You are not my academic/career advisor, but let's pretend for a moment.
March 29, 2012 10:26 PM Subscribe
From Music to IT to Neuroscience: Is this insane? (super long tedious details inside)
posted by Doleful Creature to Education (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
DISCLAIMER: I'm a total dilettante. I'm interested in everything and have never really settled on one single passion (though music and writing are about as close as it gets). Also I'm an unrepentant dreamer who sometimes needs grounding.
I'm turning 30 this year. I've been in a business analyst position at a medium size (400-600 employees) development shop working almost exclusively with Airlines. More specifically I work on payment processing. Before this job I worked as an IT training manager at a regional bank.
I do not have a degree, though I have lots of miscellaneous credits. Let me explain:
Ten years ago when I started college I went to a state school on a violin scholarship as a performance major. It didn't work out, and I switched to composition. Then I went on a 2-year mormon mission to Canada, and when I got back I realized I didn't need a piece of paper to play music and I didn't have the obsession to try and make it as a film/TV composer.
When I got back I immediately started working and took night classes at a local community college. Having no parental support to pay for school, and being loathe to get student loans, I only took classes once in a while, eventually letting my schooling lapse completely as I focused on my burgeoning IT career.
Now I have a good job with lots of pros (good pay, good benefits, great coworkers) and only a few cons (I'm not super passionate about writing software requirements, there seems to be no opportunity for advancement at my current company). I'm the only person in the office who doesn't have a degree (I keep up just fine, thank you, and the lack of advancement has nothing to with the lack of degree, everybody has been in the same position for the past 10 years).
I have no reason to get a degree in my current field, but I feel like I should at least get something. I've just signed up at my local community college and am going to take some classes this summer. I think at the very least I think I'm going to get an Associates in technical writing, just because I can do that pretty quickly. Then I'll probably transfer to a state University to work on my undergrad.
Here's the question: At the moment I'm really interested in neuroscience. Is this crazy? I'm fascinated with the brain, and I feel like I owe it to myself as a general act of self-improvement to become better at scientific method.
My wife supports me. We have really cheap rent through a family connection. But at my age, turning 30 married with two young children, would it be utter folly to make such an oblique change? I'm not terribly good with math, I KNOW that part would be extremely challenging and could break me, but I'm not deterred by that per se, more about what such a change would do to my future and more importantly my family's future.
I would probably want to either teach or work in a lab. Science writing is also very appealing. Do I need to go all Ph.D for this? Would B.S. be enough, or do I need at least M.S.? Is this something I'll spend the next 5-8 years only to realize I've made a terrible mistake because neuroscience is a horrible field in which to support a family?