History ---> Cash
July 29, 2008 1:35 AM Subscribe
1) Get BA in beloved liberal arts field
Help me balance my desire for a degree in History with my desire to earn a decent living for myself.
posted by Avenger to work & money (33 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
This spring I begin my Junior year of college -- working towards a BA in History. I love History and I consider it to be one of my passions. Probably my "main" passion. It's difficult to describe to someone who hasn't felt the "history bug", but I am "that one kid" who spends his lunch hour reading up on John XXII and the political intrigues of the Avignon Papacy. There really isn't much that I enjoy more -- intellectually speaking -- than history.
So, naturally, I went for a degree in History. My struggle right now is finding an algorithm that will result in "History --> Cash".
Grad school is a definite possibility (I have a 4.0 -- that should help me to get in, right?), although my parents are bankrupt and I'm poor, so financing might be tricky. But what should I study there? I really have no desire to teach high school. I suppose I could do it if the alternative were starvation, but I never liked high school and, frankly, I don't like kids that much. My parents have been encouraging me to head into law school after I graduate, but the
idea of having $100,000+ in debt is too scary for me to even contemplate. Also, lawyering doesn't thrill me either.
I've considered teaching at a college level, although when I ask my professors about it, their responses are usually shades of "don't bother". Apparently, a glut of humanities professors and deep cuts in state and Federal education budgets makes it very hard to get onboard a faculty without somebody dying first. Math and Science professors are much more in demand -- and while I enjoy science and am competent at math, I just don't see an academic career for myself in either.
I've also considered "Government" (a vague term if there ever was one) and a Masters in Public Administration, although I'm not even completely sure what I could do with that. I'm probably too much of a humanitarian to get a job with the FBI, CIA or just about any political campaign.
This is also difficult because I'm trying to figure out exactly how much money would be enough for me to be comfortable living on. 40,000/yr? 50? 60? I've never made more than 16,000/yr in my whole life. I'd like to make more, of course, but I have no absolute goals for how much money I feel that I need to earn. I guess you could say I'm still exploring my values in this regard.
On a more practical note: This fall I will be taking an EMT course to improve my near-term employment prospects. Entry-level EMT's can make $25-30,000/yr, which is pretty good from my current $9/hour vantage point.
So should I try to get a job that relates to my History degree somehow, or should I get it just for the enrichment and pursue a more practical route to financial success? Am I missing something here?