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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    254

    The Major Debacle

    I wasn't quite sure where to put this, so forgive me if this is the wrong board for such a topic.

    I've always had a difficult time figuring out what I want to do for a career. Throughout my youth, I never really had a particular career path in mind-- though I went through many different options. Currently I'm a sophomore in college, closing in on officially becoming a junior, and I feel burned out and completely at a lost.

    My current major is in nursing, though I've mainly worked on mostly pre-reqs for the degree. While I certainly wouldn't mind being a nurse, I don't feel 100% confident that it's the right career choice for me. If I continue with my degree as a nurse my end goal would be to become a midwife or nurse practitioner specializing in pediatrics or women's health. It's getting to my end goal that concerns me. If I'm already feeling burned out now, how am I going to stay motivated enough to obtain a master's degree?

    So my questions are:

    How did you decide the career you have or trying to obtain was the right one for you? Is it something you always wanted? Did you ever switch your major in college or ended up going back to college to obtain a new degree? Do you feel satisfied with your job?

    Or for those of you who are younger or in college currently have you questioned your degree choice? What's influenced your major of choice?

    Basically how has your degree influenced your life? Do you regret your choice or are you satisfied with your career?

    I would love to hear everyone's experiences. Maybe it will inspire my own in some way. Or if you have any advice I would be glad to hear it.

    I have spoken with my academic advisor but, to be frank, she hasn't ever been helpful. My friend just recommended me to her academic advisor, which I'll be seeing sometime soon before fall semester. Here's hoping this one will be better.

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    2,126
    Our stories are both nursing-related! This will probably be long and I'll ramble, but bear with me!

    I too never really knew what I wanted to do, but I've entertained thoughts of being a paramedic, A&E doctor, paediatrician, GP, pharmacist and midwife over the last few years, never with much conviction. I finished sixth form last year and didn't get the grades I needed to do the course I'd applied for (pharmacy), which I loved and hated at the same time. Loved because I wasn't convinced pharmacy was the course I wanted to do anymore but hated because I had to do something and felt I was a total failure. I don't know how the US system works, but in England you basically have to decide/confirm what you're doing on one day in August when there's a lot of pressure and emotion (well, there was for me). I could 'reapply' on that day to any uni that had spaces left. By that time I was quite interested in midwifery, but the only similar course was Adult Nursing so I went for that hoping I might later do a midwifery top-up course. Biggest regret of my life

    The nursing course had a weird start date -January- so I had to wait around for a few months doing nothing. January came, and I went off to uni. I came back a week later I hated it. It was too far too soon for me. Didn't like the people, the place, the course. I was crying on the phone to my parents every 5 minutes! So I now have major commitment issues when it comes to picking courses. And due to the weird start date, I missed the application deadline for this year, so if I do reapply, I won't be starting until Sep 2014. Which is kind of a good thing, because I still don't really know what I want to do. Current ideas are child nursing or midwifery but, like you, I'm not convinced it's the right career path and I really don't want to drop out again. So I'm interested in other replies to this thread!

    I know this isn't exactly motivation, but it's my experience so far! Just don't force yourself to do something you really hate. A lot of people have a go at me, saying I shouldn't have made my mind up after only being at uni for a week. But there's a difference between having a wobble & forcing yourself through a spell of homesickness/doubt, and knowing when it's really not your thing. I'm glad I decided after a week, not 3 years. It means I lost a couple of hundred pounds at most, not £9,000.

    Good luck with whatever you go on to do
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  3. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    4,514
    You're in a pre-professional degree program which is quite different from most college sophomores. Have you had and clinical /practical experience yet? Especially on L&D as you think you want to be a midwife? That will be the deciding factor if your current aspirations are right for you.

    I know this runs counter to everything people are told in graduation speeches about finding ones path in life, but I think it's perfectly ok not to be defined by your job or find your deepest meaning in life in your job. For most people, their job is something that leaves them reasonably satisfied about how they spent their day, allows them to make friendships and exercise their brains, but mainly just pays the bills and lets them enjoy what they truly care about in life (family, friends, volunteering, traveling, sports, exercise, reading, writing, etc). Nursing is *extremely* flexible, pays well, and it might just tick all those boxes for you without being an all-consuming passion.

    Personally, I boomeranged a bit. I wanted at first to be a neuroscientist and I was especially interested in psycholinguistics and language processing. Then I became fascinated with geography, infectious diseases and their intersection in global public health. I went to graduate school in infectious diseases and worked as a malariologist, even starting a DPhil in the same. I realized I would never really get anywhere important in pubc health unless I became a clinical doctor, so very very reluctantly went to medical school. I went to earn the credential, never expecting to practice medicine. Much to my surprise I loved it and especially liked surgery, and despite its relentless demanding nature am still quite happy. Now medicine, particular surgery, is so demanding that I would never advocate anyone just drifting into without really loving it and deriving a lot of meaning and satisfaction from it, but I definitely think those sorts of careers are in the minority.
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  4. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Liverpool, England
    Posts
    3,992
    My American friend went through something similar to you. She started college as a theology student, changed to medicine, then politics and finally emerged with a masters degree in special education. I have no idea how she managed it (your system confuses me) but it just shows that it is possibly to change your mind - even loads of times - and come out right in the end Talking to people about it is definitely the right way to go about sorting out how you really feel about your course and ambitions etc.

    My Welsh friend also changed her mind. She completed an entire animal science degree and then decided at the end she'd rather do medicine so she went back to university and did a nursing degree instead. She now works in a hospital A&E and loves it

    I... well... My school was rubbish in terms of sitting us down during our A levels and really making us think about where we wanted to go to university and what courses we wanted to take. I was afraid about leaving home to the point where I was going along with the idea of going to university because it was the next academic step that I was 'supposed' to take. That's how my mind works. I think rigidly like that. Anyway. I was a good student. I had the mental capacity to go to university and do something academic like english language or sociology or geography or history or languages, anything I wanted but - ultimately - I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that my heart was in creative writing.

    I decided to take it as a degree and I loved it.

    However, turns out that just because I loved it didn't mean it was the right choice.

    I graduated from university in 2008 and promptly had a breakdown. I was put on medication and a course of counselling (not helpful) and it took me a whole year to recover. The solid reliable structure of academics - the steps from one school to the next to the next - had disappeared and I was left in this weird adult world with no idea, and no one to tell me, what to do next.

    It's now 2013 and only last year I worked out that the course I should have taken was publishing. The degree I have has left me with pretty much no employable skills and my sole talent - writing - is utterly useless. I'm still floundering. Employers want experience. I can't get experience unless someone employs me. I arranged to work as an intern in two publishing houses and completed those placements but apparently that experience isn't good enough.

    Basically, don't be me. Be glad you've realised now that you want to change your mind and that you're thinking ahead about your career, it means you've still got the power to change your future
    Last edited by renrose; May 25th, 2013 at 09:32 PM.
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  5. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Somewhere along the banks of the mighty Columbia
    Posts
    714
    I waited eight years after high school to go to college. When I finally went back, I waffled a bit withe majors, but I finally decided on art history. It's a serious academic course of study and to get anywhere in the art history field, you need a PhD. And that was the plan, but I couldn't make myself apply to grad schools when the time came. I just fell out of love with it. And a BA in art history gets you absolutely nowhere.

    Sometime in my senior year, an acquaintance went to library school. I thought it was such a weird choice! But after talking with him about it and doing some research, I realized that being a librarian would be the perfect career choice for me. It still took me 5 years to pay off the last of my tuition from undergrad and work up the nerve to apply, but I'm in my second year of a three year MLIS program. I'm also working as a librarian at my local public library. I started out wanting to focus on archives, but I fell in love with public librarianship. I'm never, ever bored. I get to do story times with toddlers, buy books and movies, come up with fun programs for kids and talk to people about books- and that's just the first hour! The degree part is just something I have to do. I'm really tired if it, honestly. I'm just gritting my teeth and getting through it as best I can.
    Anyway,
    So, I went from dealing cards in a casino, to planning on a PhD in art history, to singing silly songs with toddlers. I glad that the choices I made got me here, but if I had it to do over again I would apply for grad school right away.
    Trying, trying, trying

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