|By Jl87d (Jl87d) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 08:36 am: Edit|
For what reason(s) did you choose your major(and inevitably your career)? Was it because you had always done well in that particular area in school(Aptitude)? Was it something you had a passion(Interest) for? Or did you decide that the demand for employment, perks and average salary was most important(Income/Benefits)?
Was it a combination of these, if so which aspects where least and most important to you? Please, be honest.
|By Drusba (Drusba) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 09:05 am: Edit|
My major and career were decided by term papers.
College Major: Economics and Math. Chosen as follows: By second year, I decided that the thing I hated most about college was term papers. I began a review of course majors in Arts & Sciences seeking to find ones where I could do the least amount of term papers. Wella: economics and math.
After college, I figured I would go to grad school for economics -- took the GRE, did well, applied and got admitted to U Chicago. However, I knew that it would probably require a lot of research papers on the grad level. While I was in the midst of applying, on a whim, I took the LSAT because I learned you do not write term papers for almost all law school courses. Did well and decided that I would go that route rather than economics and avoid the term papers. Been a lawyer for years and love it and of course do a huge amount of writing.
My philosophy throughout was always the same: it did not really matter what I did but I just wanted to always do my best at whatever I was doing at the time.
|By Cangel (Cangel) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 10:11 am: Edit|
First interest - I found I loved chemistry, I always liked to cook and I enjoyed puttering around in the lab, especially organic (yes, I'm weird). Next I guess came income, I couldn't imagine getting a PhD in chem because of math requirements, I sailed through Cal I and II, then hit a wall at Cal III. Tried teacher's aide in the summer, realized that was NOT for me. Sort of drifted into medicine (I come from a decidedly lower middle class background), partly because of money (I know it's politically incorrect, and I would never now suggest that anyone go into medicine for money but, believe me money is attractive when you have never really had any), but mostly because I just wanted to see if I could do it (no one in my family, no one I knew, had ever done anything like go to medical school).
During med school, I discovered my true aptitude for a small obscure branch of medicine, and I never looked back.
I learned that it can't be about the money (there is never enough money, you must get satisfaction and happiness from much more intangible things, BUT it is almost impossible to be happy if you are always over your head financially), and it can't completely be about helping people - you have to enjoy and have some affinity for what you do. If you have passions for something that can never translate into an income, I think you need to treat your education as a process to free you to pursue your true passion - in other words, don't do medicine or law for the money if you want to practice Scottish folk dancing, too many years education and you have to work too hard!
|By Jl87d (Jl87d) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 03:18 pm: Edit|
Bump, anyone else?
|By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 03:18 pm: Edit|
Drusba, I am strongly considering the economics and mathematics major at Yale and then going to law school. Could you perhaps tell me a little more about how much work the major requires, what other job prospects are commonly pursued by these majors, etc.?
I would appreciate it greatly.
|By Drusba (Drusba) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 08:02 pm: Edit|
In response to Candi: college was many years ago and what they require or do now may be a lot different. I never found economics or math hard. Was there a lot a work required? More than a psychology major less than engineering. I did a lot of work but most of it was like doing math and logic problems all the time (you can get into doing that about the same as you can get into playing computer games). If you go into the first two economics college courses, basic micro and macro, force yourself to understand all the concepts (it is like learning a foreign language; you have to understand the why and not just be able to memorize and apply formulas which many high school students do when they take the AP courses), and also have and understand the first two calculus courses, you can easily be an economics major. Back then some could get by without even the math but I preferred the upper level courses that usually required a lot of advanced math such as monetary and banking theory, price theory, exchange rates and international trade, statistics and indexing, although I also took some more lecture and not as much math oriented courses in labor economics, economics and the law, urban economics. Monetary theory was the big thing back then as it was the time of Milton Friedman (I applied to U Chicago grad school just because he was there). Math courses were, well, math courses -- always doing a lot problems and fitting right into the economics although once again, you cannot fall behind and must learn the why it is and not just the formulas -- many go from Calculus I and II to Calculus III and hit a wall in that third course because once there you really need to know why there are all those calculus formulas and be able to figure out what they can actually be applied to.
I know economists/math majors can get jobs with investment firms, banks, mutual funds, others in the financial industry but I never really had a true economics/math job before going to law school. Did some information gathering (this was pre-computer) for some professors during a couple of summers.
|By Jl87d (Jl87d) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 11:36 pm: Edit|
Drusba and Cangel, thank you for contributing. It's at least reassuring to see that both of you found careers you like doing and are good at. Even though you did not initially 'see' yourself in those fields you both seem to be happy, and successful.
|By 3togo (3togo) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 09:58 am: Edit|
In high school I enjoyed math, science, and computer sciece the most (and hated english and german classes) but wasn't really sure what I wanted to do. So I only appliced to schools that had math, physics, engineering, computer science, and architecture. I spent my first couple years trying things out and eventually settled on a major that I had never heard of before I started school. For me I was lucky that my major also led directly to jobs.
Now at 45 I'm trying to figure out what I want to do for work for the next 20 years or so and it is clear that the times I have been the happiest, most challenged (and regarded the highest by my bosses) is when I've had jobs involving a lot of analysis type work (as opposed to sales or management for example). I've made more money in other jobs but not been as happy. I'm currently figuring out how to move into a more analytical role so I will be drawn to work again.
My vote is go towards what compells you and find jobs that allow you pursue those interests. I find the strings about concerns about college workload interesting and discouraging ... when I found my major I LOVED the intellectual challenge and spent many extra hours playing at my assignents because I loved what I was doing. If you find the right field it a gift to be paid to do what you love to do.
For some interests, the arts for example, it might be harder, but it can be done especially if you're willing to make life-style choices (live on less bucks).
|By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 11:00 am: Edit|
History major, now at a top five business school. I love the crazy dynamic of business, especially entrepreneurship, entertainment, etc.
|By Kjofkw (Kjofkw) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 12:40 pm: Edit|
Architecture...because I liked math, science and art. Bad move (for me). I've never cared much for the profession....although the big plusses are flexibility, prestige (if that's important for you -- it is not for me), variety, and a lot of fun taking studio courses in college (You have to enjoy the studios because it takes up SO much time. Every campus we visited last year which happened to have an architecture program has a running joke about seeing lights on in the studio at all hours.)
I loved math the most, originally wanted to be a math teacher, and was always discouraged from pursuing it ("Teachers don't make enough money, and have no financial security ", etc.). No one warned me about the same in the architectural field! When I looked into the possibility of going back to school years later to change careers, it was WAAAY too expensive a proposition. Either I could spend my savings on myself...or save for my children's education. They won.
All my electives in college (in the 70's) were in the field of computer programming, but I never pursued it because architecture took up way too much of your school time. I just LOVED the logical problem solving aspect of those courses. Of course those programming languages mean nothing now. Ironically, my son has chosen CS!
I have a dear friend who chose her major because it was one of the few programs that did not require a foreign language core requirement. Silly reason? She has ended up being quite good at her career!
|By Achat (Achat) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 01:00 pm: Edit|
I was always a Math/Science person so I went into college thinking I would major in Physics. The mid-to-late 70s was the beginning of the Comp Sci revolution and I just could not help it but become seriously interested in computers. I have stuck to this for the last 24 years. With all the talk of outsourcing and all that, it seems like I might have to change professions sometime but I'd rather wait and see what happens. Besides, like everyone else, I have a mortgage and college tuition to pay for and can't afford to get 'retrained' without major pain to my family.
But bottom line is, I love what I do and that is a mix of business knowledge, problem solving and a lot of creativity and I'd rather do this than anything else.
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