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http://markhasty.com/archives/2004/10/15/tbps-guide-to-picking-a-college-major/


Since college students are a significant portion of TBP’s readership (I think one of my seven readers is in college), and choosing a major is probably the fourth or fifth most important part of the college experience, I thought I’d help some of you along with a guide to what you can expect if you choose to major in certain popular fields of study. After all, you don’t discover what some of these majors are really like until you’re 24 credits into them, and by then it’s too late to turn around. So, to prevent educational disasters like the several I experienced, forthwith, I preventpresent the TBP Guide To Picking A College Major. We’ll go through the academy department by department . . . which is what I did for my first two and a half years of college.

Accounting is a great field for those whose idea of a good time is trying to figure out if the fourth debit on page D41 of the ledger is supposed to be $438.43 or $484.33. Accounting majors alphabetize their gardens and organize their sock drawers based on predicted date of replacement.

Art majors spend four years in near-total isolation preparing for careers at which they will probably never get a chance to succeed. This is why you see art majors and college basketball players hanging out together all the time.

Art history involves four years of looking at slides and going to museums, and forty-five years of working the 3 to 11 shift at Domino’s.

Biology is a good major for those who aspire to be doctors. Biotechnology is a good major for those who aspire to be Dr. Frankenstein.

Business administration would seem to be a good major for those who want high-paying jobs after graduation. After all, the want ads are full of jobs for which a degree in business is required. So remember, if you long for the sort of job that’s so mind-shatteringly boring employers are forced to advertise its availability, major in business.

Chemistry majors have to endure all manner of snickering about the possible illegal uses of their studies. You should only major in chemistry if you have a thick skin or a well-trained goon squad.

Communications majors live in absolute denial of how little money talk-radio hosts and TV reporters actually make.

Computer science used to be a great way to get on board the gravy train. Now it’s a great way to wind up eating Gravy Train.

Economics: There are those who say that religion is despicable because it is nothing more than a bunch of unprovable assertions about that which is ultimately unknowable; furthermore, these assertions are frequently contrary to plainly-evident fact and represent nothing more than a backhanded attempt to rule the world by means of subjugating humanity through the application of ritualistic mumbo-jumbo which means nothing to the non-brainwashed. I didn’t realize economics was a religion until I wrote this paragraph.

Education is a great major for those who have always wanted to be blamed for all of society’s problems, from drug abuse to property taxes. If you’ve got buckets of unwanted self-esteem you just can’t get rid of, hasten thee to the teachers’ college.

Engineering students spend four years in agony, taking brutal math and science classes. Many would-be engineers wash out and wind up in easier fields, like Middle East peace negotiations. But the dirty little secret is that engineering students smile so much at graduation because they know they’ve solved their last differential equations and can spend the rest of their careers just looking things up in handbooks.

English was in danger of dying out as a field of study due to a lack of lunatic interpretations around which to structure doctoral theses. Then along came Jacques Derrida and the twin demons of deconstructionism and semiotics, ensuring that PhD candidates will never lack for thesis material again, since it just might be possible that Julius Caesar is actually about Shakespeare’s deeply-sublimated fetish for root vegetables.

Geography: If you’ve ever thrown a hand full of pocket change on the table and spent three hours staring at the patterns it formed, you may be a budding geographer. Either that, or you just drank a full bottle of cough syrup. Otherwise, geography is a great major for people who think that they may one day be called upon to prove that, in fact, they can find certain parts of their anatomy with two hands and a map.

Geology majors usually find some sort of employment in the oil industry. Sometimes this is great; when the awl bidness is booming, the money flows like . . . well, like oil. But it’s fickle; you might also find yourself unemployed and trying to sell a house in Dalhart, Texas. Either that, or you’ll wind up as Vice-President, and I am not sure which fate sounds worse.

History is based on the idea that, if I know the winning lottery numbers for the past five years, I stand a better chance of picking tonight’s winning numbers.

Mathematics majors find employment as teachers, statisticians, actuaries, and stadium gatekeepers.

Philosophy is the biggest scam in academia. I ought to know; it was my undergrad major. In philosophy, you don’t have to be right; you just have to sound like you’re not wrong.

Political science appeals to three basic types of people: Pre-law students (insert punchline here), persons interested in foreign service (while we do have diplomatic missions in Paris, Fiji, and the Bahamas, bear in mind that we also have people in Gdansk, Ouagadougou, and Ulaan Bator), and persons who are actually interested in politics. The latter are guaranteed perpetual employment, since the only thing more difficult to explain than the ridiculous, self-contradictory behavior of politicians is the ridiculous, self-contradictory behavior of voters.

Public administration students spend four years in college doing the college-student thing, then two more years in in grad school. At the end of this, they get a government desk job. Why everybody doesn’t major in public administration, I’ll never know.

Sociology majors study complicated problems without any feasible solutions. It’s a great major if you one day expect to be named head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. Social work is the major to pick if college football is more your speed.

Hopefully, this will help out those of you who are uncertain about the future path of your life. Just remember, though, that ultimately, you can’t put a price on the value of a well-rounded education.

OK, actually, you can. How does $400 a month for the next 30 years sound?
 

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Good one!

You never know what'll happen after choosing a major.

I know taxi drivers in Madison with PhDs (Madison claims to have the most drivers with such a degree). :lol:

One of my wife's doctor friends was an accounting major, worked as an accountant for a few years- hated it, so went to med school.

A good friend of mine from college, who I lost touch with, was a mech engineering student and quite brilliant. Went to work for an oil company after college. He hated it, so went into pharmaceutical sales and is making $400k/yr in NJ.

Major-shmajor. :D
 

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Get any degree you want. Make good grades. Unless you're entering a highly specialized field, an undergrad degree just proves you have perserverence (an attribute of discipline) and can take notes and pass tests.

When I interview people, I wont interview anybody who hasn't graduated with honors. But I do not especially care about the major, just so its one that develops analytical skills. We figure to spend about a year training a new grad, so that's $40-60k in salary and bennies down the tube if they leave after a year.

The second attribute is personality. I wont hire anybody that wont fit the team. My shop works an awful lot on trust and criticism. If you can't be professional in those relationships, and maybe have a sense of humor, you wont last a month. Why waste your time and mine?

The third is that you can make nearly twice what I can pay, after you're trained, by working for private industry. I am not looking for somebody who is eager to MoveOn. I like hiring a woman or a man with a couple of kids. Those are hostages against frivilous moves. Bwah-haha!

Rib
 

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Public administration students spend four years in college doing the college-student thing, then two more years in in grad school. At the end of this, they get a government desk job. Why everybody doesn’t major in public administration, I’ll never know.
I live to publicly administrate, don't you?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Zeitgeist said:
Public administration students spend four years in college doing the college-student thing, then two more years in in grad school. At the end of this, they get a government desk job. Why everybody doesn’t major in public administration, I’ll never know.
I live to publicly administrate, don't you?
He does but the end product is actually something useful to the taxpayer.

If I remember correctly the USGS is a big income provider and pays for itself for the most part.
 

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DoI (includes USGS) used to pay its own way. Now revenue goes back to the general fund--Congress. We never see it again, but in truth our budget is so small we're just pea gravel in the interstate. You could wipe us out 1,000x over and still not shift a decimal place in the fed budget.
 

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Rib,

Just what is it that you do?
 

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Ribulose Diphosphate said:
The third is that you can make nearly twice what I can pay, after you're trained, by working for private industry. I am not looking for somebody who is eager to MoveOn. I like hiring a woman or a man with a couple of kids. Those are hostages against frivilous moves. Bwah-haha!

Rib
You said a mouthful there!! We have the same probs in machine shops. The turn over is pretty high in this trade. One thing that contributes to that is the tendancy to hire "kids" (18-25) that don't have a family or any responsabilities. We can bring them in cheap for the meanial tasks, and offer to train them and bring thru the ranks. They are more "fair weather" employees than anything. Soon as the grass looks greener on the other side, off they go. Loyalty is real low!!
 

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Zeitgeist said:
Public administration students spend four years in college doing the college-student thing, then two more years in in grad school. At the end of this, they get a government desk job. Why everybody doesn’t major in public administration, I’ll never know.
I live to publicly administrate, don't you?
Why do you?
 

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...because I like the concept of public service, helping others and making a positive difference in people's lives. Though, I don't technically work "for" the government (wife does), I do serve the public interest on the periphery through independent project and program assessments, ensuring that vulnerable clients and taxpayers are well served. I don't expect anyone else here to "get it", but it's a source of pride for me.
 

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Zeitgeist said:
...because I like the concept of public service, helping others and making a positive difference in people's lives. Though, I don't technically work "for" the government (wife does), I do serve the public interest on the periphery through independent project and program assessments, ensuring that vulnerable clients and taxpayers are well served. I don't expect anyone else here to "get it", but it's a source of pride for me.
I get it. :eek:
 

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Z,

Thanks for explaining that. It is cool that you take pride in your work. I'm not sure I get it, but I certainly agree that working to make a positive difference in folks lives is an honorable if not one of the highest goals one can have.

That said, how does one decide what is in the public interest?
 

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alias said:
Z,

Thanks for explaining that. It is cool that you take pride in your work. I'm not sure I get it, but I certainly agree that working to make a positive difference in folks lives is an honorable if not one of the highest goals one can have.

That said, how does one decide what is in the public interest?
L'etat c'est moi.
 

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alias said:
Z,

Thanks for explaining that. It is cool that you take pride in your work. I'm not sure I get it, but I certainly agree that working to make a positive difference in folks lives is an honorable if not one of the highest goals one can have.

That said, how does one decide what is in the public interest?
Much like pornography--hard to define, but you know it when you see it.

I guess I have to fall back on my fundamental interest in the democratization of all aspects of human intercourse. A faciliiation of the diffusion of power and the expansion of self-determination in a manner that doesn't excessively chauvinize the current generation to the expense of those that succeed it. The public interest is an organic concept that should eminate from the better nature of an entire society, rather than the narrow base interests of a select few controlling the levers of power. A squishy concept indeed...
 

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Discussion Starter #18
alias said:
That said, how does one decide what is in the public interest?
That's right A, I am putting a project together to build new sub 130K homes. All of them conform to code use high efficiency furnaces AC and are really not much differnet than other new homes. What i'm trying to do is get the land cheap so we can pull this off.

Why?

1. The demographic for 130K homes is the largest market segment. Although profits will be lower we can build more homes and sell them faster an cheaper.

2. Profits

A city official told me that because I wish to make a profit I wasn't doing the community a service.

Now how F-ed up is that?
 

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You need to learn to stack buzzwords to get gov tax subsidies--that's an official stamp of approval negating the horror of capitalistic profit motive.

You know the words: sustainability, senior citizen, low-income, minority ownership, tribal members, eco-friendly, inclusivity, etc.

If you can write a description with some of those words you can get local pols on your side. Then make a significant contribution to your state majority political party. Finally, after doing all that, write your congressman. That's how rich fatcats get richer and that's how oppressed minorities get a piece of the pie.

The rest of the schmucks gotta do it by hard work.
 

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Ribulose Diphosphate said:
alias said:
Z,

Thanks for explaining that. It is cool that you take pride in your work. I'm not sure I get it, but I certainly agree that working to make a positive difference in folks lives is an honorable if not one of the highest goals one can have.

That said, how does one decide what is in the public interest?
L'etat c'est moi.

Do you mean that literally, as in the state is the objectificaton of the self?

BTW, i think there is a setting in your profile which is shut off. The setting is to "Always allow BBCode:" and it wll translate the code used for quotes and such into a different layout than showing the "/quote" stuff.
 
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