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College majors- I'm confused. - March 17th 2012, 04:50 AM

I'm confused about what to major in. I'm going to college this fall. I have a few concerns. I am thinking about what I will like studying, what field I will like working in and how much money a major will lead to. I know a lot of people say to just study what you'll like and not worry about money, bit I feel like I have to. I don't need to be rich, but I'm going to have loans to pay off and I want to be able to live without choking on debt.

I think i would like studying visual comm/graphic design, but I have a few concerns about it too. I don't know if I'd like working in the field. I guess I have a hard time picturing myself in an office all day which would be the case if I were to become a web designer or graphic designer. I love art and design- always have- but I'm also afraid I'm not going to be talented enough. I've always felt like was creative for the average person, but compared to the world or artsy people, I'm afraid I'm gonna suck. I'm scared the other students will be more naturally talanted than I am and I've heard job landing in the field can be competitive. I've also heard it's hard day to day grind work and low pay.

I've though about majoring in marketing. At first I thought this may be high paying, but I don't know if it is with a bachelor's degree. It's also considered "easy" or "soft" compared to other business degrees. I think it'd be okay to study, I wouldn't hate it, probably wouldn't love it. I have NO idea I'd id like working in any related positions. I heard it can be stressful, which worries me. I'd major in it, though if it would lead to lucrative work.

I've also considered an Education major. I don't think I'd mind studying it. I consider it because teaching is the only position I can actually picture myself in. I think I might enjoy it too. BUT it's low pay. And I think my family might think it a little weird if I Told them I wanted to be a teacher. It's hard to explain, but when I've said it a few years ago my parents kind of down played the idea. I don't know if I'd like being a teacher still. It's hard to know. Also I hate math and science and that's where the demand for teachers are.

Most the high paying jobs involve heavy math/science which is really just not an option for me, I don't tjinkk I would even be able to pass calculus or college physics. Grad school won't be an option until I pay off loans which could take a few years at least.

Does anybody have any good advice for me? Would graphic design be a good choice for me? Or any other ideas? I'm open to hear anything anybody has to say. I'm so confused right now.

I'm depressed over this because there's no simple solution.

I am a sensitive person. I hate mean controlling people. I get stressed easily. I get bored easily. I have anxiety about getting a job, because I'm afraid I'm going to get stressed out and hate it. The idea of going to an office for 8 hr a day depresses me.

I've decided on the college I'm going to and am excited but worried about money and my major. I want to make the Right choice.
   
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Re: College majors- I'm confused. - March 17th 2012, 08:32 PM

Hello and welcome You have about 2 years to decide for sure what you really want to major in, so you don't have to decide this second. While money is a major concern I have to agree with everyone who says not to worry so much about it. It doesn't matter how much a field or job pays if you can't stand the work. It also seems like you care a lot about what other people would think of you based on what you choose. This will be your life and your job, so try not to let someone talk you into or out of something based on what they think of it. It took me 19 months to convince my parents that I wasn't changing my major no matter what they said and they were eventually fine with it because the can see now that I loved it and it will lead me where I want to go. If you want to teach, try education and see if you like it. Just because there is a need for a subject doesn't mean that you have to teach that, especially if you don't like it. Sometimes there are loan breaks and special aid for people going into education to ease the finacial burden. While you're taking all your basic requirements, try a class or two in the areas you're considering and see what you think. If you really can't decide you could always double major in something or major in something and minor in something else. Who knows, you might end up falling in love with something that never even occured to you. I'd also suggest talking to your guidance counselor or your advisor once you start, they will know more about specific program requirements and outcomes. I hope this helped, if you need anything else, just ask.


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Re: College majors- I'm confused. - March 18th 2012, 12:58 AM

In addition to what Kate said, try meeting with people who are currently in the fields you're interested in. It sounds like you already know a bit about what you could expect, but everyone's story is different. For example, I know people who majored in something math/science related, but ended up working in the film industry. Just because you major in one thing doesn't mean you're going to end up in that field! With that being said, it can help to talk to people in the field and get a generally sense of how they got there (what they majored in, what helped them the most in college, some things you should know, what salary range(s) you can expect immediately after graduating/10/20/30 years after graduating, etc.).





   
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Re: College majors- I'm confused. - March 18th 2012, 02:34 AM

I'd like to preface my response by letting you know that just because you're beginning college in the fall, you don't need to know what major you're going to pursue and with which you will graduate with a degree. Most colleges don't allow you to declare a major until the end of your second year in college, and just about every single one has special considerations for students who just aren't sure yet. You'll be able to talk to your guidance counselor and sign up for courses in a wide variety of fields, in order to determine which you're most enthusiastic about, and it'll be of infinite more help than coming to a forum for help. You can relax!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LR94 View Post
I think i would like studying visual comm/graphic design, but I have a few concerns about it too. I don't know if I'd like working in the field. I guess I have a hard time picturing myself in an office all day which would be the case if I were to become a web designer or graphic designer. I love art and design- always have- but I'm also afraid I'm not going to be talented enough. I've always felt like was creative for the average person, but compared to the world or artsy people, I'm afraid I'm gonna suck. I'm scared the other students will be more naturally talanted than I am and I've heard job landing in the field can be competitive. I've also heard it's hard day to day grind work and low pay.
I've got a friend who's heavily interested in graphic design and animation, and he's currently studying it at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). He's by no means the most creative graphic artist I've known, but I would say he's creative compared to the average Joe, and his technical skills are difficult to match. He loves every minute of his time at SCAD, and they are teaching him to exercise his creativity, making it stronger than I could have ever predicted. As a side note, a job with a visual communications of graphic design degree could be monotonous and low-paying, but so are many other jobs that you might enter straight out of college, and how you perceive the work depends more on where you work, and how passionate you are about the work. If that testimony you've received is coming from people who weren't crazy about graphic design or visual communications, then you can't expect for them to have been very happy anywhere. Another simple fact - people without experience are typically paid less. Might as well do what you love, then, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LR94 View Post
I've though about majoring in marketing. At first I thought this may be high paying, but I don't know if it is with a bachelor's degree. It's also considered "easy" or "soft" compared to other business degrees. I think it'd be okay to study, I wouldn't hate it, probably wouldn't love it. I have NO idea I'd id like working in any related positions. I heard it can be stressful, which worries me. I'd major in it, though if it would lead to lucrative work.
Every job can, and probably will be, stressful. Stressing about that, now, isn't doing you any favors. When it comes to starting salaries, they're heavily dependent on where you live, don't forget. I believe, for marketing, that the average starting annual salary is around $50,000 (or slightly less). I don't have a wealth of knowledge about that particular field to say much about it, but it does require a great deal of social skill and seems to be making a comeback in terms of how many marketing majors are demanded out of college. It will certainly still be a challenging, demanding, and competitive field, though.

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I've also considered an Education major. I don't think I'd mind studying it. I consider it because teaching is the only position I can actually picture myself in. I think I might enjoy it too. BUT it's low pay. And I think my family might think it a little weird if I Told them I wanted to be a teacher. It's hard to explain, but when I've said it a few years ago my parents kind of down played the idea. I don't know if I'd like being a teacher still. It's hard to know. Also I hate math and science and that's where the demand for teachers are.
If you won't enjoy teaching, then I suggest not teaching. The vast majority of the teachers who knew their subject materials thoroughly, but were not good teachers, were the ones who didn't really enjoy teaching. It is, after all, at your discretion. Maybe you'll change your mind and find that you adore it!

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Most the high paying jobs involve heavy math/science which is really just not an option for me, I don't tjinkk I would even be able to pass calculus or college physics. Grad school won't be an option until I pay off loans which could take a few years at least.
I've got to disagree here...jobs involving heavy science and math - chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, basic scientific research, medical research - don't pay particularly well. A high-paying job requiring heavy math and science does not exist for a recent college undergraduate. Any that are high-paying either require a lot of experience (which is a slowly changing fact), or a higher degree, which won't be an option of yours. I can safely say that there are very, very, very few jobs requiring heavy math/science that are high-paying when you've only got a bachelor's degree and no experience. I will also caution you with the fact that both visual comm/graphic design, and marketing, typically require at least one course in calculus. Graphic design usually requires a basic physics course. Both are very accessible if you take your time, and go at your own pace; they are not impossible!

Again, you don't even need to be worrying about this until your first or second year of college, so I suggest relaxing and relishing the termination of your last year in high school.
   
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Re: College majors- I'm confused. - March 18th 2012, 07:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by LR94 View Post
I think i would like studying visual comm/graphic design, but I have a few concerns about it too. I don't know if I'd like working in the field. I guess I have a hard time picturing myself in an office all day which would be the case if I were to become a web designer or graphic designer. I love art and design- always have- but I'm also afraid I'm not going to be talented enough. I've always felt like was creative for the average person, but compared to the world or artsy people, I'm afraid I'm gonna suck. I'm scared the other students will be more naturally talanted than I am and I've heard job landing in the field can be competitive. I've also heard it's hard day to day grind work and low pay.
Getting a job will be competitive no matter the field, whether it's graphic design, medicine, teaching, etc... . As for natural talent, you need not be the most creative person.

Many jobs will involve repeated work, although the crucial factor isn't necessarily the pay, rather it's whether you like it. For example, I'm in my last year of my Bachelor's doing research courses. On average, I spend a good 5-6 hours in the lab with 2 classmates who I work with and we're friends so that helps. It's not off-the-wall exciting, it's very tedious repetitive work, however, I truly do enjoy what I'm studying and investigating. At the Masters level that I'm applying to, it's also hard tedious repetitive work that can be long hours. The key though is finding something that you like coming to class to learn, you like reading a book or paper about.

First-year is rough, you're not sure what to do, where to go, how to study and you worry in general. You probably won't find the key element I'm talking about until 2nd to 3rd year and definitely 4th year. First-year is a weeding out process to see who may make eventually graduate and who has no hope in hell for the particular area of study.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LR94 View Post
I've though about majoring in marketing. At first I thought this may be high paying, but I don't know if it is with a bachelor's degree. It's also considered "easy" or "soft" compared to other business degrees. I think it'd be okay to study, I wouldn't hate it, probably wouldn't love it. I have NO idea I'd id like working in any related positions. I heard it can be stressful, which worries me. I'd major in it, though if it would lead to lucrative work.
I don't study in marketing so I cant give direct personal experience. For every single job, the pay is going to be lower in the beginning then gradually increase, although for only a Bachelor's degree, it's not going to be very high. Many jobs will be stressful in that you may have heavy workload, however, if you enjoy what you do, then it becomes less stressful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LR94 View Post
Most the high paying jobs involve heavy math/science which is really just not an option for me, I don't tjinkk I would even be able to pass calculus or college physics. Grad school won't be an option until I pay off loans which could take a few years at least.
I'm applying for my Masters degree in a heavy science (biology mostly with some chemistry). Even if I get a PhD or M.D., it's not going to be an extremely high-paying job and that's something I'm already well aware of. If you want a high-paying job, become a CEO, professional athlete, or possibly an entrepreneur. I wasn't great in college physics, in fact I sucked at it. The only physics I frequently use are very basic electrical circuit models that I apply to neurophysiology and a general understanding of molecular physics although I never took a biophysics course.

I don't think having a poor math and physics background would be too detrimental. I have a few friends and family members in computer science and programming, which needs a strong understanding of math. From what I'm told, graphic design needs significantly less, so as long as you're not heading down the path of programming, I think you'd be safe.


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Re: College majors- I'm confused. - March 18th 2012, 08:18 PM

Thank you, everyone. The thing is, I have to choose my major because I have enough dual credit from high school to finish early.

I feel like if I were to choose what I really wanted right now, I'd choose education (either elementary or high school). Even if I won't make that much, I think I would like being a teacher. It's the only thing I can picture myself doing and the only thing I feel I'd be good at. When I picture myself in an office type setting, i feel depressed. When I picture myself teaching I feel much happier. Is this a sign I should go for teaching degree?

The only reason I still like the idea of graphic design is because I would love to have my own business one day doing freelance web/graphic design and maybe wedding photography? How realistic is it to believe I could run a successful business doing this and support myself? Would it be possible/smart to start my own business fresh out of college or how long should I wait if I were to do this?

I guess I've probably narrowed it down to teaching and design. The hard thing about teaching is I told everyone that I REALLY wanted to do design. I think my parents would much prefer I do design, and wouldn't be too keen on teaching. My mom wants me to do design because she thinks I would be good at it and she thinks I want to do it. I don't know how to tell her and my dad I'm considering education now. Any ideas on how to casually tell them??

Any thoughts on starting my own design/photography business? Is there a market for it?

Thanks again everyone, I think you helped me rule out marketing, because I really just don't think I'd like any part of it.
   
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Re: College majors- I'm confused. - March 19th 2012, 07:22 PM

There is a huge demand for graphic design, anything from photography as you mentioned, to video games, cartoons, advertisements, websites, etc... . Starting a business fresh out of college would be difficult since you need some background knowledge in business and accounting. It's definitely something foreseeable in the future if you end up liking graphic design and form partnerships with other individuals or companies. I'd say to work for a company, although keep in mind, you're not going to be spoon-fed, except at first depending on the company, so there will be a fair amount of independence on your part as well as collaborating with clients and fellow graphic designers. I'm not sure how long you should wait as it depends on whether you can find willing partners to be part of your business. Perhaps there will be a few from college, but you're going to need knowledge of business and accounting, not to mention marketing to get yourself known.


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Re: College majors- I'm confused. - March 21st 2012, 03:59 AM

Thanks for the input. I really just don't know what to expect if I were to go into the the graphic design field. Lately for some reason, I feel like I wouldn't like it. Then again I have no idea what it encompasses. What should I expect? Do you know? Do designers tend to enjoy their jobs? What's a salary like for a college graduate? I'm going to a broad college (not an art school) and might major in visual communication design. Would I have a chance at good jobs or is it suuuppppeeerrr competitive?
   
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