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Old 01-21-2008, 03:18 AM   #21
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Went to college right out of high school, majoring in Psychology. Found an avocation at the student union for 9 ball and canasta. In spite of the best efforts of the professors, I devoted most of my class time to those pursuits, and subsequently flunked out. Few years later, and more mature, realized that my personality wouldn't allow me to continue with that blemish of starting something and not finishing it. Went back through a forgiveness program that they had for returning students, and taking a full load while working, and switching majors the last year, due to lack of available classes needed for first major, got a BS in business. Reason was to finish something started, and really didn't believe that the specific field mattered, was working in technical area anyway at that time.
Value of graduating was a one time bump in salary, which of course became the springboard by which the rest of career was based on, so it helped from that standpoint. The value of the classes was in finance, economics, and marketing - critical thinking, analyzing for the big picture, and setting goals and objectives.
Couldn't have predicted it at the beginning, often didn't realize it till the end.
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Old 01-21-2008, 03:44 AM   #22
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No, never regretted it and would probably take the same course of action today.

My undergrad degree is in Engineering, but I work in software (a little different) but applicable. My grad degree in Business (applicable).

However, my undergrad decision happened at 21 after some exposure to the field and a little life experience. As opposed to just going to college and grasping for something about which I knew nothing. I think this is the major reason most young people wind up with a degree in something that is a total mismatch. Plus, some people often target a degree because they perceive it as easy. Others targeted (undergrad) something for which one requires a PHD and a desire to be an educator. Once these people graduate, they find the practical matter of getting a job is not so easy and they are not willing to get advanced degrees and pursue a career that will likely result in mid-level wages. It is my belief that most people should consult a career specialist and target a degree in an area that is in demand. Tee problem is that those skills usually take more work (e.g., Engineering, Law, Medical, Advanced degrees for education, etc.)
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Old 01-21-2008, 06:17 AM   #23
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Started in engineering and dropped out after 2 years. 20 years later went back to school and got BA in business. Thought about MBA, but due to my age and work situation, I didnt see a return on investment. I dont regret the business degree, but I wish I would have stayed in school the first time and got the engineering degree.
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Old 01-21-2008, 07:59 AM   #24
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I think there are two ends to the the student self awareness spectrum. Those who know what they want to do (or think they do) who end up in engineering, pre-law/med, architecture and the like. And those like me who don't have a clue who end up in psychology, English or some other liberal arts curriculum. I think for us clueless types the degree and the college experience are still worth while. For one thing, the degree is a credential that gets you past the front door for most white collar jobs. It isn't that you can't make it on your own without a degree but you are imposing a handicap that can make all the difference. Lets face it, the stats show the value of a degree is pretty significant. And set all that aside -- the college years are a blast.
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:13 AM   #25
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No regrets. Rec'd Pharmacy degree in '77, worked in hospitals the majority of my career, loved the people I worked with, never had to hunt for employment, and most of all, enjoyed helping the patients. Just retired at 58.
Had I not been too busy partying, I might have followed this course. Was studying pre-pharmacy right out of high school.

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Associates degree in mechanical engineering, associates degree in electrical engineering. I worked in the field of research and development for 35 years designing automated manufacturing equipment, consumer products and medical instrumentation. Enjoyed it and earned a good living too.

Probably wouldn't do anything different a second time around.
Associate of applied science in electrical engineering here.

Worked in semiconductor R&D for 24 years. Beat digging holes for a living.

Also received a BS in bidness administration, but it turned out that, for me at least, the associate degree was more valuable...
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:44 AM   #26
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I was a Psych major as an undergrad. I worked with emotionally disturbed children during the summers and thought I might want to continue in that field. However, marriage and the need to earn a decent living led me into an internship with Uncle Sam. I eventually got a Master's in Public Admin. I wound up doing financial management for NASA - pretty far afield from psych. No regrets on the undergrad choice.

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Old 01-21-2008, 10:20 AM   #27
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It's fascinating how many people (almost all here) changed course along the way. I had decided in my senior year of high school to go into law enforcement but wasn't sure of the best course. It was either the military or college, I took a semester off to think about it because I hated HS so much. No one called me "studious" in HS. Eventually decided that if I didn't like college I could quit and go in the military but it didn't work the other way around.

And, Vietnam was in full swing and I wasn't enthused about getting shot at for reasons I didn't understand in a place I couldn't find on the map. Got lucky and drew a high number in the draft lottery.
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Old 01-21-2008, 10:36 AM   #28
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Undergrad was finance, with a minor in accounting and a concentration in risk management and insurance.

I was planning on being a commercial underwriter for Aon or somebody...........no jobs there...........

I had planned on a minor in math, but advanced calculus took me down..........
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Old 01-21-2008, 10:37 AM   #29
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I would do a lot of things differently if I could go back to college, but I'd still pick my business degree with a MIS major. The business training helped me a lot in my investments and personal finance. The MIS major paved the way for a good career.
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Old 01-21-2008, 10:52 AM   #30
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I worked as an office manager for an actuarial firm when I was 25. They offered me a promotion to assistant actuary -- for the same salary I was making. Because I did payroll I knew that the other assistants were making many thousands more.

"Well, THEY have college degrees," I was told.

Because I kept the personnel files I went back to see what these degrees were all about. English literature, social welfare, and american history are the ones I remember.

I'm not the brightest bulb in the chandelier but they didn't have to tell me twice. A degree may not have helped me make more, but it could sure be used as an excuse to pay me less. I turned down the assistant's job, took my 2 yrs of Jr. college and applied to "the big kid's school." Got a BA in Philosophy.

Now, that in itself didn't get me big bucks, but it did pave the way for the MBA (which I hadn't considered prior to the BA and couldn't have qualified for without), and for my career thereafter.

Oh, by the way, I also learned to reason logically, which is an easy thing to undervalue until you meet a few people who can't or won't do likewise.

For me, a degree isn't JUST about what I studied during the time it took to earn it, it was also about opening doors and training my mind to successfully navigate my choices as they appeared.

I'm wiling to bet (though there's no way to prove it), that I'd be a very different person without it.
Pretty similiar story for me. Started college right out of HS, thinking I wanted to be a teacher. A well meaning advisor suggested I look at engineering (not many females there at the time)...I freaked out and soon dropped out. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb as I gave up a full ride scholarship.

Took a full time job as a secretary in MegaCorp and soon realized while I was getting 2-3% raises, others were getting 10-15% more...because they had college degrees, I was told. The head of HR (who soon became my mentor) told me that he thought I had great potential, and that if I got a bachelor's degree in pretty much any field, I'd move up the ladder, too.

Went back to school at night, while working full time. Couldn't decide what to study, so I "sampled" lots of stuff -- geology, accounting, fashion design, production control, business. Finally realized that while I was having the time of my life, I needed to concentrate on getting a degree. Settled on business administration and qualified for a dual major in human resources and business/labor relations. Needed 168 credits to graduate...had over 200 due to my "dabbling."

HR mentor proved true to his word. Started out in HR, moved over to public affairs as a speechwriter, ended up handing MegaCorp's charitable foundation and community involvement efforts worldwide.

Did my degree help me? Absolutely, although I didn't know it at the time, my broad-based education helped me deal with all kinds of situations and groups. I do not recommend taking the length of time I did to graduate, however!
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Old 01-21-2008, 11:12 AM   #31
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Some regrets, but I did what made sense to me at the time. My parents hadn't gone to college and I was just a slightly better than mediocre student, so it seemed enough to just got to college. The choice of a major was incidental.

Started off with nursing but just didn't care for it, so switched to psychology---with not a lot of thought into what I would do with the degree. Senior year I came to the conclusion that grad school was inevitable. Wanted library science, but a college I intended to apply to discouraged me, saying that the prospects for employment were dismal (this was back in 1976).

Discovered occupational therapy and got a master's in it. This didn't turn out to be quite what I wanted, so I eventually switched to a related career in vocational rehabilitation where I did career testing and guidance. The psych degree actually did help a little in this.
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Old 01-21-2008, 04:08 PM   #32
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I was wasted when I got my 4 year degree, does that count? And if it took me 7 years to get a 4 year degree, does that mean I wasted more time (being wasted?).

My degree is engineering. I needed a degree to get the job I have, but I don't use the degree very much in my daily life.

I am thinking of going back to school to get some financial planning background and become a CFP, just need to wait and see what kind of damage twins do to my planning (wife is expecting first two kids in June). If I get another degree, I will be sober when I get it.
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Old 01-21-2008, 04:26 PM   #33
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I was wasted when I got my 4 year degree, does that count? And if it took me 7 years to get a 4 year degree, does that mean I wasted more time (being wasted?).

My degree is engineering. I needed a degree to get the job I have, but I don't use the degree very much in my daily life.

I am thinking of going back to school to get some financial planning background and become a CFP, just need to wait and see what kind of damage twins do to my planning (wife is expecting first two kids in June). If I get another degree, I will be sober when I get it.
Don't get a CFP "just to get" a CFP. And don't start a financial planning firm with no clients, that won't work...........
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Old 01-21-2008, 04:31 PM   #34
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Don't get a CFP "just to get" a CFP. And don't start a financial planning firm with no clients, that won't work...........
We have a two income household.

My income is pretty much invested (401ks for both+IRAs+mortgage=my salary). Once the 401k hits critical mass, I don't see a huge need to keep working at this job.

So I am thinking of getting my CFP, and making a living doing tax returns Jan-April, and some financial planning clients should come from that.

Plus the clients could see what I advise them to do I did myself, and it worked!
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Old 01-21-2008, 05:28 PM   #35
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Well, I have the "always in high demand" German degree.

No - I have no clue what I thought I was going to do with it. My father said go into computers and my mother said go into business. So I went and got my German degree.

Today, I have an MBA and am a manger in IT. Every job I have ever had required a 4-year degree. They really didn't care what it was in.

I think that is the point. A 4-year degree generally indicates you can analyze, write, learn. Granted, some of the smartest people I know don't have college degrees and some of the stupidest do - but for many companies - that piece of paper is the starting point - regardless of what is on it.

So, looking back, had I been wiser, I would have had a different degree, but ultimately I have done extremely well with what I have.
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Old 01-21-2008, 05:33 PM   #36
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No regrets. Rec'd Pharmacy degree in '77, worked in hospitals the majority of my career, loved the people I worked with, never had to hunt for employment, and most of all, enjoyed helping the patients. Just retired at 58.
Welcome to the board, Reelax! What a pharmaceutical sounding name!!!
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Old 01-21-2008, 11:38 PM   #37
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Welcome to the board, Reelax! What a pharmaceutical sounding name!!!
Well, I finally got to "Reelax" after all those years ,so it seemed fitting. Hope it didn't sound too much like exlax
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Old 01-23-2008, 08:40 PM   #38
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Personally I am bummed out that the number of college grads in American is so "low." People leave great jobs in other countries come here and work as laborers and dishwashers for a better opportunity for their children, but we're here already and don't take advantage of opportunities available.

I understand that college is not for everyone, but the highest college grad rates are in my area, and it's only around 50%. Even if it isn't for everyone, surely it's got to be for more than 50% of the people, right? And that's just for my area. That means in other places, it's less or a lot less.

Sorry - that was more of a soapbox thing. Personally, I'm glad I graduated from college, and I am still using my degree in human resources - whew! I know that doesn't happen all the time. Even if I wasn't using it, I still think the college experience was worth it, working in teams, disciplined in studying, etc.
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Old 01-23-2008, 08:54 PM   #39
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I have two engineering degrees - I regret that I didn't take more liberal arts classes to balance the engineering curricula - I am trying to make up for that now on my own.

As for engineering - it does teach one a way to think which can be of benefit in solving many problems. Unfortunately, engineers aren't taught to communicate well - I'm fortunate in that I do strive to try and explain complex technical things in ways that non-technical people can understand. I remember someone telling me that Leonardo da Vinci had to petition the king/people with money for funds to do his projects. If one can't communicate, they can't get the resources they need/want to do what they want to do.

I am doing what I set out to do 16 years ago - clinical engineering. However, now I just want to retire :-) In a few years......
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Old 01-23-2008, 10:53 PM   #40
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I majored in drugs and alcohol, so I probalbly would have been better off with a more useful field of study. However, I somehow managed to end up as a semi-productive member of society (if you consider helping insurance companies milk the country's medical system to be productive).

Actually I majored in Soviet Area Studies in the hope of working for the CIA.

Having gotten an F in the only computer course I took as an undergrad, I went to one of those 6-month rip-off training programs and have worked in computer software for the past 28 years.

Goes to show what you can learn on your own if you put your mind to it.
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