--Yesterday I talked to a guidance counselor that pretty much told me what I already knew: Communications is the safe choice. I would never lack for exciting work with a degree in P.R. I could travel and write if I wanted to. The BYU program is great. I could meet new people, see new places, blah blah blah.
--I'm really being drawn to a Middle Eastern Studies major. My schedule is almost exactly what they recommend for a MESA degree. BYU also has a great program with this. The problem is: What the heck am I going to do with a MESA degree? It's a good Liberal Arts Program, but that just means that a law/medicine/business school won't care. It's like majoring in History or Linguistics. Fine if you want to teach, but not so fine if you want a job in the real world. The MESA degree also requires a semester abroad, which (after talking to my parents) probably isn't feasable financially.
--Today I had Life cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don't ask me why, it just sounded good.
Don't get me wrong. I'm really interested in Communications, and with a minor in Arabic/ME studies, I might have decent ME background to be valuable to some International company/organization or maybe the CIA. I heard fluent Arabic speakers are in huge demand. But all I know is that I'm eighteen and ate nothing but cold cereal today. Makes me wonder if I'm even capable of doing something with my life.
You're only 18? Damn, I wish I was still 18.
I was a language major. I couldn't get a decent job afterwards. My husband supported me for years while I struggled doing freelance work. Now I have gone back to school at 31 to get a degree in something for which there is a strong market demand.
I'd go for the Communications with Arabic minor. After you have a marketable job skill, you can always send yourself back to school to study things you love.
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I know how you feel, though... I'm just starting out with college, and though there's something I really want to do with my life, I'm not sure I'll be able to do it, or even how to start... But I'm going to try the best I can, anyway...
Edit: I guess since I haven't decided what to do yet, I don't have the right to give you advice...
Go for what you find interesting. I got my BA in Classical Antiquities, my MA in Teaching English as a Second Language, and now I work as a network administrator. Often, what a person ends up doing has absolutely nothing to do with their degree anyway.
Posts: 16059 | Registered: Aug 2000
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I got a B.S. in biology. Unfortunately, it's B.S. as far as the job market is concerned; you really need a Masters, and I don't know if I'll ever get there.
Posts: 1041 | Registered: Feb 2002
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Do you need to be able to support yourself?
The answer to that is: YES
Do not leave yourself without options. Major in what you love, but, and I'm not being funny, get a skill during the summer. Something - beauty school, a teaching certificate, plumbing, something.
For a full life, you will need a full measure of both theory and practice. The Middle Eastern sounds like the theory you love, but the practical needs to be attended to as well. To make a choice that excludes either of the options is to trap yourself in a world that will not suffice.
My dad always considered the perfect 4-year education to be a bachelor's in engineering, a minor in Art, and a certificate as an electrician. That should take you through anything, and if worse comes to worse and the bottom falls out of the economy, you can still be an electrician, because there will always be a need for it.
My concession to practicality was web design and tech writing. I spent five years in college, but everything that earns me money I did in the last year. I wouldn't trade my education for anything - I think it's perfect. I learned everything in the theory area (three minors), and still am eminently able to keep from starving doing something I quite enjoy, as far as practical jobs go.
As far as the semester abroad, don't worry at the moment. Your parents may not be able to come up with the cash, but it can't be more than about five thousand dollars. Don't give up what you love because of that - there will be a way.
Posts: 26077 | Registered: Mar 2000
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Hey muppet, what did you mean with that line about a law/medicine/business school not caring? If you meant that such a degree wouldn't help you get into that kind of graduate program, then you are mistaken.
I know from experience that law schools in particular love people who got that kind of undergraduate degree. They get sick to death of political science and English majors. These days, one of their biggest criteria for acceptance is diversity of experience.
My law school took great pride each year in announcing the widely varied backgrounds of its new admittees: their education, work experience, life experience (gender, age and race/ethnicity were kind of thrown in there too, but weren't emphasized as much).
Anyway, if you are interested in a grad degree such as law, a Middle Eastern Studies degree should serve you very well (as long as your grades and LSAT score are good).
Is there any possibility of doing a double major? That way you get the best of both worlds.
The biggest problem that I see with the MESA major is that it's a very general area study and it would be difficult to get a specific enough skill set within it without going to grad school. The great thing about it is that you have so many options about what you could actually do with the degree once you choose a focus within it. You could go to work for the CIA, as a Diplomat with the State Department, international business, humanitarian relief, international law, and so on. But it all takes more education and a specialization to really get anywhere in any of those careers.
Even though your parents may not be able to pay for your semester abroad there are still other possibilities. Rotary clubs in many areas offer scholarships to study abroad, your school may have some financial assistance and there are plenty of other sources as well.
Regardless, you're still 18 and you have time to make decisions and change them while you're in college. You have time to do that after you graduate to. In fact, the only Arabic studies major I know is a coworker of mine at a Latin American development organization. He loves it.
Posts: 959 | Registered: Jan 2002
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