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      04-09-2010, 06:42 AM   #1
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how did you pick your major?

These last few weeks have been host to a bunch of college threads.

Now all of them were basically "which major should I do?"

I'm curious about us "old timers" before forums were so popular, how did you pick your major? How many of you guys actually work in the field you studied?

I picked computer science because I was good at it and I liked it even though I don't work with computers as a job.
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      04-09-2010, 06:46 AM   #2
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Majored in Finance and work in the field.

I had gone into school with the intention of majoring in communications but one day I flipped on CNBC and said to myself "This is interesting, I can do that!" Changed my major the next day. Best decision I ever made.
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      04-09-2010, 07:34 AM   #3
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I started with Marine Biology, then after 2 years of college, noticed that the guy cleaning the fish tanks for minimum wage was a graduate of the program. After further research, 50% of graduates in marine biology become teachers. I switched to Finance. My wife wanted to change her major from engineering to History because she liked the classes and was "good at it". Luckily she didn't and has a great job now. My mother switched her major to sociology after taking one class in it and liking it. She hated every moment afterward and was quite limited in jobs after graduating.

This should be obvious, but get the degree that will get you the job you want.
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      04-09-2010, 08:23 AM   #4
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Did a year in Mechanical Engineering then changed to Computer Science. I went into ME hoping to do something in the automotive field, but I saw a declining market and chose to keep cars as a hobby. High technology is a great field, so I went that route.
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      04-09-2010, 08:25 AM   #5
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I joined a fraternity that and they asked me if I liked to write papers or take tests. If I liked to write, it was politics. If I liked to study and take tests, it was economics.

After many all nighters, econ it was.
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      04-09-2010, 08:47 AM   #6
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Hmmm what age is considered an old timer???
I went to school for Political Science, I wanted to study law, now im a military defense analyst. I love it. I remember someone writing " do something you love and would do for free, then find someone to pay you for it." I think thats the best advice ive heard on this matter.
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      04-09-2010, 09:03 AM   #7
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Leo is absolutely correct about doing something you love and are passionate about. Its not work if thats how you feel about your job.

I personally don't understand how people come on here and ask what major they should be. In high school I remember them making us write a big essay on a handful of colleges we were considering. Then later in the year we had to write a big essay on different career choices.

At the time of HS, I knew I liked the sciences. I knew I loved animals so I thought "why not be a vet?". Made a few phone calls to family, friends, etc. and my father wound up knowing somebody whos sister was a local vet. So I went down there for a week every day for about 8 hours to learn about the field. I enjoyed the work to a degree. She gave me an idea of her salary. She told me it took her a long time to pay back student loans. She was now in her late 30's, pregnant, and still hadn't been able to pay them all off. She put it flat out there that unless you have it in you to start your own place, it probably wasn't a good financial decision. You need to have more passion than brains. I thought about it and decided that it definitely wasn't what I wanted to do with my life.

Then I did my Sr. year of high school at a local community college in an honors program. Same idea. Had to research careers. At that point in time I had narrowed it back down to science. I liked Bio. This brought me to somewhere in the medical field. So I went and I talked to my doctors. I also talked to a cousin that was in school to become a surgeon. After all that I really just didn't see my self not making any real money till my 30's so I nixed the MD. I then continued and talked to an aunt of mine whos an optometrist. Shes always been a close relative and I've always looked up to her. She lives a very comfortable life style, shes very successful, runs her own practice, and enjoys life. She doesn't work ridiculous hours and shes one of the smartest and most well informed people I knew. So I spend a quarter in college interning at an optometrists practice. It was awesome and I really enjoyed the work.

Then came transferring. I had my 2 year degree in Science and wanted to go somewhere for my BS. I had chosen biology as my degree and just needed to figure out where to go. It came down to SUNY Stonybrook, Colgate U, UMass, and Vanderbilt. I got over the price tags of the private schools and nixed them because it would be financially stupid to pay 50+ a year to go to a college if I was doing grad school. Then it was SUNY or UMass. Both had excellent Bio programs but I wanted to get the fuck out of Dodge. So UMass it was. Based 100% on their Bio programs integrity. Never visited the school, just sent my deposit and found an Apt online.

A couple years there and I walked away with my BS in Biology. I had decided on Optometry and becoming a Doctor of Optometry (OD). Spend the last quarter of school taking any classes that would increase my chances of getting in, studied my ass off for my OATs and started applying.

Thats pretty much how I got from high school to where I am today.
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      04-09-2010, 09:05 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by leocdmg View Post
Hmmm what age is considered an old timer???
I went to school for Political Science, I wanted to study law, now im a military defense analyst. I love it. I remember someone writing " do something you love and would do for free, then find someone to pay you for it." I think thats the best advice ive heard on this matter.
I want your job.

After 4 years in the Marine Corps Infantry (Medically Discharged), I'm back in school studying Poli Sci/ Pre- Law. I want to get a government job, something military or intelligence related.
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      04-09-2010, 09:07 AM   #9
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Laid on the floor of my parents house while my mom read through majors (and the required courses).

I narrowed it down to Architecture or Industrial Design. After much debate, the courses seemed more interesting in Industrial Design so I went with that.

I do work in my field, though at this point more design engineering/production than the creative side of design (thank God for that).

I'm 30 next week, so I'm not that old.. but I certainly remember more "analog" times. LOL.
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      04-09-2010, 09:18 AM   #10
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I want your job.

After 4 years in the Marine Corps Infantry (Medically Discharged), I'm back in school studying Poli Sci/ Pre- Law. I want to get a government job, something military or intelligence related.
I am a army NCO turned private sector, yes I work now in the MI field. Do you have a clearance?? PM you my email if you got the credentials I know there are jobs. I really like my job it pays way more than I thought i would be making at 25. Plus I still get to blow shit up haha ( just not on the front lines anymore) Dont worry if you dont have a degree yet our experience is more important to these companies. There are just some things you learn from having boots on ground that you dont learn in the classroom.
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      04-09-2010, 09:31 AM   #11
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I am a army NCO turned private sector, yes I work now in the MI field. Do you have a clearance?? PM you my email if you got the credentials I know there are jobs. I really like my job it pays way more than I thought i would be making at 25. Plus I still get to blow shit up haha ( just not on the front lines anymore) Dont worry if you dont have a degree yet our experience is more important to these companies. There are just some things you learn from having boots on ground that you dont learn in the classroom.
I sent you an email.
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      04-09-2010, 09:32 AM   #12
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I'm sort of on the young side. Chose my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, completed it and have a job in the Gas Turbine/Power generation industry.

Soon will be the best time for M.E.'s, energy crisis is only making it better for us!

Been working for one company for about 2.5 years. I plan to move to another company or start my own business.

The B.S in M.E. sucks the life out of you. I was constantly sick and always overworked in college. But in the end it was worth it.

Words of advice to all.

You have to love the subject or you will hate the degree. Don't get an M.E. degree because "it's a good degree to have and pays well out of college", you will either

1. fail
2. drop out
3. get the degree and be a crappy M.E.
or more rarely, 4,
4. get the degree and be a good M.E. but hate your life.

I have yet to see number 4 on that list. And this goes for all degrees.


2 cents.
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      04-09-2010, 10:00 AM   #13
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I did all three I wanted to do.
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      04-09-2010, 10:19 AM   #14
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      04-09-2010, 10:35 AM   #15
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I picked computer science cause I really enjoy writing programs. That way, even if the pay sucked, I would like what I did. It just happened that I found an unknown love for mathematics in college and ended up double majoring in that. I went to grad school for a little higher level math (Act Sci) an now I am doing a little of the new and old in my job. Got lucky that it pays very well with great benefits.
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      04-09-2010, 10:46 AM   #16
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Yes, I work in the same field as my degree. I truly love what I do and actually consider it to be FUN at least 50% of the time.

My profession might not be well respected, like being a doctor, but very few actually have the natural gift to operate at the highest level.

It's like singing sort of. Sure, anyone can sing (or thinks they can sing) but very few actually "make it."
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      04-09-2010, 11:16 AM   #17
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i was engineering, and it was essentially determined by my ethnicity. (basically, where i grew up in houston, desi i.e. indian--parents would disown you unless you majored in engineering or pre-med).

looking back on it, i think it was the right choice. the quant skills i learned in undergrad enabled me to sleep/party thru MBA. also, the ability to engage, relate to engineers has helped me a lot in my career in hi-tech. i would def say you cant go wrong w/ any engineering, math or physics degree.
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      04-09-2010, 11:22 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MontegoGoGoGo View Post
Yes, I work in the same field as my degree. I truly love what I do and actually consider it to be FUN at least 50% of the time.

My profession might not be well respected, like being a doctor, but very few actually have the natural gift to operate at the highest level.

It's like singing sort of. Sure, anyone can sing (or thinks they can sing) but very few actually "make it."
You make your job sound so mysterious and intruiging... Hmm are you a fighter pilot?
lol
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      04-09-2010, 11:23 AM   #19
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I was a science/math geek pretty much from birth, but really couldn't choose which I liked best. So I did things the crazy/stupid way. Triple majored in Math/Physics/Chemistry (with a Psych minor) taking massive overloads up until Junior year, until it became clear that it would take 2-3 of me to graduate in a reasonable amount of time.

Ended up just grabbing a quick degree in Applied Math (almost by default - I'd already satisfied the requirements and it allowed me to graduate at the end of my Junior year). Went on to get a PhD in Applied Physics. 20+ years later I still more or less work in the field (though not in anything directly related to my thesis research).
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      04-09-2010, 11:52 AM   #20
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Choose Business. Everyone here gets a degree in Business Admin with a focus in something else. Ill probably do finance.

Would love to do Mechanical Engineering, but know i cant cut it in math. I am a very good writer, but not the greatest when it comes to Calc in 3D lol. Maybe a law degree is in my future...
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      04-09-2010, 12:49 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DBFIU View Post
I'm sort of on the young side. Chose my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, completed it and have a job in the Gas Turbine/Power generation industry.

Soon will be the best time for M.E.'s, energy crisis is only making it better for us!

Been working for one company for about 2.5 years. I plan to move to another company or start my own business.

The B.S in M.E. sucks the life out of you. I was constantly sick and always overworked in college. But in the end it was worth it.

Words of advice to all.

You have to love the subject or you will hate the degree. Don't get an M.E. degree because "it's a good degree to have and pays well out of college", you will either

1. fail
2. drop out
3. get the degree and be a crappy M.E.
or more rarely, 4,
4. get the degree and be a good M.E. but hate your life.

I have yet to see number 4 on that list. And this goes for all degrees.


2 cents.
And here I thought I'd have to write my own post... I can just copy yours and it applies 99% (I'm in downstream oil/gas).

I don't really know how I chose ME, I just did. Probably because of my affection for physics, but hatred for research. And, not being one to give up, I stuck with it. Definitely happy now, but my engineering job does not involve very much real engineering. Mostly, its just application of the thought process (that's what I tell myself to justify my 4 years in college). I actually graduated as a Mechanical Engineer with a concentration in Biomedical Engineering, but I don't tell anyone that because its absolutely meaningless in my field. I don't even know what I learned.
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      04-09-2010, 12:51 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leocdmg View Post
You make your job sound so mysterious and intruiging... Hmm are you a fighter pilot?
lol
Haha, HARDLY! Most of the adventures I have are with a pen on paper, unless I have to go to a cool location for research. I write stuff that makes you wanna buy stuff.
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