Thursday, August 27, 2009

What if...

There is something about this time of year that makes me nostalgic. Back in my home state of North Dakota, kids are returning to school this week. How is that possible? Wasn't it just the 4th of July yesterday?

10 years ago, I was entering my freshman year at the University of North Dakota (Go Sioux!). That summer I had somehow convinced myself that I should major in Clinical Lab Science. I did fine in Science, but it definitely wasn't my forte, so I am not sure what I was thinking. Math had always been my strongest suit, but I took zero math classes that semester since I had met all the math requirements for the Clinical Lab Science program.

As they say, distance makes the heart grow fonder. By not taking any math classes, I realized how much I loved the subject. I found myself tutoring people on my floor and was jealous of my friends who were taking Calculus. Yes, I realize I am weird. So after that first semester, I knew my heart belonged in Witmer Hall in those high level math classes. I declared my major and never looked back.

But 10 years later, I can't help but play the 'what if' game. What if I had taken a completely different path? I've had two separate conversations this week with a friend and a co-worker about this subject. And here is what I have come up with for potential degrees I could have pursued:
  • Library Science - Ok, this is kind of obvious. I am in love with books. I think I would make a kick-arse librarian. Especially when working with kids. I'd love to introduce them to the books that turned me onto reading as a child. I would also love to work with adults, too. I love talking about books with adults and suggesting books that I think they might be interested in.
  • English - Not quite sure what I would have done with this degree, but having a better command of the intricacies of the English language would make writing a book a more realistic goal. Or maybe I could be a free lance writer for a magazine. Or I could get a job as an editor. Or I could review books & write the blurbs that make people buy a book.
  • Engineering - This is an obvious match for my math-loving mind. I could have still taken my favorite math classes (Calc I, II, III, and Differential Equations) but I also would have learned how to apply the math I was learning... which is not something I learned to do in my math classes unfortunately. And I could have avoided the math I didn't love (Discrete Structures)

Don't get me wrong - I don't regret getting my math degree - it stands out on my resume and is a well-respected field of study. It probably helped me stand out from other applicants when I applied for my MBA program. But it's interesting to think about what else I could have done.

If you could go back & do it over, what would you major in? If you are still in school, what is your major?

13 comments:

Becky said...

Hmm, interesting question! I'm pretty happy with the degree I got (English) because there are a lot of skills I learned that I can use in a variety of work fields, but I would have taken more of the specific 400 level English classes. I took a decent amount, but I would have taken more - the ones that at the time I was like "oh I don't want to take that," but now I'm like "man that probably was really cool!" I miss sitting around and talking about books, no matter how good or bad they were.

Becky said...

Oh, and I'm totally impressed by your math/science brain. I am definitely not programmed that way!

Erin said...

I was just telling my husband (an engineer) that I should have majored in Library Sciences or Graphic Design...instead I have a Social Work degree that I hate! What was I thinking?

pinkflipflops said...

I'm still debating what to get my master's in, however the longer I go without deciding the more I realize it will be still in the education field. I started out pre-law (also still think about going to law school, prob not now), then went to social work (still think about getting my master's in it) then I moved on to education. I also have thought about getting a master's in library science. I honestly could stay in school forever and be happy. I went out to lunch with my cousin yesterday and picked her up on campus and was very sad I wasn't one of the students still...

Abby and Ryan said...

I am majoring in nursing, and I have yet to begin my career in order to decide whether I like it or not. But there are countless days where I think about what I'd be doing if I would have majored in English or Jounralism...which was something I had always wanted to do. However, the job prospects would be nothing compared to the nursing career opportunities.

That is so funny that you initially majored in Clinical Lab Science! I had no idea! Crazy how much we change once we get to college, huh?!

nory said...

Teacher.
I know, that's what everyone says but I think that teaching government/history/political science would be awesome AND force me to stay current on one of my favorite topics, in all aspects of it.

By the time I realized this is what I wanted to do, it was too late in terms of credits transfering and etc.

Alternatively, event management (so isn't that a hotel degree or something?) so I could plan parties & weddings professionally.

imanolagirl said...

Great question. I'd probably stick with a major in business, but I'd love to somehow use my love for food in my degree. Maybe a major in hotel, restaurant, and tourism management. I also wish I had done PR or advertising. It would be so great to be creative all day. The IRS considers "creative" accounting a very bad thing!

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

Well I am about to enter my fourth year of Journalism and Public Relations. The market is NOT good right now for *traditional* journalism, but I'm finding that there's LOTS of different ways/jobs for me to apply my skills in! Right now I'm leaning more towards the PR/Marketing side of things but one day I would love to be a full-time freelance writer.

After reading the Dewey book (about the library cat) I thought it seemed like it would be REALLY cool to be a librarian. There is so much planning and management involved - I had no idea. So that's something I could see myself doing, or maybe a personal trainer!

Overall, I'm really happy with the career path I'm on but I guess we'll see if that changes in 10 years!

Anonymous said...

I'd major in Library Science--we just had this conversation Lisa! :) But now I'd have to go back AGAIN and I just think getting a master's in library science after getting my law degree is too ridiculous!
Katie

Shoshanah said...

I feel pretty similar to you, considering of course the fact that I did major in math and have an MS in math. And while I do know a to prove a lot of weird crazy, being able to apply it like an engineer, not so much. Its not that I think math was the wrong decision, but more that it might have been easier to major in something more real world applicable

crystal said...

Well for starters, horray for another Sioux alum!! Small world huh? :)
I still love my major and think it is my best choice by far. That said, I do have a list of "back ups" 1)veterinary with an animal behavior specialty, 2)nursing, 3)surgeon. I would love to be a surgeon! I actually just told my girlfriend that if we ever win the lottery we would put money aside so I could go to medical school after I send some time as a psychologist. She thinks I am a huge dork but its so fun to dream.....

Katie said...

I play the what if game all the time too! My whole school career I had planned on going into biology, maybe genetics or botany.

And then I got to college and majored in English! What? I know!

I went with the love of reading and while I don't regret it (and am in fact planning on going back and getting a doctorate), I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I'd followed my plan.

Sometimes I think it's cruel and unusual to make 18 year-olds make major life decisions.

Anais said...

I think I would have loved to do something health related. Or with home decorating. Or maybe even cooking!