Afternoon InquisitionParenting

AI: Higher Education

I like school. It’s no secret that when I’m in a classroom, participating and learning, I’m happier than a pig in filth. In more recent semesters I’ve turned to online-classes because they’re more convenient to schedule around jobs. I was still happy to be learning and exercising my brain, but I miss the literal classroom experience.

I’m planning to continue taking online-classes once this baby is out of me and a couple months old, and I’ve also decided to change my educational direction. Up until a few weeks ago I planned to finish my Bachelor’s in Accounting and leave it at that. I’d become a CPA and hope to get into a good corporate accounting position. What am I planning now? Well I still plan to finish my Bachelor’s in Business, but now I’m expanding my plans to include grad school and a Master’s in Library Information Science. I’m gonna be a librarian, bitchez!

This is not the first time I’ve changed my college plans. I’ve majored in Education, Pharmacology, Business and Liberal Studies, and am now returning to Business for my Undergrad studies.

Has anyone ever been happy with their first major? Did you change majors a lot in college? What did you focus on? How did you decide which one to stick with?

And for parents who continued school post-children: Am I an idiot for planning this so soon after a baby? How did you survive?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

Chelsea

Chelsea is the proud mama of an amazing toddler-aged girl. She works in the retail industry while vehemently disliking mankind and, every once in a while, her bottled-up emotions explode into WordPress as a lengthy, ranty, almost violent blog. These will be your favorite Chelsea moments. Follow Chelsea on Twitter: chelseaepp.

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58 Comments

  1. Well I went in as business with an undecided emphasis, and I quickly picked finance as the emphasis. I’m now a semester and a half from graduating as a business–finance major. I actually had a really hard time deciding to do business, as I’m interested in most of the kind of things you can take in school, but finance pays :). It may also have something to do with the fact that I read Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat in my senior year of high school, which is a bestselling book about the changing global nature of business.

  2. I picked my major after doing a bit of research in high school. I picked my school based on that major and kept it throughout. I now work in the field of said major. It is one more way in which I am a weirdo.

  3. I’m hedging on going back to school in January. I have to turn in my papers by next week if I’m going to go and I still haven’t figured it out.

    I have my degree in Religious studies and human sexuality. I also studied for an MSW. Now I’m thinking about anthropology and I’ve worked in medical ethics for the past 13 years. And what I really want to be is a milliner and pastry chef.

    Really, I’m just screwed.

  4. I worked for six years as a programmer and small project’s manager in Norway’s main telco after a Master of Science in telecommunications computing. I knew I wanted to study math and physics and such, but had no idea what exactly I wanted to do, and I was fairly good at my job, but less and less enthusiastic about it. Then I got a severance package and the kick in the but I needed to go do something else.
    Now I teach senior high, and feel I’ve found my calling in life. But there’s no way I’d have made that choice out of high school, or even while in uni. It’s even possible that wouldn’t have been the right choice until after I’d spent some time working in a “real” job.

  5. I may be in the minority here, but I never changed my major. My roommate in college never did, either. However, a lot of people I can think of from college did change their majors, and multiple times at that.

    I of course have no empirical data to make this assertion, but I’d bet that most of us don’t know what we want to do with our lives at age 18. Hell, some of us get our degrees and don’t even work in the same field! Some of my coworkers in the IT field were marketing majors, english majors, etc. After getting a computer science degree, I was intent on becoming a programmer. I got a job as a programmer and worked for two agonizing years. I love programming as a hobby, but as a full-time job it was tedious and I hated it. I even swore off of computer work for about 6 months before finally getting a tech support job (blech!) and working my way up to sysadmin. I’m happy now, but if you’d have asked me at age 18 what I would be doing almost 12 years later, I doubt I’d have given you the correct answer.

  6. I’m one of the few that never changed my major. I stuck with chemistry for 3 years. If I could go back to finish my Bachelor’s I would probably pick a different major like math or food science.

    I couldn’t imagine going back anytime soon even though my daughter is 3. I didn’t have enough time or money the last time. I have even less now.

  7. I did stick with my major (biology) for the entirety of undergrad. However, I was fulfilling pre-med requirements up until the end of my second year at which point I decided (upon the questioning of a friend) that I didn’t really want to be a medical doc. I switched courses, but continued the same major and I’m now pursuing a PhD studying ecology, parasitology and phylogenetics. Sort of a boring trajectory I guess, but I’m enjoying it.

  8. I started off as a chemistry/computer-science major and finished off as straight CS. I am happy enough with the major, but almost nothing of what I learned in college is applicable to what I’ve done in the real world. What college taught me is that I like fiddling around with these machines. It also provided me with a sheet of paper that for some reason convinces employers that I might be competent which is probably the most valuable part of college.

    What I’ve learned since is that college is overrated for learning a vocation. Anyone with a decent education and motivation can teach themselves a new subject especially in a field like engineering or CS where all the tools you need are available at Walmart for $200.

  9. I have majored in physics since I started in college, and I’ll be graduating with a BS in physics this December. At this point I’m pretty much committed (quite happily) to grad school in physics. My specialty, astronomy, might change though, if I see something that looks cooler. I’m very fond of astronomy though, so I rather doubt it.

  10. I was and am happy with my first major (Fire and Arson Investigation/ Fire Science Administration). Unfortunately, there isn’t actually any possibility of using my degree in any job, anywhere, ever. So I’m an editor.

    I would love to go back to school and learn more and do more. I would be a lawyer or a pathologist or an archaeologist or a social worker or… But I’m not the sort of person who actually tries things when there is a chance she might fail.

  11. I started out majoring in Art, switched to Psychology, then added a second major in Chemistry during my senior year. It took a while to finish all that, and in the end, none of it has gotten me a career that I enjoy. I think that I made some bad choices about jumping into college when I wasn’t ready, and about staying in high school when it was clearly doing me no good. If I had it to do over, I would drop out of high school junior year to attend community college full time, then transfer to a university.

    My plan after graduation was to take a year off, then apply to grad school. I thought I would try getting a MS in Chemistry or Psychology at the local university, then when my husband’s career inevitably lands us in California, I would attempt a PhD program in Neuroscience. After thinking it over though, I realized that my reasons for wanting to go to grad school are mostly related to how much I enjoy learning and being a student, and have very little to do with a desire to pursue any sort of meaningful career. I would probably just end up being an overqualified lab tech.

    So, I’ve decided that I can learn outside of a university setting. I spend my time now catching up on all the reading I didn’t do in high school/college, attempting to teach myself computer programming by watching lectures from Stanford online, and learning all sorts of non-academic things like how to knit and roller skate. I’ve decided that I can do more good for myself and my family if I stay home with my son, and participate actively in his education, whether by homeschooling or some other method.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t regret getting the education that I have, but if it’s just learning for the sake of knowledge, then I can do that on my own time. I really think that learning is something everyone should do, but how you go about it depends on your specific needs and goals.

  12. We don’t have “Majors” in the UK, you begin specialisation at 16 (which is why american undergrad text books make perfect high school texts over here. Sorry but thats the case) and universities have a policy that it’s near impossible to change course once you’ve started as second year courses require first year courses in order to understand them.

    Degrees are “Named” so you can’t really pick and choose random modules. There’s some choice within departments and occasionally between them (e.g Physics or Chemistry students picking up a Maths module is quite common), but generally you start in your department and stay there three years until graduation. When I was student Bio-Chemistry students split their time 50/50 between departments and the broad consensus was that the 10 of them had managed to fail in two subjects because they weren’t getting the intensity required to pass either.

    There’s no Pre-Med, you start Med-school at 18.

    Also how many people have studied Chemistry!!! A lot of universities in the UK are closing their chemistry departments as they struggle to get students (for some reason Maths and Science are seen as hard and unattractive)

  13. I started out Pre-med but chemistry convinced me that I wasn’t cut out for that. So I switched to biology which I loved. But every time I looked at the bulliten boards where job openings were posted I would see one or two loan postings on an otherwise empty board. I didn’t see a point in getting a degree in a field that didn’t have jobs at the end of it. I took a class in Pascal and thought about chaning to computer science but frankly those cats were to weird. (Wish I had done that though. I would have had a degree in CompSci in 1994. I would have been super fucking rich) When I took an elective Criminal Justice class I saw that the bulletin boards were so overflowing with job postings that it was 7 or 8 deep, covering the entire board and the walls around them. I like the material and saw lots of jobs so I switched. My first kid was born when I was 20 and my second when I was 22. I graduated when I was 23. I worked between 40 and 60 hours a week and took a full load every semeseter. I lost one semester when I was hit by a car and had a mild case of amnesia caused by the concussion, I also had two cracked vertebra and a bleed on the brain.

    If you are going to try and be a student and a good parent you have to give up your personal time. You don’t get to do anything. I can remember how excited I would get if I thought I might get 10 minutes to read for pleasure. Sex disappeared. So did sleep. I went 4 years without a day off.

    I worked in criminal justice from 1995 to 2006. First as a correctional officer and then as a parole officer. Then I started taking classes toward an MBA.

    Now, the MBA is on hold while I finish taking the classes so I can sit for the CPA exam. I should finish next semseter.

    Chels, out of curiosity what the requirements to be a CPA in Penna?

    Here in Texas I have to have a Bachelors degree, 150 hours of credit, 30 hours of upper level accounting and 21 hours of upper level business accounting. Most new CPA’s have and MBA or MA in accounting before they sit for the exam.

  14. My undergrad major changed from Undeclared to Journalism to German. It ended up being German because I had become sick of college and most of my credits were in German. I just wanted to be done.
    Years later, I woke up to how cool college is and went back for a Masters in Comparative Literature and loved it. I’d be in college perpetually now.
    However, as you may have gleaned, I’m more of a “knowledge for knowledge’s sake” kind of guy. I’d still be unable to pick a major.

  15. I started as a Telecommunications major, with a focus on Audio Engineering. I very quickly became disillusioned with that and switched.

    I then became a Linguistics major, with a focus on Teaching English as a Second Language.

    I minored in History, Philosophy, and Japanese language.

    Then I went to teach English for a few years. Then I became an Art Salesman, then a Studio Photographer, then a Graphic Designer, then a Systems Administrator.

    After that my career path went downhill a bit, and I went to work for Apple at one of their retail stores, thinking that would get me into the Mothership out in California. No such luck. Initially the job of Mac Genius was one that belonged to IT professionals, but after the iPod came out it turned into an overpaid monkey job of swapping iPods for battery complaints. I left that job and now work for a small outsourced IT firm that specializes in Macintosh computers, thus further pigeon-holing myself into a niche with no prospects for advancement.

    The lesson? Study something boring and do something boring. Following your bliss just means you end up living like you’re in your early 20’s for the rest of your life.

  16. Back when I was in college the first time I was a computer science major. I hated it. I loved programming, though, so I spent 12 years doing it for a living. When I first went back to college part-time a couple of years ago I was a psychology major, and then I got a job in the field and realized I didn’t want to work in it. I thought I’d try for an IT networking degree, and I took a couple of classes. But it didn’t make me happy either.

    Now that I’m back for a third time (and full-time for the first time since I was 17) I’m a psychology major again, but for a different reason — I plan to get my MS in Library and Information Science and become a librarian. There is no undergrad degree for librarians, of course, and the grad school I want to go to told me to get my bachelors in anything I like studying. So I’m back to psych. I find the subject fascinating, even if I don’t want to work in the field again.

    The problem is that every time I take a cool class I think about changing my major again. At the moment I’m obsessed with biochemistry thanks to my biology professor…

  17. I’m a high school drop out so I don’t have any hands on experience in this subject, however going to college and changing majors seems to miss the point of college. To me the idea of going to college is to study a field you plan on going in, if you change majors, you probably aren’t sure what you want to be, and it would seem likely wasting money. I just never understood signing up to spend tens of thousands of dollars and years of your life and not knowing why you are there.

    However, I have met hundreds of people who have changed majors so it seems to be common, however I’ve also 2 jobs, 1 of which is in a restaurant and I’ve also had the please of working with hundreds of college grads. Nothing gives me greater joy knowing that a high school drop out can make more than a college grad, all it takes is hard work.

    @Gabrielbrawley, you mentioned you’re in Texas, I was curious if you’ve ever met Norman Borlaug, he’s my personal hero and he used to teach at A&M

  18. @davew: I have to concur, davew. I taught myself IT on the job and believe it is best learned through hands-on, real world problems.
    One should try and learn a skill set from the most effective teachers. In my opinion, the best teachers in business or IT are those who are actually practicing these skills in the real world.
    I went back to college for my CompLit degree because colleges tend to be the gathering places of the best literary critics (or, at least, the best ones I had any chance of learning from).

  19. Started out as an applied physics major (that lasted approx 30 sec into my first college physics class).
    Changed to Computer Science. Changed schools after 1st year, and changed majors to electrical/computing engineering.

    Changed schools (back to my first school) and back to comp sci.
    Dropped out after a couple years. Eventually finished a degree in IT.
    Only really finished the degree because I was already working in IT and my work paid for it.

    So, I guess I did it backwards. Get job in IT, then the degree.

  20. @magicdude20: No, I wish. A & M is about 10 or 11 hours south of where I live. I don’t think Dr. Borlaug spent much time at A & M. It seemed that he was always in the field researching and improving. He was a great, great man.

    You sound a lot like Penn. Did you read his life story and decide to try it out?

  21. I started out majoring in chemical engineering, and I stuck with it the whole way through college. I wanted to learn more about biology, and fortunately my department had just started a special program for that. I’ve always been interested in a wide range of subjects, but I never wanted to switch my major.

  22. I’ve only done some very random community college courses, and otherwise have just worked. I used to say, “I’ll go back to school someday, and get a degree!” but now I’m not so sure. I wanted to be a teacher when I was younger, but I’ve since moved on.

    I have a job, a decent job. I’ve been working in administration since I was 15. I’m now volunteering my butt off to get more experience in event planning/management (and because it’s fun). I kind of fell into it, and I love it. An executive assistant/event planning/volunteer coordination position would be perfect for me. I love working with people, and I like the craziness of having to deal with staffing and managing volunteers. I’d like to stick in the non-profit world, even if the pay is crap.

    I think I’m the type of person who thrives on the field, instead of in a classroom. At every job I’ve had, I take on multiple roles, even if it’s not required of me, which generally gets me promoted. I keep wanting to get into the warehouse here at work and pick orders and run the forklifts (FUN), but policy doesn’t allow me to do that, so I’m stuck behind this desk. Sniff.

    I don’t care if I don’t make tons of money, just as long as I’m busy and like my job. I do like my job now, I just don’t like being stuck behind this desk.

    I miss working in printing/copier training. Funnest job ever. Too bad it paid crap.

  23. @Gabrielbrawley: Wish I had done that though. I would have had a degree in CompSci in 1994. I would have been super fucking rich

    This is not as true as you might think. I’ve worked low-wage and high-wage jobs. In both situations the people who were well-off after a period of time were the good savers. The people who spent everything they earned stayed relatively poor irrespective of their salary.

  24. I generally stuck with the same major (math), just adding and dropping minors until I ultimately ended up with a double major in math and biology. Near the end I kind of freaked out about what I was going do, picked “Biostatistics” out of a brochure, and went to grad school.

    I am now one of those weirdos who actually does something related to their degree. And I love it.

  25. @davew: I’ve never had a job that was high salary. The job I have now pays better than any I’ve ever had and looks like it will continue to improve but it still isn’t what I would call high salary. At least not yet. One good thing about not having money was that I had to learn to cook.

  26. Oh did I EVER. This is how it went for me:

    Culinary Arts (until I wanted to be vegan)
    Environmental Science (until I rediscovered my love of Geology)
    Geology and Biology (wanted to be a paleontologist)
    Began to burn out and switched to Geology exclusively and then . . .

    NOTHING.

    I left to be a homebody and to live a small hobbit-like existance. Do I have regrets? Not in the slightest although a part of me longs just to be able to say “I’m a geologist.” I also miss the field trips terribly. Nobody can drink like a geologist and those campfire nights were the greatest.

    As far as getting through school with a baby?! Holy crap! Having a baby is a million-ZILLION times harder than I imagined (just had Olive on August 26th.) I went through a bit of a basket case phase but luckily this has tapered over the past two months. If you’re asking if it can be done — yes, it can. My Mother in law worked through her Masters as a single parent with two kids. It was really tough, but she was able to do it.

  27. I started a BA about 4 years after leaving high school, and wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to major in. All I knew is that I wanted to learn stuff (during the degree I figured out that learning things wasn’t what I wanted, I actually wanted to learn HOW to know things. Yay skepticism!).

    However, I my first linguistics lecture was all it took to fall in love with the subject, and I’ve now just started my phd. About halfway through my BA was when I discovered skepticism and the joys and wonders of science, and I worked out that I could change my classes around and get a double degree BA/BSc. But in the end I didn’t want to stick around in that one city, so I decided to just stick with the BA, and make my linguistics research as science-based as possible, and make an effort to learn more science in my own time.

    I’ve got so much respect for anyone that manages both academia and children – I can barely sort out my own life schedule, I don’t know how I’d ever manage with other little lives to sort out too! Kudos, mums and dads.

  28. Hi Chelz,

    I started off as a geoscience major and finished as a geoscience major but, I wanted to get the most out of my tuition money so took as many extra credits as I could fit and ended up with lots of credits in animal science as well.

    I work full-time and keep a nice house and garden. After I had my first child, we waited until she was rather independent (5) to have another. It takes about 3-4 years for you to regain sanity from the child if you are lucky. Now when the second came along, I waited until she was 5 to start grad school (all online) plus work, plus keep house, plus do online stuff and some new social stuff.
    http://idoubtit.wordpress.com/2009/09/24/running-to-keep-up-with-the-fast-paced-skeptics/
    Frankly, it’s not fun. I feel like I am aging fast. Concentration is all but impossible. Anxiety attacks started.

    You MUST have a good partner, steady income and on-call babysitters (family is best) to make this tolerable. Next year at this time, I’ll be in good shape, mental-health wise, I hope. That is, if I ever come up with a thesis topic…

  29. I started out majoring in anthropology and Japanese and am now about to graduate with a BA in English (lit. not language) and philosophy. Arts degrees at my university are really flexible so I’ve also done papers in American studies, political science, sociology, and astronomy, which all count towards my degree.

    From a ‘learning for the sake of learning’ point of view, it’s been great. I tried a bunch of things, stuck with what I enjoyed the most and, although I occasionally wonder why I didn’t do a science degree, I usually feel like I ended up with the ‘right’ subjects. I probably could have gotten most of the knowledge I’ve acquired at uni by reading on my own and saved a lot of money, but realistically I never would have. From a ‘getting a job’ point of view, I’m planning to do a more practical polytech course on publishing.

  30. I chose special education as a major and I stuck with it. I’m currently a special ed teacher. My mother would’ve loved me to be an accountant like her, and maybe that was part of the reason I went in the opposite direction initially.

    I had the opportunity in high school to be a student helper in the multiple disabilities class at my school. I loved it. I had never been so happy doing something in all of my life. My teachers told me that I had a natural gift for working with people with disabilities. I continued to work in the field (direct care in a group home) to get myself through school and again, I just knew it was right. But I consider myself lucky because most of my friends had 2 or 3 majors and a few have more than 1 bachelor’s degree because they discovered too late that they didn’t want to use that degree.

  31. I knew since approx. age 5 that I wanted to be an aerospace engineer and have never regretted it. But when the aerospace industry took a downturn in the early 90’s it prompted me to get an MS in computer science — I then got another MS. Both while having small children. Now that my kids are older (ages 7 – 12) there is NO WAY that I would be able to complete another degree program. Too many activities going on.

  32. I changed my major twice. First I was a Classical Studies major, then after a couple of horrible professors I switched to Rhetoric and Media Studies. Two classes short of finishing the major I realized that I was getting A’s on papers that were complete bullshit, and so figured that the field was mostly bullshit. I changed my biology minor into a major and added a chem minor. I love it.

  33. @Jane Grey: My mother and father both worked full time jobs and went to school full time while having school age children around. They made it to all of mine and my brother’s activities but I can tell you that they were super stressed out. Luckily, my family was very supportive and my uncles, aunts, and grandparents helped out by babysitting my brother and I a lot. Both parents graduated with highest honors, which they held over my head every time I didn’t get an A in one of my classes (“I had a fulltime job, a spouse, 2 kids and I managed to get straight A’s, you don’t have any of that so what’s the problem?”)

  34. I stuck with one of my first declared majors ((I double majored in anthropology and Scandinavian studies, and minored in women’s studies). Now I’ve got a PhD in anthro and am teaching it. I love it. I’m thinking about going back for a Master’s in Public Health just because I think it would be extremely interesting.

    And ’cause I apparently have a masochistic streak a mile wide…

  35. I stuck with the first major I declared, ecology, and got my bachelor’s degree. It was enjoyable at the time and I still find the subject very interesting (especially animal behaviour… I still drag that textbook out every once in a while).

    The problems came after I graduated and actually had to decide what I wanted to do with my life. I had no interest in grad school and the jobs available were few and far between, with little relevance to my field.

    I went back to school last year to become an ultrasound technologist, and I LOVE it. I especially like that in technical school you leave well trained for a highly skilled profession, whereas during my degree I was trained to write scientific journal articles (which I hated doing) and very little else. Great for grad school but not for me!

  36. Started out in microbiology. Took a year off and learned French in Dijon. Returned and did a BA in international relations. Met spousal unit, worked, had child, went back to school for MBA. I am either well rounded or lack focus. Look! Something shiny!

    School + baby = no time, as noted above. But you don’t waste time getting the schoolwork done, and I found it a pretty nice time in life.

  37. I started out doing Primary Education for the first 3 years, hated it and switched to Science and ended up graduating with my BSc.

    However, like many people, I am now in a job that has nothing to do with my degree whatsoever.

  38. I never really changed majors, but I did add one. Started as an English major and then added a German major and almost added a Philosophy major too. Too bad none of these majors prepared me much for a future career. Unfortunately, I was much more focused on partying than on preparing.

    As a current librarian I should warn you that there are not a ton of entry level professional librarian jobs out there. You may need to start working in a low paying or part time position despite having a Master’s degree. On the bright side, getting a Master of Library Science is usually a cake walk. Also, if you can focus your studies on the tech side rather than on reference work your job search will be easier, sometimes even if you’re looking for a reference position.

  39. I changed majors, but not pathologically. Started as a Classics major (Latin), then switched to Asian Languages and Literature (Japanese), and *then* tacked on Engineering (Mechanical). I ended up with two undergrad degrees, one of which was useful… Want to take bets on which?

    As it turns out, I wrote back in third grade or so that I wanted to be an engineer (or architect), so I’d like to think of it as coming back to my first major.

  40. First may I say to Chelsea, “Hot Damn Girl!” The world needs more skeptical librarians. For as smart and edumacted as we keepers of knowledge profess to be, there are an awful lot of the tribe that fall for the woo.

    I started out in Poli Sci. Switched to history (medieval Jewish and museum studies), with a minor in art history. When I realized that the world wouldn’t be beating down my door to employ me, I went back for my lib sci masters. Haven’t regretted it once in 16 years. I may never be a millionaire, but being a librarian rocks!

  41. I started and finished university as a Music Therapy student. When I was applying to schools, I was torn between my love of music and my interest in psychology. I read about the Music Therapy degree and knew instantly that it was exactly what I was looking for. I’ve been working in the field for six years and love it.

    I am considering going back to school in the near future to get a masters. Music Therapy jobs are mostly contract, and I currently work in three different long term care facilities. I’m looking into a masters that might land me a full time job in one place. I’m thinking about Social Work or Speech Language Pathology. Something that would allow me to utilize music therapy techniques with clients if appropriate. I still love the job, but I want to start doing more with it.

  42. @russellsugden: I studied chemistry! Regretting it though!

    So, the full story. Back in high school I was interested in history and archaeology, but decided that it wasn’t going to be so good for jobs or a career, so reluctantly passed it over. Then I considered studying music. I was (and still am) a pretty decent muso, had a lot of people trying to tell me to go to the conservatorium, but again I thought that the potential for jobs was very lacking. Then I listened to the university and industry propaganda that the country needs more science graduates, and is facing a critical shortage of science graduates! I was interested in science as well, so I did chemistry for three years. Those of you with a finely tuned sense of irony might guess how that turned out…..yeah, SFA jobs available, and those paid similarly to unqualified unskilled work.

    Bah.

    Then I was told that higher degrees improve employability, so went back for a year to get my honours degree. Same story. Currently doing education, but already getting disenchanted with the BS, bureaucracy, and ideologies. Now I want to go back and do archaeology again…

  43. I never finished – hell, I never even got started!
    I started Comp Sci in 1980 and realised that in the first term, I hadn’t learned anything new, and was forced to study subjects I didn’t want to (maths and physics). So I walked. Quarter of a century later, I’m still in IT and doing pretty good – but I just registered myself as director of my own phtoography company.

  44. My job has nothing to do with my education. I’ve known since I was a kid that I wanted to be a writer and storyteller, so I majored in English to better my writing. I now have an M. A. in English.

    I loved every minute of it. I couldn’t get a job after college to save my life, true, but I don’t regret one moment of that total immersion in everything that I love most.

    I hope to go back to school again one day. I don’t know yet what I would major in. It doesn’t really matter. It’s the learning that I love.

  45. “I’m happier than a pig in filth. ”

    I know ya’ll are city folk. So let me set the record straight. Pigs are very clean animals, if left to their own devices. They are forced by the humans that exploit them for food to live in filth. They roll in it because that is the only way to protect their sensitive skin. In nature they would be taking a nice roll in some clean mud.

    Just thought ya’ll like to know.

  46. Main Entry: filth
    Pronunciation: \ˈfilth\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English, from Old English fȳlth, from fūl foul
    Date: before 12th century

    1 : foul or putrid matter; especially : loathsome dirt or refuse
    2 a : moral corruption or defilement b : something that tends to corrupt or defile

    from m-w.com

  47. When I was three, I wanted to be a paleontologist. For most of my childhood, I had this desire. But, I was shamed out of it by the time I hit high school.

    When I first went to university, I thought I’d major in Journalism. And then after one year, began taking Chinese, to fulfill a language requirement. I fell in love with that, and ended up majoring in Chinese (Language, and Literature, and History).

    Apart from living in Taiwan for some years, it has been of no use to me. I still read tomes on evolutionary biology, consciousness, and development, and abiogenesis, and astronomy and cosmology– just cos I like it. And I try to keep abreast of the latest developments.

    But, now I am taking online classes to gain certification in Medical Coding so I can– I hope– find gainful employment once more.

  48. Does anyone remember that old Barbra Streisand movie “What’s Up Doc?,” where she gets kicked out of school every semester and tries a new one?

    I think I lived it.

    Year 1: NE MO State U: Liberal Arts Major
    Years 2 & 3: Drexel U: Fashion Design Major
    Year 4: U of the Arts: Painting Major
    Years 5, 6, & 7: Whittier College: Double major in History and American Studies, minor in art

    Graduated!
    Did nothing with the degree for 3 years.
    Went back to School.

    Year 8: Pierce College: Pre-veterinary Major
    Year 9: Valley College: Pre-vet Major
    Year 10: Cal State Northridge: Pre-vet Major
    Years 11-14: U of MN: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Public Health.

    I blame the ADHD.

  49. I went to university planning to study writing and French. Following a horrific encounter with an appalling French prof and having my eyes opened to the wonders of philosophy, I switched over to ethics. This may have been a really dumb move, but I don’t regret it.

  50. @davew: Anyone with a decent education and motivation can teach themselves a new subject especially in a field like engineering or CS where all the tools you need are available at Walmart for $200.

    ——————–

    You are confusing computer programming with computer science, and IT with engineering. Basically, this is like claiming you can design an airplane because you can fly one.

    My educational story is: started in theater, switched to Architecture, dropped out, went back for a BFA in Video Production, went on for a masters in Communication (dropped out) and am now working on a PhD in CS. Two kids at the moment. We didn’t really plan on doing both things at once, but that’s the way it has worked out.

  51. I’ve been in and out of school since I started college in 1980. I rushed through a BS in math and went off to study for a PhD. But pure math was rather more than I bargained for, and besides, I found out that math is a humanly invented tool rather than empirical science, so I lost interest and got kicked out with an MA.

    Having no practical skills, I did clerical work and math tutoring. I traveled around Europe, met my wife, and decided to try to become a linguist. I picked up a BA in German and linguistics in the course of preparing to apply to grad schools, and went into a PhD program in linguistics. Again, I got kicked out, this time because I wasn’t engaging with the “big picture” in my papers but was instead trying to wrestle with details of formal theory (that math background cropping up).

    So I stayed home with our daughter for a few years til she was ready to go into kindergarten. Then I got a part-time job at a library, and though I was mostly doing clerical work, I enjoyed helping people get information. Now I’m in school yet again, studying for an MS in library and information science. I’m interested in things like metadata (data about information objects), cataloging, and classification schemes/taxonomies.

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