Author Topic: I seriously hate my major . . .  (Read 7682 times)

Miyabi

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I seriously hate my major . . .
« on: March 26, 2009, 09:16:18 AM »
OK.  So I mainly went into my major (Software Engineering) because everyone I know said that there is no way I'd get anywhere with creative writing / philosophy / performing arts / linguistics.  Which are the things that I absolutely love.  I haven't been able to sleep for the last month and every night I get to thinking about this.

I REALLY want to say to heck with SE and just finish off this semester and start applying for schools where I can start majoring in creative writing and minoring in either philosophy or linguistics.  I also need to go to a college that is . . . well not so close to home.  Family is a huge distraction for me because of all their petty drama. 

Anyway.  I just wanted to kind of vent and get that off my mind.  Anyone know any good schools that fit my criteria?  I was kind of thinking BYU - Provo, because I know people that go there, but then I'm not sure if you have to be Mormon or not.  :\  In any case.  Thanks for listening.

EDIT: I've also noted that I try to start a lot of projects that have to do with either my current major (but not school related, just me related) and the things I love to do and I always end up half way with everything and get all screwed up because I can't do the things I want and the stuff I'm supposed to do for school. . . there just isn't enough time in the day when they are completely different things.

EDIT AGAIN:  Wow, in all of my emotional melt-down I totally forgot to make the main point I was trying with this and that is.  I don't care if the chances of making it are slim.  I never want to think "What if I had just made the decision I wanted instead of what someone else wanted."

PS: There really need to be a capital capital I . . . .anyone else ever have that feeling?
« Last Edit: March 26, 2009, 09:21:44 AM by miyabi »
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Re: I seriously hate my major . . .
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2009, 02:18:21 PM »
That sucks that you hate your major. I majored in software engineering as well, but I love it. However, I don't like working the jobs, i've found. I really enjoy making things via programming, however, improving and maintaining someone else's software is....boring. Very boring.

The only real colleges I know anything about are around me, so Saint Louis university and Mizzou are the only ones I know of that people around here go to for creative arts (apart from lindenwood, which is hailed for PERFORMING arts around here).

Personally, I say go for what you like, and you'll be happy regardless :)
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Re: I seriously hate my major . . .
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2009, 03:43:10 PM »
Miyabi, I totally understand your situation.

When I started college (way back in 99) I had chosen Electrical Engineering as my major because it sounded interesting. (And it is). However, as I went through my classes over the years I found that I was enjoying my non EE classes MUCH more. Then after I had been in school for 6 years, I finally came to the conclusion that I hated my major and that if I had to design one more transistor, I would go nuts. I was 90% of the way through my major, but I also had no desire to go into programming (despite being fairly proficient), so I changed my major to GIS.

When I started college I had never heard of GIS (Geographic Information Science) not did my University even havea program for it until the year before I switched. I discovered it because I was subconsiously trying to avoid EE classes by taking classes that would help with research for my fantasy novel. I took all sorts of classes, from poetry to history to geography. I took a class titled Geomorphology (all about how the earth changes shape, form, appearance, vulcanism, tectonic movements, weathering, etc.) because I wanted a large seizmic event in my novel. This was an amazing class for me. I had never thought of earth sciences as a viable option before. I was an engineer at heart, liked numbers and the challenge of problem solving, so I didn't want to go for any major that I perceived as less technical. (I was a snob). Then I discovered GIS and I found that college could be fun again.

Now I am a Cartographer/ GIS Analyst for the government.

In the end you have to be totally honest with yourself. You have to be able to enjoy what you are going to be doing for the next 30 years. It has to spark your interest and you have to be good at it.

Could I have been a successful Electrical Engineer? Yeah. Totally. But I would likely have been miserable. All the money in the world is not worth being miserable.
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Re: I seriously hate my major . . .
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2009, 05:26:09 PM »
Linguistics is a great area to go into.  There's a decent demand for speech pathologists for special-needs persons, research, not to mention academic professionals.  My sister, who got her BA in Spanish with a cognate in English, is about to go to get an MA in linguistics.  It's not a huge "draw" major like English, Engineering, Psychology, etc.  It is far less useful if you're not willing to go to graduate school, though.

As far as choosing BYU, definitely don't choose a university because you happen to know a lot of people who went there, or because an author you like went there, or because it's one of the only major universities you've been exposed to.  Do some research--when you get there you're going to have to do plenty of it, anyway.

I know how you feel, I'm a psych major, but I constantly want to switch my major to music performance, theory, or composition, or film studies (which I practically have enough credits to get already--except foreign language).  But I'm already too deep in to warrant that, at this point I could get two degrees in the same amount of time, anyway.  I love psychology, but don't think I could get into or would want to go to grad school for it--and I'm only a semester away from my degree.  I am only twenty, though, so sometimes think about continuing for a while and getting a second BA before applying to grad school.  Money is an issue for me.  Just like your decision, it's something that needs to be weighed--there's no point in making a bunch of emotional decisions without a lot of data and then regretting it even more. 

You want to be a writer?  Get an English degree with a specialization in Creative Writing--it's not like having a degree in a field like that is what will get you published, so you can still take the classes and get the information while getting a more useful and generalized degree.  You love philosophy?  Get a Psych degree with a minor in philosophy, they go well together (I promise) and most school will allow you to use quite a number of philosophy credits towards a Psych degree.  You want to be involved in the performing arts?  Get a degree studying theater, film, or music in a non-performance aspect (sound, production, lighting, writing, composition...) and use credits in performance towards that degree, most Universities put classes like that under the same heading (Performance Theater and Theater Production both under THR, for example), so classes giving you the knowledge for that field can be used for a professional degree.  There are a lot more jobs doing behind the scenes work, and that way at least you have a backup plan that still involves what you love.  My understanding is that you are still young and early in your academic career--don't be afraid of changing your plan to something less certain but more livable.
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Miyabi

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Re: I seriously hate my major . . .
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2009, 06:15:30 PM »
Thanks everyone.  "]  Your advice and opinions are very much appreciated.

I think the main reason I don't like my major is that I have crappy teachers.  Well I have ONE good teacher and the rest suck.  Last semester I had two decent ones.  I dunno.  I only have a year left.  (If anything it'll get me a job to work through the rest of school.)  I enjoy programming I'm just not liking school per-se.  I think I'll try to finish what I have up, if I can.  I think I'll at least do the summer part then if I am still hating it I will change things. 

In any case I want to major in something else after I finish.  I also think one of the reasons I don't like this part of it school is that if I DO do programming I want to to video game design, and there aren't programs for that anywhere around here.

Thanks guys.
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Re: I seriously hate my major . . .
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2009, 10:05:04 PM »
I've had 4 majors over 10 years and still don't have a degree, it's hard to find what you want to do.

Computer Science
Japanese
Poly-Sci
Digital Media

Irony is I left CS because I really didn't enjoy it, not much of an unmanaged code fan, and now I work for a fortune 500 company as a Software Engineer and the degree I'm working on, Digital Media, is my hobby.  I'm pretty lucky to have been in the right place at the right time with some experience to be in a position where I can go to school to learn something that I may never do for a living because it would be hard to make more doing what I do now and I enjoy my job.

Also, like any programming based job, degrees don't matter as much as experience and what you know so get a different degree but make your own games on the side--that's what matters.  If you want to go game design focus on interaction design, information design and like programs which are rarely part of a CS major because CS teaches you to think like an engineer and not like a user.

As for BYU it's awesome for Linguistics--it's considered one of the best language schools in the US and it's Japanese program is in the Top 5 (when I was there it was #1 or #2 depending on the professor you asked)--but expensive if you're not a Mormon (basically out of state vs in state).
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Miyabi

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Re: I seriously hate my major . . .
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2009, 10:14:56 PM »
I've had 4 majors over 10 years and still don't have a degree, it's hard to find what you want to do.

Computer Science
Japanese
Poly-Sci
Digital Media

Irony is I left CS because I really didn't enjoy it, not much of an unmanaged code fan, and now I work for a fortune 500 company as a Software Engineer and the degree I'm working on, Digital Media, is my hobby.  I'm pretty lucky to have been in the right place at the right time with some experience to be in a position where I can go to school to learn something that I may never do for a living because it would be hard to make more doing what I do now and I enjoy my job.

Also, like any programming based job, degrees don't matter as much as experience and what you know so get a different degree but make your own games on the side--that's what matters.  If you want to go game design focus on interaction design, information design and like programs which are rarely part of a CS major because CS teaches you to think like an engineer and not like a user.

As for BYU it's awesome for Linguistics--it's considered one of the best language schools in the US and it's Japanese program is in the Top 5 (when I was there it was #1 or #2 depending on the professor you asked)--but expensive if you're not a Mormon (basically out of state vs in state).
Thanks. :]

So you can go there if you aren't Mormon?  I was looking at their page last night and it seemed like you had to be a devout church goer.  I mean, I have nothing against religion and I find many of the values they teach to be good things.  It's just . . well, not for me. ha ha. I am currently working on a DS homebrew.  So far it's pretty weird because you program to the hardware instead of to an operating system.  But I'm getting there.

I applied to a few different schools last night that had creative writing programs and got emails from two of them this morning saying I was accepted. . . I was like WOW, that was . . fast. ha ha.  Maybe I'll change and just do the programming on the side for now and maybe take more classes later.
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Re: I seriously hate my major . . .
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2009, 10:37:13 PM »
You can go to BYU if you aren't Mormon but you have to jump through some hoops and still sign their honor code, not sure how you go about doing them.

One thing to look at if you're switching schools is:

1) How many of your credits transfer
2) If you can get a CS minor (shouldn't let those credits go to waste), if you're lucky you wont have to take any extra classes for this.

Also, not to discourage you, is that if you're getting Student loans it might be better to finish what you've got degree wise and get a job to pay those off then go back--it really sucks to have 20-30 grand in debt when you graduate.  I'd talk to some consolers at school and see what in site they have as well.
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Miyabi

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Re: I seriously hate my major . . .
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2009, 10:40:52 PM »
I currently have spent no money on school.  I had some grants and scholarships so my first year of college was free for me.  Thanks again for the advice.
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Re: I seriously hate my major . . .
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2009, 04:17:57 PM »
...it really sucks to have 20-30 grand in debt when you graduate. 

Yes, Yes it does.... A LOT!

Sadly the job I got doesn't pay off student debt...
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Re: I seriously hate my major . . .
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2009, 05:29:26 PM »
You can go to BYU if you aren't Mormon but you have to jump through some hoops and still sign their honor code, not sure how you go about doing them.

One thing to look at if you're switching schools is:

1) How many of your credits transfer
2) If you can get a CS minor (shouldn't let those credits go to waste), if you're lucky you wont have to take any extra classes for this.

Also, not to discourage you, is that if you're getting Student loans it might be better to finish what you've got degree wise and get a job to pay those off then go back--it really sucks to have 20-30 grand in debt when you graduate.  I'd talk to some consolers at school and see what in site they have as well.

Spriggan is right, dont let those credits sit there. Get some use out of them. The language programs at BYU are given thumbs up around the US. I have a minor in Spanish from there (was gonna double major in Business/Spanish, but decided I hate school). Even by paying the higher fee at BYU if you are not LDS, it is still cheaper that a lot of universities - especially good ones focusing in art. Also, as far as getting accepted to BYU, the easiest time to get in is during the spring/summer terms when they want people to fill their classrooms. Then, come fall semester, you are a continuing student and are good to go.
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Re: I seriously hate my major . . .
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2009, 08:41:22 AM »
I think I've got a good perspective on this (and I've included some wisdom from Brandon in here, for those willing to read the whole thing):

First off, Bookstore Guy and Spriggan give some good advice.  Even if you're not LDS, BYU is (often WAY) cheaper than most other schools.  It also comes highly recommended for a HUGE number of reasons.  However, you WILL have to follow the honor code, and this may mean, among other things, no dating men while you attend.  Something to think about.

Now, I graduated from BYU, majoring in both English and History, and I took a minor in Linguistics.  I have this to say:
BYU's language programs are FANTASTIC.  The school offers over 70 languages, and you'll generally see around 30-40 offered any given semester.  While I was at BYU, I took courses in French, Japanese, Old English, Swahili, and Welsh.  I loved all my language classes (especially Welsh).  BYU's linguistics program is pretty darn good, too, though some of the profs are boring (I really recommend the English Language profs, though; they're good).  BYU's Linguistics Department has the distinction of having a moderately famous conlanger (Dirk Elzinga) on staff.

BYU's English program is good.  I graduated with one of the older majors which gave me a lot of freedom.  I really liked this.  Their English major now is much more restricted, but designed really well if you're planning on going to grad school.  Most of the professors are pretty good and interesting.  And I LOVED the fact that the department was refreshingly neutral, politically (most English departments are notoriously liberal—the one I moved to as a grad student was particularly so).  And it doesn't hurt that you can take Creative Writing from Brandon there.  IF you end up at BYU, take Engl 218 by Neil Newell.  It's the only course he teaches (and he only teaches one class a semester), but he's absolutely fantastic (if you're interested in stories).

BYU's History department is fantastic—some of the profs were boring, but many were good, and they teach you how to interpret history and everything really well, and they really encourage critical thinking and personal interpretation (I did not have a single history professor that wanted me to adopt their particular interpretation of events—they always encouraged independent analysis of the sources, and, at least in my case, they taught it very well).  I started out being very poor at History (and preferring English over it), but when I graduated, I was really good at History, and I ended up appreciating my History degree much more than my English degree (for what I learned from it—the English degree is still better for jobs).  BYU also has a FANTASTIC library for doing research in History.  For my senior paper, I was researching a moderately obscure topic, and the library had almost all of the books I could have wanted on the shelf—several of which had been published within the past 3 years (very new research).  I miss that library a lot.

Two important comments
#1:  I started out as a Philosophy major, and then changed to English (because it's better for getting jobs, essentially, and I love reading/writing).  I actually added the History major because Brandon Sanderson told me this (quoting as best I can from memory) many, many years ago:  "If you want to write Fantasy, don't take an English degree.  English will teach you how to analyze literature and edit and all that, but it won't give you anything to write about.  If you want to write, taking something that will give you important things to write about, like a History degree.  If you want to write Science Fiction, take a degree in the hard sciences, like Physics or Chemistry..."   Brandon says:  If you want to be a writer, you're better off with a History degree than an English degree (which he discovered only after he got his English degree).  Well, I have both, and I'm inclined to agree with him.  He told me that he found this out the hard way.  (Thanks, Brandon!  I owe you one—I'm so glad I majored in History!)
#2:  The ironic thing is that I always wonder if I should have been a programmer.  I've got a VERY analytical mind.  I scored significantly higher on the GRE in the analytical (math) section than I did in the verbal section, and I was applying to a Writing MA, and this despite the fact that I haven't taken any math classes in years.  I love number crunching.  I actually enjoy debugging.  I wish I knew a useful programming language, and I wish I could get a job as a game programmer.  I know I'd be good at it (and would probably enjoy it), but I just was tired of math when I went to college, and so I shied away from programming.  Oh well.  I really did enjoy my education, and I'm so glad I have a history degree.

Anyway, that's a bit to chew on, Miyabi.
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Re: I seriously hate my major . . .
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2009, 12:58:15 PM »
...and this may mean, among other things, no dating men while you attend.  Something to think about....

This kinda confuses me. I don't know anything about BYU at all, so not be childish or anything, but does the honor code specifically say "No dating men", so women can't date men, and men can't date men, but men and women can date women?  ???

Or is it just no homosexual dating, which would make more sense to me, and you just specifically call out to that because Miyabi is a man (or at least, that's what i believe anyways.)

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Miyabi

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Re: I seriously hate my major . . .
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2009, 03:55:20 PM »
@Eerongal - It's because it is known on the boards that I am gay, so the comment was being made for my benefit if I further consider BYU.

@Jade - Thanks.  A lot of this is good to know.  I plan on speaking with a few of my professors today and see what they say.  I mean, I DO enjoy programming, I just am having issues dealing with a couple of the teachers.  So hopefully that will help on that end.  "] 

I do also want to write eventually, but I agree with Sprig that it would be a waste to just give up these credits so I'll stick it out for one more year and just get my associates.  Who knows, by then my teachers will have changed up a bit and maybe things will be better.

If things are still rough I'll probably go into the writing field. 
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Re: I seriously hate my major . . .
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2009, 04:07:57 PM »
@Eerongal - It's because it is known on the boards that I am gay, so the comment was being made for my benefit if I further consider BYU.

Ah, makes sense :P

The comment, so phrased without that knowledge, seemed to be just an odd rule.

I suppose it's worth noting I have no problems with homosexuals whatsoever. I've known a few in my time, and they're just normal people like everyone else.

Well, I suppose I should take that back. People I know and hang out with aren't generally "normally" by any stretch, homo or hetero. :P
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