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What did you study in college and what would be your advice to your kids going back to school now?

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43 minutes ago, -OZ- said:

Economics was my minor before switching to military science. Ended up with one major and three minors. It's not hard to tell which has been most lucrative:

Major: political science

Minor 1: social sciences

Minor 2: Military science

Minor 3: finance (I took 3 graduate level courses during my final year) 

Finance might actually have helped a bit on the personal level, but it has never been a factor in my careers. 

You're making cyborg warriors, aren't you?

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mechanical engineering.  I started out my freshman year as undeclared engineering - accepted into the school of engineering but I hadn't selected a discipline at the time.  I chose mechanical after a semester because I had a hard time understanding how electronics work - much easier for me to visualize mechanics.

I don't regret it.  It's been a fun, rewarding career with plenty of job security and challenging, fulfilling work.  Basically, I my job is to solve technical problems with my companies products - that means I spend a lot of time in the shop fabricating prototypes and then testing them.

That being said, if I had to do it over again, I'd go into computer engineering.  Not IT or writing code, but hardware/firmware stuff.  IoT is the new future - making smart and connected devices is where it's at.  Tons of room for innovation, tons of employment opportunities, tons of room for career growth.

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On 1/23/2020 at 4:11 PM, Ron Swanson said:

Bartend for a year, drive taxi/uber for a year, then go apprentice to a plumber or electrician. If you still want to go to college after that exposure to life have at it.

I totally agree with this.

My degree was aerospace engineering, and even though I’ve had a great and successful career, I wouldn’t do it again. I’d learn a trade and plan to start my own business when I turned 30 or so. Sounds like a great way to go.

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Depends on the kid and their abilities. I went in the military, majored in accounting when I got out and hated it. Ended up going back to school to be an RN. Job has its challenges but I generally like it and it pays well. Given the nursing shortage I’d recommend it to any kid who has the right temperament and ability to do the job. My daughter was always super smart. She originally wanted to be a chef. Steered her more towards a science based degree. She settled on food genetics (developing, engineering, food borne pathogens etc). She likes it as it’s still something based on her interests. Graduates in May and then off to grad school. 

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On ‎1‎/‎24‎/‎2020 at 9:57 AM, Instinctive said:

Find the prestigious extracurriculars, schmooze the right people and get the best grades to get into them, work a job or two along the way that you like, and focus on figuring out what you want out of life. Take advantage of the dating pool. Get/stay in shape.

 

If you can be at the top of your class and you are a hard worker, your major doesn't matter.

I don't totally agree with this statement.  If you are a hard worker you will likely succeed in some manner however picking a major that has prospects will make it a lot easier.  Also, in many majors being at the top of the class isn't really necessary.  I would stress that.  Don't blow off living life to have your head buried in a book to get straight A's because in many fields your GPA doesn't matter. 

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I wish I would have sacrificed my social life for studies a little more.  I would have much rather spent 4 years studying hard and setting myself up with a rich life than halfassing it and having it affect my later enjoyment in life.

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Electrical Engineering

Should've been an Astrophysicist

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2 hours ago, El Floppo said:

You're making cyborg warriors, aren't you?

I wish!

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34 minutes ago, Gally said:

I don't totally agree with this statement.  If you are a hard worker you will likely succeed in some manner however picking a major that has prospects will make it a lot easier.  Also, in many majors being at the top of the class isn't really necessary.  I would stress that.  Don't blow off living life to have your head buried in a book to get straight A's because in many fields your GPA doesn't matter. 

In many fields, connections matter so much more than GPA. 

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Bachelor degrees in history, econ, and math.  Also got an MBA.  Worked many different jobs since I get bored fast.  IT with Oracle & IBM.  Finance with a bunch of companies.  Now own my own business in RE.

My advice is

1: get 2 majors.  It has served me immensely well.  One degree should be in a major that has a chance to get you a job - business, engineering, computer science, pre-med, pre-law.  The other should be in what you love - whether is be literature, art history, poly sci, whatever.  Combining what you love to do with a respected major sets a person up well to enjoy their career.

2: don't be lazy.  It's so easy to drift through college because honestly you don't learn much you will use later on.  There is no reason everyone can't have a 3.5+ GPA and take on leadership roles and be incredibly active.  95% of students just drift through it.  But to get the premier jobs at the end of the process, employers want to know that you know how to work hard and will fight through things to the end.  Essentially that you are a winner.

 

And I always see comments that money can't make you happy.  Well, lack of money isn't going to make you happy either.  So get a major that will make money and buy the things that make you happy.

Edited by Brunell4MVP
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On 1/27/2020 at 7:45 AM, Alex P Keaton said:

Started out majoring in chemical engineering.  Quickly hated chem and physics lab.  Deeply hated.

Switched to actuarial science.  Really enjoyed the major.  It worked out great, no regrets about how life has turned out (except for getting married too young — which has nothing to do with my major).  

Haven't worked as an actuary since 2003.  Hated being chained to a desk and pigeon-holed as a “math guy wearing pocket protector.”

Again, no regrets, but probably would have majored in Finance/Econ/Stats.  Ideally would have waited 1-2 years to start college, and spent the gap time working weird jobs.   Maybe something in Sales.  I needed to grow up and get a dose of reality.  Never would have worked as an actuary.  Never would have joined an insurance company.

APK, my son (freshman) is majoring in Actuarial Science.  Was wondering what career you went on to after you left that.  Just really curious as to what other options would be open to him as a fall back (I assume corporate finance and accounting would be possibilities)?

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Majored in Film Production and made a good career out of it. For a decade, I co-owned a bi-coastal Post Production services business, which we sold for a nice sum in 2006. But wouldn’t recommend anyone do that. Get a business or finance degree, and learn a craft on the side if you’re passionate about it. There’s no job I ever got that I couldn’t have with those other degrees, but that’s not true the other way around.

More online resources now than ever to learn a craft. Don’t need a fancy degree.

Edited by Mr. Ham

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Literature/Writing.

If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have bothered with college.  

 

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Undergrad - Majored in both Finance and Risk Management

Grad school - Predictive Analytics

I also have a CPA license

 

I would do it again, b/c these are the things that I'm good at and interest me.  My job utilizes all of them by providing research for industries and helping the organizations in those industries perform better through data.

 

For my kids - they are 6 and 7.  Most "it" jobs that will be around for them haven't even been invented yet.  I have an affinity for data and my wife is in healthcare, which I think are both stable areas for them to pursue.  But, I won't push them anywhere, because who knows what the world is going to look like in 15 years.

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On 1/24/2020 at 5:29 AM, STEADYMOBBIN 22 said:

My friends daughter gets all of her tuition paid because she’s “homeless”. It’s ducking ridiculous. 
 

So if you’re a colossal cheapskate and  have no shame, that’s an option. 

Or if you are, you know, actually homeless you might still have a chance at getting an education and making something of your life.

So ridiculous.

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On 1/27/2020 at 7:30 AM, kutta said:

I totally agree with this.

My degree was aerospace engineering, and even though I’ve had a great and successful career, I wouldn’t do it again. I’d learn a trade and plan to start my own business when I turned 30 or so. Sounds like a great way to go.

If you’ve got an entrepreneurial personality, this is great advice. But I’m not sure most people do. While being one’s own boss sounds great, managing others and taking ultimate responsibility for a business doesn’t. As long as my boss doesn’t get in my way, I’m much more content being a worker bee.

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On 1/27/2020 at 8:04 AM, TheIronSheik said:

I wish I would have sacrificed my social life for studies a little more.  I would have much rather spent 4 years studying hard and setting myself up with a rich life than halfassing it and having it affect my later enjoyment in life.

I didn’t really kill myself studying, but I wish I had developed more interests outside academics in college. I also wish I took a year or two off to travel, live as a climbing dirtbag or ski bum. There’s plenty of time to develop ones career later.

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On 1/27/2020 at 7:28 AM, El Floppo said:

Architecture.

Nfw.

I originally was an architecture major. Since I could hold a pencil I was drawing layouts. I joke that while most kids were sketching superheros, I was drawing 4 bedroom colonials. 

I had my high school create special classes for me b/c they only offered a 1/2 year of drafting as normal curriculum. Went to college (locally thankfully) and quit it after my 1st year. Way too much real world math and science then I was use to when just coming up with concepts that were nice looking. 

I ended up transferring to Graphic Design and am still doing it today. Had a pretty good career In agencies and such and now am on my own (by choice) working for myself. I love what I do, but the industry is challenging and the future of it is changing rapidly. 

I also teach design at my local college 1 day a week (mostly freshman) and I have to say, while I love it, most of the kids have absolutely no clue or ambition right now. I would love to just be like "dude, go find something else to do because college aint for you." It's astounding. 

I've long held the idea that college has become just another thing to do because 'you have to'  and most kids are really not prepared to be making these expensive and long term choices about their future just yet. As others have said, I wish trades were more glamorous and promoted in high school as alternative options. I could see a good secondary education market for trades where not only do you learn the skill, but also basic business, management and finance classes to help you map out a long term career out of it. 

 

As for my kids: My oldest (8th grade) wants to go into video editing which I think is a sustainable creative career. My son is only 9, but I can tell he will do something engineering or technical. He loves to take things apart to see how they work. 

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On 1/27/2020 at 10:45 AM, fruity pebbles said:

Depends on the kid and their abilities. I went in the military, majored in accounting when I got out and hated it. Ended up going back to school to be an RN. Job has its challenges but I generally like it and it pays well. Given the nursing shortage I’d recommend it to any kid who has the right temperament and ability to do the job. My daughter was always super smart. She originally wanted to be a chef. Steered her more towards a science based degree. She settled on food genetics (developing, engineering, food borne pathogens etc). She likes it as it’s still something based on her interests. Graduates in May and then off to grad school. 

This to me is the right way to do it.

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On 1/27/2020 at 10:45 AM, fruity pebbles said:

Depends on the kid and their abilities. I went in the military, majored in accounting when I got out and hated it. Ended up going back to school to be an RN. Job has its challenges but I generally like it and it pays well. Given the nursing shortage I’d recommend it to any kid who has the right temperament and ability to do the job. My daughter was always super smart. She originally wanted to be a chef. Steered her more towards a science based degree. She settled on food genetics (developing, engineering, food borne pathogens etc). She likes it as it’s still something based on her interests. Graduates in May and then off to grad school. 

I had considered this career path as well. Thankfully my father has a lot of restaurants as clients so I knew a few local, very high end chefs, and I saw 1st hand how working kitchens operated. Once I expressed interest, a few of my dad's clients sat me down and gave me the straight deal on life as a chef. They told me that it is a great career, however it can be brutal on your home life. You are working every holiday and all weekend, basically any time everyone else is out. Also, kitchens take a very long time to work your way up through. 

This was before the foodTV days. So I can imagine even more now, kids think that chefs are rock stars and spend their time traveling the globe looking for that perfect spice when it is so not the case. I met an interior designer professor at a college event and we were talking about how kids are coming into her class expecting the job to be like they show on HGTV and many quit after the 1st semester after the reality of the job sets in. 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, glvsav37 said:

I had considered this career path as well. Thankfully my father has a lot of restaurants as clients so I knew a few local, very high end chefs, and I saw 1st hand how working kitchens operated. Once I expressed interest, a few of my dad's clients sat me down and gave me the straight deal on life as a chef. They told me that it is a great career, however it can be brutal on your home life. You are working every holiday and all weekend, basically any time everyone else is out. Also, kitchens take a very long time to work your way up through. 

This was before the foodTV days. So I can imagine even more now, kids think that chefs are rock stars and spend their time traveling the globe looking for that perfect spice when it is so not the case. I met an interior designer professor at a college event and we were talking about how kids are coming into her class expecting the job to be like they show on HGTV and many quit after the 1st semester after the reality of the job sets in. 

 

 

Pretty much what I told her. Work your way up from the bottom. She envisioned a fairy tale. Luckily we were able to compromise and she’s happy with her choice of major. She cooks as a hobby. 

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Started Pre-med 2.5 years, ended up with MIS degree.  Had no idea why I majored in either the entire time.. had no plan.  School was easy, but I didn't care much, didn't go to class, and got through with just decent grades.

Got job with Dell right out of school - the job everyone was wanting back then.  Quit after 5 months.  Still had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew that wasn't it.

Buddy was selling wine for Gallo, talked me into it.  19 year sales career says this was the right move for me, but it isn't for everyone.  Degree = worthless.

 

If I were giving myself advice back then i would 100% recommend the working/learning a trade for a couple years before school route mentioned above.  I simply wasn't mature enough, and lacked any vision of what I wanted out of life.  I would have been less likely to take it for granted.  Of course most of my friends were able to make a plan for college and beyond and work that plan, so obviously this would be a case by case basis.

Edited by matuski

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If you don't have your heart set on a profession join the military for a short stint.  See the world.  Have a little fun.  Get the G.I. Bill to pay for college or trade school when your tour is over.  

 

The only other tip I would give someone is try to find a degree or trade that is in very high demand.   It is nice to not have to work at a bad company knowing your skill set/degree is wanted everywhere.  

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Lay as much pipe as possible and try to savor it every time. Don’t get married. STEM degree or GRFO.  Trade school if no college. Military last. 

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i somehow got a degree in economics, which can be applied across banking and lots of different areas.  my advise; however, would be to become a firefighter or trooper.  when my BIL told me his NY benefits package, i just about crapped myself.

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