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What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 08:53 PM   #1
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What'd you major in?

For those who chose to go to college, what was your major? Was it a good choice, looking back?

I majored in Comparative Literature. Took my pre-meds on the side.

The med school admissions deans loved it, and I learned to read and write. Looking back, definitely a good call.
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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 09:33 PM   #2
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Re: What'd you major in?

Chemistry-- especially the physical & inorganic stuff. Organic chemistry was too much memorization with a bunch of people who wanted to be doctors...

I loved it so it was a great choice. Remember "Better living through chemistry"?
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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 09:36 PM   #3
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Re: What'd you major in?

Interesting question. I'll be curious to see the replies of others.

1st degree was Bachelor of Fine Arts (drawing, painting, printmaking, and ceramics). Learned a lot about craftsmanship and critical thinking.

Later in my career did an MA in Telecom while working - history, theory, industry trends, etc. It put some academic context on the more technical work I was invloved with at the time (computer related).

I learned things in both degrees that continue to have bearing on my work, but also that continue to enrich my life more generally.

I am a big believer in the continuing value of a liberal education - as distinguished from, or perhaps in addtion to, specific preparation for a job/career (though clearly the latter can be the right (or only) choice for those who have career plans for which specific preparation is required). My career has been a bit circuitous and opportunistic but has turned out fine.

I'm not sure what specifically I might have done differently knowing what I know now. Too many forks in the road and paths not taken, many of which I wouldn't even recognize as such, then or now, to make sense of it all in retrospect.
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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 09:37 PM   #4
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Re: What'd you major in?

BS in Zoology. After working in a hospital lab for a number of years took a side step and went to law school nights. Now for almost 20 years I've work as an attorney. It seems to impress people to this day, so yes I would say it was worth it.
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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 09:40 PM   #5
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Re: What'd you major in?

Chemistry

heh heh heh heh heh - ended up messing with, adhesives, heat shields, composites, foam - all that gooey and sticky stuff.
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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 09:42 PM   #6
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Re: What'd you major in?

I started off in electrical engineering. The class work was entertaining enough but my summer jobs with Westinghouse (nuclear division) were BORING :P and I decided that engineering was not what I wanted to do for a lifetime. I was most interested in philosophy but, as the son of a steelworker, I couldn't see much of a secure future in it. I tried economics for junior year with an idea of perhaps going for an MBA. Nothing could have been easier than economics for a person whose best talent (not interest, unfortunately) is mathematics but my heart wasn't in it and I had to find something more interesting. As a senior I did a 'roll your own' major to fill in a few courses that I needed for med school applications. My plan was to become a psychiatrist. I actually am a psychiatrist but most of my work now is sleep medicine where my electrical engineering experience is very handy. My college degree actually says Earth and Planetary Sciences.

It all worked out well. I've used much of what I learned, even the economics. Variety (attention deficit disorder?) is important to me and I have plenty of that.
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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 09:44 PM   #7
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Re: What'd you major in?

BS in Math.

One year graduate work as TA.

Didn't complete.

Ended up in career as mainframe COBOL programmer for USAF.
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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 09:48 PM   #8
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Re: What'd you major in?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kwirk
I started off in electrical engineering. The class work was entertaining enough but my summer jobs with Westinghouse (nuclear division) were BORING :P and I decided that engineering was not what I wanted to do for a lifetime.
You've just described my father's degree and his 20+year career with Westinghouse's nuclear division... it was his personal path to ER!

You didn't spend any time in East Pittsburgh between 1958-1977, or the early '80s out near Denver, did you?
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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 10:02 PM   #9
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Re: What'd you major in?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
You've just described my father's degree and his 20+year career with Westinghouse's nuclear division... it was his personal path to ER!

You didn't spend any time in East Pittsburgh between 1958-1977, or the early '80s out near Denver, did you?
Congratulations to your father. I hope he got more satisfaction from it than I did. I'm not sure that I took away the right lesson from Westinghouse but I certainly learned that I did not want to be an engineer. I did learn fortran there and that came in handy years later, actually led to my involvement in sleep medicine.

I spent one summer in East Pittsburgh (commuted from Monessen), 1971 as I recall. Also spent a summer at the Astronuclear Lab in Large, PA. I don't quite remember the other assignments now but I probably still have the pay stubs. Never got to Denver (nor to Jackass Flats where they planned to test the nuclear engines but I wanted to).
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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 10:04 PM   #10
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Re: What'd you major in?

Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering. Always knew growing up on a cattle ranch that I wanted to be an engineer. I have no regrets. Most of my career has been in project management, first in nuclear power design and construction projects, then in oil and gas production and processing mega-projects.... with stints in actual oil and gas operations, natural gas marketing and corporate planning.

Most useful course I ever took was typing in Grade 12 to be with the girls.
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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 10:23 PM   #11
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Re: What'd you major in?

Honours BA in Geography at the University of Western Ontario.
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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 10:24 PM   #12
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Re: What'd you major in?

BS in Political Science (yeah, talk about a BS degree...). The plan was law school until the “Greetings” letter arrived. The con law courses helped immensely with the applied aerodynamics classes in USAF flying training.

Given the 27 years I spent in mini-megacorp world, I would have been better served with a business degree.

And like uncle mick, I spent lots of time messing with adhesives and sticky, gooey stuff...mostly duct tape and Elmer's glue.

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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 10:26 PM   #13
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Re: What'd you major in?

Started out in honors college at UofO wanting to be a physicist. Did very well in physical chemistry, like Nords found memorizing the compounds of carbon in organic chemistry not my cup of tea.

However, I found that opportunities for women in the very early 60s were slim to none in physics and most of the hard sciences. Wraped up a BS in Mathematics in 3 years.

Born too soon.
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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 10:29 PM   #14
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Re: What'd you major in?

Majored in work. Spent a couple years in college, declaring business. Spent 25 years in oil, from a floorhand to system design and analysis.
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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 11:03 PM   #15
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Re: What'd you major in?

BS, MA Biology. I would say it was not a good choice of major but worked out great anyway. I have a coveted position, in that my job is pretty high paying for a major that's generally near worthless unless used as preparation for professional school (doctor, dentist, vet, pharmacy, etc).

So, it worked out great for me, but i just got lucky/made my own luck. I'm sure a bit of both.
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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 11:26 PM   #16
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Re: What'd you major in?

BS and PhD in Chemical Engineering. Good choices overall. One regret is that BS was from a large state school where you could CLEP out of all of the general ed requirements so my formal higher ed was pretty narrow. That and at that time it was really hard to meet girls in engineering classes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Organic chemistry was too much memorization with a bunch of people who wanted to be doctors...
Funny, when I go to the doctor I still sometimes wonder if this was one of those guys that memorized his way through O Chem and never really understood P Chem. Maybe they were the ones that didn't get into Med School.

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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 11:28 PM   #17
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Re: What'd you major in?

BBA and MBA. Funky timing on going back full time for MBA in my late 20s only to find a job market bloated w/ MBAs and a nasty white collar recession. Considered going into mega-debt and going back to get engineering or law degree during brutal early 90s. Found my way out of the dark by investing in commercial RE on the side starting in mid 90s. Wish I had focused in this area from the get-go.
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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 11:46 PM   #18
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Re: What'd you major in?

BA in Math and Economics (double major) , Indiana University South Bend (the "other" school in South Bend, as it's known)

MS in Computer Science, Ball State

Working as a programmer for defense contractor, secretly wish to teach Math in a future life.
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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 11:53 PM   #19
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Re: What'd you major in?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
For those who chose to go to college, what was your major? Was it a good choice, looking back?
BS, MS, PhD in Electrical Engineering. It worked out very well for me, but I think I would have been just as happy/successful with any of a dozen other majors.
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Re: What'd you major in?
Old 10-30-2006, 11:59 PM   #20
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Re: What'd you major in?

Went to Carnegie Mellon. Started off BS in Mechanical Engineering. After halfway through my sophomore year, I knew that I never wanted to spend more than 5 minutes in a career with this stuff. However, my father (who, coincidentally, was bankrolling my educational endeavor) thought he knew it all, and just "knew" that I needed to major in Mech E to give me a good background to take over his plumbing contracting business. (funny, considering that he never spent one second in a single class that was even remotely related to Mech E. I tried to tell him that Civ E was infinitely more applicable to construction.....but, you know how perfectly knowledgable dads can be.

Our "compromise" was for me to add a 5th year (on his dime), and add Business and Economics as additional majors, so I could at least have some interest in what I was studying.

So, after 5 long years (and quite a few black and blue mental bruises from the likes of Intro to Electrical Engineering, Dynamics I and II, Statics, Differential Equations, and the like), I finally finished up with a triple major in the above.

Looking back on it, if I had abandoned Mech E like I wanted to do (and just do a double major in Business and Econ), it would have taken me 4 1/2 years, since I would have had to take more useless mind-expanding general studies classes (additional history, english, etc.), and it would have been a tough toss up on which would have been more boring between Mech E classes and the general studies.

And, it sure doesn't hurt when people ask you what you majored in and you mention the triple major.... I was toying with the idea of going for an MBA (even took the GMAT last year), but given my current and projected financial picture, I just don't see the value in sacrificing 2 years of my life full time without a paycheck, investing $70k (in Washington University's full-time program, ranked just 25th or 30th), and then getting a job that makes just 10k more than I make now working for my father.

Sure, I'd probably get a job I find interesting with an MBA, but I'll tough it out for another year working for the old man while I get within a stone's throw of FIREing myself, and then putzing around with a part-time gig somewhere (and hopefully enjoying married life by then ).

Funniest moment in my academic career: went from Academic Probation (GPA below 2.0) Fall Semester of my 4th year, to Dean's List (3.67 GPA) Fall Semester of my 5th year. Sigh...just like my portfolio history. My overall cumulative GPA was 2.98 (rounded to 3.0 on my resume )
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