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  1. #21
    my floof is luxury Wind Up Rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    That doesn't mean suggesting a heavily corporate career makes sense. You can always find a middle ground that could both be compatible with someone's attitudes and provide a human living (not being "rich", of course).
    The background I've suggested would make him competitive for all kinds of things. If he wanted to, he could take that skillset and work for a social enterprise designing solar powered stoves for people in the developing world. It would be something that does good, but gets him more of a paycheck than if he were simply fetching coffee as someone's intern. Second, there's nothing preventing him from pursuing that STEM major in conjunction with a second liberal arts major or minor. There were tons of kids at my university who were pre-med with minors in philosophy. Finally, there's nothing stopping him from pursuing a graduate degree in Literature or whatever if that's what he so desires, because he'll always have that practical fall back.

    The point being that someone with the background that I described may not always use it in the prescribed way, but they'll always have it if they need it. If he wants to have the background of a corporate jetsetter, but instead teach middle school history, then he has that option. As opposed to someone who has that history degree, aspires to more than teaching, and does not.
    And so long as you haven’t experienced this: to die and so to grow,
    you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth

  2. #22
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    You're completely forgetting about the process of actually obtaining the degree. What if he does not LIKE STEM? There is absolutely nothing in the OP that suggests he-she would enjoy what you are depicting. In that case he-she will make a mediocre graduate if not a drop-out and may be very far from having all the options you describe, not to mention the miserable overall experience.
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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wind-Up Rex View Post
    The background I've suggested would make him competitive for all kinds of things. If he wanted to, he could take that skillset and work for a social enterprise designing solar powered stoves for people in the developing world. It would be something that does good, but gets him more of a paycheck than if he were simply fetching coffee as someone's intern. Second, there's nothing preventing him from pursuing that STEM major in conjunction with a second liberal arts major or minor. There were tons of kids at my university who were pre-med with minors in philosophy. Finally, there's nothing stopping him from pursuing a graduate degree in Literature or whatever if that's what he so desires, because he'll always have that practical fall back.

    The point being that someone with the background that I described may not always use it in the prescribed way, but they'll always have it if they need it. If he wants to have the background of a corporate jetsetter, but instead teach middle school history, then he has that option. As opposed to someone who has that history degree, aspires to more than teaching, and does not.
    *She

    I appreciate the logic behind this suggestion, but I don't have any interest in STEM at all. The only overtly practical field I would consider going into is business.

    Not sure why you would compare my preferences (none of which were necessarily impractical) to a child's preference for eating cake all day. I know that going into the job market with only an undergraduate humanities degree is risky. If I were to major in English or Philosophy, I would definitely go on to grad school. (I should have clarified that in the OP.) There are many fields that would be a reasonable middle ground for me.

  4. #24
    my floof is luxury Wind Up Rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    You're completely forgetting about the process of actually obtaining the degree. What if he does not LIKE STEM? There is absolutely nothing in the OP that suggests he-she would enjoy what you are depicting. In that case he-she will make a mediocre graduate if not a drop-out and may be very far from having all the options you describe, not to mention the miserable overall experience.
    To be fair, my initial comment was more than a little facetious, and I made it assuming both that it'd be taken as such and that I wouldn't be here having to defending it to this level. But, if we're really going there, then my point was that the OP has to be a bit more pragmatic about selecting a major than whether or not it makes them happy. I think that Americans have come to a point where they take college for granted as something one does after you graduate from high school when that simply shouldn't be the case. College is only worth the time, energy, and investment if you know that it's gonna contribute to your overall career path.

    Of course, you can argue that the present state of things is such that to be competitive for even a bottom rung job necessitates an undergraduate education as a minimum. That they are essentially the new high school diploma. That's a valid (not to mention fairly well-established) point. That doesn't mean, however, that what you study should be some touchy-feely, free-for-all exercise in "finding oneself"or exploring your intellectual interest. As @kyuuei put it, college is a business exchange. You need to go in there knowing what exactly you need to get out of that transaction. If I had a kid who knew that they wanted to be a curator for MOMA when they grew up, then I would have no qualms about shelling out the cash so they could be an Art History major at Vassar. On the other hand, if I had a kid that didn't really know what they wanted to do, then they're going to be on my STEM+Mandrin plan until they get an idea. They want to take a few years to "find themselves" and "explore their interests", then there are some perfectly nice community colleges they can go to until they get it together. Or better yet they can take a year to work, so they know what it's like to have bills and responsibilities--an experience I feel would go a long way towards clairfying the priorities of a teenager who has no plans but "really wants to study English".

    Now, I'm assuming that the OPs parents are paying for his schooling, which may not be the case. If my kid had a scholarship, and is paying his or her own way through school, then that's a totally different story. I would still encourage him to acquire a marketable skill through his education, or at least have a clear idea how a less traditionally marketable major will contribute to his career path. But to some extent I'd be more willing to stand back, because there's a somewhat greater margin for error for someone who doesn't graduate with any financial obligations.

    I believe very deeply in the importance of an education, and that all knowledge is worth having besides. But the simple fact of the matter is that approaching college as if it's purely about the acquisition of knowledge for its own sake is dangerously naive. If you go to college thinking that your only there to learn, then you're starting from a deficit. If you go in, on the other hand, approaching it as a means to prepare yourself for a career, then you're going to have a totally different mindset. Opportunities will be on your radar that just won't occur to the first person I described, and you'll ultimately set yourself up a better experience not only as an undergrad, but beyond.
    And so long as you haven’t experienced this: to die and so to grow,
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  5. #25
    my floof is luxury Wind Up Rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by decrescendo View Post
    *She

    I appreciate the logic behind this suggestion, but I don't have any interest in STEM at all. The only overtly practical field I would consider going into is business.

    Not sure why you would compare my preferences (none of which were necessarily impractical) to a child's preference for eating cake all day. I know that going into the job market with only an undergraduate humanities degree is risky. If I were to major in English or Philosophy, I would definitely go on to grad school. (I should have clarified that in the OP.) There are many fields that would be a reasonable middle ground for me.
    You can more or less ignore the discussion between myself and FDG. And I hope you'll pardon my glibness (as well as calling you male). If I'm being serious face about this, then the bottom line for you ought to be what I bolded in my previous post. If that doesn't jive with where you're at, then I've unfortunately exhausted my soundest material.
    And so long as you haven’t experienced this: to die and so to grow,
    you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth

  6. #26
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    Philosophy is a natural lead-in to Law. From the sounds of it, you're right brained (being lazy since the brain hemispheres theory has been debunked but you get my picture) so the soft sciences would be better than hard sciences.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wind-Up Rex View Post
    You can more or less ignore the discussion between myself and FDG. And I hope you'll pardon my glibness (as well as calling you male). If I'm being serious face about this, then the bottom line for you ought to be what I bolded in my previous post. If that doesn't jive with where you're at, then I've unfortunately exhausted my soundest material.
    Haha, it's fine. I do agree with FDG, though, and you wouldn't have had to defend yourself so extensively if you'd realized that he wasn't arguing against what you bolded. (as well as the fact that you had seemed to take a more extreme stance before.)

  8. #28
    my floof is luxury Wind Up Rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by decrescendo View Post
    Haha, it's fine. I do agree with FDG, though, and you wouldn't have had to defend yourself so extensively if you'd realized that he wasn't arguing against what you bolded. (as well as the fact that you had seemed to take a more extreme stance before.)
    Oh, I'm deadly serious about the whole STEM thing. I acknowledge though that specific points are usually stand ins for broader concepts with me, and I forget everyone doesn't think that way. So I was a little confused when I got so much push back when I felt I was obviously being silly, but nonetheless pointing to something reasonably pragmatic for someone asking for advice on sorting out her major.

    Anyways. Picking a major is the first adult decision that most people make. There's a lot of responsibility in that, but also a great deal of freedom. As long as your mindful of your future, you can't really make a wrong choice.

    Have fun and best of luck.
    And so long as you haven’t experienced this: to die and so to grow,
    you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth

  9. #29
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    bla bla bla career path. at the end of the day you live your life day to day, and yes I am saying this as an ENTJ because I try to be fully aware of my own "neuroses" among which there is an excessive future orientation and impatience. I personally always liked physics and economics and I am now a math-oriented economist so studying what I liked it worked for me. Why did it work? Because I liked learning the subject and thus was able to always be in the top 5% and have the largest "choice". I was also lucky that what I liked was fairly employable, but not "extremely" so (I shiver at thinking how depressed would I have been if I studied IT technical subjects or engineering).

    What I am trying to say is that an optimal career path is a consequence of your day to day preferences, not the reverse, so you can't force what you "wish" to be on your own natural inclinations.

    Of course most people need to make a living and thus have to adapt somehow, but I think here we are trying to determine an *optimal" choice in a setting where the constraints are not that strong.
    '
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wind-Up Rex View Post
    Oh, I'm deadly serious about the whole STEM thing. I acknowledge though that specific points are usually stand ins for broader concepts with me, and I forget everyone doesn't think that way. So I was a little confused when I got so much push back when I felt I was obviously being silly, but nonetheless pointing to something reasonably pragmatic for someone asking for advice on sorting out her major.

    Anyways. Picking a major is the first adult decision that most people make. There's a lot of responsibility in that, but also a great deal of freedom. As long as your mindful of your future, you can't really make a wrong choice.

    Have fun and best of luck.
    I still don't think it was clear to anyone what you were arguing for, as most people realized a middle ground would be much more reasonable. (I know that's what you seem to be saying now, but you were seriously defending STEM as a viable option for me for a while there.)

    Thank you, I'm really looking forward to it.

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