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What Should I be When I Grow Up?


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Dh & I have decided we're both going back to school next year. We both have some college from 10+ yrs ago but no degree.

 

Now, time to pick a major at 32 yrs old, eek! My passion has always been meteorology ever since I was a kid but those types of jobs are harder to come by. With 2 kids, both of us in college at the same time, and the current economic environment, it's imperative I pick a major that will give me the best shot at actually landing a job relatively quickly after graduation. From what I'm finding atmospheric science is not that major.

 

So, what to pick? I love math & science although I'm not very good at chemistry. I'm a "big picture thinker" for sure. Details and minutea bore me and drive me crazy - it is for sure my biggest weakness. I love to plan things out but I fail at the execution because the details overwhelm me (thank God for detail-oriented dh!). I'm creative and can usually see new ways of doing things. My stress reliever & hobby is creating new recipes because I love the mix of science & creativity (gluten free recipes so more science than "regular" recipes).

 

Most of the math & science fields are very detail-oriented and that concerns me & yet I can't see myself working in another field. I'm considering some type of engineering but is that too detail-oriented? I'm not interested in healthcare at all except perhaps something like a biomedical engineer. I am not a good enough "people person" to work directly with patients.

 

So tell me, what the heck do I want to be when I grow up??

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How about something in occupational safety or public health management?

 

Can you do some job shadows or company tours? Our homeschool group toured an engineering firm and we met with biomedical engineers who showed us some of their projects. We also toured a biotech firm and power plant at the Univ. Pretty interesting stuff!

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Some of the community colleges have two year engineering tech or bio tech programs. One idea is for either you or your husband to do something like this which can lead to a job with a reasonable starting salary. This might ease the financial burden of both of you being in school simultaneously. After one of you earns a four year degree (and finds a job), then the other (the two year degreed person) can return to school for a four year degree. If that person is lucky, his or her employer might help pay for the four year degree (the two year degree will get a foot in the door).

 

Usually the CCs with tech programs are aligned with corporate partners. Graduates often find employment quickly that way.

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We both are using our GI Bill benefits so financially we're actually pretty good. We have a rock-solid budget and according to my projections we'll only need $937/mo in income to maintain our current lifestyle. This is mostly due to the fact that we'll both be receiving a housing allowance. Tuition & books are covered 100%. Also my GI Bill is running out. Dh has more time on his but he can no longer do his current, very well earning career. He's completely burnt out on it & has actually lasted much longer than most do. He's looking for a complete career change. This seems like the best time for us to do this. Obviously it's a risk but one we're willing to take.

 

And yes, I know everything I find interesting is detail-oriented! ahh! I've always been kind of at odds with myself. If any of you have ever read the book, "Strong WIlled Child or Dreamer?" then you know my exact personality. Even the anecdotes in that book happened to me - all you have to do is change the names.

 

Let's say I didn't pick something science or math based....what could those be? My life plan was to HS the kids through high school (my youngest is in kindy) and then maybe go back to school just to say I had finally earned my degree. Dh's life plan was to retire in his current career field and because of the burn out it caused a bit of a snowball effect at work leading to this not ever being a career he can stay in any longer. So anyways, suddenly needing to choose a degree in something that's profitable and something I could actually see myself doing for the next 30 yrs is new to me. As a "big picture thinker" and planner, I get a little crazy when my 1, 5, 10, and 20+ year plan/visions have to be re-arranged. Then I freak out with all the possibilities and nuances and go hide and hope it passes. I can't stick my head in the sand this time though.

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How about a math or science teacher? They are in great demand, as all those super-detail oriented math and science folk bail for industry. Okay, not a top-earning position, but if you stick with it and get your MA it can pay decently. My brother is a science teacher and he makes a decent if not extravagant wage. Also, you get a pension, which are hard to come by these days.

 

My best friend is also a science teacher. She isn't earning much yet, but she started with no MA and also no teaching certification. That's how badly they need science teachers! They will help her pay for her MA, which will increase her pay a lot. And she absolutely loves the job.

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OK--since the GI Bill is in place, how about looking at an online catalog from your state's land grant university. These schools often have degree programs that people don't always consider.

 

For example, NCSU has an industrial engineering degree geared toward the furniture industry. They have a food science program and a program in forest bio-materials. There are programs that most of us don't even know exist. Many combine science or technology with business.

 

If I were you, I'd look at land grant or technical college catalogs for inspiration.

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Seems like everything you mentioned is detail oriented. Do you enjoy statistics?

 

 

Statistics is a hot field. Add in a computer science minor or at least as many computer programming classes as you can handle to increase your value even more.

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What would one realistically do with statistics? What kind of jobs? I only took 1 statistics class in college but I loved it.

 

Retailers are collecting data on consumers through loyalty cards, Web sites collect data on every page visited and link clicked, any device with a GPS, especialy cell phones, collects data. Sales predictions (if you buy X, should we try to sell you Y or Z?). Credit scores. Crime rates. Traffic cameras and automated signals. Worker productivity. The bots that try to guess how much you can get for a used book or phone on Amazon or eBay. All sorts of things are now analyzed with statistical software.

 

Basically, there was an explosion in the use of technology to collect numbers, and now statisticians need to figure out what to do with all the information.

 

SAS is a big vendor of statistical analysis software... Check out the customer list.

http://www.sas.com/success/

 

Google terms: "Big data" "business intelligence" "analytics"

 

 

--Janet

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OK--since the GI Bill is in place, how about looking at an online catalog from your state's land grant university. These schools often have degree programs that people don't always consider.

 

For example, NCSU has an industrial engineering degree geared toward the furniture industry. They have a food science program and a program in forest bio-materials. There are programs that most of us don't even know exist. Many combine science or technology with business.

 

If I were you, I'd look at land grant or technical college catalogs for inspiration.

 

I looked up the college in the state we plan on attending college & it's the college we're planning on going to. They do have lots of things I wouldn't have considered. I'm still exploring. I've got to convince dh to tell his parents our plan so I can pick FIL's brain about industrial engineering.

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Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the advice! I was avoiding "food science" because I was worried I wouldn't be able to find a job that ethically I would be OK with however after looking around a lot last night I think I'd still be able to find something. So I'm going to do food science. It's basically what I do all day anyways. I laid awake for hours last night trying to figure out how to make my waffle recipe come out crunchier. I'm always thinking about foods & how to improve upon the recipes I've created. Some days I'll spend all day in the kitchen making batch after batch of something until I get it right. And I love it. It's probably about the only thing I can be detailed about.

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Does your school offer something that blends technology and business?

My school offers Information Technology and Information Systems degree. They are the 'lite' versions of computer science, one is more creative, the other is business oriented...

 

EDIT: Whoops, didn't see the post directly above mine. I have a friend doing Food Science and she loves it, good luck! Happy Learning!

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