GF Picking a college major

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amd7239
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by amd7239 »

blevine wrote:I graduated from BU long ago. Best decision I made, money well spent. You can study almost anything at BU, she should try different classes and activities and find herself. Expensive but amazing opportunity to find and develop interests.
I think there is a "stick with college and find yourself" bias here because most people here found a half decent job/income (after all, they must has money to invest). They look at their own stories and say "yeah,college was a good decision ", but just because it was good for them doesn't mean it will be good for my GF given her situation.

I'm not suggesting these bogleheads aren't thinking the situation through, I just think they're more optimistic about college than say, someone with a degree working at Starbucks would have.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Dottie57 »

amd7239 wrote:
blevine wrote:I graduated from BU long ago. Best decision I made, money well spent. You can study almost anything at BU, she should try different classes and activities and find herself. Expensive but amazing opportunity to find and develop interests.
I think there is a "stick with college and find yourself" bias here because most people here found a half decent job/income (after all, they must has money to invest). They look at their own stories and say "yeah,college was a good decision ", but just because it was good for them doesn't mean it will be good for my GF given her situation.

I'm not suggesting these bogleheads aren't thinking the situation through, I just think they're more optimistic about college than say, someone with a degree working at Starbucks would have.

You came here for advice. Sorry uou don't like it. People DO find value in college even if a wondeful job doesn't appear on graduation day.
mak1277
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by mak1277 »

climber2020 wrote:
amd7239 wrote: Based on all this, what might be a good major for her?
How about being an accountant? There's math involved, but it's not advanced calculus.

Yes! I immediately thought of accounting when I read the OP. I was "weeded out" of premed when I was in college and switched to the business school and was beyond amazed at how much easier it was. Lots of good jobs out there for accountants too...many of which require limited social interaction.
Lynette
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Lynette »

I am retired and taking a 7 week, two 4 hours per week class in Spanish at a community college. Most of the students are working low-paying jobs and studying as well. I pay about $400 for a 4 credit hour course. Some of the students are at 4 year colleges but taking Spanish in the summer as they need this to complete their prerequisites. May I say how impressed I am with many of these students for working full time and studying as well. One of my fellow students was just hired full time by a bank where she is working and promoted to a job with potential. Be flexible, learn and keep on learning. Very few find their "dream job" or profession.
Last edited by Lynette on Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by carolinaman »

TomatoTomahto wrote:Wow. I have an image of a 19 or 20 year old young woman, parents and BF with their boots on her neck, probably without realizing that they're choking off her air.

Why isn't she the one posting?
I totally agree. She is the one who must figure this out. One option might be to take a year off and work. A lot of young people are not ready for the rigors of pre med or some other major straight out of HS. This would give her time to think about her future and hopefully come back more focused and enthused. Many people have to back off their original majors because it was too hard or not right for them.

This may not be the case, but the OP comes across as too controlling of his GF. He needs to give her some space.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by TomatoTomahto »

OP, I'm going out on a limb, but I think you really should take a deep breath and consider slowing yourself down. If you were my kid, that would be my advice.

Elsewhere, you talk of buying a house in 3 years, hoping to figure out interest rates, because perhaps if your GF could see what kind of house you can purchase it might better ground her in reality (she wants a large house, you don't). You have $60k saved up, with an income less than $80k ($80k is your aspiration in 3 years time), so you've probably been working for a while, and my guess is that your GF is a bit younger than you.

You're planning on her staying at home, perhaps working again when the kids are grown . . .

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amd7239
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by amd7239 »

Rupert wrote:How about physical therapy, audiology, radiology technician, radiology technologist, (I could rattle off a hundred more)?
Please do! These are good ideas, I'm writing them down as we speak...
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by mlipps »

TomatoTomahto wrote:OP, I'm going out on a limb, but I think you really should take a deep breath and consider slowing yourself down. If you were my kid, that would be my advice.

Elsewhere, you talk of buying a house in 3 years, hoping to figure out interest rates, because perhaps if your GF could see what kind of house you can purchase it might better ground her in reality (she wants a large house, you don't). You have $60k saved up, with an income less than $80k ($80k is your aspiration in 3 years time), so you've probably been working for a while, and my guess is that your GF is a bit younger than you.

You're planning on her staying at home, perhaps working again when the kids are grown . . .

Man plans, and God laughs.
He's 27. It's a questionable age gap at best.

OP, back off and let your girlfriend be 20 years old. Part of growing up is making your own mistakes and decisions without people telling you what to do. She seems to be going straight from controlling parents to controlling older boyfriend and that's not healthy for anyone. I also expect in 10 years you'll be resentful when she doesn't know how to make adult decisions without you...but it will be a situation of your creation at this rate.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by delamer »

amd7239 wrote:
Rupert wrote:How about physical therapy, audiology, radiology technician, radiology technologist, (I could rattle off a hundred more)?
Please do! These are good ideas, I'm writing them down as we speak...

These are all occupations that require pretty intimate contact with people. Do they make sense given what you describe as severe social anxiety?
Last edited by delamer on Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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amd7239
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by amd7239 »

TomatoTomahto wrote:Wow. I have an image of a 19 or 20 year old young woman, parents and BF with their boots on her neck, probably without realizing that they're choking off her air.

Why isn't she the one posting?
I see what you're saying. But I am just getting ideas, I'm not going to try to force her to do anything. She is lost and I'm trying to provide suggestions to find her way. The place she's in right now isn't good - her parents pressuring her to "finish a degree, any degree!" even if she doesn't know what she wants. And she is giving into the pressure - she is willing to keep going because she feels she has no other choice. Her parents mean well, but they are immigrants who did not go to college and worked low wage jobs. They buy into the idea that getting any old college degree is the one size fits all solution and the path to success.
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Titanium3er
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Titanium3er »

amd7239 wrote:
I see what you're saying. But I am just getting ideas, I'm not going to try to force her to do anything. She is lost and I'm trying to provide suggestions to find her way. The place she's in right now isn't good - her parents pressuring her to "finish a degree, any degree!" even if she doesn't know what she wants. And she is giving into the pressure - she is willing to keep going because she feels she has no other choice. Her parents mean well, but they are immigrants who did not go to college and worked low wage jobs. They buy into the idea that getting any old college degree is the one size fits all solution and the path to success.
I have a close friend who has been in a very similar situation to you not once, but twice. He's a few years older than you and the young women he was dating were both a couple years older than your GF. I watched him try to "provide suggestions" to these women for quite awhile in the hopes they'd "find themselves". What I'd say from the experience of watching is that helping someone find themself is rarely the sole motivation; particularly in a BF/GF relationship. Even if that's not the case and you see this as a purely altruistic endeavor, trying to steer someone in a certain direction could still end up being a recipe for frustration, stress, and resentment on both sides.

If you truly see yourself supporting a SAHM while she raises your children, and she truly sees herself filling that role, the drop out of school and waitress idea seems like a decent option to pass the time and avoid further loans. That said, without knowing you both personally I'd go out on a limb and say that you should keep your options open (both family and career-wise) for now. A side note is that I know plenty of SAHMs who raised kids, went through a divorce, and now have a hard time finding purpose and stable employment later in life.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Titanium3er »

I'd also add that living in a HCOL area, as it appears you do, and shooting for a retirement at 50 years old is going to be challenging on one income when you are considering buying a $600k home at your income level. Not saying it can't be done, but reading between the lines I see a distinct possibility of you being disappointed if you choose to go down the path you've laid out in the last few threads you've created. Unless you believe your income is going to increase rapidly and consistently.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by bayview »

Titanium3er wrote: ... A side note is that I know plenty of SAHMs who raised kids, went through a divorce, and now have a hard time finding purpose and stable employment later in life.
yep

One thing that I have found is that in many cases, when you're first trying to get a halfway decent job, it doesn't seem to matter what you got your degree in, as long as you got one. It seems to be some sort of indication that you were able to wade through a bunch of <fill in the blank> for four years, and so you might be able to do the same in a work environment. Obviously, I'm not talking about high-on-the-food-chain jobs.

Even if she transfers to a more affordable public university, assuming that there is such a thing in the Boston area, I think she'd be wise to get her bachelor's degree. Also, +1 to the post above that referenced having the mother of your kids being an educated woman. If you do wind up marrying and having kids, you want her to model desired behavior for your children, right?
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Helo80 »

amd7239 wrote: What kind of associates degrees or trades do you think might suit her? When I think of trades I think of technical stuff like electrician, plumber etc. which I know wouldn't suit her.

I obviously do not know you or your g/f. Since she was interested in pre-med, I would encourage you all to look at the plethora of other non-physician careers in medicine.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Helo80 »

amd7239 wrote:I think there is a "stick with college and find yourself" bias here because most people here found a half decent job/income (after all, they must has money to invest). They look at their own stories and say "yeah,college was a good decision ", but just because it was good for them doesn't mean it will be good for my GF given her situation.

I'm not suggesting these bogleheads aren't thinking the situation through, I just think they're more optimistic about college than say, someone with a degree working at Starbucks would have.

I completely agree --- the demographic (age, race, income, education, etc.) is likely very skewed on a site like this. I do not say that to pass judgement on BH, but I base it upon sociology studies that have emerged on how different races, ethnicities, and cultures view and handle money. If you gf is going to be accumulating student loans with (potentially) nothing or something less than ideal at the end of the road, I think that you're absolutely correct to help guide her (as best you can) to make financially responsible decisions.

College is a business deal plain and simple ---- you pay $x dollars and do x things with x grades, you get a paper at the end of it that represents your accomplishment. It's nothing more, it's nothing less. (I say this as somebody with three degrees, and I'm not anti-university as education has done more to lift people out of poverty than any government program or charity in the history of the world.). But, at the same time, you need to ensure that you're learning skills that you hopefully enjoy so that you can apply them to a career down the road.

I worked with a gal once who went to college a bit later (22 or 23ish, so not that late), and she paid her way... and she had no idea how student loans worked and that she wishes she did not take out the max she could every year. Now, she's still paying it back and she's like 38.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by StormShadow »

amd7239 wrote:Girlfriend is a college sophomore and is having an identity crisis of sorts - She was premed but was overwhelmed by the time second semester of Chem and struggled gradewise.

She's not good at math or the hard sciences. She also has severe social anxiety so I don't think she would be good in a sales type job that is highly dependent on people skills or persuasion. I think the best job for her would either be a solitary job in a cubicle or working with animals. I suggested Veterinary technician but she didn't go for that because of the pay.
Ask her to post. She should be the one looking for advice.

Why was she premed? If she wants to pursue a career in healthcare, there are many paths to get there. A job as a nurse or physician's assistant are both excellent options if she doesn't want to go the medical school route.

Perhaps taking a year away from school is an option? It would give her time to focus on her long term career goals. Certainly, if she's interested in healthcare, she could spend time volunteering and shadowing in a hospital setting.

I do agree with her parents on *eventually* getting that college degree. While obtaining a college degree doesn't necessarily guarantee a high salary, failing to get one virtually guarantees that you won't. Nowadays, that would be akin to career suicide.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by OnTrack2020 »

amd7239 wrote:Girlfriend is a college sophomore and is having an identity crisis of sorts - She was premed but was overwhelmed by the time second semester of Chem and struggled gradewise.

She's not good at math or the hard sciences. She also has severe social anxiety so I don't think she would be good in a sales type job that is highly dependent on people skills or persuasion. I think the best job for her would either be a solitary job in a cubicle or working with animals. I suggested Veterinary technician but she didn't go for that because of the pay.
I can't think of any cubicle jobs for her skill set......Any Ideas?

She was considering majoring in psych or even going to a 2-year nursing school. I think nursing would be better as it is in demand. Unlikely to find a job with a general social science degree like psych.

Based on all this, what might be a good major for her?

She goes to BU, which has a pretty high tuition ($26k/semester). She lives with parents so no room + board costs. She does not want to transfer out to a cheaper school. Her parents have been paying so she has zero debt now, but they run out of money so now, more college = debt.

There is a point where a college degree hurts you more than helps you, especially if your major is useless careerwise. Because of the high tuition, I do wonder if she would be better off dropping out and working temporary low pay jobs like in restaurants/retail.
Thoughts on this?
I'm assuming she is 20 years old. As a parent of a soon-to-be college sophomore, I do not understand why she picked a major that involves science and math if she is not good at it? I've seen the type of math homework my son, majoring in computer science, is doing. It's quite demanding, so I can understand how she can be struggling if she doesn't understand/like the subject matter.

What does she like to do? What is her passion? Does it require a degree? Realistically, there is nothing wrong with going to a community college. It will cost a fraction of the university she is attending, plus she could work part-time. She would get another year of generals done and then look at her options for transferring her last two years to a less expensive 4-year school. Would she be interested in pursuing an education degree? What was her favorite subject in high school? Or, she could stop after graduating with 2 years of community college and find full-time work. College isn't for everyone. We've pushed kids far enough into thinking that everyone needs to have a four-year degree. They don't.

I agree with posters above who recommended accounting/finance. It's what I would consider more "solitary" in nature depending on the job. Yes, there's plenty of math, but not what I would consider the "hard" maths; more economics/business math.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by PFInterest »

walk away slowly...
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by gkaplan »

PFInterest wrote:walk away slowly...
I believe that's a good thing for her to do, since her BF is so controlling.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by miamivice »

I think she should should decide what she wants to do in life without BFs help. I can offer suggestions on how to find your niche in life but ultimately it is up to her to want to find her niche and to go down that path. Not BF or our decision .
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by jharkin »

I find it interesting that we are told she has "severe social anxiety" and yet everyone says she should go travel the world or work in a service industry job :oops: As someone who had Anxiety much of my life I can guarantee you both will be very hard for her until the SA is well treated. And that doesn't mean just meds. It means successful behavioral therapy with a specialist.

I also find it interesting that we are told she is "no good at math" and yet everyone says accounting and computer science. :oops: Both have lots of math people!

#1 OP you need to support her getting help for her SA, at a pace she is comfortable with.
#2 'Not good at math' most likely just doesn't like it... I'm sure she can learn it with study. But don't force it if it's not her thing. So support her going to the career center and exploring other avenues/careers.
#3 Just because her parents can no longer pay doesn't mean she now has to take on $26k out of pocket. File the FAFSA, look at scholarships, consider other schools she can transfer credit too that cost less (Boston has many options nearby)
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by nisiprius »

College is tough to get through. Work is tough to get through. It is my considered opinion that the first priority should be "something you love to do," because it's going to be tough enough even if you do love it.

It is also my opinion that nobody can predict how well they will do in a particular career, so, beyond realism, it is unwise to choose a career that doesn't feel like a "calling" just because people say the pay is good. ("The pay is good" can change, by the way, and I know more than one person lured into a four-year program to prepare themselves for X because X was "in demand," to find that, somehow, four year later, there was a glut of X).

As for guessing wrong about what you love to do, or finding that what you love to do changes, well, yeah. It happens. I've gone through two major shifts in my life, and if you talk to people in their sixties you'll find this is closer to the rule than the exception.

I know that financing education has changed drastically in the United States, and college is so expensive that people feel "do what you love" isn't realistic, it has to be "do what will give you max ROI," but that's nonsense. It's a damned shame that college is so expensive, and I fear for the future of the United States when our global competitors (e.g. Brazil) are offering various things resembling no-cost tuition, but it doesn't change anything about the proposition. If you don't love what you're studying you probably won't do well either in your studies or, later, in your job.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by nimo956 »

amd7239 wrote:
Jack FFR1846 wrote:When you say not good in math.....are you talking calculus or math in general. Nursing has no math but does have lots of life science but it does involve interaction with people. Accounting could be good for sitting in the back room calculating but if even rudimentary math boggles her, then I guess not.

How about have her go the the BU career center and get some guidance. If she's on campus, I know it's $65k a year.
She goes to the BU Metropolitan college (MET). I'll give the career center idea a shot-thanks!
Ok, I looked up the Metropolitan College, and it's not your typical Arts & Science college with your laundry list of majors. If she wants to stay where she is, there are only 3 majors at this school I think are worth pursuing: computer science, economics, and math.

This is the list I was able to find:
Art History
Biology
Biomedical Laboratory & Clinical Sciences
Computer Science
Criminal Justice
Economics
English & American Literature
History
Interdisciplinary Studies
Management Studies
Mathematics
Philosophy
Psychology
Sociology
Urban Affairs

Also, forget speaking with the college career center or professors. Talk with people who actually have a job you might be interested in pursuing. Ask them how they like it (expectations vs reality) and how they got it.

Edit: If it were me personally (and I could go back in time and do everything over again), I'd do whatever I could to get that Computer Science degree.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by leftcoaster »

amd7239 wrote:
Thesaints wrote:Why does she want to go to college ?
Bottom line is she really doesn't have much motivation to be there.

She had high hopes at first about becoming a doctor so that was the original reason. Now, she really doesn't have a clear goal/reason for being there other than her parents want her to go. This is a big reason why I am writing this post...She's at a crossroads and I don't want her taking the conventional path simply because it's what her parents tell her to do
These are her decisions. You need to give her some space so she can work this out.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by bsteiner »

nimo956 wrote:... If she wants to stay where she is, there are only 3 majors at this school I think are worth pursuing: computer science, economics, and math ....
She's just a sophomore in college. She should study what she wants.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by jharkin »

Interesting - looks like MET is BU's evening/weekend college for people working full time taking continuing ed. If she is not working why not transfer into BU proper?

Or she can look at transferring to any number of other nearby schools
Harvard
MIT (probably not if sci/math is not her thing)
Northeastern
Simmons (my wife went there for a BSN)
Boston College
Suffolk (mostly law)
Tufts
UMass Boston

or move in state...
Babson (biz)
Bentley (biz)
Brandeis
UMass Amherst



And so on... I'm missing about 100 more :)
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by North Texas Cajun »

Nisiprius: "It is my considered opinion that the first priority should be "something you love to do," because it's going to be tough enough even if you do love it. "

I disagree. I have seen far too many young people invest tens of thousands of dollars learning history or psychology or English Lit or Cultural Studies because that is what they loved or felt comfortable with. The result of their investment was then a low paying job which had nothing to do with "what they loved".

Certainly there are exceptions. But the truth is that graduates with STEM, business, and health-related degrees have had a much easier time finding jobs which allowed them to support themselves. And also jobs that gave them evenings and weekends - plus the finances - to pursue what they love to do.

Telling someone - especially a young person with no real-world experience - to pursue what you love to do is not helpful at all, IMO.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by TomatoTomahto »

This whole thread is like trying to diagnose a patient when someone else, with an agenda of his own, has the stethoscope.

Man oh man, we are an earnest crowd. Sometimes that's a good thing, other times, IMO, not so much.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by jharkin »

North Texas Cajun wrote: Telling someone - especially a young person with no real-world experience - to pursue what you love to do is not helpful at all, IMO.
So you are saying life should be all about money.


the truth is that both should be considerations. Yes it makes sense to go into things that can provide an acceptable standard of living... but work is about more than money. If you are making bug bucks but miserable 40-60 hours a week at the office whats the point?

If everyone decide a career just on money we would have a count full of lawyers, hedge fun managers, doctors and programmers. Who would educate our kids? build our roads? protect us? provide art and culture.

A well balanced society and a fulfilling life needs a bit of everything.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by North Texas Cajun »

jharkin wrote:I also find it interesting that we are told she is "no good at math" and yet everyone says accounting and computer science. :oops: Both have lots of math people
Well, I'm one of those people that must make you slap your head.

I have degrees in math, computer science, and business. As someone above pointed out, the math for accounting and business is really not as hard as that required for STEM degrees. Yes, it will take some hard study for someone with math anxiety. But if young Americans are going to try and compete in a what is now a global market for talent, they had better learn to suck it up and study hard.
Last edited by North Texas Cajun on Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Markov »

amd7239 wrote: There is a point where a college degree hurts you more than helps you, especially if your major is useless careerwise. Because of the high tuition, I do wonder if she would be better off dropping out and working temporary low pay jobs like in restaurants/retail.
Thoughts on this?
Stay in school. This could be a major turning point in her life if she decides to drop out, it would mean the difference between going through the rest of her life with a 4 year degree or without. Once she leaves and takes a temp job, those jobs tend to pull you in by putting money in your pocket and it will be very difficult to get back into college mode of studying.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by North Texas Cajun »

jharkin wrote:
North Texas Cajun wrote: Telling someone - especially a young person with no real-world experience - to pursue what you love to do is not helpful at all, IMO.
So you are saying life should be all about money.
Never said that at all.

jharkin wrote: truth is that both should be considerations. Yes it makes sense to go into things that can provide an acceptable standard of living... but work is about more than money. If you are making bug bucks but miserable 40-60 hours a week at the office whats the point?

If everyone decide a career just on money we would have a count full of lawyers, hedge fun managers, doctors and programmers. Who would educate our kids? build our roads? protect us? provide art and culture.

A well balanced society and a fulfilling life needs a bit of everything.
I agree that a person would be better off working in a job that they enjoy and that pays well. I also know that a broad degree in a a health or business field opens up many, many possibilities. Some involve social contact and some are more solitary. Some require building on math skills learned in college and some do not.

I also know from real-world experience as a business owner/employer that the world is full of frustrated college graduates with degrees in history, psychology, cultural studies,
film arts and others.

I have no idea what you mean by "a well-balanced society". But I'm pretty sure that the U.S. economy has little need for millions more young people intent on pursuing jobs in film, history, English lit, and music.
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flamesabers
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by flamesabers »

jharkin wrote:
North Texas Cajun wrote: Telling someone - especially a young person with no real-world experience - to pursue what you love to do is not helpful at all, IMO.
So you are saying life should be all about money.


the truth is that both should be considerations. Yes it makes sense to go into things that can provide an acceptable standard of living... but work is about more than money. If you are making bug bucks but miserable 40-60 hours a week at the office whats the point?

If everyone decide a career just on money we would have a count full of lawyers, hedge fun managers, doctors and programmers. Who would educate our kids? build our roads? protect us? provide art and culture.

A well balanced society and a fulfilling life needs a bit of everything.
I don't think the point was that society doesn't benefit from having teachers, construction workers, police officers, etc. Instead, I think North Texas Cajun's point was that it is not a good investment to go into debt to study arts or cultural studies in college. I think it's very important, for young people especially, to realize that college degrees aren't all equal to each other in terms of obtaining employment.
North Texas Cajun
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by North Texas Cajun »

bsteiner wrote: She's just a sophomore in college. She should study what she wants.

Steve Jobs said: "If I had never dropped in on that single calligraphy course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts."
She's a very young person spending someone else's money - $26,000 a year of someone else's money. If she wastes it on an economically useless degree, she will soon join the chorus of young people asking someone else to bail her out of the loans and poor choices she made.

If she were using her own money, I would agree that "she should study what she wants". But that's not the case.

Edit: I just saw that she will be paying $26K a semester, or likely $52K a year. If she is going to use $52K a year of other people's money, then whether or not she wastes it should not be her decision alone.
Last edited by North Texas Cajun on Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
Rupert
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Rupert »

amd7239 wrote:
Rupert wrote:How about physical therapy, audiology, radiology technician, radiology technologist, (I could rattle off a hundred more)?
Please do! These are good ideas, I'm writing them down as we speak...
Cardiovascular perfusionist, radiation therapist, nuclear medicine technologist, medical sonographer, cytotechnologist, dietician and nutritionist, respiratory therapist, occupational therapist, surgical technician, EMT, biomedical equipment technician . . .

I'm not sure what you mean when you say she has "social anxiety," i.e., I'm not sure if you're referring to the official DSM diagnosis, merely suggesting that she's an introvert, or are just using that term very casually to mean she doesn't like giving speeches and making small talk at cocktail parties. But generally speaking, people with social anxiety don't mind interacting with people in a very focused situation, where there's a job to be done, e.g., an MRI or a hearing exam to be performed. I'm thinking you probably mean she wouldn't be good at a job that requires her to sell something or make a lot of presentations. None of these jobs would require that.
Engineer250
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Engineer250 »

jharkin wrote:
North Texas Cajun wrote: Telling someone - especially a young person with no real-world experience - to pursue what you love to do is not helpful at all, IMO.
So you are saying life should be all about money.


the truth is that both should be considerations. Yes it makes sense to go into things that can provide an acceptable standard of living... but work is about more than money. If you are making bug bucks but miserable 40-60 hours a week at the office whats the point?

If everyone decide a career just on money we would have a count full of lawyers, hedge fun managers, doctors and programmers. Who would educate our kids? build our roads? protect us? provide art and culture.

A well balanced society and a fulfilling life needs a bit of everything.
I have to agree the "find your passion" line is B.S.

First of all, at 17 or 18 you probably have no idea what your real "passion" is, only what you've been good at so far. I went and got a B.A. in something pretty non-specific. The job market wasn't terrible when I graduated, but I still had a near impossible time finding a job, ANY JOB, forget it being at all related to my degree, even though I had work experience while I was in college. It was happenstance that I ended up working alongside and engineers and thought "hey, maybe I could do this" and went back to school for engineering. No one would ever accuse me of having a "lifelong passion" for engineering. But you know what? I enjoy the work. And I think I'd have been just as happy being an accountant or a nurse or any of the other things I considered. The problem is not that every career needs to be lucrative and that we need to hate our jobs, but that people are a lot more flexible than we give ourselves credit for. We can be happy doing a lot of different things. We can enjoy our careers even if they were never a "passion". The idea that there's only a few things we'll be happy doing is absurd.

My advice to OP: you need to chill out. There is a huge "life experience" gap between you and your GF and I am worried you are trying to mold her into a future wife rather than just living your own life. Back off, focus on your own career and your own goals and your own interests. If that includes her in a few years then fine. If it doesn't, move on and find someone else. I don't think I could have been with someone who was not as ambitious as I was, but I know it works for plenty of other people.

My advice to your GF: I'm guessing she's never held a job. She needs a job, any job. Any interaction with the outside world where she can get rewarded for hard work that she does and builds a community and relationships with people that have no stake in her life and can be neutral passengers. And really she needs to get away from you and her parents (at least mentally, I'm not suggesting she move out) so she can form her own independent goals and interests as an adult.
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sbaywriter
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by sbaywriter »

I agree with the suggestion of previous posters to take some time off and get some kind of job - that worked for me. But times were different then.

And of course none of us really have the full picture here and the decision is ultimately the GFs.

I dropped out of college in the 1960s because although I enjoyed (and gained much lasting benefit) from studying the general education topics like history of western civilization, none of it led to a career and I had no clue what I wanted to do for a living.

So I took random temporary clerical jobs for several years and felt better and more stable in life because it was something I could DO versus THINK ABOUT. Maybe some of us need that more than others. I don't know if such jobs are still available - probably not proofreading the telephone directory which was one of my temp jobs. They were minimum wage.

After a few years I picked up What Color is Your Parachute and used the exercises to narrow down what I was good at and could do to get something more along those lines. Some years later, I went back to school at a state university for a degree in technical writing.

Technical writing 20-30 years ago, especially in software, used to be a good profession for introverts who liked to write and enjoyed learning technology but didn't want to work hard enough to actually create new technology. Not sure it's so good anymore - the technology is more complex plus many of these jobs are offshored.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Dottie57 »

bsteiner wrote:
nimo956 wrote:... If she wants to stay where she is, there are only 3 majors at this school I think are worth pursuing: computer science, economics, and math ....
She's just a sophomore in college. She should study what she wants.

Steve Jobs said: "If I had never dropped in on that single calligraphy course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts."

As long as she can do it without a lot of debt, I agree.
dsmil
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by dsmil »

Accounting is a solid major and decent students shouldn't have much trouble landing a job. The work isn't too exciting but you can always find a job at a more exciting company if you'd like. My job in accounting pays well and is low stress, and that's all that I need.
North Texas Cajun
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by North Texas Cajun »

Dottie57 wrote:As long as she can do it without a lot of debt, I agree.
Well, the OP said that her parents can no longer pay. So the $52K tuition and fees have to come from somewhere outside the family.

I guess there are some ways other than debt for a young inexperienced person to obtain $52K a year.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Morgan22 »

If she wants to stay in college would recommend transferring to the closest UMass campus to her for the remainder of her education. It will be half of what she's paying now. And if she doesn't mind paying attention to detail, then Accounting as a major. I'm an accountant myself in a corporate environment, there is not much difficult math at all. We use spreadsheets now adays to calculate everything. It's pretty easy work for good money. She could always work for a small company in the back office, therefore limiting the amount of time she has to interact with people. (And you don't need to go the CPA route. Unless she decides she wants to do public accounting. I did not myself. It does limit your upward mobility. But with social anxiety, it sounds like she wouldn't want to climb the ladder anyways.)
I have a kid that has taken a few years off from college, it was the best thing for her. She now is back at a community college pursuing a career that only requires an associate's. That could be another option to think about. Maybe go to a community college close to her to get ideas of different type of careers that doesn't require a bachelor's and getting in debt. I wish her luck!
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Index Fan »

I was a college dropout after half a year in university right out of high school, floating through life. I spent several years in the lower-paying working world, which gave me the desire to go back to university and get a degree. Ended up with a bachelor's degree with honors and a better-paying career I liked.

Sometimes, you need to motivate yourself.
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KlangFool
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by KlangFool »

amd7239 wrote:
She goes to BU, which has a pretty high tuition ($26k/semester). She lives with parents so no room + board costs. She does not want to transfer out to a cheaper school. Her parents have been paying so she has zero debt now, but they run out of money so now, more college = debt.
amd7239,

She needs to wake up and face the reality soon. So, until she does, telling her anything is useless. In fact, it is counter productive. She will get mad at you.

Timing is everything.

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CedarWaxWing
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by CedarWaxWing »

blevine wrote:I graduated from BU long ago. Best decision I made, money well spent. You can study almost anything at BU, she should try different classes and activities and find herself. Expensive but amazing opportunity to find and develop interests.
A student can study "almost anything" at any good public university, in fact for the first two years at most so called "community colleges" for a fraction of the cost.

BU is not unique in that way, and frankly, borrowing to go to a very expensive school is not usually secure way to progress in life if you are struggling with both the finances and the academic rigors of college life. This is particularly true when you don't have a strong motivation to be there, and more so when you cannot identify a field of great interest to major in.

An anxiety problem.... will be much more difficult to overcome when these other stresses are added to the mix.

She likely would benefit from taking some time out of school... getting a job to earn some funds, taking one night class at a time at the lowest cost college she can find. Doing so in the lowest cost state she can find for college costs for in state tuition would help if she can make it on her own.

https://www.usnews.com/education/best-c ... e-students
https://www.usnews.com/education/best-c ... e-colleges

Some states are very much lower in tuition costs than others... Calif and Texas used to be so... and Calif has a very good comm college system where someone good do night school one class at a time while working. (After establishing state residency.)

Getting a job, saving some money, taking one night class at a time to stay in the game (only if interested in a particular subject for now?) would be a great way to build some confidence, have time to think about how and when to get back into a full time college environment, or other options such as an AA degree in an employable degree, the military, or ?

How much of the anxiety issue is related to the stresses of a college curriculum that was not right for her?

If she has a need for chronic anti anxiety meds... it is possible she should be seeing someone other than a primary care doc for that problem... so as to address the real problem.

(Her anxiety issues are not due to an absence of anti-anxiety meds, but if this can be brought under control, she will be in a much better state to address her other challenges, and her self confidence and decision making will benefit greatly. :)

In the end she is the only one who can do these things, and may benefit from professional help, and counseling, as others have already wisely suggested.

Best,

M
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by ralph124cf »

I think the worst job prospect for somebody with a terminal BA is Art History. A family friend did this and ten years later she is working as a massage therapist.

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amd7239
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by amd7239 »

As you all advised, I asked her opinion and didn't give any advice...

Major:
She said that psychology comes easier to her and she finds it relatively interesting and that's what she will go with. She feels like she is too dumb to do anything that will pay well even though I always tell her she's not.

Why college?
She said college is "a bunch of BS I could learn myself" but that she feels like she has to do it because her parents say so. She lives with them so she doesn't want to deal with them pestering her every day. She said she'd be happy to drop out if we got married and lived together but I'm not ready for that yet and that's a whole different story.

What College?
She wants to stay at BU. I asked why, she said she doesn't want to bother transferring to another school because what if her credits don't transfer, it costs money to apply, etc. Although obviously the tuition savings if she went to Bunker Hill or Umass Boston would be way more than an application fee. Bottom line is I don't think she wants to bother with the work of transferring. She won't even apply for the FAFSA if I don't help her even though her family income is very low so she will save a ton of money.

She has said she feels stuck in her life and doesn't care what happens in the future anymore. I feel she is going through the motions. She wants her life to change but feels like "this is just the way it is, life just sucks" - she doesn't feel empowered to change it. Perhaps now you can see why it is hard for me not to interfere.

As far as questions earlier asking about anxiety - she does have help - she sees a psychiatrist biweekly.

The bottom line is I understand she has to learn from her own mistakes, but going to BU "just because" is a very expensive mistake that will take decades to pay off. I don't know how to tell her this without "mansplaining" or seeming overbearing. I wnat her to understand the magnitude of this decision. Maybe I should show her the (future monthly student loans payments) + (opportunity cost from not investing) to demonstrate how much is at stake.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Dottie57 »

North Texas Cajun wrote:
Dottie57 wrote:As long as she can do it without a lot of debt, I agree.
Well, the OP said that her parents can no longer pay. So the $52K tuition and fees have to come from somewhere outside the family.

I guess there are some ways other than debt for a young inexperienced person to obtain $52K a year.

There must be less spendy ways to getan education. I graduated at U of M(innesota) and the tuition was about $450 a quarter when I went. College is now so much more expensive it is incredible.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by North Texas Cajun »

amd7239 wrote:As you all advised, I asked her opinion and didn't give any advice...
I got to tell you, if it were me and I was considering a long term future with this woman, I would definitely being giving lots of advice.

amd7239 wrote:She said college is "a bunch of BS I could learn myself" but that she feels like she has to do it because her parents say so. She lives with them so she doesn't want to deal with them pestering her every day. She said she'd be happy to drop out if we got married and lived together but I'm not ready for that yet and that's a whole different story.
She needs to grow up fast. Spending $52K a year just to keep her parents from pestering her is extremely immature and a recipe for financial disaster.
amd7239 wrote: She wants her life to change but feels like "this is just the way it is, life just sucks" - she doesn't feel empowered to change it. Perhaps now you can see why it is hard for me not to interfere.
Little Miss Unempowered is about to cost somebody a LOT of money. Could be her. Could be you. Could be taxpayers.

I cannot understand why you are listening for one second to these "smart" folks who are telling you to leave her alone. If you love this woman, you are being a coward if you leave her alone to screw up her life this way.
amd7239 wrote:The bottom line is I understand she has to learn from her own mistakes, but going to BU "just because" is a very expensive mistake that will take decades to pay off. I don't know how to tell her this without "mansplaining" or seeming overbearing.
Oh, please! This woman you claim to love needs help right now or she is going to screw up her life financially and probably worse. Be a man, and help this woman you love. You know what to do.
amd7239 wrote:I wnat her to understand the magnitude of this decision. Maybe I should show her the (future monthly student loans payments) + (opportunity cost from not investing) to demonstrate how much is at stake.
That's definitely one thing you need to do.
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flamesabers
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by flamesabers »

amd7239 wrote: Major:
She said that psychology comes easier to her and she finds it relatively interesting and that's what she will go with. She feels like she is too dumb to do anything that will pay well even though I always tell her she's not.
Even if what she says and feels is completely accurate, her thinking still indicates a lack of long-term planning. Why is she going to college (and incurring student debt when her parents can no longer pay her tuition) if she feels she isn't smart enough to work in a good-paying job? As bad as her parents pestering her to finish college might be, the financial burden of her student debt will probably be worse, especially if she's stuck in a relatively low-paying job.
amd7239 wrote: Why college?
She said college is "a bunch of BS I could learn myself" but that she feels like she has to do it because her parents say so. She lives with them so she doesn't want to deal with them pestering her every day. She said she'd be happy to drop out if we got married and lived together but I'm not ready for that yet and that's a whole different story.

What College?
She wants to stay at BU. I asked why, she said she doesn't want to bother transferring to another school because what if her credits don't transfer, it costs money to apply, etc. Although obviously the tuition savings if she went to Bunker Hill or Umass Boston would be way more than an application fee. Bottom line is I don't think she wants to bother with the work of transferring. She won't even apply for the FAFSA if I don't help her even though her family income is very low so she will save a ton of money.

She has said she feels stuck in her life and doesn't care what happens in the future anymore. I feel she is going through the motions. She wants her life to change but feels like "this is just the way it is, life just sucks" - she doesn't feel empowered to change it. Perhaps now you can see why it is hard for me not to interfere.

As far as questions earlier asking about anxiety - she does have help - she sees a psychiatrist biweekly.

The bottom line is I understand she has to learn from her own mistakes, but going to BU "just because" is a very expensive mistake that will take decades to pay off. I don't know how to tell her this without "mansplaining" or seeming overbearing. I wnat her to understand the magnitude of this decision. Maybe I should show her the (future monthly student loans payments) + (opportunity cost from not investing) to demonstrate how much is at stake.
It sounds like she needs to learn to take charge of her life before anything else. If she thinks college isn't for her and would be waste of time/money, she should confront her parents instead of relying on you to get her out of that situation. If she's going to continue to go to college, she needs to think long and hard about what she should major in. She isn't helping anyone by telling herself that she's too dumb to get a good paying job. She should also start being proactive with financial aid and otherwise minimizing the amount of student debt she incurs. Maybe she should take a break from college in the meantime to get her priorities in order? (And to avoid incurring unnecessary student debt.) If she decides college is a good idea for her, she can always come back to it when she's ready.

As much as you want to interfere and help her out, I think this is something she has to resolve on her own. Otherwise she might become dependent on you to resolve her problems instead of fixing them herself.
AZAttorney11
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by AZAttorney11 »

Preach, North Texas Cajun!
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