What did you study in school vs. what you do for a living?

khop83

New member
Aug 21, 2018
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#1
I always find it interesting what people study vs. what they actually do. It seems to me that a lot of people have a degree (or training) in one field, but have ended up in a completely different field. I also wonder why that happened.

I studied history and museums in college and grad school, but I now work in marketing. In school, I wanted to work in a museum but once I got into the field, it became obvious that I was wrong for the field. Plus, the jobs are pretty scarce. So I looked at the skills I acquired in school and beyond and transitioned into a different field. Being able to research and write are applicable in lots of different professions. I really enjoy what I do now, and wish I'd found this path much earlier (and minus the grad school student loans).

How about you?
 

nhenrick

New member
Aug 21, 2018
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#2
I think you have really hit a strong topic here! Currently being in college now, I am curious myself as to what road in life I will go down. Surely I have my desired major and interests in which I'm studying right, but these could surely be subject to change. I find it amazing listening to stories of college grads who have actually become what they thought they were going to do when they were younger. Although rare in our fast-paced society today, I still believe that it is possible. I am thrilled to see where life takes me and if I end up getting a job in my desired degree!
 

Moty_Vatyd

New member
Sep 7, 2018
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#3
I have two degrees in Economics but have never worked in the field. I went into real estate just out of college and then held a management position at a newspaper for a number of years. I have since semi-retired due to income from my real estate investments so I'm glad I didn't pursue a job in Economics. You never know what path you'll end up on and it seems best to remain as flexible as possible in order to exploit any opportunity that might arise.
 
Sep 12, 2018
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#4
I love hearing about what people studied vs. what they actually do as well! It can be quite interesting.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in English. I studied this and did some appropriate extra-curriculars in college so that I could set myself up for a career in editing and/or publishing, perhaps writing. My school even had presentations on the various different jobs that could be obtained with this degree. However, there weren’t many jobs in the career path that I had chosen. There were plenty that required 1-3 years of experience, which I did not have.

After several months of applying to jobs I would have loved, I became discouraged and started looking for anything but food/retail. I worked in customer service for a trucking company for two years, still yearning for my dream job. Only by way of mutual connections did I crawl my way out of customer service, which was definitely not for me. Now, thanks to some coworkers at my last job, I am working as an Accounts Payable Specialist. It’s not my dream job, but it pays the bills and I am very content with it for now.
 
Sep 7, 2018
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#5
I love hearing about what people studied vs. what they actually do as well! It can be quite interesting.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in English. I studied this and did some appropriate extra-curriculars in college so that I could set myself up for a career in editing and/or publishing, perhaps writing. My school even had presentations on the various different jobs that could be obtained with this degree. However, there weren’t many jobs in the career path that I had chosen. There were plenty that required 1-3 years of experience, which I did not have.

After several months of applying to jobs I would have loved, I became discouraged and started looking for anything but food/retail. I worked in customer service for a trucking company for two years, still yearning for my dream job. Only by way of mutual connections did I crawl my way out of customer service, which was definitely not for me. Now, thanks to some coworkers at my last job, I am working as an Accounts Payable Specialist. It’s not my dream job, but it pays the bills and I am very content with it for now.
Have you looked at writing and publishing with Amazon? Indie wirting and publishing is a big thing right now and some indie authors are making serious money doing what they love. If you're good at telling a story and write well then it might be something you'd like. There are some good Facebook groups around like 20booksto50k and others that talk about the process. It's also something you can do while you still have a full time job. I know some authors that make a few thousand a month up to a million month. Last I looked, Michael Anderle, the guy that runs 20booksto50k, was making about $150k a month writing sci-fi type books. I'm sure he's surpassed that by quite a bit now.

There is also a large demand for editing, proofreading, and other author services so there is opportunity there as well.
 

ckang96

New member
Aug 29, 2018
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#6
I just graduated college, and this is so encouraging! I have no idea what career I want to pursue moving forward. I'm a cognitive science and English major, and I think I want a career that involves helping people in some tangible way. I'm not sure if that means I should become some kind of psychologist or what.

I know people switch around a lot, but I'm afraid of spending all that time and energy just to figure out what I want. And what if I never figure it out? For now, I'm trying to experience as many different things as possible. I'm thinking that maybe I'll stumble into some kind of self-enlightenment along the way.
 

lpvander

New member
Sep 12, 2018
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#7
I got my bachelor's degree in arts studies - film, with the intent of writing movie reviews for a living. I now work as a full-time nanny and do freelance writing on the side. I know for many people after graduation, including myself, it came down to your expectations of how many job opportunities there are for your niche/dream job versus the reality. I had no clue there wouldn't be as many full-time film review jobs as I thought (or maybe that was my tried and true millennial optimism at its finest). So the best advice I have to avoid this is to really research the job market you're looking at and if it is really really niche or small, to find cool/unique internships after graduation that will help set you apart and get you to that next springboard step. I didn't do this, and when I couldn't find my exact job after graduating, I just found whatever was easiest/convenient to pay my bills. But an internship a little bit off your beaten path will pay off better than doing something in completely the wrong direction.
 

r.nuno29

New member
Sep 6, 2018
22
4
3
#8
I always find it interesting what people study vs. what they actually do. It seems to me that a lot of people have a degree (or training) in one field, but have ended up in a completely different field. I also wonder why that happened.

I studied history and museums in college and grad school, but I now work in marketing. In school, I wanted to work in a museum but once I got into the field, it became obvious that I was wrong for the field. Plus, the jobs are pretty scarce. So I looked at the skills I acquired in school and beyond and transitioned into a different field. Being able to research and write are applicable in lots of different professions. I really enjoy what I do now, and wish I'd found this path much earlier (and minus the grad school student loans).

How about you?
You make some good points! I definitely don't think that one has to work in their field of study. A degree resembles dedication and hard work and many employers appreciate this. Of course, you cannot become a doctor with an English degree, but like you stated. You studied history and now you work in marketing. I am a journalism major and I work as an accounts payable clerk. I really enjoy what I do even thought it does fit my major at all.
 
Sep 12, 2018
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#9
Have you looked at writing and publishing with Amazon? Indie wirting and publishing is a big thing right now and some indie authors are making serious money doing what they love. If you're good at telling a story and write well then it might be something you'd like. There are some good Facebook groups around like 20booksto50k and others that talk about the process. It's also something you can do while you still have a full time job. I know some authors that make a few thousand a month up to a million month. Last I looked, Michael Anderle, the guy that runs 20booksto50k, was making about $150k a month writing sci-fi type books. I'm sure he's surpassed that by quite a bit now.

There is also a large demand for editing, proofreading, and other author services so there is opportunity there as well.
I havent looked into it, but it sounds like an interesting option. I know there are unusual ways to do writing and editing on the side nowadays but I wasn’t aware of anything like that. I’ll have to do some research on it. I have considered self-publishing on Amazon, as an old friend of mine explored that route and published her own book. But I haven’t written too much lately that would even qualify as a short story. So I’ll have to work on that as well.
 

tdp1205

New member
Aug 29, 2018
21
4
3
#10
I always find it interesting what people study vs. what they actually do. It seems to me that a lot of people have a degree (or training) in one field, but have ended up in a completely different field. I also wonder why that happened.

I studied history and museums in college and grad school, but I now work in marketing. In school, I wanted to work in a museum but once I got into the field, it became obvious that I was wrong for the field. Plus, the jobs are pretty scarce. So I looked at the skills I acquired in school and beyond and transitioned into a different field. Being able to research and write are applicable in lots of different professions. I really enjoy what I do now, and wish I'd found this path much earlier (and minus the grad school student loans).

How about you?
I actually have a doctorate in a health field, but now I do tech support and freelancing. In my case, I think that the field that I got my degree in was not actually my dream, but my father's (I, of course, didn't realize that at the time). I found out after I graduated that my dad had actually wanted my much-older brother to pursue that field of study, but he didn't have the grades. I was pretty young and insecure when I started on the path to that degree, or maybe I would have had more awareness of what I wanted and stood up for myself. In some ways, I wish I had it to do over again so I could have studied what I wanted. I'm in my 50s now, and it's too late to pursue that other course of study.

I would say to those just starting college: study what interests you. Don't do what others in your life want you to do. They are not the ones who will have to live with the consequences, YOU are. Also, many, many people who are happy in their jobs did not get degrees in that particular field. Any time you are stretching your mind, reading, and studying is good for your brain; even if you end up with a job outside of your field of study, that study was good for you anyway. We need more well-educated people in the world :)
 
Sep 28, 2018
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#11
Because it was my first time really getting to purposefully explore what interested me (I wasn’t really a present high school student, for a variety of reasons), I didn’t think much about a career path and took all the writing and art classes I wanted when I started college. My undergrad degrees are psych and English. I took internships and volunteer experience when I came across it, but I was unsure about how to translate my degree into a professional job by the time I was getting ready to graduate (and was also terrified to become stuck like the pseudo-creepy, also kind of cool, anti-societal expectations people I worked with at Kinkos).
I joined the Navy, then eventually (by way of the epic party that is being a service member) went into teaching.

It’s been rewarding, and teaching has been incredible, but I’m always wanting to learn and hoping do something different.
 
Likes: chl0206
Jun 25, 2018
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#12
I graduated as a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and my job today is a freelance writer, computer technician, and owns a computer reselling business which is almost aligned with what I finished in college.
 
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Sep 28, 2018
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#13
After 2 years in an Architecture program, I switched my major to French Literature. It was interesting to me at the time and the path to graduating on time was easy considering my change of heart. I now work in a combination of sales, marketing, and product development. I fee I got lucky in my career path but also focused on doing whatever it was I was assigned to the best of my ability and taking pride in my work.

I agree with what r.nuno said, that a degree resembles dedication and hard work. I also think college teaches you invaluable social, time management and working skills.

However, I have to respectfully disagree with those that say “study what is interesting to you.” Like it or not, the job market is changing very rapidly and it it skewing far in favor of those with STEM skills. IMO, getting a grad degree in a field like History or English is a huge risk due to the financial burden and shrinking job market.

To the college students out there: you have a unique opportunity right now to try things and see if you like them. Try coding! Try Data Analysis! Look for classes that teach you how to use a new software as part of the curriculum. These are the skills of the future that will make you more competitive in the job market, whether or not a career in your degree program pans out.
 
Sep 26, 2018
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#14
It's always an interesting question - to see what a person majored in vs. what their career is in. I have a BA in professional writing with a business administration minor and my MS in science journalism. I'm currently a PhD candidate but work full-time as a writer/editor at a hospital because my primary skills are in science and business communications.
I used to work closely with undergraduate students and we spoke a lot about what they plan on doing with their lives. I always tell them to hone in on one skill and capitalize on that. Find a major that refines that skill and make sure it's marketable. If you can somehow weave what you love into the story, then you're in great shape. Enjoying what you do for a living is one of the greatest accomplishments one can have in life (in my opinion :)).
 
Likes: chl0206
Oct 1, 2018
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North Carolina
#15
Another English undergraduate here. I really didn't have much idea of a career path in mind but I loved literature and reading, and (somewhat naively) just figured I'd find my career when I graduated. I kind of did -- I ended up working as a reporter at a community newspaper for several years after college. I loved the work, but the pay was non-existent, especially in the rural depressed area where I lived. I applied to dozens of jobs in the "big city" but got virtually no bites, and decided a masters degree would make me more marketable.

My masters is in library science and I keep thinking I will end up in a related information science position, but find myself in jobs that are more marketing and writing heavy. I could have done those without a masters degree!! I loved the experience, but am not crazy about the debt.

Other posters have said this, but I think it's a valuable exercise to do what you did and think about the skills you learned for your field and how they can be applied across other disciplines and career fields so you can communicate that to potential employers!