Like it or love it, most of us have to work for a living. This is the place to commiserate with other cube-dwellers and get tips from other business travelers. Talk about how the daily grind will one day allow you to realize your vagabond dreams. Share tips for turning travel you have to do into travel you want to do.

Why do people choose (semi) useless majors in college?

MeredithAlberta

User avatar
Armchair Traveler
 
Posts: 33
Joined: March 24th, 2005

Share on Orkut

This thread doesn't have any tags.

You can still check out the tag index though.

What are tags?
  • Added on: November 26th, 2005
Rogerio-i think becoming a masseuse is really damn practical. hell, if you live in the city you can really make a living charging all those stressed out business people $100 an hour for greasing them up and rubbing em down.

and if you love what you are doing (and getting sexy strong arms in the meantime) then sweet as!


another thing: why does "practical" automatically refer to making money? damn...just like "progress" in out society now is automatically linked to furthering technology. messed up.
"lovely as a dream, lonesome as a sunday"

Jester

User avatar
Future Expat
 
Posts: 5142
Joined: January 18th, 2005

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: November 27th, 2005
I majored in Finance, and had very little trouble finding a job after I graduated. For what it's worth, I think any education is better than no education.

I'm not trying to offend anyone, but I don't believe all degrees are created equal when it comes to gaining employment. I'm glad that so many LA majors on the boards here were able to find good jobs, but did you get the jobs because of your degree, or because you went into the interview confident, poised, and friendly, and just wowed the company?

I remember when I was searching for jobs in my last year of school, most companies didn't even look at your resume unless you had a degree in 1)Commerce 2)Engineering or 3)Economics. I have friends with LA degrees that would apply for the same jobs I did, but almost never received a response. I went to several interviews with different companies, and of all the other candidates I met, not one person had a degree in anything resembling a Liberal Art.

One thing I've noticed is that when people slam 'practical' degrees, people who hold these degrees don't seem to care. It personally doesn't bother me at all. When the same thing happens to LA degrees, people who hold them get very bent out of shape. Why? If you are happy with your degree, why do you care if someone else disagrees? Perhaps it's because you think, deep down, there's a little bit of truth in what they say?

As I said before, I think any education is preferential to none. But certain types of degrees will get more interviews than others. Once you're in the interview, it's entirely up to you. But you can't impress someone if they refuse to see you.

KateL57

User avatar
Vagabonder
 
Posts: 1895
Joined: August 3rd, 2005

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: November 28th, 2005
I have a LA degree and I did reply here earlier, but I'm not upset about it and I think there are plenty of people who aren't. But for those who do, it may be because it is more personal if you choose something you care about to study despite the lower chance of it leading directly to a particular career. It sounds like many here agree that people who choose more practical degrees often choose them because they are practical, not because they are especailly fascinated with the field...I think this is a perfectly good reason even if I didn't do it, but if you've chosen it to get a job and you get that job, why get upset over someone's comment that the degree is useless. But if you've chosen something because you feel it's valuable to you and someone makes a point of saying it's not...it's just more personal.

I think the discussion is an interesting one and don't want to see it become only about the wording of the original post, but I think it DOES sound rude. If someone made a post about people who choose some field of study not having intellectual curiosity or the capacity to appreciate something less practical but more intrinsically valuable, I think people might get offended. I am NOT saying I think this or directing it at people here but there are various schools of thought on this subject and different "groups" have different feelings or responses to different opinions.
Make cay, not war - Kesmen

skobb

User avatar
Extra Pages in Passport
 
Posts: 3021
Joined: April 28th, 2003
Location: Nassau, The Bahamas

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: November 29th, 2005
I just read this thread from the beginning and feel as though I need a nap now. I have a degree in Communications and I have never felt hampered by it. I don't think that I could go out and get a job in engineering or a lab too easily, but then again, had I been interested at all in that I probably would have gone a different direction.

I've certainly heard the jokes about useless English or Communication degrees, but I've never heard Liberal Arts people slamming the hard science degrees. Maybe if you go for a Liberal Arts degree you are less concerned about the name on your diploma because of your own personal interests? Like I said, I've never been that interested in any jobs that require a particular hard science degree so picking a major wasn't the biggest stress in the world. If you were interested in those hard science fields then I imagine you knew what was required of your education chose accordingly.

It seems that some have strong feelings on this issue. On one side you have the Liberal Arts majors who are tired of hearing their time in college was a waste and on the other you have the technical degrees who are sick of hearing that they should have pursued their passions. If a degree and a paycheck was all that mattered we'd all be actuaries.

I'm thinking of applying to law school this year and that's just a special 3 year fluffy liberal arts degree, but I don't mind.

Canadianbackpackinggirl

Lost in Place
 
Posts: 56
Joined: September 17th, 2005

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: November 29th, 2005
I did a LA degree first, and then did a diploma in accounting in addition to it. Even though I spent 6 years in school, instead of 4, it was really the best decision for me . . starting university at 18, I had no idea what I wanted to do, and quite frankly, I'm so glad I didn't persue a business degree right out of high school, because I would have done so poorly in it, my head would not have been into it. I loved doing a LA degree, I feel like it helped me learn to think critically and challenge things. I think my LA education gave me a great foundation to do well in the business courses I took later.

The university I went to made Bachelor of Commerce students take 12 arts courses (ie. 3 a year out of 10 courses one would take each year), which I think is great. My friends that did B.Comms still took lots of english, pysch, history, etc., which I really think helped them become better writters and communicators, which is so essential in the business world.

I'm NOT trying to knock people that have only taken business courses, but there are people I have encountered in the business world who have very poor writing and communication skills, and I really think this is in large part due to the fact that some universities do not require business students to take a minimum level of LA courses.

Keppie

User avatar
Squat Toilet Professional
 
Posts: 879
Joined: March 4th, 2005

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: November 30th, 2005
Colleges are interesting in that they offer so many forms of education other than in the classroom. Most of my college education was gained by the jobs I held during that time- everything from a research assistant to the assistant director of an independent student publishing organization. Those jobs and activities (and of course working hard and diligently and getting some great references from them) have helped me gain employment far more than the major printed on my piece of paper (Asian History, by the way).
------------------------------------------
"He who jumps into the void owes no explanation to those who stand and watch."
-Jean Luc Godard

Tracy Ann

User avatar
Gotta love the GB
 
Posts: 1411
Joined: February 27th, 2005

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: December 1st, 2005
I, too, just read this whole thread - why? Because I should be grading the papers of my lovely undergrad students and I don't want to.

Why don't I want to grade them? BECAUSE THEY CAN'T WRITE. They can't write for shit. So I don't fall into the LA is useless category (though I'm not a fan of it, b/c all the LA majors *I* personally know chose it because they didn't know what else to do and had to pick something and this was the easiest program to pick), obviously, because I recognize the need for people to be able to write and communicate well. I recognize the benefits LA degrees can have on skills such as negotiation, teamwork, customer service, etc. because my students don't have those skills - and they sorely need them!

I do, however, also recognize that this is not an ideal world. I am just about to finish grad school, so I'm job hunting. The jobs I'm interested in REQUIRE a degree in a "related field" - that being criminal justice, sociology (Kate, I disagree on putting soc in the LA category, but maybe you were talking about the Phil part of your degree), international relations, poli sci, etc. Yes, I need to be able to communicate/interview. But I need that damned degree too (luckily I have it!!) In a perfect world college would be about education, not getting a job. The real world is not like that though. Employers look for good candidates, but also candidates with education and experience that will be useful to the employee in the job. Students are under pressure to choose a major they will "use" or to "use" the degree they got. I, myself, am trying so hard to ignore the part of me that says "get out of CJ and go into tourism" because I won't be "using" my two degrees if I go into tourism. On the days I lean toward tourism, I rationalize it to myself, and others, by saying that I plan to have foster children and the degree will help in that area (which is true). But the fact that I have to rationalize it at all is evidence of the societal pressure. It is also, perhaps, evidence as to where Rogerio got his idea that LA degrees were "(semi)useless" because according to a lot of people you aren't "using" and English degree unless you're an English teacher.

My solution? Specialization is for grad school. Or jr/sr year of uni at the very least. Teach these kids how to read, write, interact. Give them a soc, a psych, a lit, a bio, a chem, a CS. Put them on co-op (at my uni we worked 6 months, went to school 6 months and took 5 years to do the program) and let them try to apply their classroom knowledge. Kids are getting the education they need in the lower schools, they should be getting it at uni. They should be coming out WELL ROUNDED not little clones.

I don't think I'm making much sense at this point.

But you know what? I don't think this discussion even makes sense here - the people involved are all intelligent people who value education in some form (be it practical or for it's own sake). It's like preaching to the choir. We're all going to make the best of whatever education we got. What do you do with all the idiots who pay tens of thousands of dollars for a degree and don't learn anything???? Talk about a useless degree...

*EDIT* I can write, but I've been running on less than 5 hours sleep a night since July - please forgive my grammar Smile
____________
"Life is a runaway train you can't wait to jump on..." -Sugarland

anniebanannie

User avatar
All that and a bag of Doritos
 
Posts: 3912
Joined: April 23rd, 2005

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: December 1st, 2005
quote:
sociology (Kate, I disagree on putting soc in the LA category, but maybe you were talking about the Phil part of your degree),


At my school, sociology was part of the College of Liberal Arts. Same with most that I have seen. Why be ashamed if it is? It is a DEGREE, which many people don't have, period.

I also disagree that LA majors are easier than others, but whatever. Perception is not always reality, and almost all degrees take a fair amount of work.

As for job hunting...every job I have ever had specified business, blah blah degree, never English. I have been employed for quite some time. My point? They say they want something, but your experience and ability to sell yourself in a resume is what'll ultimately get you in the door, and your interviewing skills will get you the job. I usually ignore what they want you to major in if the job is something I am otherwise qualified for (unless it is a scientific major requested, which in my industry it often is).

skobb

User avatar
Extra Pages in Passport
 
Posts: 3021
Joined: April 28th, 2003
Location: Nassau, The Bahamas

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: December 1st, 2005
Maybe there is also some miscommunication as to what qualifies as a Liberal Arts major? Because I believe nearly every major Tracy Ann just listed is in the field of liberal arts.

To any of our readers who are not yet in college or still in college, it really doesn't make any difference what degree you have for 90% of the jobs out there. Most employers realize it is about a 50/50 chance that the diploma wielder who applies for the job spent all four years playing drinking games and Playstation. It doesn't take much work to get a bachelor's degree. Go to Bangkok, you can buy one. Hell, go to a dozen different scam schools in the States and you can buy one.

jv

User avatar
Mod Squad
 
Posts: 1445
Joined: December 23rd, 2004
Location: Phnom Penh

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: December 1st, 2005
quote:
Originally posted by skobb:
I'm thinking of applying to law school this year and that's just a special 3 year fluffy liberal arts degree, but I don't mind.


Actually, it's a 3-year technical degree in bullshitting. But it does improve your writing. And if you're lucky, you'll be able to land one of those $150k/year jobs where you spend 90 hours a week at the office.

C'mon, skobb, join the dark side.

Elis

User avatar
Began Gap Year Trip Six Years Ago
 
Posts: 2107
Joined: February 20th, 2005

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: December 1st, 2005
wow, tracyann, polisci is in liberal arts in most colleges. That's what I got ma degree in. And while I certainly agree that specialization is for grad school, gee I did more polisci there. Comparative political culture to be exact. Weird thing that no one mentioned the trends that come and go in academia. When I was at uni (mid to late 90's) focusing on one geographic area was totally out (algorithms and theories lent from econ were in) but in the end, my degree still helped me land a job.
I'm more and more convinced that it's just important to get a degree in something that interests you. Afterwards (even if it takes years) you'll find work you like. Maybe not because you studied someting that was of interest to you, but because you took care to follow your interests in general, be it for studies, volunteering or career.

skobb

User avatar
Extra Pages in Passport
 
Posts: 3021
Joined: April 28th, 2003
Location: Nassau, The Bahamas

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: December 1st, 2005
quote:
Originally posted by jv:
C'mon, skobb, join the dark side.


Is it true you eat babies?

James Taylor

User avatar
Knows What a Schengen Visa Is
 
Posts: 478
Joined: February 17th, 2005

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: December 1st, 2005
I did history and philosophy which is potentially even more useless than english.

But i suppose most people who chose the non vocational courses see college/university as either an opportunity to study for study's sake (rare) or just a chance to figure out what they want from life.

This is opposed to those who see uni/college as the first step on a career path.

Anyway in the U.k its kind of unimportant what you studied.
Where you studied and what grade you got is more important
------------------------------

My blog actually has some travel in now

jv

User avatar
Mod Squad
 
Posts: 1445
Joined: December 23rd, 2004
Location: Phnom Penh

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: December 1st, 2005
quote:
Originally posted by skobb:
Is it true you eat babies?


Only weak and ulgy ones.

Tracy Ann

User avatar
Gotta love the GB
 
Posts: 1411
Joined: February 27th, 2005

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: December 7th, 2005
I think the miscomm was on what I was saying period. Soc and psych are in the Arts & Sciences college here, I don't agree with it being classified as an "art" though (disagree with me if you like, whatever) I think it's definitely a science. When you say "Liberal Arts" I think arts. Not sciences.

When I said "give them soc, a psych, a lit, a bio, a chem, a CS" I wasn't commenting on the LA or non-LA status of those things, I was saying people should be exposed to all of those things before committing to something. Yes, coincidentally I did list things that all happen to be in the college of arts and sciences at my uni, but except for the lit, I think they're all sciences, not arts. When I think liberal arts I think english, history, music, lit, phil. When I think sciences/"practical" majors I think chem, bio, engineering, crim, soc, psych, music INDUSTRY (as opposed to jsut music), business etc. I dunno, it's just the way it works out in my head! In any case, my point at that part of my comment was that people should be exposed to everything and well-rounded. "Practical" majors give you career-specific training, but, like I said, leave you lacking in other areas!

As for LA stuff being easy - at NU, the majors I feel fall in to the LA category (like I said, we don't exactly have one, we have arts & sciences and I think they're different) are very easy programs. This may not be true everywhere. It is true here *shrug* A lot of people are in the criminal justice program because it's considered easy too, and it can be, it just depends what you take.

As for ignoring the job requirements for degrees - well, like you said, it works in some cases not in others. It doesn't generally work in my field.
____________
"Life is a runaway train you can't wait to jump on..." -Sugarland


PreviousNext

Return to Corporate Wasteland & Business Travel

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

PLEASE NOTE: Your original BootsnAll Boards Member login still works by logging in below on the Boards.
We have a new BootsnAll Account that you will start seeing around the BootsnAll Travel Network. This new login is not yet linked to your current Boards Account. In the meantime, you will need to sign up (for a BootsnAll Account) to use Account features like Indie ™ , Traveler Profiles etc.

Quick Links

Community Activity

Statistics for the last 7 days

New posts:
0
Newest Member:
Stephen


Indie - Multi Country Flight Finder
Round the World Travelers


Join BootsnAll on Facebook

1 (503) 528-1005

© 2018 BootsnAll Travel Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.