Reactions to your Major

The school experience. School related queries, discussions, and stories that aren't specific to a subject.

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Palomnik
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Palomnik » Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:59 pm UTC

Japanese. The responses I get are as you'd imagine them to be.

- "Konnichi wa/Domo arigatou", or something similar.
- "Wow, but isn't that, like, impossible to read and write?"
Evidently not, as I'm not the first person to learn to do so, and about 127 million people have done so every day since they were born
- "So, are you really into videogames and anime and stuff" Videogames yes, anime no, but neither is the reason I chose Japanese

There also usually follows a request for a demonstration of spoken Japanese. I've come to the conclusion that no matter how fluently one speaks a language, at the point where one is asked to say something non-specific, one's mind simply goes blank. I have a better time if they ask me to say something specific in Japanese.

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Bluggo
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Bluggo » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:04 pm UTC

"Mathematics".
"Oh, cool. Tell me, how much is 19385027 times 10324?"

Actually, I gave up trying to explain that math is not about that: instead, I have been trying to learn a little about fast mental calculation in order to further the misconception. You know, if you cannot beat them...
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:57 pm UTC

I always thought math was all about coming up with new integration rules
frezik wrote:Anti-photons move at the speed of dark

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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby zmatt » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:48 pm UTC

"History"
"Oh so you want to teach?"
"No, I hate kids"

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jawdisorder
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby jawdisorder » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:39 pm UTC

Me: "I haven't really decided yet."
Them: "What?!?!"
Me: "We're freshman, we ARE allowed to wait to make these decisions..."
Them: "Yeah, I guess, I would just think you want to know where you're going in school."
Me: "..."

BlissfulRhythm
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby BlissfulRhythm » Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:02 am UTC

Me: "Metallurgical and materials engineering."
Them: "...Oh. So what does that mean, exactly?"
Me: "Basically, I study and design *stuff.* Metals, polymers, ceramics; everything from nanotechnology to construction steel."

Most of the time, I'm explaining my major to people who are engineering students or practicing engineers. I spend 10 minutes like this, and they still have no idea what I'm trying to say. I know metallurgical is kind of a big word, but I'm surprised by how few people know what metallurgy is. It even has the word "metal" within it.

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KestrelLowing
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby KestrelLowing » Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:29 pm UTC

BlissfulRhythm wrote:Me: "Metallurgical and materials engineering."
Them: "...Oh. So what does that mean, exactly?"
Me: "Basically, I study and design *stuff.* Metals, polymers, ceramics; everything from nanotechnology to construction steel."

Most of the time, I'm explaining my major to people who are engineering students or practicing engineers. I spend 10 minutes like this, and they still have no idea what I'm trying to say. I know metallurgical is kind of a big word, but I'm surprised by how few people know what metallurgy is. It even has the word "metal" within it.


Wow, really? Engineers who don't know what metallurgical is (especially if they're mechanical or civil) deserve to be shot. Well, maybe not shot, but at least have questioning glances thrown in their general direction. Don't they have to take the intro to Materials class?

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Aightynine
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Aightynine » Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:52 pm UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:Another one I've gotten is "oh, you must be really smart". Umm, how are you supposed to answer that?


I'm a chemistry major, and that's probably my most common response. I don't know how to answer that either; I usually just kinda mumble something like, "Well, I do my best." You can't really say "No, not really," but I would feel like a jerk saying, "Yeah, I guess I must be." *Shrug* Sometimes I also get, "Ooh, that sounds hard," or occasionally, "Oh, man, I hate chemistry," usually from biology majors.

EDIT: I have nothing but respect for biology majors. ^-^ It just seems as though most of the people I run into who say they hate chemistry are majoring in biology.
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby BlissfulRhythm » Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:24 pm UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:Wow, really? Engineers who don't know what metallurgical is (especially if they're mechanical or civil) deserve to be shot. Well, maybe not shot, but at least have questioning glances thrown in their general direction. Don't they have to take the intro to Materials class?


Yes they do, but I encounter a lot of people before they take the class, or after they've purged their brains of everything they learned in it. Some days it's more frustrating than others.

I also get the "you must be really smart" thing, especially since I'm a female, and I never want to openly agree. I usually just explain that difficulty is in the eye of the beholder, and everyone's brain works differently. I would be terrible at a lot of stuff, from electrical engineering to TV production. My field is easy to me because I'm interested in it, and my brain is wired in such a way that I approach it properly.

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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:38 pm UTC

Being a chemistry major, I've given up pretenses of modesty when people make "You must be so smart" comments and just say, "Thanks; I know"
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ShortChelsea
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby ShortChelsea » Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:40 pm UTC

When I tell people that my major is psychology they'll stare at me and say, "Oh, so you can psychoanalyze me right?" or, "Oh, so you can shrink my head?" *rolls eyes* I think the worst reaction was from my grandmother (whose son is a psychologist). She said, "You know all psychologists are crazy and just want to diagnose their own craziness, right?"

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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:40 pm UTC

ShortChelsea wrote:When I tell people that my major is psychology they'll stare at me and say, "Oh, so you can psychoanalyze me right?" or, "Oh, so you can shrink my head?" *rolls eyes* I think the worst reaction was from my grandmother (whose son is a psychologist). She said, "You know all psychologists are crazy and just want to diagnose their own craziness, right?"

Your grandmother does have a point, at least from all my psychology major friends
frezik wrote:Anti-photons move at the speed of dark

DemonDeluxe wrote:Paying to have laws written that allow you to do what you want, is a lot cheaper than paying off the judge every time you want to get away with something shady.

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podbaydoor
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby podbaydoor » Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:55 pm UTC

Palomnik wrote:Japanese. The responses I get are as you'd imagine them to be.

- "Konnichi wa/Domo arigatou", or something similar.
- "Wow, but isn't that, like, impossible to read and write?"
Evidently not, as I'm not the first person to learn to do so, and about 127 million people have done so every day since they were born
- "So, are you really into videogames and anime and stuff" Videogames yes, anime no, but neither is the reason I chose Japanese

There also usually follows a request for a demonstration of spoken Japanese. I've come to the conclusion that no matter how fluently one speaks a language, at the point where one is asked to say something non-specific, one's mind simply goes blank. I have a better time if they ask me to say something specific in Japanese.

This is very true. I am (somewhat) conversational in Mandarin, and whenever I mention it, they either say something horribly butchered at me which I can't interpret, or request a demonstration. On cue, my mind goes blank. Usually I fall back on "I am speaking Chinese right now." If I'm feeling daring, I'll say, "You are an obese rice pot."

I majored in Journalism, which usually gets people ranting to me about the evil MSM and now newspapers are dying and Fox/NPR/MSNBC are horribly biased blah blah blah, why can't you journalists ever be objective? or pointing out some terrible mistake some journalist made somewhere last week. If I want to end the conversation early, I'll say that I majored in "convergence journalism with a minor in information technologies." The presence of multi-syllabic words usually shut people up.
tenet |ˈtenit|
noun
a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy : the tenets of classical liberalism.
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ExplodingHat
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby ExplodingHat » Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:03 am UTC

I was unaware that the derivative of journalism approaches 0 as x gets large.
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hyacinth
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby hyacinth » Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:39 pm UTC

My original major was cognitive science, and people's general reaction was, "What's that?" My mother never knew what I meant even after I tried to explain quite a few times. I don't think most people really "got it" even with an explanation. They mostly thought it just sounded like psychology.

Now I'm a psychology/bio major because I realized I was mainly into the biological and psychological sides of cog sci. When people ask why I chose those two, I say that it's because I'm interested in perception, memory, emotion, cognition in general and the neurobiology that underlies those things. When they ask what I want to do with those majors, I tell them research.

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kaytaq
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby kaytaq » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:49 pm UTC

Ugh, I absolutely dread this question.

"What are you studying?"
"Geography and Spanish."
"So are you going to like, make a map of Mexico?"

"What are you studying?"
"Geography and Spanish."
"You know the whole world has been mapped, right?"

"What are you studying?"
"Geography and Spanish."
"So do you know where every country/city/river/[insert feature] in the world is?"

CivilMongoose
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby CivilMongoose » Fri Apr 15, 2011 10:13 pm UTC

Them: "So, what's your major?"
Me: "Civil Engineering."
Them: "Oh, so, uhm, what are you going to be doing then?"
Me: "Trying to make engineering less barbaric," or "Build things."

Save Point
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Save Point » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:15 am UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:So, I went and got my haircut the other day and the stylist (or whatever they call themselves) starts with some small talk like they try to do. She asked me what I'm doing, and I mentioned that I'm a college student. She asked what my major was, and I replied "Mechanical Engineering."

"Oh, that's interesting." :|

She didn't say anything else the rest of my haircut (which takes a while, because my hair is kind of thick and long). I think it was partly the surprise of a woman being a mechanical engineering, but probably more the realization that we had little to nothing in common to talk about.

This made me think, what are some of the reactions you've gotten when telling your major to people?

Another one I've gotten is "oh, you must be really smart". Umm, how are you supposed to answer that?

I went to the hairdressers and she asked me the same question. I said I was (at the time) starting law school. She asked me if I was going to be a police officer, with no hint of sarcasm or humor.

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ShortChelsea
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby ShortChelsea » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:34 pm UTC

cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:
ShortChelsea wrote:When I tell people that my major is psychology they'll stare at me and say, "Oh, so you can psychoanalyze me right?" or, "Oh, so you can shrink my head?" *rolls eyes* I think the worst reaction was from my grandmother (whose son is a psychologist). She said, "You know all psychologists are crazy and just want to diagnose their own craziness, right?"

Your grandmother does have a point, at least from all my psychology major friends


Shhh, don't tell the general public that we're crazy. Then they won't want to get help from us.

Pancaaakes
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Pancaaakes » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:10 pm UTC

"What are you majoring in?"
"Probably English"
"Oh, so you want to go into teaching?"
"Oh, God no. Couldn't think of anything worse..."

False Prophet
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby False Prophet » Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:22 am UTC

Geological Engineering
What the hell is it?
Long Answer
We're the field between Civils and Petroleum engineers. We study geology and the flow of water and soil to do anything from foundation design to hydro geology to petroleum.
Short Answer
We play with rocks.
You're an Asshole Answer
I build planets. (I designed NORWAY!)

hanecter
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby hanecter » Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:02 pm UTC

Geological engineers build rocks, duh.

bls0620
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby bls0620 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:40 pm UTC

Case 1:
Someone: "Where do you go for school?"
Me: "ERAU"
Someone: "Never heard of that school...."
Me: "Well yeah..... it's a small school"

Case 2:
Someone: "Where do you go for school?"
Me: "ERAU"
Someone: "REALLY? Do you want to be a pilot!?"
Me: "No....."
Someone: "Then what?
Me: "Computer engineering"
Someone: "They have that? What's the use of it?"
Me: "Planes don't fly without avionics..."
Someone: "avi... what.........?"

Case 3:
Someone: "Where do you go for school?"
Me: "ERAU"
Someone: "REALLY? Do you want to be a pilot!?"
Me: "No....."
Someone: "Oh, then aerospace engineering?"
Me: "I was"
Someone: "Then what?"
Me: "Computer engineering"
Someone: "...................."

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MiB24601
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby MiB24601 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 pm UTC

Themis wrote:I went to the hairdressers and she asked me the same question. I said I was (at the time) starting law school. She asked me if I was going to be a police officer, with no hint of sarcasm or humor.


I've been told[1] that despite the prevalence of shows about lawyers, much of the general public doesn't know how people become lawyers or what law school is for. Now, I grew up in a pretty affluent area where everyone knew lawyers growing up and my parents are lawyers (and now, I'm a lawyer), so I find this to be surprising but my co-workers who grew up in less affluent areas have said that most people think that lawyers in the US only have undergraduate degrees and that law school is for judges and cops.

[1] AKA "I only have secondhand anecdotal evidence about this so it's pretty close to being useless.
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qmar
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby qmar » Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:56 pm UTC

I find it funny because whenever I am doing something at work, or helping somebody in the garage i always get:
"That's why he's the Engineer"

Yet no-one seems to realize that in mechanical engineering you are not taught:
-How to operate a wrench
-How to use a Torch
-How to Woodwork
-How to Measure
-How to assemble complex engines/pumps/electronics.
etc. etc.

These are things that mostly I learned in my Apprenticeship and in high school shop classes. It is not very often I whip out a differential equation when your engine is making a "Funny Noise".

hanecter
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby hanecter » Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:24 am UTC

Psh, everyone knows funny noises are caused by nonlinear coupling terms.

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jawdisorder
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby jawdisorder » Sat Apr 30, 2011 3:09 pm UTC

I just had something like that last night. There was some idiotic freshman that put something together and then claimed that's why she was going to be an engineer. I told her that engineering doesn't actually involve building things, but designing them... I'm glad she knows about what she's majoring in.

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podbaydoor
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby podbaydoor » Mon May 02, 2011 3:48 am UTC

To be fair, that misperception isn't exactly dispelled much by engineering camps in primary education, or college recruiters. In the camps you spend a lot of time gluing toothpicks together and making paper airplanes. As for recruiters - I spent a semester working for the web/PR department of my university's engineering department. There were lots and lots of meetings and conceptual brainstorms to figure out how we were going to rewrite the website degree requirements so that freshmen would better understand the difference between engineering and trade school. Because prior to my rewrites, the degree descriptions had completely failed to convey that. Can't really blame the incoming students if they just haven't been told what engineering is.
tenet |ˈtenit|
noun
a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy : the tenets of classical liberalism.
tenant |ˈtenənt|
noun
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jawdisorder
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby jawdisorder » Mon May 02, 2011 4:20 am UTC

The worst part was that her main argument was that she builds things all the time in some student org that she's in.

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KestrelLowing
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby KestrelLowing » Mon May 02, 2011 12:40 pm UTC

Well, engineering intuition is very important and that usually comes from building things. It's important to understand how to build things in order to design them.

Also, engineering isn't necessarily hands-off. There are a fair number of jobs where the engineers actually build things they design. Typically it's in small companies, but it can be found other places too. Often (if there isn't a union) engineers will build at least the simple things just because it's easier and it will get done faster. But yes, many people think that engineering is all building, which is in no way the case. Heck, engineering isn't even all design and troubleshooting but it's hard to convince people to go into a job with a fair amount of paperwork :wink:

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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Angua » Mon May 02, 2011 1:47 pm UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:Well, engineering intuition is very important and that usually comes from building things. It's important to understand how to build things in order to design them.

Also, engineering isn't necessarily hands-off. There are a fair number of jobs where the engineers actually build things they design. Typically it's in small companies, but it can be found other places too. Often (if there isn't a union) engineers will build at least the simple things just because it's easier and it will get done faster. But yes, many people think that engineering is all building, which is in no way the case. Heck, engineering isn't even all design and troubleshooting but it's hard to convince people to go into a job with a fair amount of paperwork :wink:
To add to this - my grandfather was a civil engineer who travelled the world (often living pretty far out) as he had to oversee the construction of various hydroelectric dams. When he retired he went into construction and oversaw houses and stuff (and would also do estimates for people). So I would say that it isn't surprising that someone good at building things would want to become an engineer, even if that isn't want it ultimately involves.
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby beyondweird » Tue May 03, 2011 2:44 pm UTC

"What do you study?"
"Philosophy and Theology"

Responses to this include:

"What even is that?" *sighs*
"Oh, so you want to be a vicar, right?" No.
"Is that where you just sit around and think all day?" Actually, I write twelve 2500-3000 word essays every eight weeks.
"Oh have you read Dawkins? He'd disprove you!" *angry cursing*
"Oh, that's one of those useless degrees my tax money shouldn't be going on..." Actually, Philosophy is one of the degrees that teaches you generally useful traits that can be applied to a lot of different things.
"You do know that the Da Vinci code proves..." SHUT UP NOW.


...or most commonly:
"What's the point in that/what are you going to do?"
To which my usual response is:
"It's a degree from Oxford. Whatever I like."
Everybody has a secret world inside of them...No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe.

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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Kurushimi » Tue May 03, 2011 3:41 pm UTC

beyondweird wrote:...or most commonly:
"What's the point in that/what are you going to do?"
To which my usual response is:
"It's a degree from Oxford. Whatever I like."


Well, actuallly, it seems to me that even if it were a degree from God, you couldn't do whatever you like. With just that, you wouldn't be a programmer, or a lawyer, or doctor, an engineer. So what exactly does one do with a philosophy and theology degree? What are the options?

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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Spambot5546 » Tue May 03, 2011 4:10 pm UTC

The most common reaction to me pursuing a Computer Science degree seems to be for people to snigger and ask if I play World of Warcraft. Which is a big part of why, despite enjoying the Warcraft franchise prior to that, I will never play World of Warcraft. That and I played a demo and didn't like it.
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Because it is bitter,
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby existentialpanda » Tue May 03, 2011 5:52 pm UTC

I only declared biology a couple of weeks ago, so I haven't had much time to get reactions from anyone outside my school. Most of my housemates react with some degree of amusement, though, since bio majors are very much a minority in my house. (....seriously, there's only seven of us.) Which I don't really mind, because I like to joke about it too.

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beyondweird
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby beyondweird » Tue May 03, 2011 9:03 pm UTC

Kurushimi wrote:
beyondweird wrote:...or most commonly:
"What's the point in that/what are you going to do?"
To which my usual response is:
"It's a degree from Oxford. Whatever I like."


Well, actuallly, it seems to me that even if it were a degree from God, you couldn't do whatever you like. With just that, you wouldn't be a programmer, or a lawyer, or doctor, an engineer. So what exactly does one do with a philosophy and theology degree? What are the options?


Hah, yes, I'm fully aware I can't do *quite* whatever I like, but it usually shuts people up which is what I'm after as I don't actually know what I want to do. Saves the endless questioning I usually get. Especially when I'm honest and say I'd like to write science fiction, and since PK Dick is my inspiration, I'm currently looking into doing my dissertation on the themes of Gnosticism in his work...

Though I could be a lawyer if I took a 'conversion' course, because the skillset (analytical mind, ability to debate, etc) is fairly similar.
Generally, philosophy and theology is good for any business role, potentially journalism/marketing style roles, teaching, interfaith work, human rights work, politics, and anything that involves the ability to think analytically, convey thoughts accurately, and be able to think fast. It's also good for transferring to another subject (I originally wanted to do Physics as a degree, but failed a few aspects of my A-Levels. Having taken PhilThe, I'd be so much more confident doing another degree if I wanted to, because I've learned *how* to think, which makes it easier for me to reason things out), and depending on what areas you specialise in, this can be easier than it sounds - I could focus on Philosophy of Science to go down that route, or ethics could get me into a medical ethics board. Within Theology, I could end up learning Greek/Syrian/Hebrew, and do something involving that, or end up in a historian role if I looked into that.
Basically, it's one of those wonderfully general subjects with barely any specific careers (unlike medicine or engineering) but lots of potentials that it looks good for.
Everybody has a secret world inside of them...No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe.

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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby B.Good » Wed May 04, 2011 11:59 pm UTC

I think asking someone "What do you want to do/can you do?" whose major doesn't lead directly to a particular job i.e. engineer or pre-anything, is a fair question, just because you researched the job/career opportunities for you major and you know what you want to do doesn't mean everyone else has. As a math major I've since embraced this question and see it as an opportunity to tell people that just because a degree doesn't funnel you into a specific job doesn't mean you can't have a lot of options.

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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby beyondweird » Thu May 05, 2011 12:48 pm UTC

B.Good wrote:I think asking someone "What do you want to do/can you do?" whose major doesn't lead directly to a particular job i.e. engineer or pre-anything, is a fair question, just because you researched the job/career opportunities for you major and you know what you want to do doesn't mean everyone else has. As a math major I've since embraced this question and see it as an opportunity to tell people that just because a degree doesn't funnel you into a specific job doesn't mean you can't have a lot of options.


I should probably have been more explicit - I don't usually mind people asking me what I'm going to do, it's more the tone I tend to get. The sort of "oh-well-that's-a-completely-pointless-subject" voice. It's the difference between say, "Oh, what are you planning on doing?" and "What are you even going to do with that?"
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby B.Good » Thu May 05, 2011 7:45 pm UTC

beyondweird wrote:
B.Good wrote:I think asking someone "What do you want to do/can you do?" whose major doesn't lead directly to a particular job i.e. engineer or pre-anything, is a fair question, just because you researched the job/career opportunities for you major and you know what you want to do doesn't mean everyone else has. As a math major I've since embraced this question and see it as an opportunity to tell people that just because a degree doesn't funnel you into a specific job doesn't mean you can't have a lot of options.


I should probably have been more explicit - I don't usually mind people asking me what I'm going to do, it's more the tone I tend to get. The sort of "oh-well-that's-a-completely-pointless-subject" voice. It's the difference between say, "Oh, what are you planning on doing?" and "What are you even going to do with that?"

Although my post was written partially with yours in mind, it seems to be the mentality of not only a few other posts I've seen on here, but people I've met in real life. Being shitty to someone when they're being patronizing towards your field of study is fair enough, in my opinion.

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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby apricity » Sat May 07, 2011 9:11 pm UTC

As a teaching major, I mostly got "Oh, yeah, I can see that!"/"You look like a teacher!" When I switched to psychology, it was "Oh no, are you going to start analyzing me?"/"Why not teaching?"
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