Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Deciding What We Want to Be When We Grow Up

This morning I got a message from a guy over on Facebook asking for input on whether or not to change his major to Sociology.

As I crafted my answer to him I pondered some about the circuitous route many of us take in finding our life path.

When I was a kid playing imaginary games I NEVER thought "I want to be a Sociologist when I grow up!" It just sort of happened. Like many in the field, I was seduced into the study by the influence of a very charismatic instructor who made me feel like understanding SOC was akin to having a secret de-coder ring. Every situation I looked at took on new implications of meaning when viewed from the sociological perspective.

Then, when work started coming my way as a result of my SOC contacts that reaffirmed for me that I was on the right path.

But how do we really CHOOSE what area of study is the best fit?

As I told George, NO MATTER WHAT we major in, it is possible to get stuck in a dead end job or not be able to find a job, and NO MATTER WHAT we study it is possible to find a niche that fits. My kid brother got a heavy duty degree in materials engineering from MIT and then went into banking. Go figure.

It is an illusion to think that any certain certificate from any certain college will lead to "the good life." But the networking with professors and others in the field can sure help to open some doors.

I'm curious. For those of you who read this who have the blessing of a college education, how did you decide what to study? For those who never went to college - if it were handed to you on a silver platter, what would you LIKE to study?

How much do you think it makes sense to plan and design your life's work and how much of it is getting out of your own way and watching it unfold?

3 comments:

Jen said...

When I was in 6th grade, I decided I wanted to be a sleep researcher. That continued into an interest in neuropsych, but by the time I started college, I wanted to be an art restorer. Majoring in Art History, which I loved, I was frustrated that my school didn't have a masters program available--and to be completely honest, I wasn't confident enough to think of moving so far from home to do my grad studies. So I switched my major to communications because since I was a child people have told me I was a natural writer. But I found the classes boring and under stimulating. I switched back to psychology and felt like I was "home." But I'm more interested in counseling psych now than I am in studying sleep patterns.

I ended up marrying a psychologist as well, and DH (a psychologist) is always telling me I'm much more of a sociologist in my areas of interest and the explanations that ring true for me. So I'm debating between furthering my education in Psych or Soc, since I can pursue counseling jobs with either.

Rozel said...

I decided to study business because I thought that was the path to becoming rich (jokes on me)! For my Masters I stuck with Business because it was available where I lived and I had all the prerequisite courses done.

Now that I am a little more together I would do one of two things, or both:
1. Get a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy and get involved in politics and/or stay in college administration.
2. I really want to be the person in charge of preparing High School students for college. For example: bringing colleges to the high school, taking kids to tour colleges, helping kids fill out their FAFSA and scholarships, and preparing students how to study for college. So I would like to obtain a Masters of Teachers Education and become a high school teacher. If I couldn’t prepare students via that route I may have to look into the requirements to be a high school counselor.

I don’t think anyone designs their own life. I think people take steps toward what they think they want to do and then God says “Surprise, this is where I want you!” That is what happened to me – and I love what I do.

Jess said...

Well, let's see...I went to college for a degree in Information Technology. While going to school I suddenly and violently was thrown into the law world and have since been working for law firms for almost 6 years now. I have 8 classes to go until I get my Bachelors in Information Technology, but unfortunately will make less money (starting out) than I do at this moment. I went into computers because I enjoy them! I like computers because they never do anything you don't tell them to do. There is always a logical explanation to why they are doing what they do. So unlike me! :)

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