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[Jan. 5th, 2013|08:43 am]
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[restlessme]
How do you decide on a major for the rest of your life? (college/university wise)

DK/DC?: What are some cheap ways to decorate an apartment bedroom? My room currently looks like a prison cell.


I'm currently an English major switching over to Journalism, but then I began thinking about my job outlook. Personally, for me I don't see it looking too sunny with either of those degrees. I've switched my major from International Relations to Education to Computer Science to Undecided and now English to Journalism. I'm looking into marketing perhaps, but honestly...I don't know.
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[User Picture]From: kmeghan
2013-01-05 02:03 pm (UTC)

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I did what interested me. I got a degree in History, and I teach preschool. I am going back to school now for my teaching license. I probably would have gone with teaching from the start, but I had plans to get a Ph.D and teach at the university level.

I buy a lot of art from my aunt and uncle who own an art gallery. I also frame pictures I take that are really beautiful. Look around stores..sometimes they have pretty bulletin boards or other things to hang up fairly cheaply. Also, I'm a big fan of pillows and blankets on my bed.
[User Picture]From: restlessme
2013-01-05 02:06 pm (UTC)

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But what if you found you really didn't have an interest? While I love writing, it's not something I feel I do consistently enough to make a living out of. Why didn't you go through teaching at the university level or did you find that you loved preschool more than you anticipated?

Where/how do you print your own photographs? I would love to do something with mine at some point.
[User Picture]From: pastorlenny
2013-01-05 02:28 pm (UTC)

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A major is not the rest of your life. It's next semester.
[User Picture]From: sophie1
2013-01-05 03:53 pm (UTC)

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A+
[User Picture]From: kinkakinka
2013-01-05 02:42 pm (UTC)

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I took Biology and then Education. I'm now working as an Instructional Designer (so kind of using my Ed degree) but I'm contracted out as a Software Tester (nothing to do with either degree). I actually like the Testing a LOT more than being an ISD. I took Biology originally because I really really enjoyed it/was good at it.


I know a few journalists, and to be honest, they're struggling. Journalism jobs don't pay all that well on average, especially when you're first starting out, and freelancing pays practically nothing. You have to work REALLY HARD and have a lot of good luck in order to make it. I watched my former roommate work her ass off for hours and hours just to make a couple of hundred bucks.
[User Picture]From: vodkabeforenoon
2013-01-05 03:27 pm (UTC)

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I think journalism is like any other artist... you have work that pays your bills and then you have the stuff you do on the side that you love. I think a lot of people seem to not understand that.
From: blue_sky_day
2013-01-05 03:00 pm (UTC)

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A major isn't necessarily "for the rest of your life". That said, does your university have a career services office? Maybe they can help steer you into what is right for you.
[User Picture]From: restlessme
2013-01-05 03:42 pm (UTC)

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I honestly had never considered career services, I always just assume they're strictly careers. But apparently they do major advising as well! I made an appointment for this Tuesday.
[User Picture]From: cpb1220
2013-01-05 03:05 pm (UTC)

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I always loved magazines, and I realized in high school that I actually liked writing and could work for one some day. So I majored in journalism, did a bunch of internships, and landed a nice job right out of college.

Really, I don't think the job outlook is so bleak for journalism. For print, yes. But if you focus on digital or even social media, you'll be fine.
[User Picture]From: restlessme
2013-01-05 05:33 pm (UTC)

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I feel the same way about magazines, but I'm not completely sure how motivated I am in that prospect.
[User Picture]From: heyfashion
2013-01-05 03:15 pm (UTC)

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I chose fashion design because at the time I had other plans for my life. After doing a merchandising internship along with some other experiences, I realized my initial plan was no longer what I wanted. I now work in the business side of fashion, I may eventually pursue another degree. It's hard to decide what to major in, I know! Before I settled on fashion design I was looking into graphic design, photography, and cosmetology. If you are entering into college after high school, it seems so crazy to try to decide such an important aspect of your life at that age. I think many people go through the same thing you are going through right now, and I think that's why it is so common these days for people to go back to school for something else.

Adding color is key! Don't leave those walls plain white. Get some artwork on the walls, even if it's just dollar store frames and having your own pictures printed somewhere. Look at thrift stores for cheap decor items. It's amazing what a coat of paint will do to a previously used item. All of my candle holders and frames were absolutely hideous when I bought them, but I painted them pretty colors and they look brand spankin new. Accessorize with accent pillows (If you have any basic sewing skills, sometimes it's cheaper just to make them yourself with clearance fabric at joanns). Hang some complimentary curtains on the windows. Look for an inexpensive area rug.
[User Picture]From: restlessme
2013-01-05 05:40 pm (UTC)

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It makes me so nervous to think that I may find myself going back to school for another degree if the one I choose isn't the love of my life later on, you know? It did make me nervous to go straight from high school to college, I possibly should've taken a year off, but didn't.

Thank you for the brilliant decorating ideas!
[User Picture]From: vodkabeforenoon
2013-01-05 03:24 pm (UTC)

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You decide by choosing something that interest you but has potential in being used in the real world. Try not to box yourself in to one career idea or else you are doomed to be one of those people who is always unemployed or works at walmart because they decided to make such ridged plans. It is good to have dreams but be thoughtful about it. I think overall the worry shouldn't be the major you choose but the internships you obtain on a yearly bases throughout your school career. People need experience just as much as a piece of paper saying you dedicated X years taking classes.
[User Picture]From: crackthesafe
2013-01-05 04:07 pm (UTC)

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You decide by choosing something that interest you but has potential in being used in the real world.

YES.
[User Picture]From: bad_lcuk
2013-01-05 03:41 pm (UTC)

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Ive known since I was a young child. I wanted to go in to art and classical animation, in about grade 6-7 i realized that there was a very small market and swapped my goal to computer based animation. When I went to university, instead of doing a specialized degree, I went in to computer science so that I would have a larger fallback if i did not succeed in the entertainment industry. Anyway, from there, i am here. I dont do animation/artwork, but maybe I actually prefer it--its a hard industry, someones always so much better then you, im sure it grates on you. I may get back in to doing 3D rendering and stuff later but theres no industry here for that.

New paint, a throw blanket on the bed, a few cute pillows, better lighting/new light fixture, window coverings, cheap paintings/photos.

Marketing is very competitive as i understand. My best advice is pick something you love. Being a half-assed marketing person will show through quickly, as well as a half assed programmer ;)
[User Picture]From: restlessme
2013-01-05 05:51 pm (UTC)

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I always wanted to be a teacher as a child, but after working at summer camp, I absolutely can't stand the parents and some of the children. Your job now sounds extremely interesting.

Thank you for the advice and I have read that marketing is competitive, I do understand not being half-assed about it :)
[User Picture]From: puzleves
2013-01-05 03:42 pm (UTC)

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I started with a major in business, because I figured the job outlook would be good. But looking at the classes I had to take, it about bored me to tears.
So I switched to photography, as much as I love that, I decided I prefer it as a hobby and fun, not work. (Not the slightest competitive enough to keep up in that field either.)
And now I'm a double major in history and american indian studies, planning on getting a teaching job when I'm done (I'll have to take the teaching cert when I get home to my home country). I love what I'm studying, and can't wait until I get to start teaching it myself :)
[User Picture]From: restlessme
2013-01-05 06:11 pm (UTC)

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I started with International Relations because I figured the outlook would be good as well, but the classes also bored me to tears. I'm glad you found something that worked so well for you! :)
[User Picture]From: snooji
2013-01-05 04:04 pm (UTC)

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First I picked what I loved and was good at (art), but then backed out because there's no way I'm paying for school and studying for several years to make minimum wage. I then went into what matched my skills that's employable. I'm logic oriented, so I went to computers.

You need to figure out your goals. Are you in school to get an education but not necessarily make a career of it? Do you want a specific career, and if so what programs will get you there? What are your interests, and what programs are similar to that?
[User Picture]From: restlessme
2013-01-05 06:13 pm (UTC)

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I definitely would not be attending school if I just wanted education, but not something that would get me a degree. For your other questions, I have absolutely no idea.
[User Picture]From: elikaa
2013-01-05 04:07 pm (UTC)

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I decided to do Psychology because I enjoy it. I aim to get a PhD and masters in something psychology related because I love studying. I want to teach college/high-school level Psychology for the rest of my life.

Edited at 2013-01-05 04:07 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: crackthesafe
2013-01-05 04:15 pm (UTC)

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vodkabeforenoon said it best--pick something you enjoy, but try to make it something where you'll be able to get a job. I got my undergrad degree in English because I thought "hey, English skills are great for any job--writing, reading, yay!" Turns out, not so much. I fell into admin work just to have something to pay the bills, but eventually I had to decide if that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life (it wasn't). So I had to go back for another degree--I went for a Master's in Library Science and now I'm a librarian.

Don't pick Finance if you'll want to stab yourself in the eyes with a pen everyday, but don't go with basket-weaving either. Find something that interests you, then research the job opportunities in that field. Look at job postings--will you need your Bachelor's plus some internship work? I can't recommend internship work highly enough--it was what gave me first break at getting a job in my field because I had experience "on the ground," so to speak. It also lets you know if you're really interested in practicing in that field.

But, I think I've gotten off topic. In the end, your undergrad degree is not the end all, be all of your career. You will probably switch careers at some point in your life. So don't feel that the decision you make now is DEFINITELY going to define your career for the next 50 years because it probably won't. Make smart choices, but don't freak yourself out.

Edited at 2013-01-05 04:16 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: grrillaesthete
2013-01-05 04:15 pm (UTC)

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Do something in school you love, it's the actual completion of degree that most companies are looking for, job-wise (I mean, who gets a degree in "Office worker"?). For me, what it came down to for my BA was what I had the most units in and what was a small program that wasn't impacted. I went with Comparative Religion, but I could have easily gone Philosophy. I figured I would have a harder time putting up with the pompous philosophy types than the few annoying religious ones.

If you are going for practicality, go into Computer Science/Engineering. Though again, you can be a programmer with any degree. One of my friends has a degree in Russian and is a programmer.
[User Picture]From: holidaylights
2013-01-05 04:41 pm (UTC)

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I was a journalism and poli sci double major, so happy to answer any questions about a j-school degree. For what it's worth, most of my classmates who I know found jobs in the field (as did I), but it's hard to reiterate enough that unless you're doing something extremely specialized, your major is not your destiny. You don't need a journalism degree to work in journalism, and getting that degree doesn't prevent you from going to law or grad school, becoming a writer, going to a PR firm or nonprofit or...whatever, basically.

Personally, my advice would be to choose what you're going to enjoy studying for the next few years. I picked my degree course because I like writing and politics and asking people intrusive questions and I liked spending my class time doing that instead of literary analysis or lab reports.

Also, whatever you choose, internships are really really helpful. If you have any possible way of doing one or more, take it.
[User Picture]From: vodkabeforenoon
2013-01-05 07:26 pm (UTC)

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You don't need a journalism degree to work in journalism,

This was my personal take on journalism as well. A lot of journalist I enjoy reading usually specialized in an area and can usually tell the difference. Typically there work is a lot more thoughtful.
[User Picture]From: smartaleckstef
2013-01-05 04:54 pm (UTC)

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i was the best at english so i went with that
[User Picture]From: restlessme
2013-01-05 09:48 pm (UTC)

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Are you still in college now?
[User Picture]From: georgefantana
2013-01-05 05:00 pm (UTC)

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I would say choose a major related to things that interest you. When it comes to most jobs they just want to see that you have a degree. So you want to choose some area to study that will hold your interest and won't make you want to quit.
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[User Picture]From: restlessme
2013-01-05 06:58 pm (UTC)

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Does your career match any of those majors though?
[User Picture]From: 67words
2013-01-05 05:29 pm (UTC)

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i went from pr to journalism to english. i am a graphic designer so the degrees aren't relevant to my career. i have considered going back to school for marketing to tie in with my advertising experience.
[User Picture]From: due27south
2013-01-05 07:07 pm (UTC)

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You can do pretty much anything with an English degree. And with most degrees, esp liberal, all that matters is the piece of paper. (I'm an English major).

Do you use pinterest? You can find a lot of creative and cheap ways to decorate using just stuff you'd probably have at home anyway!
[User Picture]From: restlessme
2013-01-05 09:49 pm (UTC)

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It still makes me so nervous for the piece of paper though! But thank you for your thoughts :)

I'll definitely check out pinterest.
[User Picture]From: melontree
2013-01-05 08:11 pm (UTC)

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I wanted to be a counselor, so I went with psychology at first. Then I didn't have stellar enough grades for the masters program, so I went into social work. It just kind of found me. I am on my 3rd degree now, but sticking with social work as it allows me a lot of options.
[User Picture]From: restlessme
2013-01-05 09:49 pm (UTC)

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Do you enjoy the social work while you work on your other degree?
[User Picture]From: crazy_alexy
2013-01-05 08:22 pm (UTC)

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I'm not sure how popular of an answer this is - but if you can't decide now, don't. Go out in the real world, experience some different things, figure out what you want to do by going out and doing it. It's not always easy, and certainly not popular, but wouldn't rather be sure because you've been there than rack up thousands of dollars in debt because you didn't know?

I know a number of people who waited to go back to school until a few years later, waited until they knew what they wanted, and not a single one of them regret it. Just a thought, and good luck with whatever you decide.
[User Picture]From: pamelalabella
2013-01-05 09:46 pm (UTC)

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this
[User Picture]From: vasquez
2013-01-05 08:58 pm (UTC)

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I chose English when I realized it wasn't limited to just literature and writing. However, this was after having gone to college straight out of high school for public health, dropping out, going to massage school, and working as a massage therapist for two years.

It doesn't necessarily matter what your first degree is in; employers mostly want to see that you are responsible and intelligent enough to get through a degree program. Try some of those career path quizzes online just for an idea of what kinds of jobs are out there. Someone above mentioned technical writing, which I've heard is fairly lucrative and much of your existing coursework will be good for.
[User Picture]From: vasquez
2013-01-05 08:59 pm (UTC)

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Also, network your ass off regardless of what major you choose.
[User Picture]From: dawgdays
2013-01-05 09:04 pm (UTC)

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What you should do is to look at the activities that you like and are good at, THEN look at the fields where you might do those things. Here are some things to think about.

Do you like to:
- work indoors or out
- work with objects, data, ideas, methods, people
- work with what there is, or to think of new things or methods
- explain concepts to others or apply concepts to what you're doing
- work alone or as part of a team
- work with others face-to-face, or work in a backroom setting

Then, you can look at a field and figure out if you're like to be good at performing your selected tasks from above in that field. Going to your school's career center may help you identify your strengths and areas of interest, and then help you identify typical jobs in various fields.

On a personal note

I was always good at math and science, OK in social studies and English composition, but sucked at creative writing. I was exposed to computers in high school (this was back in the '70s, when computing wasn't ubiquitous), and found them to be fascinating. Also, I grew up in the Seattle area, where Boeing was king and engineers were our gods. So I had the sense that engineering was a likely field for me. I could see myself specializing in computing, and doing programming for scientific applications.

While I would not have been able to explain this at the time, I tend to focus on rules and standard procedures as opposed to creating new ways of doing things, I'm good at understanding the technical stuff and then explaining it to others, and I like to work with others rather than doing back room stuff.

So, when I graduated with my electrical engineering degree (with a fair share of computer science thrown in), I had offers from five different companies - operating systems development, realtime systems programming, business systems programming, and two systems engineering jobs. I took one of those last ones because it was going to be customer-facing, and because of that, looked much more interesting. It was, in fact, my lowest salary offer - 21% below the operating systems job.

I have ZERO regrets, as I totally lucked out. It turns out that the job was a great fit for my skills and personality. I've done a variety of things, but all is mostly customer-facing positions. I'm now a technical sales engineer working for a tech company. I remember that when I graduated, all of us engineering students would say, "Sales? Ick!" But that's what I'm doing now, and it's been great.

So, best of luck to you. I hope you find your way.
[User Picture]From: oneworldvision
2013-01-05 09:07 pm (UTC)

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I just studied whatever I found interesting. Went in as a Writing Arts major in the Creative Writing track, and then added a French minor as a sophomore because I'd studied it in high school and missed it. That same year I took a film history class and fell in love with it, which eventually led to adding Radio/TV/Film in the Critical Studies track as a second major my senior year. After all that I'm working retail, but so are half the people I know who have more career-oriented degrees.
[User Picture]From: pamelalabella
2013-01-05 09:37 pm (UTC)

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I feel like people are pressured into knowing what they want to do in life way to early to actually have a good grasp of it.. I went into psychology then linguistics pretty much for the sake of going to school for something I thought I enjoyed only to find that I didn't quite enjoy it. I worked in a completely different field I fell into for 6 years..then when the comfort zone got uncomfortable I finally realized what I wanted to do, started volunteering in the field and took a condensed program in it. I feel like people need more time in the real world trying things out before they can make decisions like that.
[User Picture]From: noodledays
2013-01-05 11:57 pm (UTC)

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I agree with this to a great extent.
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