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Unexpected change of Major once in college. Would you be upset?

changing majors undecided

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#51 Gwen in VA

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 07:33 AM

 

I have steered my daughter away from schools that are very specific (like a school of the arts) and toward those that offer a broader range of options (a liberal arts school or state university).

 

So much depends on the student!

 

I steered my older two towards LAC's. They are happily employed, but their work is not their PASSION.

 

My younger two went wildly different routes -- one spent a year at a college that has one (and only one) major. He dropped out and is working in the field in which he was majoring. He is successful beyond his (and my) dreams -- even without the extra three years of schooling and the degree.  He is truly living the life he dreamed of. He started dreaming of this career when he was about 12, and he is truly living and breathing what he has dreamed of doing. We had out doubts about it since it is a VERY unusual field, but he is thriving.

 

My youngest is a music major. She couldn't be happier, and she truly lives and breathes music.  She started out at a LAC as a music math double major, but she wanted more music, so she is now at a conservatory. (And yes, her area of expertise does have actual employment available!)

 

So I think it all depends on the student. If they are passionate, you might be careful to not calm that passion, even if it isn't in an area you consider "practical".


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#52 Janice in NJ

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 07:39 AM

I started out as a classical piano major and graduated with an electrical engineering degree. Two out of three of our kids stayed put. One did not. I think the key here is to expect the shift as a possibility. It happens. To assume that you can engineer a situation where a shift WON'T happen is to set yourself up for disappointment. It's fully within the realm of possibility, so don't rule it out. It may happen. It may not. But I think it's foolish to think it's something you can eliminate. 

 

It reminds me of people who plan outdoor weddings. Sure you might have a great day. But it also might rain so you should be prepared for it. If it does, it also might seem like a huge disappointment; however, in the end, the goal is to enjoy the day by embracing the reality of the day. And the whole point is the marriage not the ceremony. Kids shouldn't be forced to prepare for a life they will hate just because someone is too stubborn to admit that they made a mistake. 

 

Peace,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey


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#53 Janice in NJ

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 07:45 AM

 

My youngest is a music major. She couldn't be happier, and she truly lives and breathes music.  She started out at a LAC as a music math double major, but she wanted more music, so she is now at a conservatory. (And yes, her area of expertise does have actual employment available!)

 

So I think it all depends on the student. If they are passionate, you might be careful to not calm that passion, even if it isn't in an area you consider "practical".

Hi Gwen!  

 

I haven't said hello in a long time. Hope you are all doing well! I often think warmly about the fun we shared launching our youngest kids into this field together. I have only met a few board buddies over the years, and it was SUCH a pleasure to meet you and your daughter.

 

Happy Times to be sure!! I hope you have a pleasant morning!! - Janice 



#54 OnMyOwn

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 07:57 AM

DS is just finishing up his first semester and has already changed his major from business to philosophy. I am not upset--in fact I am glad, because if he had asked me in the beginning I would have steered him away from business.

If a child was a long way into a degree program and a change would mean a significant increase in the time to graduation, I would counsel the child to consider finishing the original degree and then pursuing a graduate degree in the second area of interest.


Is that always, or even usually, possible? I may start a new thread on this because it’s something I’ve been wondering about.
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#55 KarenNC

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 10:21 AM

So much depends on the student!

 

I steered my older two towards LAC's. They are happily employed, but their work is not their PASSION.

 

My younger two went wildly different routes -- one spent a year at a college that has one (and only one) major. He dropped out and is working in the field in which he was majoring. He is successful beyond his (and my) dreams -- even without the extra three years of schooling and the degree.  He is truly living the life he dreamed of. He started dreaming of this career when he was about 12, and he is truly living and breathing what he has dreamed of doing. We had out doubts about it since it is a VERY unusual field, but he is thriving.

 

My youngest is a music major. She couldn't be happier, and she truly lives and breathes music.  She started out at a LAC as a music math double major, but she wanted more music, so she is now at a conservatory. (And yes, her area of expertise does have actual employment available!)

 

So I think it all depends on the student. If they are passionate, you might be careful to not calm that passion, even if it isn't in an area you consider "practical".

 

Very true. In our case, my daughter really enjoys backstage theatre work and keeps saying she wants to major in technical theatre, but also has deep interest in writing, history, and is discovering an interest in political science (so none of the areas some people consider "practical" ;) ). She's also on the young end, will have just turned 18 when she goes to college, so she is a poster child for someone likely to change her major. I think theatre will always be part of her life in some way, but she doesn't live and breathe it like she does writing or seek it out like she does other things. That's led to looking at schools that have decent theatre programs where even non-majors can be involved but also offer a much wider range of possible majors. 



#56 jdahlquist

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 11:03 AM

Is that always, or even usually, possible? I may start a new thread on this because it’s something I’ve been wondering about.

It will depend upon the original major and the new, desired, area, but often one can enter into a graduate program in one area with an undergraduate degree in another area.  The main constraint, often, will be if the new area of interest requires a lot of math and the student has not taken much math.  (This relates to one of the other discussions on this board--a student who pursues an undergraduate in physics can enter graduate school in a number of different areas because of the math abilities.)  

 

As a business professor, I have seen this happen often.  A student decides six semesters into college that they want to be a business major.  Because of sequencing requirements it will take them an additional year to finish college if they change majors.  If they stick it out in their original major and finish in one more year, they can often be admitted to an MBA program (that is maybe two years long).  That extra year would then be toward the first year of an MBA program rather than a business undergraduate.  It does extend the total university experience by 1 year, but the student comes out with a graduate degree.  I have seen some cases in which the graduate degree can be done in about the same time frame as changing majors.  

 

Also, sometimes the student can change their personal focus, taking desired electives, without changing their major and then focus a job search in the area of interest.  Many times a student's degree is not in the area in which they end up working.  


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#57 Crimson Wife

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 02:19 PM

Is that always, or even usually, possible? I may start a new thread on this because it’s something I’ve been wondering about.

 

That really depends on the field and beyond that, whether the student has completed certain pre-requisite courses even without a major or minor in the field. Often those courses can be taken through a local community college or university extension as a non-degree student after graduation.


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#58 RootAnn

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 03:31 PM

This is where I have always come from, 

I would be absolutely fine with a change in major.  We have taught our boys that to be happy in your work, you should pick a field:

 

1) Where you excel

2) That you like

3) That has jobs available

4) That is reasonably well paid

 

But! Many of the posts in this thread (and on several others) have me realizing that "picking a field" is different than "picking a major." One can major in one thing & do something completely different with the degree. I've always lived by, "Get a major where the jobs are well-paid and somewhat plentiful." But, I also see lots of kids graduate with majors that don't easily translate to a job field and they struggle with finding a job and/or with making ends meet.

 

DD#1 (junior in high school) is undecided, but knows what she loves (math, languages). IMO, she hasn't experienced enough different classes to really know what major she'll ultimately want, so I keep trying to steer her toward classes to open her up to other opportunities & majors other than "just" math or "just" Spanish. But, how much should I steer toward broadening her horizons:  "take an economics class, take a programming class" vs. just letting her find her own way? How much do I suggest a second major (that has more marketable jobs associated with it)? To be clear, even if she goes in undecided, she may change her major a couple of times on the way and I'm okay with that as long as she understands the $$ involved.


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#59 OrganicJen

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 03:41 PM

I switched I think it's very normal.

#60 lewelma

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 03:53 PM

Yes, field vs major. My dad was trained as a cardiosurgeon and ended up running hospitals instead. I just want DS to go in with his eyes open. And make choices carefully, and not only because he has a passion for an area of knowledge. He can walk any path he wants, but I'm.just trying to moderate the idealism of youth. 😀
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#61 MerryAtHope

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 01:23 AM

DD#1 (junior in high school) is undecided, but knows what she loves (math, languages). IMO, she hasn't experienced enough different classes to really know what major she'll ultimately want, so I keep trying to steer her toward classes to open her up to other opportunities & majors other than "just" math or "just" Spanish. But, how much should I steer toward broadening her horizons:  "take an economics class, take a programming class" vs. just letting her find her own way? How much do I suggest a second major (that has more marketable jobs associated with it)? To be clear, even if she goes in undecided, she may change her major a couple of times on the way and I'm okay with that as long as she understands the $$ involved.

 

There are so many gen-eds that they need to take (economics can be one), and these can really expand their horizons. I do find that I can suggest classes ("Hey, you should look at this," or "hey, have you read a course description for that?" etc...)--they can look at those classes and then decide from there. 



#62 dereksurfs

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 01:32 AM

I would be absolutely fine with a change in major.  We have taught our boys that to be happy in your work, you should pick a field:

 

1) Where you excel

2) That you like

3) That has jobs available

4) That is reasonably well paid

 

Remove any one of these, and you are going to be frustrated. My sister is a Biology teacher in a private school, she had 1,2, and 3 but not 4 and she is very frustrated with it.  My BIL is a GP and has 1, 3, 4 but doesn't really like his job, and he is miserable. One of my students loved biochemistry, but had  profoundly dyscalculia.  She had 2, 3 and 4, but without #1 she was not going very far. Just try all the combinations.

 

So, if ds changes majors, I'm going to ask him about the 4 points, and how he has evaluated them.  Sure you can be my sister or BIL, and make a happy life, but they do get *very* frustrated with their jobs. You just need to go in with your eyes open. If you do that, then it was a choice; if you don't, then you were ignorant of the consequences.

 

Ruth in NZ

 

Ruth,

 

Thanks so much for sharing these 4 basic principles which I also agree with and will be using to help guide our kids as well. They are looking to us for guidance as they explore their world. Hopefully, we can help them to make well informed decisions.

 

The examples you gave are very similar to the things I've seen in the lives of my own friends and family along with quite a few other work associates. Sometimes, I've seen only one of those four present such as #2 and that can end up in a very bad situation. Growing up in LA, we had streets filled with disillusioned young stars/starlets who moved to Hollywood to make it big. Unfortunately, the numbers which actually become famous actors are very low. As a result, the homeless population exploded along with prostitution, drugs and so many other unfortunate things occurring in the lives of these young people. That's not to say some won't make it. But its good to go into to something like that with eyes wide open and a plan to survive in the meantime while waiting for that big break which might never come.


Edited by dereksurfs, 06 December 2017 - 01:51 PM.


#63 DawnM

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 06:50 AM

This is one reason I am glad my first started at CC.  This really gave him some time, maturity, and classes before making a decision.  Now, I am not saying he won't switch again, but I don't expect the change to be big if he does, it will be within the same field.   He is going to an expensive school next.  I would be upset if he quits or doesn't follow through.  So I guess my answer is yes, but I am glad he didn't spend much for the first couple of years.  It helped.


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#64 GoVanGogh

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 09:56 AM

I turn 50 next month and still don’t know what I want to do. I have a college degree (DH paid for) that I have never directly used. (Though it has opened many doors for me along the way.) So I think it is to be expected with teenagers and young adults. In fact, at the brink of 50, I would question why we think children have enough world experience to ever make that decision so young.
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#65 Diana P.

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 10:19 AM

In fact, at the brink of 50, I would question why we think children have enough world experience to ever make that decision so young.


I think the idea that young people decide what career choices they want at a young age come from a time when people got a job and stayed with it their whole lives. That doesn't happen anymore. There are no companies that you stay with forever. There are careers you can train for and start and then find them obsolete after 10 years.

Being able to be flexible and find new paths in life is essential. Changing majors, taking all those gen eds that seem unrelated to your plan at age 18, can actually help build that flexibility.
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#66 dereksurfs

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 02:22 PM

This is my own take on it. So please don't think I expect others to agree because I realize that won't necessarily be the case. I know each family has their own educational philosophy and goals and I respect that. I also have friends and family who went in another direction. So I'm not trying to persuade or debate these points but rather simply discuss them.

 

The problem, at least for me, isn't that there will be change. Most of us know that is a given in life especially as technology and innovation accelerate in so many fields. The issue will be more about eventually selecting a reasonable place to 'start' and to build upon for one's future. I think change is inevitable and healthy as one grows and discovers new interests. Speaking personally of my 'five' majors, I don't regret any of them in terms of the learning experience itself. However, I do regret some of the financial implications of those over the course of time through bearing the responsibility of paying them off. There was an impact on my family and our financial well being as a result. Could there have been a better way to fund them, perhaps? I want to help guide our kids in a better direction in that regard. In addition, I also do not want to fund a university education solely for the experience which is more based upon personal hobbies though they can certainly be explored in part as electives. If those 'hobbies' have a practical side, that would be great.


Edited by dereksurfs, 06 December 2017 - 03:12 PM.

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#67 lewelma

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 02:53 PM

I also think that you can be equally happy in more than one field, so why not stack the deck in your favor and go where there are jobs and some money.  I watched my mother get her PhD when I was a highschooler.  She really wanted to go into Geology, but the program was a 2 hour drive away.  The local university had a degree in Business, which was her second love.  She went with Business, and ended up having lots of job opportunities and was very happy with her mid-life career change from SAHM.  Sure, Geology might have been slightly more interesting, but I'm not sure what kind of jobs should could have easily gotten given our location. 

 

My ds has been interested in physics for a while, and some of the areas he has kicked around appear to have very few jobs.  If you can land one, you are well paid and of course would love your work.  But just imagine having something you are passionate about, really good at, and spent a decade of your life focusing to master and then not be able to work in your field of choice. I think it would be horribly discouraging. So I've tried to steer him towards physics topics where there are more jobs.  Would be be very much disappointed that he did not follow his original dream?  Doesn't appear so, because he is happily researching these other more employable areas. And perhaps he will do a complete switch and go into Econ, whatever. My attitude is stack the deck in your favor.  Obviously, there are piles of exceptions, but if you don't have all 4 on my list, then your job situation will just be a bit more rough throughout your life. 


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#68 dereksurfs

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:31 PM

I also think that you can be equally happy in more than one field, so why not stack the deck in your favor and go where there are jobs and some money.  I watched my mother get her PhD when I was a highschooler.  She really wanted to go into Geology, but the program was a 2 hour drive away.  The local university had a degree in Business, which was her second love.  She went with Business, and ended up having lots of job opportunities and was very happy with her mid-life career change from SAHM.  Sure, Geology might have been slightly more interesting, but I'm not sure what kind of jobs should could have easily gotten given our location. 

 

My ds has been interested in physics for a while, and some of the areas he has kicked around appear to have very few jobs.  If you can land one, you are well paid and of course would love your work.  But just imagine having something you are passionate about, really good at, and spent a decade of your life focusing to master and then not be able to work in your field of choice. I think it would be horribly discouraging. So I've tried to steer him towards physics topics where there are more jobs.  Would be be very much disappointed that he did not follow his original dream?  Doesn't appear so, because he is happily researching these other more employable areas. And perhaps he will do a complete switch and go into Econ, whatever. My attitude is stack the deck in your favor.  Obviously, there are piles of exceptions, but if you don't have all 4 on my list, then your job situation will just be a bit more rough throughout your life. 

 

I work with a number of those folks, one has his JD and was hired as a 'self-taught' software engineer. Another recent grad who majored in Cinematic Arts couldn't find work. So her CS boyfriend helped her find a job with us in software QA. Another is a father of five kids who has struggled financially for quite some time. His passion is writing and he's been published but never enough to really sustain his family. So he 'finally' found another job as a Business Analyst which I helped him apply for. He and his wife couldn't be happier now that he can better support them. I believe he still writes on the side. My supervisor has his masters in Physics and works as a software engineer Program Manager. He still dreams about physics and we have interesting discussions about it in terms of career possibilities. 


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#69 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 05:32 PM

My ds has been interested in physics for a while, and some of the areas he has kicked around appear to have very few jobs. If you can land one, you are well paid and of course would love your work. But just imagine having something you are passionate about, really good at, and spent a decade of your life focusing to master and then not be able to work in your field of choice. I think it would be horribly discouraging. So I've tried to steer him towards physics topics where there are more jobs. Would be be very much disappointed that he did not follow his original dream? Doesn't appear so, because he is happily researching these other more employable areas. And perhaps he will do a complete switch and go into Econ, whatever. My attitude is stack the deck in your favor. Obviously, there are piles of exceptions, but if you don't have all 4 on my list, then your job situation will just be a bit more rough throughout your life.


They change a lot during their 4 yrs of college, become more sure of themselves, and find their own paths. I understand your sentiment about the various fields of physics, but my ds is doing the 100% exact opposite of what you are telling your ds. We have had the conversation about employability and basically he says he wants to pursue his 1st love and if he can't find a job in that field, he will still be highly employable, just in a different one than he originally intended. (I still don't completely understand what it is what he wants to pursue. Something about large scale theoretical physics in cosmology?? ) His life. His choice. A PhD in physics is something he really wants, but he does not want anything like material science or engineering related.

Is he planning on doubling in math and physics? Is his true passion math or is it physics? Ds knew that while he really likes math, physics is pure love. Physics gives him both.
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#70 jdahlquist

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 06:10 PM

I also think that you can be equally happy in more than one field, so why not stack the deck in your favor and go where there are jobs and some money.  I watched my mother get her PhD when I was a highschooler.  She really wanted to go into Geology, but the program was a 2 hour drive away.  The local university had a degree in Business, which was her second love.  She went with Business, and ended up having lots of job opportunities and was very happy with her mid-life career change from SAHM.  Sure, Geology might have been slightly more interesting, but I'm not sure what kind of jobs should could have easily gotten given our location. 

 

There are many jobs in business, but that doesn't necessarily mean majoring in business is the best route for one of those jobs.  My colleague who has run a hedge fund has his degree in geology.  Another friend who worked for a major finance firm had a degree in civil engineering.  A relative who majored in geology went on to be a vice president with a major oil company.  Sometimes businesses want people with specific knowledge about the field within which the business operates.  Businesses always want people who have good critical thinking, communication, and analytical skills.  


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#71 lewelma

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 11:01 PM

Sure, everyone pivots and tries new things and uses their skills in different jobs than they ever imagined, but there is nothing wrong with thinking about where your degree might get you in a direct path.  I think it is a valuable thing to consider, definitely not the only thing, but worth your time.  If you are going to be in ballet, you better know that it is going to be a long hard slog to the top, and there are only a few top places so your likelihood of getting one is low.  You need to know that injury could kill your dreams.  This is simply not equally true for all fields, some *are* more employable and less risky.  Some are more valued by society, so pay better. If your goal in life is to write church music for kids (my niece's degree in music with this goal), you need to know that not many people are going to pay you for it. I think the idealism/naivete of youth needs to be tempered by some wisdom, and I for one have had this conversation with my boys.  I don't harp, I just give them a side they may not search out.  More knowledge is almost always a good thing because then you make your decisions with your eyes open.  

 

There is also a second thing to consider in dual income families.  If two people have very specific jobs that require them to be in very specific locations, it can be quite hard for both people to be employed as they desire.  Many of us are SAHM so there is less tension in this regard, but there is just a much larger geographic distribution for teachers, pharmacists, doctors, small business owners, etc than there is for computational neurobiology or cryptography.  Clearly large cities often have everything, but the housing prices in large cities are becoming inaccessible to anyone who doesn't already own.  The *median* house price in our largest city is currently 1 million dollars.

 

I also think it takes some soul searching to decide if you are willing to be poorly paid because you love your work (my BIL is an old testament prof at a small college), or if being paid well is important to you. Or if you are the type of person who wants easy to find and secure jobs, or if you are more of a risk taker. You need to really evaluate your personality. Know yourself. My younger boy has described his ideal job in terms of lifestyle rather than field of interest.  He wants to be able to make decisions, he wants to work with people, he wants to be paid well enough that his wife can homeschool if she chooses, he wants to work 40 hours a week so he can play with his kids, and he definitely does not want to worry about finding a job. He does not care at all what the topic is that he works on.  So we've kicked around some stuff, looked on the long-term skill shortages list for NZ, and he is planning on going into IT project management, because it ticks all of *his* boxes, and his boxes have nothing to do with *what* he does only *how* he does it.  This is very very different from my older boy.  My point is that there are many factors to consider, and as a family we feel free to discuss all of them.


Edited by lewelma, 06 December 2017 - 11:08 PM.

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#72 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 06:18 AM

While we can share our insights and advise our adult children according to what we have experienced, they ultimately do make their own decisions. When they go off to college and start living independently, they take control of their own path forward. It doesn't mean they don't listen to us, but it does mean that they see things through their own adult eyes. We give our kids the employability talk throughout high school. That POV is why our ds actually started as a triple major: math, physics, and EE. He dropped EE bc he loves theory, not applied.

Our knowing applied is more employable doesn't alter his long-term goals. He would rather end up having to work in data analysis or finance if he can't make his career in cosmology than work in applied physics. He has thought it through. It just isn't the path Dh or I would have taken or recommended.

Since this entire thread is about kids changing paths, one thing all parents end up learning is parenting adult children is full of accepting that our adult children are exactly that, adults. They make their own decisions. We cannot live their lives for them or make decisions for them. The repercussions for their choices are theirs.

(Fwiw, the worst parent/adult children relationships I have witnessed are when parents try to control their adult kids' lives or take their choices personally as a reflection on themselves. You cannot control the choices of other adults. It can be a painful parenting lesson.)

Edited by 8FillTheHeart, 07 December 2017 - 06:20 AM.

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#73 regentrude

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 08:22 AM

They change a lot during their 4 yrs of college, become more sure of themselves, and find their own paths. I understand your sentiment about the various fields of physics, but my ds is doing the 100% exact opposite of what you are telling your ds. We have had the conversation about employability and basically he says he wants to pursue his 1st love and if he can't find a job in that field, he will still be highly employable, just in a different one than he originally intended. (I still don't completely understand what it is what he wants to pursue. Something about large scale theoretical physics in cosmology?? ) His life. His choice. A PhD in physics is something he really wants, but he does not want anything like material science or engineering related.

 

I think that is a great path. If he does his PhD is cosmology and does what he loves, and in the end does not get one of the rare positions where he can do this, he still has a fantastic degree and employability - and he spent six years doing something he really enjoys. I think that is a very important consideration, because you don't want to finish grad school burned out having spent many years on a topic you don't particularly like and lost excitement along the way.

 

Also, it is worth keeping in mind that the job market changes, and that we cannot forsee the demand in a certain area six or more years in advance. At any given time, some areas are more "fashionable" than others. Astrophysics seems to be very popular at the moment, while other research areas have fallen out of favor.

 

And if it doesn't happen: with this degree, he can still change course and do a number of different things. How are grad school applications going? Has he gotten his first acceptances?


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#74 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 08:30 AM

I think that is a great path. If he does his PhD is cosmology and does what he loves, and in the end does not get one of the rare positions where he can do this, he still has a fantastic degree and employability - and he spent six years doing something he really enjoys. I think that is a very important consideration, because you don't want to finish grad school burned out having spent many years on a topic you don't particularly like and lost excitement along the way.

Also, it is worth keeping in mind that the job market changes, and that we cannot forsee the demand in a certain area six or more years in advance. At any given time, some areas are more "fashionable" than others. Astrophysics seems to be very popular at the moment, while other research areas have fallen out of favor.

And if it doesn't happen: with this degree, he can still change course and do a number of different things. How are grad school applications going? Has he gotten his first acceptances?


Your comments are basically what he has told us. He seems confident in his choices.

Acceptances? He hasn't submitted his first full application yet. I know his test scores have been sent and he has filled out all of the applications. He is meeting with Bama's physics grad head today to review his personal statement and then if he thinks it works, he will be ready to submit. I think the deadlines for applications start next week.
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#75 Crimson Wife

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 11:43 AM

 (Fwiw, the worst parent/adult children relationships I have witnessed are when parents try to control their adult kids' lives or take their choices personally as a reflection on themselves. You cannot control the choices of other adults. It can be a painful parenting lesson.)

 

Yes, this. My parents and I had a very strained relationship for a while because I had the audacity to veer from their idea of a "proper" life trajectory of graduate school (didn't matter the field so long as it was something they could brag about at cocktail parties to their friends :rolleyes: ), marrying at 30 +/- a couple years, and returning to my job after my 1-2 kids reach school-age.

 

The sad thing is that by the time I am in my mid-40's, I most likely will be in a similar place to where I would have been had I followed their plan for me. I am hoping to start grad school in 2018 (fingers crossed). I will just have more years of marriage and more kids under my belt and fewer years of work experience.
 



#76 lewelma

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 03:32 PM

You know, 8, I think there is a cultural difference here.  New Zealand is a small country-- there are limited job opportunities and not all jobs actually even exist here. If you want to go into science, for example, the government only funds 10 big ideas, all of which have practical relevance to the NZ economy.  If you want to do something else, you won't get funding and will have to leave NZ. NZ has a population of 4 million vs  the US's 400 million people, which means our job market is 100 times smaller.  Because of this, New Zealanders are much more careful about positioning themselves in growing fields when choosing a university major.  In fact, specialization starts in 11th grade, and the kids I tutor are very motivated to chose wisely so they don't have to take lower level classes in university because of cost.  There is not a culture here of parents paying for university, and there are NO merit or financial aid scholarships (ok, there are 10 full ride scholarships for the entire country).  So the kids that I work with are looking for majors that have jobs in New Zealand so they can stay in NZ and can pay back their student loans. Almost all of my students want to talk to me about options, and we research jobs, pay, working conditions etc.  I've had numerous parents ask me to do this in addition to tutoring their kids in math. One of my students has decided to make a go of living in the wilderness and blogging about it for pay. He and I researched this, how to make money, how to make his life interesting enough, the market value of possum fur, the agricultural conditions required to do watercress, how to be a hunting guide, the legal requirements of building his own hut, etc. He needed guidance and mentoring and a bit of wisdom.  He couldn't do it all on his own.

 

I think you are saying, talk to the kids but realize the decision is their own.  If so we are in complete agreement.  The kids I work with, including my own, appreciate talking out options. They want to think about job prospects, and they want to link their dreams to a reality.  But it does seem to me that being in a smaller country with a much smaller job market and no scholarships for university makes kids here more interested in linking their studies to job prospects. 


Edited by lewelma, 07 December 2017 - 03:36 PM.

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#77 eternalsummer

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 03:58 PM

I think the wrinkle (for me) is when parents pay for the degree.  Mine didn't, and I didn't consult them about anything.  If they had been paying for say a computer science degree and I changed halfway through and said I was getting a gender studies degree, I can see how they'd be a bit miffed and maybe unwilling to pay further for something they thought was unlikely to be worth the cost.


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#78 dereksurfs

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 04:24 PM

While we can share our insights and advise our adult children according to what we have experienced, they ultimately do make their own decisions. When they go off to college and start living independently, they take control of their own path forward. It doesn't mean they don't listen to us, but it does mean that they see things through their own adult eyes. We give our kids the employability talk throughout high school. That POV is why our ds actually started as a triple major: math, physics, and EE. He dropped EE bc he loves theory, not applied.

Our knowing applied is more employable doesn't alter his long-term goals. He would rather end up having to work in data analysis or finance if he can't make his career in cosmology than work in applied physics. He has thought it through. It just isn't the path Dh or I would have taken or recommended.

Since this entire thread is about kids changing paths, one thing all parents end up learning is parenting adult children is full of accepting that our adult children are exactly that, adults. They make their own decisions. We cannot live their lives for them or make decisions for them. The repercussions for their choices are theirs.

(Fwiw, the worst parent/adult children relationships I have witnessed are when parents try to control their adult kids' lives or take their choices personally as a reflection on themselves. You cannot control the choices of other adults. It can be a painful parenting lesson.)

 

It sounds like 'most' of us saying similar things regarding advising our children. It has more to do with matter of degrees once in college. Like most, I've seen the negative aspects of parents trying to control their adult children. However, I don't want to swing to the opposite extreme either with a laissez faire approach once they become 18 simply because they are legally an adult. We will still provide guidance making recommendations based upon our life experience. They will expect it. I guess the place there will be differences will be with what we agree to fund (any major) and to what extent (within 4 year, etc...).

 

Ruth's four points make for some great areas of discussion when teaching them what it means to live, work and function as an adult in the real world. Most, if not all, our kids have no experience or knowledge of this yet. Of course they may have fanciful notions of the ideal job which may not be based in reality. My daughters love furry animals, for example, and would happily play with them all day for a living if there was such a job. So we help them learn about careers related to animals. After considering the professional options, they may conclude that being a professional dog groomer or veterinarian isn't for them. However, that could lead to other possibilities of related careers such as protecting the environment in which these animals live.

 

Of course someone pursuing a PhD in Physics with emphasis in cosmology will have more long-term career 'alternatives' than another with a BA in ballet. You mentioned Data Analytics as a potential 'plan B' for your son, for example, if plan A careers aren't panning out. That is a very realistic backup plan. By contrast, if a student picks history simply because they are a history buff with no desire to ever teach, that is something I would advise more closely on. 

 

In either case parents are still actively engaged with their young adults rather than rather passively observing their whims without thought, guidance or input. Whether a parent becomes overbearing or attempts to control their children after providing guidance is another question. If we weren't helping to fund their education they would of course be free to major in as many things as they wanted for as long as they wanted.


Edited by dereksurfs, 07 December 2017 - 05:04 PM.

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#79 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 04:32 PM

You know, 8, I think there is a cultural difference here. New Zealand is a small country-- there are limited job opportunities and not all jobs actually even exist here. If you want to go into science, for example, the government only funds 10 big ideas, all of which have practical relevance to the NZ economy. If you want to do something else, you won't get funding and will have to leave NZ. NZ has a population of 4 million vs the US's 400 million people, which means our job market is 100 times smaller. Because of this, New Zealanders are much more careful about positioning themselves in growing fields when choosing a university major. In fact, specialization starts in 11th grade, and the kids I tutor are very motivated to chose wisely so they don't have to take lower level classes in university because of cost. There is not a culture here of parents paying for university, and there are NO merit or financial aid scholarships (ok, there are 10 full ride scholarships for the entire country). So the kids that I work with are looking for majors that have jobs in New Zealand so they can stay in NZ and can pay back their student loans. Almost all of my students want to talk to me about options, and we research jobs, pay, working conditions etc. I've had numerous parents ask me to do this in addition to tutoring their kids in math. One of my students has decided to make a go of living in the wilderness and blogging about it for pay. He and I researched this, how to make money, how to make his life interesting enough, the market value of possum fur, the agricultural conditions required to do watercress, how to be a hunting guide, the legal requirements of building his own hut, etc. He needed guidance and mentoring and a bit of wisdom. He couldn't do it all on his own.

I think you are saying, talk to the kids but realize the decision is their own. If so we are in complete agreement. The kids I work with, including my own, appreciate talking out options. They want to think about job prospects, and they want to link their dreams to a reality. But it does seem to me that being in a smaller country with a much smaller job market and no scholarships for university makes kids here more interested in linking their studies to job prospects.


There undoubtedly is a cultural difference but as you yourself said, there are a lot more job prospects in the US. There is also some flexibility in job prospects at least in this country. I got a job in engineering with my education degree. (A degree I switched to from another vastly different major). It wasn’t a job that required a professional certification but it was doing actual engineering tasks. And I enjoyed it very much and had good pay and prospects. At a later date I used my education degree professionally. I also got my masters in a totally different field than either engineering or education and that has opened other doors.

None of these jobs or degrees were pushed on me by my parents. They trusted me to have the maturity necessary for higher education and adulthood. Both of my young adults are very responsible realistic people. I don’t have to micromanage their choices because I trust their good judgment. I wonder if the lack of trust in young people’s decision making ability is another manifestation of helicopter parenting? I do know some college students at Ds’ college who have been pushed into certain fields. They are following their parents wishes but not with a lot of enthusiasm.
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#80 Diana P.

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:19 PM

I understand some of you are saying that if parents are paying for the degree they should be able to limit choices. I can see saying I will pay for four years or I will pay only if a certain GPA. I can't see deciding my dc major. Doing that just means you (the parent) are controlling their lives for years to come. You are not only deciding how your child will spend 4 years, but also what careers he might choose from after. At that point it may be harder for him to go for what he wanted and he might have been better off taking loans and studying what he wanted in the first place. Then what happens if he doesn't stay in that career field, do you make him feel bad about the wasted degree you decided he should pursue?

Too many strings.
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#81 lewelma

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:36 PM

As for judgement, I think teens can have good judgement if they have all the facts, but sometimes they don't even know what questions to ask.  I brought up the boy who wanted to make a living by blogging about living outside because he was passionate yet naive.  Yes, it is possible to get sponsorship for your blog, and yes if you are living in the wilderness you can live cheaply.  But he needed advice as to how to make this dream into a real possibility.  He had not thought about other ways to make money in the bush - like possum hunting or making punga-log planters and other speciality garden shop items.  He had not realized he needed a building consent even for a hut, and he had not thought clearly about the legal obligations of taking tourists hunting. I simply gave him the questions, and he started hunting down the answers. His plan is now much more robust.  He has a plan B of joining a tree-plantation planting crew 1 month a year (they make a ton of money). I did not laugh at his initial dream like others did, I just helped him to make it a reality. He needed a mentor.  18 is young.  And older teens just don't have a lot of life experience. My students love kicking around life goals with me because they know I am not judgemental, just practical. 

 

Interestingly, I also have a older teen who loves math and does well in it, but he wants to be an artist.  We kicked around a bunch of ideas but in the end he needed my permission all most to not use an in-demand skill, and follow a more risky career.  I told him that he will never be sorry he has done the math, and even if he never uses it in a job, he can do it for fun, just for him, and not for money.  Sometimes kids just need to hear that it is their choice, and as long as they have thought about the implications, they can stand tall and follow their dreams. However, as my dh's coffee mug says "Life is all about plan B."


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#82 Crimson Wife

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:40 PM

 I don’t have to micromanage their choices because I trust their good judgment. I wonder if the lack of trust in young people’s decision making ability is another manifestation of helicopter parenting? I do know some college students at Ds’ college who have been pushed into certain fields. They are following their parents wishes but not with a lot of enthusiasm.

 

I think a lot of it is that as HSers we have already stepped "out of the box" as it were in rejecting established public & private schools for our own DIY approach to education. It is very hard for many parents who have been successful following a traditional path (like mine) to trust an "out of the box" one.

 



#83 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:52 PM

You know, 8, I think there is a cultural difference here. New Zealand is a small country-- there are limited job opportunities and not all jobs actually even exist here. If you want to go into science, for example, the government only funds 10 big ideas, all of which have practical relevance to the NZ economy. If you want to do something else, you won't get funding and will have to leave NZ. NZ has a population of 4 million vs the US's 400 million people, which means our job market is 100 times smaller. Because of this, New Zealanders are much more careful about positioning themselves in growing fields when choosing a university major. In fact, specialization starts in 11th grade, and the kids I tutor are very motivated to chose wisely so they don't have to take lower level classes in university because of cost. There is not a culture here of parents paying for university, and there are NO merit or financial aid scholarships (ok, there are 10 full ride scholarships for the entire country). So the kids that I work with are looking for majors that have jobs in New Zealand so they can stay in NZ and can pay back their student loans. Almost all of my students want to talk to me about options, and we research jobs, pay, working conditions etc. I've had numerous parents ask me to do this in addition to tutoring their kids in math. One of my students has decided to make a go of living in the wilderness and blogging about it for pay. He and I researched this, how to make money, how to make his life interesting enough, the market value of possum fur, the agricultural conditions required to do watercress, how to be a hunting guide, the legal requirements of building his own hut, etc. He needed guidance and mentoring and a bit of wisdom. He couldn't do it all on his own.

I think you are saying, talk to the kids but realize the decision is their own. If so we are in complete agreement. The kids I work with, including my own, appreciate talking out options. They want to think about job prospects, and they want to link their dreams to a reality. But it does seem to me that being in a smaller country with a much smaller job market and no scholarships for university makes kids here more interested in linking their studies to job prospects.

I am sure there are cultural differences, however I think you should keep in mind that what you read on sites like this one or CC that you are not seeing anything close to representing typical US college norms. There are not oodles of merit scholarships, only a very small percentage of schools do offer institutional grant aid, and the vast majority of kids do not qualify for the scholarships/schools with grants out there. Most kids' parents are not funding college. The largest population of students lives at home and commutes to their local U. Most kids here do attempt to target a career with their degree. Most kids do not have the luxury of pursuing a degree simply for education's sake. What you are seeing is selection bias amg parents who value education and tend to be well-educated themselves.

I am not sure about there, but here you also see many jobs that do not need a degree in order to do the job require a degree for the job. That is bc of the necessity to screen for qualified workers and most high school grads are not considered "qualified."

In terms of the rest, yes, I am saying it is the kids' decision to make.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart, 07 December 2017 - 05:54 PM.

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#84 dereksurfs

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 06:09 PM

I am sure there are cultural differences, however I think you should keep in mind that what you read on sites like this one or CC that you are not seeing anything close to representing typical US college norms. There are not oodles of merit scholarships, only a very small percentage of schools do offer institutional grant aid, and the vast majority of kids do not qualify for the scholarships/schools with grants out there. Most kids' parents are not funding college. The largest population of students lives at home and commutes to their local U. Most kids here do attempt to target a career with their degree. Most kids do not have the luxury of pursuing a degree simply for education's sake. What you are seeing is selection bias amg parents who value education and tend to be well-educated themselves.

I am not sure about there, but here you also see many jobs that do not need a degree in order to do the job require a degree for the job. That is bc of the necessity to screen for qualified workers and most high school grads are not considered "qualified."

In terms of the rest, yes, I am saying it is the kids' decision to make.

 

8, please help me understand your approach. And please understand this is not at all for argument sake since I realize parents will set their own guidelines they feel to be best.

 

Are you saying, like I think some others are, that you will fund *any* major(s) regardless of whether you think it a good idea or not? If so, will you still provide your rationale as to why another path may be more employable, for example? Then will you set some limits in terms of years you will pay for those majors?

 

In other words, are there any educational guidelines at all, once in college?

 

Thanks,



#85 katilac

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 06:21 PM

My dh’s siblings who are in their 50’s and 60’s are still bitter about their parents who micromanaged their career choices. They have been successful but I am not sure that is all that it’s about.
 

 

That's not what it's all about, but pursuing personal interests with no thought to the future is also not necessarily what it's all about. Like most things, a bit of moderation is needed. 

 

Edited to add that The Hokey Pokey is now stuck in my head.

 

 He is truly living the life he dreamed of. He started dreaming of this career when he was about 12, and he is truly living and breathing what he has dreamed of doing. We had out doubts about it since it is a VERY unusual field, but he is thriving.

 

 

 

We're going to need more information that that  :laugh:

 

I wonder if the lack of trust in young people’s decision making ability is another manifestation of helicopter parenting?  

 

Funny, I think of making those decisions for them as very old-fashioned,  something from the olden days! 

 

My stance is that we work it out together, like anything else. Talk about it. Discuss possibilities. 

 

My youngest is a senior who is currently planning on a visual arts major. That's fine, but she knows that we expect a carefully chosen minor at minimum, possibly a second major. She also has to spend some time as a working artist, not just an art student. Why? Because being a working artist is not just about creating art, it's about selling it and promoting yourself as an artist. If you dislike or can't handle some of the ancillary activities, you might as well figure that out now. We are fine with her studying art for her own purposes (and not for a job), but she needs to be learning and exploring as she goes along, not creating art in a bubble for four years and then trying to figure out what to do with it. 

 

Even the most pure and passionate of vocations have practical sides to deal with. If you love history and want to research instead of teach, you will need to actively seek funding. Constantly. You will need to deal with the same politics that go on in any office. If you want to work in theater, you have to build your connections just as you would in the business community. You have to look at all aspects of the job. You can be a fantastically talented singer, but if you hate staying up late or traveling, you're going to have a hard time of it, lol. 

 

If a student does not have to work long hours, a double major or carefully selected minors are very doable in most cases. I've seen many students work long hours while in school full-time, sometimes full-time work AND full-time school, so I'm not super-patient with people who insist they must do Impractical Major only. 


Edited by katilac, 07 December 2017 - 06:28 PM.

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#86 lewelma

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 06:38 PM


I am not sure about there, but here you also see many jobs that do not need a degree in order to do the job require a degree for the job. That is bc of the necessity to screen for qualified workers and most high school grads are not considered "qualified."
 

 

Wow!  That is interesting.  Because we have exit exams, the high school diploma is worth something. It is the equivalent of 4 AP courses (all essay, no short answer or multiple choice).  Also, because tourism is becoming much more important here (2nd biggest industry after agriculture I think), a lot of students don't go to university, but rather go into a tourism field that sends them to polytechnic.  So very career focused as you would get a degree in outdoor education or hospitality.  In addition, the trades here are not a lower 'class' like they seem to be in America.  I have lots of friends in the trades - builders, locksmiths, plumbers.  So university is not the end all be all like in the USA. We also have very few jobs that will support the most academically challenging degrees. So if that is your passion, you will have to leave your home and live overseas. NZ definitely has brain drain. 



#87 lewelma

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 06:40 PM

Because being a working artist is not just about creating art, it's about selling it and promoting yourself as an artist. If you dislike or can't handle some of the ancillary activities, you might as well figure that out now.

 

Very good point. 



#88 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 06:58 PM

I think that there is some semantics going on here as well.  There are ongoing discussions about interests and careers that have gone on for years and  years.  And what I might call Socratic questioning to see if they have thought through certain aspects.  But my teens are certainly at a different place regarding their future than they were when they were even at the beginning teen years.  Dd no longer wants to be a ballerina doctor who runs a pet store.  ;)  OK - that was much younger than beginning teens but still a big indicator that they do start to understand a lot more about how the world works. 

 

When ds20 hit 18, he panicked that he didn't have his entire future mapped out.  And I reassured him that it was ok.  He had (and still has) time.  We have his back even in his college years and beyond.  He wasn't ready to go away to college at 18, so he didn't.  He's living at home and working and still getting a start on his college general ed. classes.  He's honing his interests as he does so and has just changed his major.  He's learned what it is like to work full time in a real job.  He's actually hired in the field that he wants to get his degree in now (though initially he was looking at a different major) so he's building a resume that many of his peers won't have right out of college.  But for ME and my family, while we discuss dreams and careers etc. the final choices belong to the young adult.  I personally see it as a boundary issue. 


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#89 dereksurfs

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 08:10 PM

I think that there is some semantics going on here as well.  There are ongoing discussions about interests and careers that have gone on for years and  years.  And what I might call Socratic questioning to see if they have thought through certain aspects.  But my teens are certainly at a different place regarding their future than they were when they were even at the beginning teen years.  Dd no longer wants to be a ballerina doctor who runs a pet store;)  OK - that was much younger than beginning teens but still a big indicator that they do start to understand a lot more about how the world works. 

 

When ds20 hit 18, he panicked that he didn't have his entire future mapped out.  And I reassured him that it was ok.  He had (and still has) time.  We have his back even in his college years and beyond.  He wasn't ready to go away to college at 18, so he didn't.  He's living at home and working and still getting a start on his college general ed. classes.  He's honing his interests as he does so and has just changed his major.  He's learned what it is like to work full time in a real job.  He's actually hired in the field that he wants to get his degree in now (though initially he was looking at a different major) so he's building a resume that many of his peers won't have right out of college.  But for ME and my family, while we discuss dreams and careers etc. the final choices belong to the young adult.  I personally see it as a boundary issue. 

 

Jean,

 

We definitely use Socratic questioning to help our kids explore their interests as well as consider the real world applications. I think that is also what Ruth described in her examples when providing career guidance to her students.

 

Our approach may actually look similar to yours even if we have slightly different philosophies. Part of it is also due to financial limitations. For example, we'll have our kids start at the local CC while in high school and beyond. While there they are free to explore many courses of interest and its practically free to do so. Once a major is selected and we find a university that meets our financial requirements, they'll be given adequate time to complete a single or double major. Beyond that it will be up them if they choose to pursue other areas academically. 

 

The major difference I think for some is that we will strongly encourage at least one major to be practical. I really like the way katilac described her methodology in working with her dd who is majoring in art. Consider the business side of it as well beyond simply painting pretty pictures. As another example, from a hobby and passion perspective, I really love nature photography which is an art form in itself. I could spend hours, days, weeks, months taking interesting, compelling images of nature. Many times I've been asked why I don't consider selling my work or pursuing it professionally? The answer is, I have considered it and I simply don't like the business aspects of it. That would take away from what I enjoy most about photography which is being there in the moment and capturing the beauty of nature. There's nothing wrong with making it a career. In fact, I have friends who are professional photographers and know what they do to make a living from it. That just doesn't appeal to me at all professionally. So while I love photography, it is best enjoyed as a hobby. The same could be said for many passions and interests. Not all of them make good careers. 

 

ETA: Love the ballerina doctor who runs a pet shop comment. Our girls are still pretty young and all they can think about are animals and gymnastics. So I'm looking forward to their more practical side maturing. I caught just a glimmer of it earlier when I took them to a nature center and they met the park ranger. She was describing her work in preserving the environment to help the local wildlife and they really perked up when hearing this. Our 16 ds is very driven and STEM focused. Although he has no real idea yet what he wants to do, just that he really enjoys math, physics, programming and robotics. Those can all have very practical applications, so I'm less concerned with him than I am our girls.


Edited by dereksurfs, 07 December 2017 - 08:27 PM.

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#90 eternalsummer

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 08:22 PM

NZ definitely has a different educational culture (and job culture, for that matter) re: college and technical schools (kind of like apprenticeship/trades).  For one, ime, there is less pressure on every semi-bright kid to go to college and more acceptance of the path of trades or apprenticeships. Also, a lot of kids do what we might call dropping out of high school after year 10 or 11, but there it is called "leaving" (being a "leaver") and is encouraged for kids whom it suits - they're guided into vo-tech type of situations or apprenticeships or jobs or whatever works for them.  There is no shame in it, or at least I didn't perceive any shame in it.  It wasn't quite as "college or bust" as it is here.  

 

 

That said, while spending a lot of $ on education for its own sake is great if you have the money and that's what you want to do with it, I don't think there's something inherently wrong in saying, no, I'd rather spend my money on something else - travel or retirement or sports or hobbies or a bigger house or whatever - and considering college education not a necessary life experience you owe your kids or 4 years of expensive (often) education about whatever topics interest them, but rather a means to an end.  It's fine if your kids don't see a college education as a means to an end, or if they disagree about what is a valuable end, but it's also fine to limit your financial responsibility to things you think are worth the $.


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#91 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 08:52 PM

8, please help me understand your approach. And please understand this is not at all for argument sake since I realize parents will set their own guidelines they feel to be best.

Are you saying, like I think some others are, that you will fund *any* major(s) regardless of whether you think it a good idea or not? If so, will you still provide your rationale as to why another path may be more employable, for example? Then will you set some limits in terms of years you will pay for those majors?

In other words, are there any educational guidelines at all, once in college?

Thanks,


I don't have a single answer. Would we pay for any degree? Depends on the child and on the degree.

Our Aspie is a talented artist and wanted to major in art. No, we would not support him in that pursuit. Why? Precisely for the reasons articulated in the other responses after your post. He could not manage customers or discipline himself to do what would be required to work as an artist. (For example, we lived in one of the hottest art areas in our state. There was a huge art festival every yr and we offered to pay for a booth for him to display and sell his art. Number of pieces finished? Zero.)

If one of his other siblings had presented a viable plan that we thought could be successful, would we have supported an art degree for them? Probably.

But that wasn't actually the point I was making in that post. I would never tell my kids what to major in. I would never attempt to tell them what career field to pursue. We spend yrs in our homeschool helping the explore areas of interests and exposing them to lots of options. We encourage them to consider their natural gifts and personalities. We don't just dump them on a college campus and say good luck. ;) They know they have to be employed and they approach their college search with ideas of what they think they envision themselves doing long term. They do have a sense of their strengths and weaknesses. They are responsible for their college careers and pursue it as their duty to succeed and explore all opportunities on their campuses.

I don't know. For us it isn't just a hypothetical. Our older kids have all been honors students who have developed their career skills before college graduation. Our college freshman is following a similar path. She has already applied for internships. She has been to numerous career workshops. She applied to be part of a student advisory board for her major. They take it all quite seriously bc it it their life and livelihood that they are trying to figure out.

As far as guidelines, we haven't had to ever set any bc they respect that it is a privilege and not a right. I guess we are blessed bc we have great kids.
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#92 Hoggirl

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:05 PM

In my experience, using the "power of the purse" over a young adult is not beneficial for the relationship.
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#93 Frances

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:14 PM

It will depend upon the original major and the new, desired, area, but often one can enter into a graduate program in one area with an undergraduate degree in another area. The main constraint, often, will be if the new area of interest requires a lot of math and the student has not taken much math. (This relates to one of the other discussions on this board--a student who pursues an undergraduate in physics can enter graduate school in a number of different areas because of the math abilities.)

As a business professor, I have seen this happen often. A student decides six semesters into college that they want to be a business major. Because of sequencing requirements it will take them an additional year to finish college if they change majors. If they stick it out in their original major and finish in one more year, they can often be admitted to an MBA program (that is maybe two years long). That extra year would then be toward the first year of an MBA program rather than a business undergraduate. It does extend the total university experience by 1 year, but the student comes out with a graduate degree. I have seen some cases in which the graduate degree can be done in about the same time frame as changing majors.

Also, sometimes the student can change their personal focus, taking desired electives, without changing their major and then focus a job search in the area of interest. Many times a student's degree is not in the area in which they end up working.

I think math often is the key. I was an undergrad psych major but took lots of math and computer science classes. After one year of grad school in psych, I switched schools and majors to statistics. I was accepted to a PhD program, but stopped after a Master's degrees. One of my coworkers had an undergrad math degree and did her Master's in economics after taking some economics courses post graduation and then did a PhD in a different field. I know three people who did graduate engineering programs without undergrad engineering degrees, two from physics and one from biochemistry, and all directly from undergrad. And a friend just finished a chemistry PhD with a long ago physics degree and a more recent Master's in a foreign language with lots of extra science classes along the way.

And many professional graduate programs do not require any specific undergraduate degree, and some like law have few or no prerequisite except a bachelor's degree.
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#94 lewelma

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:38 PM

 I guess we are blessed bc we have great kids.

 

I think you have great kids because you are an outstanding parent and educator.  :thumbup1:


Edited by lewelma, 07 December 2017 - 10:19 PM.


#95 eternalsummer

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:58 PM

In my experience, using the "power of the purse" over a young adult is not beneficial for the relationship.

 

My parents didn't use it as a power struggle; they just didn't expect to pay for my education, and didn't.  

 

People do this all the time, anyway, for kids even younger (and thus more dependent) - they might be willing to buy a certain kind of used car but not another.  If I'm buying the car for my kid, will I take their preferences into account?  Sure!  I'd get a blue car or a truck or a sedan or maybe a certain model.  There are some cars that I think aren't worth the money, though, and I wouldn't buy them.

 

Similarly, I might think some educational experiences or certificates aren't worth the money, and be unwilling to buy that experience or certificate.  


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#96 Hoggirl

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 10:47 PM

My parents didn't use it as a power struggle; they just didn't expect to pay for my education, and didn't.

People do this all the time, anyway, for kids even younger (and thus more dependent) - they might be willing to buy a certain kind of used car but not another. If I'm buying the car for my kid, will I take their preferences into account? Sure! I'd get a blue car or a truck or a sedan or maybe a certain model. There are some cars that I think aren't worth the money, though, and I wouldn't buy them.

Similarly, I might think some educational experiences or certificates aren't worth the money, and be unwilling to buy that experience or certificate.

I meant in the context of a college education. Sorry if I was unclear.

I just wouldn't tell my kid, "I'll only pay for college if you major in X."

Edited by Hoggirl, 07 December 2017 - 10:50 PM.


#97 luuknam

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 10:53 PM

I meant in the context of a college education. Sorry if I was unclear.

I just wouldn't tell my kid, "I'll only pay for college if you major in X."

 

 

But at what point is "I will pay for college except if you want to major in Y - I won't pay for Y" turn into "I'll only pay for college if you major in X"? I mean, they're different, obviously... but to a teen they might sound fairly similar, at least if the teen really wanted to do Y. 


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#98 katilac

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 11:06 PM

In my experience, using the "power of the purse" over a young adult is not beneficial for the relationship.

 

I think using money as a blunt instrument to force compliance is certainly a very bad idea. 

 

Making it clear to young adults that independence is a process, not a date on the calendar? I'm fine with that.  


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#99 eternalsummer

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 11:14 PM

I wouldn't use it to force compliance - if the absolute only way for my kid to go to college were for me to spend the $, and non-college options were not acceptable for some reason, maybe I'd be more willing to pay for a gender studies degree from a $70k/yr unranked LAC or a criminal justice degree from a for-profit college with bad job placement rates.  In truth, though, all of our kids are very likely to be able to afford school without us - maybe not Harvard, but certainly State U.  In that case it's really not an issue of saying you must comply with my wishes for your future career or go get a job at McDonald's - it's more an issue of saying hey, if you have the talent and accomplishments to get into MIT and a plan for a viable career through the education you purchase there, I'm willing to pay for it.  If you want to study art history, go to the U of State and take out $5k in loans per year and live on beans for a few years if that is what you want to do with your life :)

 

FWIW, I lived on beans to get a (worthless, personally and educationally and certificate-wise) English degree, but it was free.  



#100 happysmileylady

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 11:25 PM

I am not sure how this figures into the conversation, but the discussion about using money for control and only paying for X or Y major, but not Z, etc etc...reminded me of a discussion among my parents, myself, my kid and an aunt of mine.

 

This aunt lives across the country and I didn't see her much, but when I did, we were close enough.  She has 2 kids, my cousins who I was also close enough with.  My aunt was a big believer in parents paying for college, my parents were not.  (could be because my parents had twice as many kids as my aunt lol.)  My aunt's belief however was also that if she was paying for it, she was going to pay for something worthwhile.  My one cousin went for marine biology (well, that's what she graduated with, I think she went in with a different major.)  She married a lawyer and is now a SAHM (which I am not condemning, since I have my own BA and am a SAHM.) My other cousin though wanted to write video games.  My aunt didn't deem that "good enough" and wouldn't pay.  As a result, my cousin kind of floundered around till he was like in his 30s.  He's now 41 and DOES have a degree in software....that he had to pay for on his own.  He doesn't work in gaming, but is a software engineer.  He didn't get married till after he had his degree, which was in part because that was how it is "supposed" to work.

 

After all that.....

 

4 yrs ago, this aunt was visiting my parents after a family reunion in Chicago.  We all met for breakfast and while I was dealing with my small children, the conversation turned toward paying for college.  DD21, who was a high school senior at the time, complained that DH and I were not paying for her school. 

 

This aunt got up, walked down to DD and leaned over.  She quietly said in DD's ear........."it's better that way.  There are no strings attached."   

 

 

I about spit my food out.  After all the preaching she did to my parents and grandparents, I couldn't believe that she had said that to my kid. 


Edited by happysmileylady, 07 December 2017 - 11:26 PM.




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