Is majoring in the humanities unwise?
November 1, 2007 9:13 PM   Subscribe

humanities major=cardboard box?

I'm leaning towards majoring in the humanities (probably history or philosophy, possibly poli sci or something). Unfortunately, while I find classes in those subjects fascinating, I can't think of anything you could do with a degree in it other than, well, teach. They don't really do the whole sophist thing any more. I'm not sure that I'd want to teach.

I don't need to be rich. Money's not a big deal, but I'd like to able to pay my utilities. Is it wise to major in something merely because "you find it really interesting" or would I be better off majoring in something less interesting, but with (seemingly) more potential? I don't especially enjoy either subject, but I do well in math and economics...or am I way off base, and there are historians out there simultaneously raking in the dough and making the world a better place?
posted by Autarky to Education (43 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Nonsense. Law school, business school, medical school are all available. Assuming you would like to have all options open, take a bunch of math and biology in order to have potential prerequisites done before applying to med school or business school. I'd research a bunch of med/business schools to be sure. Usually a major can end up to be only a quarter of the 120+ credit hours you have to take.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:17 PM on November 1, 2007

I lean towards "study what you really like." If you commit to four or so years of a major you dislike, it will come to be a real slog.

Most people don't work in fields related to their majors anyway. And humanities major doesn't necessarily =/= underemployed. For example, a dear friend of mine has an MA in English literature (a Master's! In ENGLISH! Useless degree, no?) and is a well-paid business professional. Finishing a degree in history or philosophy will show an employer that you have stick-to-itiveness, critical thinking, an ability to organize your thoughts and communicate.

If you're not sure what you can do with a particular major or set of skills, your school's career department, or a career counselor, is there to help you.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:19 PM on November 1, 2007

Law school, business school, medical school are all available.

If you don't have any interest in law, business, or medicine, isn't this basically the same as studying something less interesting, but with more potential, albeit doing it in a really roundabout way (by getting a major in art history or whathaveyou first)?
posted by pravit at 9:28 PM on November 1, 2007

Sure, study philosophy. I did.

Of course you wont ever find a job as a philosopher, unless you end up tutoring or teaching at university.

A lot of employers will be impressed enough that you have actually finished a degree, regardless of your major.

My advice is to major in something with more potential, but keep the philosophy/history/pol science thing on the back burner. Otherwise you'll just end up regretting your universty degree, getting some boring sales job and eventually applying to go back to uni to do another degree that'll actually take you somewhere - which is exactly what I am doing now.
posted by robotot at 9:28 PM on November 1, 2007

I say 100% do humanities. It will make you into a real human being. That said:

TAKE MATH COURSES! If you think you can handle it, double major in math. MATH MATH MATH MATH MATH.

You can go anywhere and do anything if you know math.
posted by OldReliable at 9:29 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

It depends. My brother in law has a philosphy degree, which in practice has never been used (well, except by annoying me, but I don't think that counts). He has a very lucrative IT-related career, because computers are a passion of his and he's been programming and tinkering with computer hardware for most of his life. I guess you can think of it as persuing two paths in life simultaneously: a vocation and an avocation. Ironmouth is correct about the portability of a humanities degree into further higher education, but you pretty much have to kick ass grades-wise to stick out among all the other humanities grads expecting the same thing.

As I've gotten older I've become more of a proponent of "practical" degrees, if only because when it comes right down to it, the world isn't like what it was 15 or 20 years ago, when all but a select few college degrees were basically interchangeable; degree = decent job just about anywhere, right out of college, no worries. Times have changed. (None of this appears to apply if you graduate from, say, Harvard or Yale. They all automatically get to be hedge fund managers if they want to be even if they majored in japanese poetry). If you're good at econ, you might try a few other business classes for the hell of it - first to see how insanely easy they are, and second because it doesn't kill to have exposure to a few practical skills (financial accounting? too easy! ditto marketing).
posted by brain cloud at 9:29 PM on November 1, 2007

Fellow History/Humanities major here.

Whatever you decide to do, please DON'T just study a major that you hate (or are even indifferent towards) because you'll be easily employed in it's field.

I've known far too many people who studied computer science/biotechnology/whatever-is-hot-at-the-moment, while giving up their dreams of being a dance teacher, interior decorator, etc, because they were worried about not making enough money. Those are the most depressed, utterly miserable people I know. And I know at least a dozen of them.

Follow your dreams and you'll find ways to make money doing what you enjoy.
posted by Avenger at 9:30 PM on November 1, 2007 [2 favorites]

Yeah, the big 3 were covered by Ironmough.

I want to a libarts college for undergrad and I have 'B.LibArts' friends who are MLIS librarians to elementary school teachers to Brown scholars poets to manage to get government money to scientist-types*.

I also have friends who either flunked out or never went to college who are making far more money than those iof us who went to college & lots of friends who never went and are making less.

(*I also have peers who are indigent or working at WallMart, too)

If you decide to go the post-sec edu background, for sure - choose studies that are interesting to you. You'll get better grades, for starters. An undergraduate education is just another "hoop" you'll pass through to get employment or it can be a sandbox where you try new things out.
posted by porpoise at 9:42 PM on November 1, 2007

I was an Anthropology major, and while I believe it was a worthwhile experience, it would have made my current career path easier if I had also pursued design in college. I would suggest double-majoring in a "practical" field that also suits your interests. You get the chance to satisfy your academic desires and learn a set of skills that will help you get a job.

The practical fields in my university that tended to get people jobs right after graduation were: Management Information Systems, Engineering, Business, and Computer Science. People in the "hard sciences" usually have to pursue advanced degrees in order to get a well-paying job, so I wouldn't recommend them as a practical degree. People on the humanities usually didn't get jobs related to their field, so please take that into account. Good luck.
posted by lychee at 9:43 PM on November 1, 2007

I mentioned this in a different thread on the green but one of the most badass programmers I have ever known was a a Philosophy major. She was stone cold rationale and logical (and so are computers).
posted by mmascolino at 9:52 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

Major in what you're interested in, definitely. Don't study something that's boring to you, because as others have said, you'll just hate it, hate the job it gets you, and not use the degree in the end anyway because you'd rather be doing something else. Spend this time becoming well-rounded, broadly read, and generally a more knowledgeable person.

Really, it'll be cool. The world is filled with people who majored in English, philosophy, history, anthropology, etc. and found jobs outside those disciplines. If you can show up on time, maintain good hygiene, and not creep people out, you, as a smart and educated fella, will be able to support yourself.
posted by mumkin at 9:52 PM on November 1, 2007

Study what you love and back it up with some solid skills. Gather as many technological skills as you can. Learn how to be a really good writer and researcher. Write grants. Write articles. Go where there are people in your ideal field and network with them.
posted by pluckysparrow at 10:09 PM on November 1, 2007

The big lie is that it's an either/or thing. Instead of thinking of it that way, do the following:

1) study your passion.
2) gain a marketable skill.

It really doesn't matter whether 1 and 2 are the same thing. Just make sure you DO both 1 and 2. Be happy AND pay the rent.

If you think this way, it's remarkably freeing. If you happen to be into medicine, great. Go to med school, and you're set for 1 and 2. If you're more into philosophy, no problem. Study philosophy and get a certificate in massage therapy (or whatever).

I direct plays at night (doesn't pay a dime). I program computers by day (pays well). As an added bonus, I've come to love my day job. That might happen to you to, but it's not imperative that it does. Just find a rent-paying activity that you're fine with. Then find a passion to fill your soul.
posted by grumblebee at 10:09 PM on November 1, 2007

People with liberal arts degrees do fine, and liberal arts degrees are prime candidates for generic corporate employment.

You will not use your degree, in the sense that nobody is ever going to call on you to perform psychology at a moment's notice, or to suddenly perform amazing feats of political science or poetry analysis.

You will use your degree every day in the sense that you will use the skills you have developed during your higher education. A liberal arts BA is a generic and programmable information processor. An employer can be confident that you're able to intake and process large amounts of "information," sift through it for the real information, and communicate information effectively.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:14 PM on November 1, 2007 [3 favorites]

Double major in something practical, or at the very least minor in something practical, I really wish I had. Something in the Business vein could be hugely useful in just getting a generic, pay the bills, kind of job farther down the road, which you will undoubtedly need at one point in your life or another.
posted by whoaali at 10:25 PM on November 1, 2007

Well, I'll chime in as one of those dreams-as-an-interior-decorator-forsakers (although in my case it was historical linguistics); for various reasons, I studied electrical engineering despite lacking interest in the field, and I am neither depressed nor utterly miserable.

I wouldn't say it was too bad; a lot of the time I had no idea what I was doing(and even made an AskMe about it), but I kept my grades up and a bunch of companies are knocking on the door offering positions far removed from the hell of poking around at electronic junk I envisioned. I like coding, so I think I wouldn't mind the software engineering jobs I'm being offered; at the same time, I've been looking around at master's programs and finding that doing your undergrad in engineering or a similarly math-intensive field opens up a lot of doors. My (economics major) friends even joke I have a better shot of getting into economics programs than they do, since I have a heavier math background. I'm actually trying to transition to financial mathematics now, which luckily appeals to my interest in math, coding, and making money, but is unrelated to electronic hardware junk - and it's the EE degree that makes this possible for me.

There were times when I was slogging through an electromagnetics lab poking around at spectrum analyzers and seriously hating my life, wishing I'd gone off to study linguistics instead; right now, though, I definitely have no regrets. It's not a sour grapes thing; sometimes I wonder what life as a linguistics major would have been like, but I'm really happy with the opportunities I have now.

I'm not saying you should go off and study something boring but practical; I have no experience doing a humanities degree or trying to get a job with one. But make sure you don't write off entire fields as boring or uninteresting; I trudged into the electrical engineering department absolutely sure I'd hate the next four years of my life, and ended up liking a few subfields, like computer architecture and control systems.

I didn't give up my passion for languages, either - I still learn languages and travel when I have the time. I even picked up Mandarin Chinese while I was doing all of that electrical nonsense!

Like others said, you might study something you love, but end up working in an unrelated field you don't really care for. You should consider if you just find some field uninteresting, or are actually adverse to working in it. If you're going to end up working as a programmer after your women's studies degree, I don't see how doing a major in computer science instead could have hurt, really.

So, definitely study something you find interesting, but it's not the end of the world if you study something practical instead, and it might end up being drudgery-and-misery-and-hating-your-job-for-years-to-come regardless of what you study.

Good luck!
posted by pravit at 10:30 PM on November 1, 2007

You will never be as good at anything as that which you love. Pursue your dreams, it's your only shot at greatness.
posted by Kattullus at 10:31 PM on November 1, 2007

I think you're confusing college with vocational school. Teaching you a trade that will make you immediately employable in a specific field is not the primary goal of college. If that is what you're looking for don't even bother with college and instead look for a vocational school such as ITT Tech or New Horizons Computer Learning Center who can teach you specific, marketable job skills that will hopefully lead straight to a career in your chosen field of study.

Choosing a college major because you are interested in the subject matter does not doom you to forever have your career choices limited to that specific field. I was an English Lit major in college and am now a small business owner in the technology industry. But I don't regret having chosen to study the humanities for my college major. Sure, on a day-to-day basis being able to identify Shakespeare quotes and place them to the specific play doesn't serve much practical purpose at my job. But the overall college experience of learning to balance working on several major projects simultaneously, write at the college level, work successfully in groups, time management, finishing projects under tight deadlines etc. are all thing that have come in handy in a real-world professional environment.

Don't waste 4 years studying something you hate.
posted by The Gooch at 10:31 PM on November 1, 2007

Also, I might add - if you do major in something practical, make sure you're actually capable of doing it, instead of pursuing it solely for better job prospects. There are tons of people in engineering flunking out or taking like eight years to finish because they simply aren't any good at math. And some of those people even like tinkering with electronics! YMMV.
posted by pravit at 10:53 PM on November 1, 2007

...history or philosophy, possibly poli sci...

How do you like politics? Those all sound like good undergrad degrees for it.

My generic advice is to at least get a minor in either a more technical field that you have some interest in, or something more business related, like econ, or marketing. Both of those options should do well for a post-grad career.
posted by philomathoholic at 10:54 PM on November 1, 2007

I could never imagine studying something I didn't care about! Do what you enjoy and let the rest of your life unfold.
posted by loiseau at 11:13 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

What about dual major in X/Y, where X is your first love, and Y pays the bills?
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:20 PM on November 1, 2007

Seconding the people above who say that a college degree isn't meant to be something that guarantees you a job doing exactly the thing you studied, the day you graduate. What matters is the skills you actually bring to a job, and for that you should definitely keep up your math skills -- those will be more valuable than anything else in giving you flexibility in what jobs you can reasonably shoot for.

Also, disabuse yourself of two big myths about jobs. Almost regardless of your major, you will probably spend some time after graduation hunting unsuccessfully for a job. It just takes a while to get that first foot in the door, for most people. And once you get a job, it's not going to be the job you'll have for the rest of your life. It will start off as a dues-paying kind of thing, but once you do that for a few years you will have built enough skills and connections specific to your industry to move into a much better job that's more suited to you. Finally, even that second job probably won't be a single-word job title like "lawyer", "doctor", "accountant" etc. It will be a job you've never heard of. So: you want all-purpose thinking skills. This means math, it means courses where you learn to read perceptively, see through to the core of a problem, write on deadlines.

Remember too that college is a unique opportunity to study hard texts with people who know them well. Take classic literature courses. It's your chance to learn something like Italian or geology or something else off-the-wall. These things can enrich your life in inexpressible ways; they are not a waste. Don't waste the courses you have by taking courses that are un-challenging or un-interesting to you. Make each course count.

My advice would be to study the best combination of what you like and what will make you smarter -- so do a combination of humanities and math. Analytical and verbal skills, which philosophy teaches in spades, are valuable in many industries. (Of course, I would say that since I teach philosophy, but I swear students attest to their ability to get jobs!)
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:09 AM on November 2, 2007

Do it.
posted by ludwig_van at 2:33 AM on November 2, 2007

In principle I agree with a lot of the above statements, especially the idea that education in something and developing vocational skills are different, but not necessarily disjunct, sets.

In practice I need to temper it a bit, though, since I've also known someone who pursued a degree in what she loved at the time, and then later in life found that her interests had changed; she then was stuck with a degree that was neither vocational nor particularly appealing. Currently she's contemplating going into a nursing program, not because she's terribly drawn to it but because she's tired of cardboard boxing it.

So I would say don't lose track of what you love, but try to develop some sort of marketable skill at the same time, especially if teaching and/or staying in the academy don't appeal to you.
posted by whir at 2:38 AM on November 2, 2007

An academic I work with has suggested my son's (potential) Arts degree majoring in modern history or pol sci would set him up well for a job in the public service, writing policy etc.
posted by b33j at 3:23 AM on November 2, 2007

If you choose poli sci, try to take a lot of stats/methods classes. Those quantitative-related skills that you develop for poli sci research are often transferable to more "real world" (money-making) pursuits. For example, if you can run the stats packages that it takes to analyze data for a poli sci research project, you can also do it for a market research company or a polling firm.
posted by mccxxiii at 4:48 AM on November 2, 2007

You can do anything with a History major, in my experience. The major teaches you critical thinking and writing skills, which are both much in demand in many jobs. Thus far in my career I have done technical writing, public relations and marketing, and now I am an administrator at a university. Friends from my liberal arts school have worked as corporate consultants, planners, and many more. Don't feel like you need a pre-professional degree, it's really not necessary. You will probably flounder a bit when you get out of school, and maybe end up working as an admin assistant or something, but in the end you'll find something you love.
posted by miss tea at 4:54 AM on November 2, 2007

Making money after college has almost zilch to do with your degree. I graduated with a humanities degree but ended up working in computer science, a field that normally pays loads of money, and making very little because I preferred to be in a low-stress job with more freedom and responsibilities.

They key is whatever degree you go for, it has to push your ability to think critically. That's what employers will be looking for. If you don't like the idea of studying a topic, you'll probably hate working in the field.

My understanding is that once you get past high school math and economics are theoretical, rather than practical, disciplines. In other words, you are likely to know a lot about the idea of making money if you study economics, but you won't necessarily make loads yourself. This is doubly so if you end up in a liberal college which teaches heterodox economics, which is fascinating, cool, and sometimes "right" but has very little useful application in accumulating wealth.

It's cliched and hackneyed, but I firmly believe that this next century is going to be all about information, so you should try to take some courses that deal with that so you can integrate it with whatever else you're doing.

All this being said, sometimes I wish I had just gotten a nice engineering degree and gone off to some monolithic corporation. It must be nice making a lot of money each year.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:59 AM on November 2, 2007

Another English B.A. chiming in here.

After undergrad, I got a job at a university doing IT stuff. I had done some tech support work for a student job, and once I graduated, it led into a job at that same university.

When I started, I was all, "oh, I'm the weird Humanities grad who does IT." It's not weird at all: your degree can help you actually have a conversation with people, which is a marketable skill in IT.

Oh, and then I went to library school. It is another common path. You can probably land a job, especially if you are interested in technology.

But yeah, don't get some sucka-ass major unless Money is the only thing that matters to you.
posted by rachelpapers at 5:00 AM on November 2, 2007

Foreign Service Officer - right up your alley
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 5:12 AM on November 2, 2007

The point of a college education is to learn to think critically. Your specific undergraduate major matters so much less than you might think. When people ask me the "thing I wish I knew then," this is what I tell them.

All the angst and fighting with parents and soul-searching that undergrads are expected to go through to "PICK A MAJOR," when really, the most important thing is to work to get the most out of whatever area of study lights your fire.

The "marketable" degrees will not get you handed a job any more than a philosophy degree will.
posted by desuetude at 6:39 AM on November 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

English major here, and no regrets.

When I was in college, a friend who was majoring in some sort of biological science (pre-med of some ilk) told me that she envied me because she wished that she could major in English. I though it was a very odd thing to say, and an even odder sentiment. She went on to med school, hated it and quit.

That being said, bear in mind that I got kicked out for poor scholarship, poured concrete for three years, then went back to school to finish my English degree. Now I'm finishing up an MPA because somewhere along the way I discovered I really like being in the Public Sector. The English degree prepared me well; I've done nothing but read and write in grad school.

So my advice is to study something you want to. If you can double major as some have suggested, that's great. There's always time to go back if you refine your interests later.
posted by Shohn at 6:57 AM on November 2, 2007

I certainly wouldn't attest to doing something you'll violently dislike just to "pay the bills." There are plenty of other jobs that will just pay the bills without requiring the debt most college students incur. Sure, you might dislike them too, but at least you didn't spent four (or more) years paying out the nose to dislike them.

With that being said, I've know a fair share of humanities majors that come out of school with absolutely no idea how they're going to get employed. If you study engineering or computer science, the types of jobs you'll be suitable for after university are relatively clear-cut. Sure, there are plenty of other things one could do with those degrees too, but the "default" types of employment are easy to see.

With a humanities degree, the university to career transition is less clearly defined. I think some people don't really worry about what they'll be doing when finish and wait until they graduate. This is a tremendous waste of the resources available during university, and I don't mean things like a career services office.

Take advantage of all the people, organizations and opportunities around you. Join a club/student organization. Get to know some of your professors, at least one very well. Get at least two summer internships in areas where you might like to work. Career building is primarily networking and it's hard to find a riper environment than university.

But don't just expect your career to sort itself out once you graduate. Otherwise, in four years, you'll be staring at student loan debt and the prospects of making less that people who didn't go to university.
posted by Nelsormensch at 7:44 AM on November 2, 2007

I switched from Comp Sci to English during my sophomore year, and I'm doing okay 3 years out of college. I don't use my degree, but I've developed alot of publishing experience nonetheless, which is what happens for alot of people. A degree shows that you're smart and capable, which is all you really need to succeed at most jobs given enough acclimation.

Study your passions.
posted by cowbellemoo at 7:49 AM on November 2, 2007

You need a vision for the future.

As a former english major who's done the IT thing, and has gone back for a more practical degree (pharmacy), I say research, research, research!

Research yourself, your skills, desires, and abilities with at least as much effort as you would put into deciding what kind of car or stereo to buy.

Brainstorm what kinds of jobs you are interested in, and regard this year of classes as exploration. If it turns out you really like poli-sci and economics, maybe that is your niche. Maybe writing + math = market research. Maybe writing + economics = journalism. On the other hand, if you take an econ class and hate everybody in it, that's an important clue too.
posted by selfmedicating at 7:56 AM on November 2, 2007

English major here. I took a humanities degree against the advice of family and friends, because I figured if I enjoyed and was actively interested in what I was studying, I'd do better. And I did.

Now I'm on my second post-graduation job, earning very good money, and writing for a living. Sweet. Straight out of uni I worked for an IT consultancy, writing internal comms and developing training courses.

Your degree is what you make of it. Essentially, it's proof of your ability to learn, adapt and think originally. Except for jobs like doctor or engineer, the actual degree is becoming less and less important.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:40 AM on November 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

The timing of your question is rather eerie, as I was a history major and I'm currently facing a major career decision. Actually, I also majored in physics, but that was more of an endurance test as I took more courses. I felt somehow like that was the more "practical" field and I was determined to complete the major, but by the time I finished it was clear that was physics was not a good career path for me. I wanted to go on to graduate school in history, but because I didn't think that would be practical, I decided to take some time away from academics. I found work as a computer programmer and it turned out to be time well spent--it was good work experience and I liked the work, but also because during that time I became certain that I wanted to go to graduate school for a history degree. For my dissertation I ended up doing a large census data project that involved a lot of programming. I was an adjunct history professor for a time but I jumped at the chance to work for the Census Bureau. I've worked at the Census Bureau for several years now and I've been happy with my salary, but because my life has changed in the recent past (got married, had two kids, bought a house) I decided to see if I could find a better paying job. I had worried that I had pretty much topped out because my technical skills were outdated and that my research interests were too narrowly focused, but to my surprise I didn't have to look very long before I got an offer for a much better paying position. I'm in a dilemma because I love what I do at the Census Bureau and I think it's important work, so I have a decision to make.

But back to your question. I feel very strongly that you should follow your interests and major in the humanities. Of course, you do have to have an eye toward how you will make a living, but if you do something you love, with a little common sense, the money will follow. Yes, you could teach, but the critical thinking and research skills you develop when studying the humanities are invaluable and widely applicable. You need to determine what you really want to do and think of ways to combine your interests.
posted by Dead Man at 8:44 AM on November 2, 2007

Some Famous History Majors.
posted by LarryC at 8:59 AM on November 2, 2007

I did an undergrad in philosophy/history. Philosophy sharpened my mind and provided critical thinking skills I still use today. The catch is, I didn't need an entire degree in philosophy to gain those benefits. A few key courses would be enough, if you took them seriously. (History was a waste, in part because I blew off too much reading.)

What I realized later is that it's much easier to learn about the humanities after you graduate than it is to teach yourself math, engineering, economics or compsci. (For me, anyway.)

If I were to do it over, I'd choose a more obviously practical major that interested me and dabble in philosophy.

Whatever you decide to do, look into careers NOW. Learn about the different jobs that exist. See what the demand for them is like. Read blogs from people in that field. I was shockingly uninformed about what people did after school, and therefore what I might do. The reason people think about becoming teachers so often is because they see teachers all around them. Discover the jobs you don't know about.
posted by Yogurt at 11:23 AM on November 2, 2007

That old chestnut, What Color Is Your Parachute, is often very helpful for people who feel adrift and don't know what they want to do, career-wise. Also helpful are informational interviews conducted with people you know who have jobs you might like. You can ask them what educational backgrounds they have, how they obtained their jobs, etc.

I know another woman who got a liberal-arts BA when she was in her late thirties. She parlayed that into a much better job than she had before. Employers seemed to think, "wow! This woman raised kids AND got her degree at the same time - she must be incredibly hard-working, organized and resourceful!"

Just anecdotally and in my observations, the liberal-arts types who wind up cardboard-boxing it for an extended period, unable to find a good job for years, fall into one of these categories:

a) They live in a place which is economically depressed, or most employment is in one or two companies or industries, and cannot or will not relocate;

b) They live in a college town which is the only really terrific place to live for miles around, so everyone flocks there and/or stays there after graduation, resulting in an overcrowded job market and much unemployment;

c) They have some personal characteristic that makes them unappealing to most employers (sadly, some of this can't always be helped; there is proven job discrimination against the obese, for instance).

In situations like these, it's often hard for even practical majors to find jobs, unless said major is very useful in a particular area, such as nursing in a city where healthcare is the primary employer.

Often, the slog through a major you hate doesn't necessarily pay off in increased employment opportunities.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:35 AM on November 2, 2007

I really, really wish I'd done a double major Math/Psychology. I love Psychology, and liked Statistics and Mathematics. I was initially intending to be a professor, but that didn't work out, and now I'm trying to work my way into the statistics field without as much experience as I could have.
posted by stoneegg21 at 12:23 PM on November 2, 2007

I know someone who chucked science for art and is now pretty successful. I know someone else who stayed with an engineering degree (and hated it) and managed to parlay that into an awesome job (he needed the knowledge he learned in said field in order to get into the grad program he wanted). And then there's the high school classmate who did her undergrad in something she loved and is now doing a professional degree in something else that she loved.

Like a few others, I'd say do a double major, or major in one subject and minor in the other. But there are SO many opportunities available to you in university, and I've seen more than one person go in a completely unexpected direction and land themselves in a spot they're very happy with. If you do well in your courses and take advantage of the resources that uni offers, what you major in is probably not going to hold you back.
posted by elisynn at 9:31 PM on November 2, 2007

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