Had you changed to another major?

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In summary, a BS in Biology from San Diego State is not as bad as one might think. However, if one is interested in a career in science, a degree in chemistry is a better choice.
  • #1
morrobay
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I completed BS Biology, San Diego State, but regret not being a Chemistry major. Seems I took the path of least resistance, somewhat anyway. The BS was 36 upper division Biology semester units , the BA 24 units. I got all B,s in Chemistry and a lot of C,s in Biology. San Diego state required one year calculus , one year physics and one year general (inorganic) chemistry, but i took more, organic and biochemistry + quant. analysis (summer) for unofficial minor.

So it would have taken me maybe 11/2 - 2 years more to complete the chemistry major. Unless one is interested in field biology (pop dynamics) a chemistry degree is "better" And since some schools do not even require any chemistry or physics for a BA in Biology the major is not all that respected.

I recall sitting in upper division genetics class,lab table with our data books writing up the experiment/conclusions on the genes responsible for the shape and color of fruit fly wings. As I was copying some of my lab partners write up a pre-dental student, sitting across, who was as interested in fruit flies as myself said he should have been a chemistry major. Looking back I should have , could have , would have dropped the class right there and gone down to change major to chemistry.
 
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  • #2
Seek to combine your understanding. Students often find that their major doesn't exactly fit their interests or expectations and that the degree they got seems somehow wrong.

Consider going back and getting that second degree and then combine the two into a more novel career. Many great discoveries are made in the underexplored niches between majors.
 
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  • #3
My major was EE, and it was a hard choice between Physics (my first love) and Engineering. After working in R&D for a few decades, I started working part-time in EMS (emergency medical services) and have found that I really enjoy the patient contacts (even with difficult patients, or patients who are badly injured or ill). If I'd have known back in undergrad how much I enjoy patient contacts, I would have gone into medicine, probably emergency medicine as a doc or a nurse. Ah well, that's for a different lifetime... :smile:
 
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  • #4
In my case, I became a BS Physics major and had no complaint. I got a job as a "scientific" programmer where "scientific" meant writing Fortran code. Later I went back to grad school for physics again but switched to Comp Sci as my interests shifted to numerical simulations and in a sense combining my two interests of physics and computers. The computers won out though jobwise.
 
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  • #5
Let me skip back a few generations with an anecdote from my father's similar dilemma.

While physics was his true love he completed a degree in Chemistry just as WWII began. While serving as a "technical chemist" helping build the aviation fuel pipelines along the Ledo Road, he gained an interest in electronics. After moving to Cupertino, California (Silicon Valley), he completed an EE education though he insisted electronics and chemistry are parts of Physics. As I learned to read from his textbooks and with the constant admonition "realize the physics", I also regard electronics as an aspect of Physics.

Given your background in Biology and interests in Chemistry, you might find inspiration from biochemist Isaac Asimov. His books and essays relate bio-chem to modern physics and astronomy in marvelous ways.
 
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  • #6
I had thought of starting a thread like this. My interest in science started after we moved into the suburbs of Chicago where I could experience nature was up close and personal. I was fascinated by the new creatures that heretofore I had not even thought of. Creepy crawlies of the suburban wetlands fascinated me. Eventually I acquired a simple Gilbert microscope (60X) to get a closer look.

That stimulated me into checking out other interests like radio/electronics and as I remember telling a HS geometry teacher I would like to become an EE. My father had brought home from work the radio course taken by a co worker from the Devry Institute, one of those specialty technical colleges which I think is still in operation today. In reflecting other interests I was also fascinated by anthropology/archaeology and remember the Sunday morning watching programs from the American Natural History Museum in NYC and continued my interest in zoology faithfully watching Marlin Perkins' Zoo Parade. This evolved somehow into an interest in chemistry and eventually physics seeing them as more viable avenues for a career. Physics became eventually my first choice being the fundamental science a choice I have never regretted.

You never know where you might end up a fact that I try to impress on students. Careers are often not predictable and opportunities are presented periodically. If prepared you chose to accept them or not. In my case after receiving a PhD in experimental nuclear physics such an opportunity occurred in medical physics for which I was prepared to accept. In short it fit my needs. As I learned more about myself and other fields I have wondered about what might have happened

If I had more readily available information about some of the things that I found interesting during my formative years as is readily available on the internet now I wonder if I might have chosen a significantly different path.
 
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  • #7
Ive heard it said that schooling kills off almost all your interests and the last one left becomes your career.

I know a college lit course on scifi novels killed off my favorite nterest for at least ten years before i started reading them again and my excitement for them had changed too. It was a ten week course ie trimester system taught by an English lit teacher and a Physicist. We had to read 3 novels a week but i was lucky if i had the time to read just two. I passed but with many scars.
 
  • #8
gleem said:
If I had more readily available information about some of the things that I found interesting during my formative years as is readily available on the internet now I wonder if I might have chosen a significantly different path.
That's a great point, and it applies to this thread by @morrobay here. The Internet really does open up more information about different career paths (including non-traditional ones, or switching career paths mid-life). Maybe that will help folks with exploring more options in their schoolwork and career path choices going forward. :smile:
 

Related to Had you changed to another major?

1. How do I know if changing my major is the right decision for me?

Deciding to change your major is a big decision and it is important to carefully consider your options. Start by reflecting on your interests, strengths, and career goals. Think about what truly excites you and what you are passionate about. It may also be helpful to speak with a career counselor or academic advisor for guidance.

2. Will changing my major delay my graduation date?

This will depend on a variety of factors such as how many credits you have completed, how many credits are required for your new major, and how many of your previous credits will transfer over. It is important to meet with an academic advisor to create a plan that will help you graduate on time.

3. Can I switch to a completely different field of study?

Yes, you can change to a completely different major if you decide to do so. However, keep in mind that this may require you to take additional courses and may potentially delay your graduation date. It is important to carefully research and think about the new field of study before making the switch.

4. Will changing my major affect my financial aid?

Changing your major may affect your financial aid if the new major has different requirements or if you have already used all of your financial aid eligibility. It is important to speak with a financial aid advisor to understand how changing your major may impact your financial aid.

5. Can I change my major multiple times?

Yes, you can change your major multiple times. However, keep in mind that changing your major too many times may delay your graduation and can also be costly. It is important to carefully consider your options and make a decision that aligns with your academic and career goals.

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