recent Poli Science graduate, I discovered this. Right now I'm working at Chase's fore closure dept, which doesn't have much to do with my major at all.

    I still don't regret my decision though. I love studying about politics, gov, and philosophy and I did great in my classes because of it. I have the option of teaching if I want to down the line, or I can pursue grad school.

    See, I realize that most employers don't really care what degree you have, but just want to see that you have that piece of paper because it shows a good work ethic and personal qualities (intelligence, dedication, etc.) But at the same time, there is a part of me that doesn't want to just settle with any degree because I would much rather find an area of study that truly fills me creatively/intellectually. Or maybe Kate is right and I'm being naive to think that school should be like the dead poets society.
    You haven't mentioned what you like but more or less what you don't like. You haven't liked the social sciences or literature at least in the form of schooling, where do you stand on sciences/business?

    What do you like doing, what do you see yourself doing, and do you want your job to be something similiar to your education? These are all good questions to ask, also, you really really need to focus on this. Don't screw off, really work at looking into prospective careers/majors and what roads they might lead you in. Have you thought about grad school or law school or business school post undergrad? You could very well pursue a philosophy degree and later pursue a legal career...

    In high school I had some bad science teachers, so I ended up losing interest in the subject and by graduation I had dropped math and science. I regret this decision, but I feel that its probably too late to really change it at this point in my life. Although I would like to take a few 1st year science electives so I could update my knowledge (history of scientific thought, statistics, computer science, possibly a remedial chemistry or physics), I really doubt that I could ever see myself switching to a science major. The same goes for business, I took it in high school and never really enjoyed it. Though I wouldn't mind taking electives in economics and business history, just to get some opposite views from what I'm accustom to studying, I could never see myself becoming a business major. Also, no offense to business majors out there, but dealing with the rich biz kids in university left me with a bad impression because they were all very self-absorbed people that only cared about making money. Although I'm sure this probably isn't true at every school, that was just my impression anyhow.

    In regards to careers and/or grad school, at this point I only have a vague idea of what I'd like to do. Going to law school really doesn't interest me, but I do like the idea of doing work that provides a valuable service to the community. That's why I've been seriously considering counseling or social work as career options. Journalism also appeals to me, although I've heard that the number of people majoring in journalism these days outnumbers the number of available positions by 2-1. I've also been toying with the idea of going to college after finishing my BA, because it seems like most college graduates are very employable. An anecdotal example of this is a friend of mine who just graduated from college with a degree in film, and right now he's doing an internship at a visual effects company in Toronto. I also have other friends in college studying media arts and sound editing and when they tell me about their projects I tend to get pretty jealous. Though, recently I did get to work on a film with another friend of mine studying film, and I have to say it was pretty damn fun. But at the same time, I'm fairly certain that a large portion of this envy stems from my boredom with the university environment (sitting through lectures, writing papers, rinse and repeat), and the idea of working on group projects is pretty appealing. Also, despite the fact that a college diploma and a university BA would be a very employable combination, there's a good chance that I'll end up going back in grad school at some point in my life and so I'm afraid that getting a diploma might be a waste of time/money.

    But yeah, as you can tell I'm pretty confused about what I want to achieve in the future, but at the same time I don't want to close any doors for myself in the future. Also, needless to say I'm going to take a year or two off before even attempting to go to grad school (or college) just so I can be sure that I'm serious about what I'm going to be studying.

    Cheerios on
  • ThylacineThylacine Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I wouldn't judge things based on your friends in the film industry, things are so much different in it than anything else.

    BUT if you do want to be in the film industry, the good news is it doesn't matter what your degree is in. It matters on 2 things basically 1) who you know and 2) you work your ass off. To be honest, sometimes having a degree in film will get you not hired as something like a PA(which is where you make contacts and break into the business) because film students get a bad reputation of often wandering away from their posts because they want to be closer to set, or thinking they can do and know more than they do.

    Anyway...if you're actually interested in working in the film industry(instead of just being jealous of your friend) and have the time and are able to get to an area to do it, you should try for a P.A. position sometime. You'll probably have to do it for free, but if you work your ass off you'll get paid jobs. From there you get to see what everyone does and can decide what direction you would want to go...if any.

    Thylacine on
  • CheeriosCheerios Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Well, I don't plan on switching to a film major because 1. Its a very limited area of a study (as you can tell, this is a huge pet-peeve of mine) and 2. I've heard that a BA in film is pretty useless because it provides no practical applications on how to work equipment and produces film critics rather than employable graduates. But, doing volunteer on sets is actually a good idea, as I'm sure some local directors or public access television could use an extra set of hands. This sounds like it could be a good way to get some experience and see if I actually want to do film as a career or just keep it as a hobby. One question: what exactly is a P.A. position?

    Cheerios on
  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Cheerios wrote: »
    Kyougu wrote: »
    I'm in Boston and a degree is a degree for a lot of entry level positions. Also, if you can't figure out what you want to do for undergrad, don't even think about grad school.

    As a recent Poli Science graduate, I discovered this. Right now I'm working at Chase's fore closure dept, which doesn't have much to do with my major at all.

    I still don't regret my decision though. I love studying about politics, gov, and philosophy and I did great in my classes because of it. I have the option of teaching if I want to down the line, or I can pursue grad school.

    See, I realize that most employers don't really care what degree you have, but just want to see that you have that piece of paper because it shows a good work ethic and personal qualities (intelligence, dedication, etc.) But at the same time, there is a part of me that doesn't want to just settle with any degree because I would much rather find an area of study that truly fills me creatively/intellectually. Or maybe Kate is right and I'm being naive to think that school should be like the dead poets society.

    Here's the thing though, every year you dick around you're just pissing away money. If you can't figure out something by the fall you should really consider just taking time off from school and going back after you know what you want to do. How much longer can you continue without a major before you find yourself a super senior?

    VisionOfClarity on
  • DarwinsFavoriteTortoiseDarwinsFavoriteTortoise Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Cheerios wrote: »
    Well, I don't plan on switching to a film major because 1. Its a very limited area of a study (as you can tell, this is a huge pet-peeve of mine) and 2. I've heard that a BA in film is pretty useless because it provides no practical applications on how to work equipment and produces film critics rather than employable graduates. But, doing volunteer on sets is actually a good idea, as I'm sure some local directors or public access television could use an extra set of hands. This sounds like it could be a good way to get some experience and see if I actually want to do film as a career or just keep it as a hobby. One question: what exactly is a P.A. position?

    I believe it stands for Personal Assistant.

    DarwinsFavoriteTortoise on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Cheerios wrote: »
    Kyougu wrote: »
    I'm in Boston and a degree is a degree for a lot of entry level positions. Also, if you can't figure out what you want to do for undergrad, don't even think about grad school.

    As a recent Poli Science graduate, I discovered this. Right now I'm working at Chase's fore closure dept, which doesn't have much to do with my major at all.

    I still don't regret my decision though. I love studying about politics, gov, and philosophy and I did great in my classes because of it. I have the option of teaching if I want to down the line, or I can pursue grad school.

    See, I realize that most employers don't really care what degree you have, but just want to see that you have that piece of paper because it shows a good work ethic and personal qualities (intelligence, dedication, etc.) But at the same time, there is a part of me that doesn't want to just settle with any degree because I would much rather find an area of study that truly fills me creatively/intellectually. Or maybe Kate is right and I'm being naive to think that school should be like the dead poets society.

    Here's the thing though, every year you dick around you're just pissing away money. If you can't figure out something by the fall you should really consider just taking time off from school and going back after you know what you want to do. How much longer can you continue without a major before you find yourself a super senior?

    This.

    You really have three choices:

    -choose a history major, and just finish
    -choose another major, and finish ASAP (might be five years, but tell your parents to get the fuck over it because lots of people take five years nowadays)
    -take some time off

    I recommend either the first or the third. For most jobs it won't matter what you majored in, and many/most of the ones where it does (a lot of jobs for BS majors like nursing, engineering, whatever) you're even farther behind (moving into six-year territory). I'm with Kate; the odds that whatever major you choose instead of history will suddenly leave you feeling enriched and motivated are slim. Generally you're lucky to have one class in a semester like that, regardless of major. The rest you just do what you're required to so you can finish and move on with your life...it's the few good classes that get you through it.

    mcdermott on
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Run the numbers with the history and philosophy degree plans and pick one, either the one that bores you less or the one that is shortest time to graduate. Get the piece of paper and try to keep the high GPA, unless you're going into academics as a career the degree is just to show you're trainable. During the remainder of your college stay, start "networking" with students, teachers and student organizations; go to the career/job placement service center; use electives to take courses that you think may help your employability or seek certifications.

    I bounced around for almost 6 years in undergrad, switching degree programs and racking up 200+ hours of credits. It was a waste of time and money because I never found that "it" area of study that held my interest for long; if I had translated that academic wandering into one of my degree plan choices I probably could've been in academics professionally. Personally I don't think it's about passion, but finding a niche in which to operate out of which you can publish and become an expert.

    Djeet on
  • BlowfluBlowflu FloridaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I'll go with what mcdermott recommended and say that you should take some time off. Unless you have some sort of amazing scholarship or financial aid, you cannot afford to continue jumping from major to major. In this thread alone you have mentioned being interested in the following jobs/subjects:

    -History
    -English
    -MIT
    -Physiology
    -Anthropology
    -Social Work
    -Journalism
    -Sound Editing
    -Film

    Some of those topics have classes in common, but a good bit of those subjects have nothing to do with each other. Taking time off with the goal to explore what you really want to do with your life should give you enough direction to decide what you should major in.

    Also, picking a major should depend more on how proficient you are in a subject. I'm a Biology major. I like every science, and I actually prefer some chemistry and physics fields to biology. However, I perform the best in the biological sciences, and it's still interesting enough for me to not totally hate what I'm doing. Plus, you need to realize (like Kate said) that a degree means little to an employer past the fact that you actually had the drive to take 4 years of classes. Nowadays, the Bachelors degree is a lot like a high school diploma.

    Blowflu on
  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Cheerios wrote: »
    Kyougu wrote: »
    I'm in Boston and a degree is a degree for a lot of entry level positions. Also, if you can't figure out what you want to do for undergrad, don't even think about grad school.

    As a recent Poli Science graduate, I discovered this. Right now I'm working at Chase's fore closure dept, which doesn't have much to do with my major at all.

    I still don't regret my decision though. I love studying about politics, gov, and philosophy and I did great in my classes because of it. I have the option of teaching if I want to down the line, or I can pursue grad school.

    See, I realize that most employers don't really care what degree you have, but just want to see that you have that piece of paper because it shows a good work ethic and personal qualities (intelligence, dedication, etc.) But at the same time, there is a part of me that doesn't want to just settle with any degree because I would much rather find an area of study that truly fills me creatively/intellectually. Or maybe Kate is right and I'm being naive to think that school should be like the dead poets society.

    Personally I think she is completely and totally wrong in saying "school is boring and won't ever engage you." There are plenty of people (myself included) for whom learning is just as rewarding as anything else we've done.

    In reading your story, there is one thing that jumps out at me. It seems to me that you already found two disciplines that you were really interested in but rejected them because you "could read it on your own." Of course you could, that's because it's interesting to you! Why not take something you're interested in anyway, and major in it? You get to be engaged in what you're studying AND you get to learn those research/writing/critical thinking skills that are the important part of college.

    In short, I think you should go back and look at the subjects that you already looked at because you were interested in them.

    tsmvengy on
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  • RecklessReckless Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    If you're finding yourself bored with traditional academic disciplines after a few classes, why not look for something more interdisciplinary? As an example, I'm an International Relations: Developing World major in my second year. I've taken in-major courses in...

    -PoliSci
    -Economics
    -Philosophy
    -Sociology
    -Geography
    -Foreign Languages
    -Communications/Journalism
    -History

    This semester, its been...

    -Geography of Africa
    -Geography of Islam
    -Global Social Change
    -Intro Macro
    -French

    So really I never suffer from the problem of repeating the same discipline's formula over and over.

    Reckless on
  • Kate of LokysKate of Lokys Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    Personally I think she is completely and totally wrong in saying "school is boring and won't ever engage you." There are plenty of people (myself included) for whom learning is just as rewarding as anything else we've done.
    Well, here's the thing: even if the subjects and materials being covered are the bee's knees, the process of covering the stuff is where the rote repetitive grind comes in. I have taken courses that have genuinely interested me, I have had profs who were wonderfully skilled lecturers and fascinating people to boot, I have learned new information that has blown my mind, but at the end of the day, I still need to do the same goddamned assignments for that awesome prof, writing the same goddamned fifteen-page essay on that new information, using the same goddamned research skills I learned in fricking first year.

    There are moments of joy, sure, but they're buried deep in the muck of doing the same thing over and over until you want to scream at the sight of a thesis statement. I did a double-major honours degree, and by the end of the fourth year, I just absolutely hated the thought of writing another goddamned paper. I wanted to grab my profs by the throat, bash their heads together, and roar, Conan-like, "I have proven myself to you mangy dogs already! Grant mighty Kate of Lokys her fucking degree now, I tire of writing formulaic essays for insipid fools!"

    I didn't, but I was tempted. So tempted.

    Kate of Lokys on
  • HypatiaHypatia Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    If you're really not sure of what you want to do, do you think it would be worthwhile for you to look at the majors available in terms of "what courses teach things that I wouldn't reasonably be able to (and willing to) learn on my own" and to pick the major with the most of those?

    In my experience, employers are less interested in what your major says you know and are more interested in what you can actually do.

    If there's the potential that you might go into almost anything after you graduate, it seems like it would make the most sense to invest in broadening the range of tools in your toolbox to give yourself greater flexibility after you graduate. For example, it seems like you're already pretty experienced with/able to grind out papers and to write but you say you'd be interested in computer science and science courses. Universities generally have a much larger resource pool than you could get on your own for learning that stuff, why not take advantage of it?

    In other words: look at the courses for all the majors you're considering, figure out which ones teach what you'd need to take a course in to really to learn well versus learning it on your own, pick the major with the most courses like that with the level of grind/gritting your teeth that you think you could get through. Even if you don't want to do that discipline for the rest of your life, at least your time at school was spent learning and you'll have more qualifications than sticking to a major where you've already got a decent grasp of the stuff they'd be teaching you.

    That seems to be what it comes down to when people get jobs in things they didn't major in. "Do you have the skills to do the job and/or can you learn them, yes or no?" If you took courses proving that you know the basics of programming, biology, chemistry, physics, statistics, psychology, calculus, and writing, you've got a lot more job options than specializing in something like Philosophy or English Lit.

    Not to say that there's anything wrong with those majors, it's just an idea about generalizing to gain flexibility later.

    Hypatia on
  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    Personally I think she is completely and totally wrong in saying "school is boring and won't ever engage you." There are plenty of people (myself included) for whom learning is just as rewarding as anything else we've done.
    Well, here's the thing: even if the subjects and materials being covered are the bee's knees, the process of covering the stuff is where the rote repetitive grind comes in. I have taken courses that have genuinely interested me, I have had profs who were wonderfully skilled lecturers and fascinating people to boot, I have learned new information that has blown my mind, but at the end of the day, I still need to do the same goddamned assignments for that awesome prof, writing the same goddamned fifteen-page essay on that new information, using the same goddamned research skills I learned in fricking first year.

    There are moments of joy, sure, but they're buried deep in the muck of doing the same thing over and over until you want to scream at the sight of a thesis statement. I did a double-major honours degree, and by the end of the fourth year, I just absolutely hated the thought of writing another goddamned paper. I wanted to grab my profs by the throat, bash their heads together, and roar, Conan-like, "I have proven myself to you mangy dogs already! Grant mighty Kate of Lokys her fucking degree now, I tire of writing formulaic essays for insipid fools!"

    I didn't, but I was tempted. So tempted.

    This is what I'm saying - there are plenty of us for whom writing papers and doing research isn't a grind or a chore, it's where you get to learn even more about something you're interested in. I think it's unfair to paint everyone with a brush that says "writing papers and doing assignments is always horrible even if you love the subject material" because for plenty of people (and you don't have to be a grind, because I certainly wasn't) writing a paper about something you're interested in is a rewarding experience.

    That said, I can sympathize with your position as I know plenty of people who feel the same way about school.

    tsmvengy on
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  • wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    Personally I think she is completely and totally wrong in saying "school is boring and won't ever engage you." There are plenty of people (myself included) for whom learning is just as rewarding as anything else we've done.
    Well, here's the thing: even if the subjects and materials being covered are the bee's knees, the process of covering the stuff is where the rote repetitive grind comes in. I have taken courses that have genuinely interested me, I have had profs who were wonderfully skilled lecturers and fascinating people to boot, I have learned new information that has blown my mind, but at the end of the day, I still need to do the same goddamned assignments for that awesome prof, writing the same goddamned fifteen-page essay on that new information, using the same goddamned research skills I learned in fricking first year.

    There are moments of joy, sure, but they're buried deep in the muck of doing the same thing over and over until you want to scream at the sight of a thesis statement. I did a double-major honours degree, and by the end of the fourth year, I just absolutely hated the thought of writing another goddamned paper. I wanted to grab my profs by the throat, bash their heads together, and roar, Conan-like, "I have proven myself to you mangy dogs already! Grant mighty Kate of Lokys her fucking degree now, I tire of writing formulaic essays for insipid fools!"

    I didn't, but I was tempted. So tempted.

    This is what I'm saying - there are plenty of us for whom writing papers and doing research isn't a grind or a chore, it's where you get to learn even more about something you're interested in. I think it's unfair to paint everyone with a brush that says "writing papers and doing assignments is always horrible even if you love the subject material" because for plenty of people (and you don't have to be a grind, because I certainly wasn't) writing a paper about something you're interested in is a rewarding experience.

    That said, I can sympathize with your position as I know plenty of people who feel the same way about school.

    It's cool if you love your classes. Some people do. Some people get to work a job they love. Some people have good health all their lives, make more than enough money to get by very comfortably, and marry the goddamn prom queen. The rest of us have to put our heads down, grit our teeth, and get the job done. That's reality for 90% of the western world. Good on you if you live a charmed life, seriously, nobody should ever begrudge you that, but for most of us, college life (and life in general) is more about persevering than loving what we do.

    There's nothing wrong with grinding it out at school or work and finding your happiness in life elsewhere.

    wasted pixels on
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    You need to finish *any* degree so you can move on with your life. If you continue shilly-shallying you will drop out from sheer boredom. At this stage, the exact degree matters less than actually finishing it.

    If you continue wavering on your major and eventually drop out, it will look awful to employers. You will look indecisive, and you will seem to be the kind of person who cannot make a long-term sustained effort and comittment. This is poison to employers. What employer wants a guy who will get bored and quit after six months after mastering the task?

    Grit your teeth and finish the history degree. You can play "renaissance man" when you are in steady employment with plenty of money for random books and classes on interesting topics.

    CelestialBadger on
  • ThylacineThylacine Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    PA stands for Product Assistant. Essentially you're in the production department of a movie(or commercial). You'd be working under the Assistant Directior, Second Assistant Director or the Second Second Assistant director.... :P

    Anyway, essentially PAs kind of do the "bitch work". Something needs to be done, you go and do it. The benefit of being a PA is that you get to be on set and are constantly learning about the different jobs. If you want the be an assistant director(much different than being a director) you would stick with the PA path, but if you find yourself interested in another area you just network like crazy(which is what you do in the film world) and get picked up by one of their departments and you learn as you go. Degrees don't really matter, seriously. I mean they're nice to have for your own reasons, but you really get by on hard work and learning on the job.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Production_assistant

    Thylacine on
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Thylacine wrote: »
    Degrees don't really matter, seriously. I mean they're nice to have for your own reasons, but you really get by on hard work and learning on the job.
    Degrees are great for getting job interviews. Dropping out is great for not getting job interviews. Of course, after you get the job, you learn what you really need to know. But getting your foot in the door is the hard task, and for that, a degree is very nice.

    CelestialBadger on
  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    Personally I think she is completely and totally wrong in saying "school is boring and won't ever engage you." There are plenty of people (myself included) for whom learning is just as rewarding as anything else we've done.
    Well, here's the thing: even if the subjects and materials being covered are the bee's knees, the process of covering the stuff is where the rote repetitive grind comes in. I have taken courses that have genuinely interested me, I have had profs who were wonderfully skilled lecturers and fascinating people to boot, I have learned new information that has blown my mind, but at the end of the day, I still need to do the same goddamned assignments for that awesome prof, writing the same goddamned fifteen-page essay on that new information, using the same goddamned research skills I learned in fricking first year.

    There are moments of joy, sure, but they're buried deep in the muck of doing the same thing over and over until you want to scream at the sight of a thesis statement. I did a double-major honours degree, and by the end of the fourth year, I just absolutely hated the thought of writing another goddamned paper. I wanted to grab my profs by the throat, bash their heads together, and roar, Conan-like, "I have proven myself to you mangy dogs already! Grant mighty Kate of Lokys her fucking degree now, I tire of writing formulaic essays for insipid fools!"

    I didn't, but I was tempted. So tempted.

    This is what I'm saying - there are plenty of us for whom writing papers and doing research isn't a grind or a chore, it's where you get to learn even more about something you're interested in. I think it's unfair to paint everyone with a brush that says "writing papers and doing assignments is always horrible even if you love the subject material" because for plenty of people (and you don't have to be a grind, because I certainly wasn't) writing a paper about something you're interested in is a rewarding experience.

    That said, I can sympathize with your position as I know plenty of people who feel the same way about school.

    I'm with you the whole way. I hate the actual process of going to school (waking up, driving over there, etc) but I think I enjoyed 90% of my classes and the assignments.
    And I had alot of proffesors who gave us projects outside the regular papers (though those did fill up most assignments). One that sticks to mind was for a politics class we had to write a bill for Brazil's legislative body which would redo the whole electoral process. So we had to research the actual electoral process, how bills are written there, and all that good stuff.
    Even when it comes to papers, I enjoyed writing many of them. My favorite was a 20 piece of paper with a thesis of how proffesional wrestling was a natural extent of theatre and in fact had taken many of it's cue from it.

    Kyougu on
  • kaliyamakaliyama Left to find less-moderated fora Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    Personally I think she is completely and totally wrong in saying "school is boring and won't ever engage you." There are plenty of people (myself included) for whom learning is just as rewarding as anything else we've done.
    Well, here's the thing: even if the subjects and materials being covered are the bee's knees, the process of covering the stuff is where the rote repetitive grind comes in. I have taken courses that have genuinely interested me, I have had profs who were wonderfully skilled lecturers and fascinating people to boot, I have learned new information that has blown my mind, but at the end of the day, I still need to do the same goddamned assignments for that awesome prof, writing the same goddamned fifteen-page essay on that new information, using the same goddamned research skills I learned in fricking first year.

    There are moments of joy, sure, but they're buried deep in the muck of doing the same thing over and over until you want to scream at the sight of a thesis statement. I did a double-major honours degree, and by the end of the fourth year, I just absolutely hated the thought of writing another goddamned paper. I wanted to grab my profs by the throat, bash their heads together, and roar, Conan-like, "I have proven myself to you mangy dogs already! Grant mighty Kate of Lokys her fucking degree now, I tire of writing formulaic essays for insipid fools!"

    I didn't, but I was tempted. So tempted.

    This is what I'm saying - there are plenty of us for whom writing papers and doing research isn't a grind or a chore, it's where you get to learn even more about something you're interested in. I think it's unfair to paint everyone with a brush that says "writing papers and doing assignments is always horrible even if you love the subject material" because for plenty of people (and you don't have to be a grind, because I certainly wasn't) writing a paper about something you're interested in is a rewarding experience.

    That said, I can sympathize with your position as I know plenty of people who feel the same way about school.

    It's cool if you love your classes. Some people do. Some people get to work a job they love. Some people have good health all their lives, make more than enough money to get by very comfortably, and marry the goddamn prom queen. The rest of us have to put our heads down, grit our teeth, and get the job done. That's reality for 90% of the western world. Good on you if you live a charmed life, seriously, nobody should ever begrudge you that, but for most of us, college life (and life in general) is more about persevering than loving what we do.

    There's nothing wrong with grinding it out at school or work and finding your happiness in life elsewhere.

    It's easy to get cynical about what you're writing and researching, especially once you figured out how the game is played in terms of what you must do to get good marks. Rather than become jaded and treat writing like something you have to dispsense with to dive back into the world of drink or video games, I had much more fun when I was able to focus on imbuing my papers with creativity and interesting citations because the basics were readily doable.

    On the other hand, I went to a liberal arts college, which is a little less impersonal than the environments you're describing so maybe it counted for more when i tried to self-express a little bit through my work. i'd try it though - you're likely to have lots more fun writing your papers if you treat the experience as an enjoyable one rather than a boring one.

    kaliyama on
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  • CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Cheerios wrote: »
    Kyougu wrote: »
    I'm in Boston and a degree is a degree for a lot of entry level positions. Also, if you can't figure out what you want to do for undergrad, don't even think about grad school.

    As a recent Poli Science graduate, I discovered this. Right now I'm working at Chase's fore closure dept, which doesn't have much to do with my major at all.

    I still don't regret my decision though. I love studying about politics, gov, and philosophy and I did great in my classes because of it. I have the option of teaching if I want to down the line, or I can pursue grad school.

    See, I realize that most employers don't really care what degree you have, but just want to see that you have that piece of paper because it shows a good work ethic and personal qualities (intelligence, dedication, etc.) But at the same time, there is a part of me that doesn't want to just settle with any degree because I would much rather find an area of study that truly fills me creatively/intellectually. Or maybe Kate is right and I'm being naive to think that school should be like the dead poets society.

    Here's the thing though, every year you dick around you're just pissing away money. If you can't figure out something by the fall you should really consider just taking time off from school and going back after you know what you want to do. How much longer can you continue without a major before you find yourself a super senior?

    This.

    You really have three choices:

    -choose a history major, and just finish
    -choose another major, and finish ASAP (might be five years, but tell your parents to get the fuck over it because lots of people take five years nowadays)
    -take some time off

    I recommend either the first or the third. For most jobs it won't matter what you majored in, and many/most of the ones where it does (a lot of jobs for BS majors like nursing, engineering, whatever) you're even farther behind (moving into six-year territory). I'm with Kate; the odds that whatever major you choose instead of history will suddenly leave you feeling enriched and motivated are slim. Generally you're lucky to have one class in a semester like that, regardless of major. The rest you just do what you're required to so you can finish and move on with your life...it's the few good classes that get you through it.

    This is all excellent advice.

    I think the OP is perhaps being a bit too romantic/naive about school, and searching for a perfect academic fit that is going to be very elusive.

    One of the reasons that just having a degree, regardless of subject, is valuable is that it proves you are able to commit to a long term goal and grit through the occasionally trying end-stage of the process where academic burn-out and frustration with your chosen subject area is very common.

    So, you need to ask yourself, can you do make that commitment? And how many years of your life, exactly, do you want to spend in your undergrad before you graduate and move on to a new stage of your life?

    Also,
    Thylacine wrote: »
    Degrees don't really matter, seriously. I mean they're nice to have for your own reasons, but you really get by on hard work and learning on the job.
    Degrees are great for getting job interviews. Dropping out is great for not getting job interviews. Of course, after you get the job, you learn what you really need to know. But getting your foot in the door is the hard task, and for that, a degree is very nice.

    Salmoned for lies.

    edupay.jpg

    Edit: Image is clickable link to source, in case anyone misses that.

    Corvus on
    :so_raven:
  • ThylacineThylacine Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Corvus wrote: »
    Thylacine wrote: »
    Degrees don't really matter, seriously. I mean they're nice to have for your own reasons, but you really get by on hard work and learning on the job.
    Degrees are great for getting job interviews. Dropping out is great for not getting job interviews. Of course, after you get the job, you learn what you really need to know. But getting your foot in the door is the hard task, and for that, a degree is very nice.

    Salmoned for lies.

    Magentaed for not paying attention.

    Degrees do not matter in the FILM INDUSTRY. Which is all I was talking about. Degrees do not get you interviews in the film industry, they do not get you jobs in the film industry, they don't get your foot in the door in the film industry. Hard work and connections do.

    Thylacine on
  • IogaIoga Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    As a person who majored in Anthropology, I would not advise taking it unless you intended to continue your education in it at a higher level.

    Generally people who get hired for to do research or head archaeological digs are usually doctors or have a masters at the very least. Seeing as you don't have much interest and have few or no previous credit hours in the major, I'd go somewhere else.

    Stick with history, finish school, then get a job and figure out what you want to do. The answers are not going to come to you so easily, so you might as well not be pissing away money as you mull it over.

    You might never find what you want to do; that's fine. You might just find a hobby you want to support, or get married and have kids and just work to support them.

    Ioga on
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