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Career Plans 2.11.05

My apologies in advance: I’m about to delve into a me-me topic. Such is the nature of blogging.

Anyway, I’m stumped on career plans. Thing is, I kind of enjoy doing just about everything, so I can’t pinpoint something as being the thing I want to do for the rest of my life. Adding to that problem though is that my primary interests reside in engineering, the physical sciences, and life sciences – all of which are very difficult fields to move away from once one has degree. If one studies the liberal arts or business or something like that, there’s a great deal more flexibility in what fields a person can work in. With engineering and physical and life sciences though, you’re essentially locked in (and you take a huge, huge risk if you try to get out). That’s nice and all for the person who knows he definitely wants to be an electrical engineer or she knows she wants to be an astrophysicist, but what of those of us who don’t have a damn clue?

So, my concern is that I really have to choose now-ish what I want to be doing for the rest of my life – scary. I realize that most people change their major at least once during college, but I’d hate to spend two years studying chemistry and then suddenly decide I want to do architecture.

Here are my top picks (at the moment, anyway) of things I’d like to study:


Thing is, in a month, that list will probably change. Two months ago it would’ve been Architecture, Mathematics, and Computer Science; but, I’ve decided Mathematics would be too boring, and I’m taking Computer Science right now in high school, and I honestly don’t have the faintest clue what I’m doing, so I figured I’d better drop that from my list. Hell, I didn’t think of Biochemistry until I actually started filling out my UC application.

Scary times. Why can’t I just learn a bunch of stuff about everything?

9 Comments

Anonymous Giles Guthrie 3.11.05  

Well, you don't need to know what you want to do for the rest of your life now. The notion of a "job for life" is an anachronism from the 1950s, and you would do well to take quite a short-termist view of your career.

That said, a vocational qualification is more likely to get you the initial job, and as my grandfather used to say, "when you're in a job, you're being paid to look for something better".

He ended up as Chairman of B.O.A.C. and director of several companies.

Science careers are all fine and well, but they are rarely that well paid, and are usually blighted by short fixed-term contracts. And whilst I advise that you take a short-term view of your career, it's always better when you dictate the length of that term! Plus short term contacts tend to make things like mortgages difficult to get or more expensive as the mortgage company offsets the risk with higher interest rates.

With your fanaticism for things being right, I would venture to suggest that a career in architecture beckons...

Anonymous skip0110 3.11.05  

At least within engineering, it's very easy to move between fields well after your first year of college. The difference between biomedical engineering and computer systems engineering is only 1 course in the first 2 years here at BU, and those two degrees probably have the least similarity between them out of all the engineering degrees.

It's similar in the sciences. In fact, I think you only need 2 or 3 classes to have a minor in one of the sciences with an engineering degree.

So your decision now may not be as firm as you think it is.

Anonymous Ram Rod 6.11.05  

Have you though about a automotive test driver? I support you!

Blogger Sage 6.11.05  

With your fanaticism for things being right, I would venture to suggest that a career in architecture beckons...

Hmm, it’s tempting. I’ve heard enough stories from Duke and Alex though to make me second-guess it (of course, all jobs have their issues, but it seems architecture has more than its fair share). It’s still obviously one of my highest considerations though.

At least within engineering, it's very easy to move between fields well after your first year of college. The difference between biomedical engineering and computer systems engineering is only 1 course in the first 2 years here at BU […]

Oh, I didn’t know that – very interesting. I was under the assumption that if, for example, one declared Bioengineering as their major, a huge section of their schedule would be dedicated to biology and chemistry (in other words, I expected Biochemistry and Bioengineering to cross paths more than Bioengineering and Architectural Engineering – but it sounds like you’re saying that the reverse is true?). Very interesting.

Have you though about a automotive test driver?

Something like that would be okay as a side-job, but I’d hate to waste my brain when it could be used in the sciences and engineering.

Blogger Blake 6.11.05  

I’d hate to waste my brain

Awefully noble of you… :-P

Anonymous AO 7.11.05  

Sage,

A good friend of mine worked for Circuit City while he was going to school. In all his identiy, he most fulfilled the "uber-geek" title. At 17 he'd already forgotten more about computers than I knew. He was a dual major in computer engineering and phsycology.

To incredibly distinct and distant majors, that have little to nothing in common. Save a two letter acronym. AI.

Last time I saw him, he was 18 and in contact with the CIA.

On the architecture front, there is a vast array of aspects that you can get into. I recently bumped into an old college friend, who is a Rep for Eagle windows. One of my old coworkers now runs a construction company. A girl I went to college with is now a mechanical engineer. She graduated with a degree in Architecture, and got hired to help read drawings and assist with planning duct installations. Another one from my class designs ergonomic furniture.

I'm now working for a general contractor, on a construction site. My office has no heat or AC, with plywood walls. But it is fun and I've learned more in the last three months, than the last two years of college.

Good luck,

AO

Anonymous AO 7.11.05  

With your fanaticism for things being right, I would venture to suggest that a career in architecture beckons...
What's really funny about that, is the in design, architecture and construction, there is almost never a right answer. Most answers are almost right.

Blogger Sage 7.11.05  

Awefully noble of you… :-P

Ain’t I? :-D

Another one from my class designs ergonomic furniture.

Ooh ooh, perfect for me! Ever since I sat in a Lamborghini Diablo (at the L.A. Auto Show) and felt how perfectly shaped the seat was, I’ve had a huge interest in ergonomics.

And getting a dual major is something I’m definitely considering (at the very least, getting a major and a minor) – I have way too many interests to not go that route.

Thanks for all the comments, guys! I really do appreciate you sharing and helping me out.
:-)

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