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s/o limit college major: How do you find out what can be done with particular majors

Colleen in NS

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I just read the other two threads on limiting college majors and asking what are considered "hobby" majors. My question is: How does one find out what can be done self-supporting-wise with degrees in particular majors? I have no clue. Some things are obvious to me, like science or nursing or accounting or computer science or graphic design....but theatre? Archeology? Dance?


I was interested to read Jane's response about her archeology-interested son - I would never have dreamed up the term "contract archeology" and hear it termed as "lucrative." But that's because I really have no clue. (and yes, Jane, I did hear you about "education for the sake of education and not necessarily job-training")


So how do people find out this information? Are there books out there that people typically have their high schoolers look through to get ideas?

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Some might consider me to be a conversationalist, Colleen, but others might just say I am nosy! I do tend to strike up conversations and ask questions.


Regarding my son's interests in archaeology: he volunteered with a local project where he made contact with a state archaeologist who talked to him about both colleges and opportunities post-college. Then he had a second experience (a field school) where he broadened his contact base and was given more ideas.


Perhaps there are ways of connecting your children with professionals in your community. Is there a museum that does Pi-Day activities with local engineers or scientists? Do you know people connected with dance or other arts festivals? I would ask them about their backgrounds.


When you are at the planetarium, see if you can strike up a conversation with the people who run the place. Or with the people who draw your blood...or clean your teeth. I am often surprised at the twists and turns that people have in their lives and career paths.


Of course, the thing that is so tricky is the issue that Regena addressed in one of the other threads. What are the jobs going to be and where are they going to be? This is part of the reason I believe in a liberal arts education. People who learn to think can (theoretically) adapt.


I do believe though, that in terms of colleges, students and parents should ask department heads where their graduates have gone. I would also see if the college has contacts for co-ops or internships. These often provide the foot in the door that a student needs for a job.

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The Occupational Outlook Handbook has info on what you can do with different majors. And I think there are some other big compendiums now that are like it, too.... I know that my college has a job base to help with this and the college my son is attending also has this. I just checked my college, though, not too many years ago, and they still didn't list some of the things that I know you can do with a physical anthro degree (because I did)....

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If you have an interest in a "hobby" area and wonder what one might do with the degree, I think it is really important to spend a lot of time with people who work in that area. (Having said that, I have one dd who has done this well, and one other who is starting to do so somewhat late in the game :001_smile:) My 18 yo is a college freshman, studying classical violin, with a passion for chamber music and alternative indie rock bands. During her senior year of high school, she spent an entire semester interning (i.e. unpaid) full-time at an independent alternative rock station. Although she was doing routine grunt work, she was hanging around the people who were working in an industry she thought she would like. She talked to them and found out about their college preparation as well as their current lifestyle. She did her job well and gained their confidence. She saw what was out there, grew as a person, and put her creative well-trained brain to work figuring out what she might like to do in this field and how to go about it.


Now as a college freshman, she has formed an indie band and self-produced a lot of their stuff, but she also made a contact with a fledgling production company who shot a video for her band--for free. Her internship taught her how to seek out opportunities and grab them.


Dd also takes full advantage of her college's Music and Business organization and attends all seminars, job fairs, etc. I really believe that many careers in "hobby" industries depend on being at the right place at the right time, and knowing lots of people who can think of you when an opportunity pops up. Her college also has a well-functioning career services office that connects current students with alumni from the same major. Although dd hasn't used it this office yet, our student tour guide told of having switched her major away from engineering to English, because she wanted to write children's books. The office connected her to an alum who worked as an editor for a major publisher. The student credited that alum with really showing her what the career path might look like and what she needed to do to accomplish it.


People usually think of networking in terms of business, but I really think it especially applies to these "hobby" fields.

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And once again, I am soooooooooo grateful for these boards being provided to us for free. Thank you all, for sharing with me. I'm going to make a new file to save this thread to - career prep, or something like that.


I'd love to keep hearing from more people, as to how they have done this with their kids.


Jane, I don't think you're nosy - I *like* it when you start up questioning/though-provoking threads - they are VERY helpful!


Thanks, everyone!



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