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What to do when you like everything?

  1. Jan 29, 2008 #1
    So I keep hearing how one should pick his or her major based on what they like and know best.

    My problem, however, is that I like pretty much everything. No one subject really sticks out from the rest. Math has a SLIGHT lead but I want to know I'm going to be able to find a job out of college.

    Right now I'm a physics major after a semester as a Chem Eng major. I just have no idea what it is I want to do. I like all my classes.

    So, what do you do in that event?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 29, 2008 #2
    I would at least wait until after this semester. You'll probably be more informed by then, I think.
  4. Jan 29, 2008 #3


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    I would stay in whatever field you're in right NOW and stay in it until you figure it out.

    By the time you figure it out, you'll have a degree in you're hand.

    Otherwise, if you don't take my advice and when you do figure it out, you'll most likely go in 5th year of university completing the 1st year of like 4 different undergraduate programs and nowhere near a degree.
  5. Jan 30, 2008 #4
    I'm in the same position as the OP but am only going to be a freshman next year. There's just too much interesting stuff!
  6. Jan 30, 2008 #5
    I'm in first year as grad student and have the same problem. My advice: just don't worry about it. You'll never learn everything. In the meantime, just enjoy what you're working on now.
    Don't major in math. But take hard math classes.
  7. Jan 30, 2008 #6
    Take real analysis. If you love it, be a math major. If you hate it but make a good grade, be a physics major. If you fail it, be a communications major.
  8. Jan 30, 2008 #7


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    Often a subject that is fun and interesting to study won't be as interesting as a career. A friend of mine spent years earning a master's in audiology, only to find that she hated working with the public.

    Do some research into what career you want. See if you can job shadow a chemical engineer. Perhaps the career center at your school could hook you up with something like that.
  9. Jan 30, 2008 #8


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    Pick the one you are most interested in and finish your degree. Afterwords, you may certainly continue your education in the other areas that you are interested in. Learning is a lifelong process.

  10. Jan 30, 2008 #9
    Just a practical suggestion. If you like everything, then why don't you just pick the major with the best employment rate?
  11. Jan 30, 2008 #10
    This is great advice. The truth is, right now you have no idea what you like. You think you like some subjects because what tiny portion of them you've bumped into seemed likable. In fact, you probably have no idea how much you would like to actually work in any of them.

    Picking a path based only on what you "like" now is almost as bad an idea as picking a path based on whether you like the school work!

    Do your research! Pick something, then excel in it.
  12. Jan 30, 2008 #11

    Tom Mattson

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    Yes, pick something that is both enjoyable and marketable. Remember, you can always go back to school part time to study something different that you enjoy. I got my BS in Engineering in 1995, my MS in Physics in 1997, and in 2006 I went back to get an MS in Mathematics (should finish in December). After that I'm going to scale back my working hours and get into a funded PhD position for Physics so that I can get out of teaching and get into full time research.

    My point is: You can study everything, but there's no reason you have to cram it all into 4 years.
  13. Jan 30, 2008 #12
    very good advice Tom Mattson. And look at Edward Witten: he liked history and linguistics during his college years, but was naturally gifted in math and physics.
  14. Jan 30, 2008 #13


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    That was exactly my point as well.

  15. Jan 30, 2008 #14
    Thanks for the input guys. I was considering doing a Physics/EE double major. Any opinions on that?
  16. Jan 30, 2008 #15
    I had a friend who did a degree in honours biophysics with minors in chinese and philosophy. (his degree took 6 years). Another did a double major in engineering physics and english literature.
  17. Jan 30, 2008 #16
    I'm a little suspicious of the need to do both. Unless you have a very good reason to do so, you should pick one and do it well. My suggestion is to go the engineering route, if only because it offers the chance for professional membership; in other words, it will be easier to go back to physics from that then the other way around. Physics can be good too though. I just see little value in both.

    Another mistake students often make is overestimating the value of a BS. My guess is that having that double major would represent a $0 improvement in salary over just getting the EE degree itself. So why go through the trouble?

    You can always study on your own.
  18. Jan 30, 2008 #17
    Locrian, I was also thinking of possibly doing a double major in Physics/Engineering. My reasons would be that physics is really interesting but what if I get tired of it and decide not to go to grad school (though I am planning on going to grad school)? I don't like any of my options with just a physics bachelors so if I got an engineering degree as well I can at least work as an engineer. I hear it is more difficult to work as an engineer with a physics degree
  19. Jan 30, 2008 #18
    I don't see why it would be more difficult, so long as you didn't expect more money for having both majors.

    A very common complaint from many employers in many fields is that new recruits greatly overestimate their value.
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