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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Veni Vidi Vici Offline
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Question Useless Degree? (uni/college posters please!) - October 27th 2013, 04:46 AM

So I'm having second thoughts about my degree even though I'm at a stage where I can't really turn back… For those of you who'll say that I should've thought about it more thoroughly: I did, and if I'd go back in time, I'd do it again for the simple fact as this is what I'm passionate about…

HOWEVER, my degree (Bachelor's in International Studies) is in fact an arts degree which poses a lot of question marks. I do have jobs in mind (foreign service, NGO work, development, etc.) but I'm left to wonder whether it'll all turn out the way I'm hoping. I've read somewhere that less than 20% of people actually end up with the job they envisioned themselves getting and that, to be frank, worries me to no end.

Now, I'm planning to either get another bachelor's (poli sci to complement the IS degree) or get a master's in IS. Whichever happens, I still have at the back of my mind that at the end of the day, I have what people call a 'useless arts degree,' not even in the mold of a psychology or criminology degree. I plan to do whatever it takes to succeed even if it means moving to a whole different continent but the question still remains: is my degree 'useless'?

Thoughts?


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Re: Useless Degree? (uni/college posters please!) - October 27th 2013, 11:07 AM

First thing - these days a bachelor degree doesn't get you much beyond entry level anyway. Doesn't really matter which bachelor it is, a lot of jobs require more specialised qualifications (or experience, which is worse).

So start thinking about what you will have out of your degree - things like transferable skills, attributes, study habits, all those things that will translate into employment skills.


Feel free to email/PM/VM/whatever me if you want. I'll answer as soon as I can.

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Re: Useless Degree? (uni/college posters please!) - October 27th 2013, 10:22 PM

I have similar interests to you and honestly, anything in humanities or social science is iffy and require graduate school for jobs, so if you enjoy your major and what you're studying, I wouldn't see any point in changing to political science. The potential jobs really won't increase; all humanities and social science degrees are terrible in the "prospective jobs" category, so changing to a different one really won't help. If you were caring only about having potential jobs, you'd basically have to do engineering or biomedicine, and these really don't sound like your interests. Just study what you like.

I'd consider declaring pre-law with your degree if you're at all interested in foreign policy and that area, and I'd also recommend you consider doing local volunteering in nonprofits and other similar work, maybe even Peace Corps once you graduate. I'd also relax about the idea that your job interest might change once you graduate; PEOPLE CHANGE. When I was a senior in high school, I wanted to be a novelist. When I was a freshman in college, I wanted to be a counselor. Now, I'm looking to pursue public health in graduate school. And guess what? I probably will end up working in another area, maybe teaching at a community college, maybe working at an NGO, maybe starting my own nonprofit. Who knows? Study what you like, and opportunities will fall your way that you may have dreamed of, or never imagined yourself doing! I think that makes life more exciting.


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Re: Useless Degree? (uni/college posters please!) - October 28th 2013, 09:25 AM

Thanks guys for the answers.

As to what Traci said, I've thought about going to law as it does interest me but getting into law school in Canada is ridiculously hard (3.7/3.8 GPA and 160+ LSAT). I don't know how to compete with that.

As to what Mayray said, I've also noticed that extracurricular activities (volunteering/internship/international) count for more than what we think. My prof the other day said that employers now look for a more 'holistic' person instead of brains. With that said, do you think:

Volunteering abroad for 4 months in Sierra Leone (teaching English/hospital work)
Volunteering abroad for 1 month in India (general volunteer work)
Studying 10 months abroad in Madrid (University)

is a good portfolio for an international studies student? Should I aim for something else?

Thanks guys.


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Re: Useless Degree? (uni/college posters please!) - October 28th 2013, 02:14 PM

I find that's a bit of the problem with humanities and social sciences. I am also going to be graduating with a double major, sociology and religious studies. Seriously, even when I left history to take soc/religion instead I was basically thinking, you know, my degree is basically "useless" if I want to attribute it to 1 specific career path. If that's how you want to look at it you basically run out of options. It's not like people hire sociologists who's education in sociology never extended beyond the undergraduate level.

I always planned to continue my education by getting a college diploma or a masters in a more specialized area, and that's why I was ok with it because I loved the courses I take and I learn a lot about stuff I am interested in. I have always been interested in careers that relate to working with people such as law enforcement, social work, NGO's, foreign affairs and PR work, and from my point of view my degree gives me an amazing point of view here.

Take police work for example, yes, I could have just taken the police foundations diploma (offered all across Canada far as I know). Heck, I'd even be done school by now if I had!! But a lot of police forces prefer you get a different education because they want people with a variety of backgrounds instead of just a bunch of "robo-cops" who've done nothing but studying police work after leaving high school. They all give you the police training any how. So for me to be in a position where I understand the inner workings of many cultures, religions and social problems would be a positive factor there know what I mean?

There aren't many degrees that'll put you in a specific career path. Engineering and some BBA's maybe. But even for business, all the biz kids at my school seem to think they're all going to become CEO's or something, and it's like "sweetie, no...", even for them they'd often need to have an MBA to advance high and fast. Even the science kids are at a disadvantage for direct career related training. When was the last time you saw someone specifically looking for a person with an undergrad degree in biology or chemistry?

However, there are many that can be directly relevant at the undergrad level. Social work, journalism, health sciences, engineering etc. Yes, you'd likely start at an entry level but experience would allow you to be promoted. People rarely start at mid-high levels of work right out of university any how.

I'm not trying to devalue university degrees at all. I love my university experience, it has been amazing and my education has been such an amazing part of shaping my career choices. Even indirect ones can be useful, like I have volunteer and work experience in my chosen fields and that will help me when applying for jobs because now I can go to people and explain to them how my degree and work experience has helped shape my choice. I talk about work experience because, like I said, a lot of degrees don't position you for a specific field and the other experiences you can attest to will show the direction you plan to take your education. Like my resume shows my degree, my work experience which mostly includes social work, NGO's and PR work, and also includes language skills, travel experience and so on.... So now people can see the direction I have chosen before they even sit down with me.

I know that for some people other experience can be hard if they're working while in school, but most volunteer positions only require 2-5 hours a week, even 1 placement a semester would help or you can join a campus club or organization.

You don't need to be afraid of your degree being useless, if it is what you want to take then you should be taking it. You would hate it if you signed up for, I don't know, physics, if that's not something you like but did it just cause you were convinced it was the more employable option.

I know it sounds cliche but people "hire people not degrees" afterall. Yes, some degrees might be more commonly sought out for the education it provides someone. Like if an organization needs to hire a social worker they're not going to want to hire someone who's only background is in chemistry. But that's because chemists probably also don't have a social work related career experience either. I'm no social worker but I'd still be in a position to consider some social work related jobs due to my related background. Do you see where I am going with that?

My best advice to you is to start seeking out volunteer and/or work experience and/or campus clubs (preferably at the exec level, but general membership is also ok). That way you're showing direction and initiative in getting relevant experience. It'll be extremely useful I promise, especially if you are thinking about grad school, that way you can go back and be like "oh yeah, hey guess what... this is how I learned that X is what I want to do". And eventually you'll hit the point where you can tie your degree with your work experience and I feel like THAT"S more important then the degree itself--justifying why you did it and how you've managed to make it relevant in your work experience is a much stronger point than the education alone.

You can PM me if you need to talk more ok




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Re: Useless Degree? (uni/college posters please!) - October 28th 2013, 04:48 PM

My cousin had trouble finding a job with her masters in something international, but she did find a job after six to nine months of trying. She does have the benefit of actually working in other countries with the peace corps though. I think she did two terms but I don't actually know how long she was in it. She was in an African country. That's really the main reason why she was hired was because of her degree and experience in the international community. Oh, and you should be prepared to move. She moved about eight hours away to an area closer to our nation's capitol.

I wouldn't do psych. Psych degrees are a dime a dozen. I was initially a psych major but changed it to nursing because I could do more with the degree. I was probably a lot closer to the point of no return because I was about two to three quarters away from graduating (really two, but there was one class I needed that wasn't offered again till the winter). So I went and became a nursing major. I don't regret it.

Also, people change jobs frequently now a days. A lot of people will have a degree in something only to change their field later on in life. In about ten years, I imagine I will be working only per diem as an ER nurse and instead will be working in a health department clinic. However, I'll also have to get a masters degree.
   
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Re: Useless Degree? (uni/college posters please!) - October 28th 2013, 06:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Veni Vidi Vici View Post
Thanks guys for the answers.

As to what Traci said, I've thought about going to law as it does interest me but getting into law school in Canada is ridiculously hard (3.7/3.8 GPA and 160+ LSAT). I don't know how to compete with that.

As to what Mayray said, I've also noticed that extracurricular activities (volunteering/internship/international) count for more than what we think. My prof the other day said that employers now look for a more 'holistic' person instead of brains. With that said, do you think:

Volunteering abroad for 4 months in Sierra Leone (teaching English/hospital work)
Volunteering abroad for 1 month in India (general volunteer work)
Studying 10 months abroad in Madrid (University)

is a good portfolio for an international studies student? Should I aim for something else?

Thanks guys.
Have you already done all that voluneering? If so, that's incredibly impressive!


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& the sun said “it hurts to become."
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Re: Useless Degree? (uni/college posters please!) - October 29th 2013, 05:20 AM

Whereas I have seen architecting is the top among of them. There is a great number of unemployment for this degree. Not only that philosophy, archaeologist and also the degree of religious education is in this list.
   
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Re: Useless Degree? (uni/college posters please!) - October 29th 2013, 07:11 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Traci View Post


Have you already done all that voluneering? If so, that's incredibly impressive!
Yeah. I was told when I was very young to start volunteering internationally to set myself apart and that is what I've done until now. I hope it actually helps out in the future though


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Re: Useless Degree? (uni/college posters please!) - October 29th 2013, 09:15 AM

i m in my final year of collge , n me pursuing btch , bachelor of technology , in Electronic n communication , engg, one , n its useless , very less jobs in my country n vry difficult to get a good job





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Re: Useless Degree? (uni/college posters please!) - October 30th 2013, 05:59 PM

Have you been to those countries already? That is impressive.

Don't go to law school unless you want to be a lawyer, and by that I mean, don't go unless you want to be a lawyer who does not get to do anything cool ever and who works all the time- because that is what will probably happen if you go to law school. Lots of debt, terrible competition for jobs, and most jobs are pure drudgery.

You're better off looking for a specialized graduate program that feeds into an agency you would like to work for internationally. You might want to look at programs abroad or programs that are good at placing students abroad. Your undergraduate major does not matter as long as it gets you to that program.

I've known international studies people to do fulbrights (a couple lucky ones), go to peace corps, teach english in other countries, and things like that right after graduating.



   
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