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Thread: I switched majors

  1. #1
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    I switched majors

    I have been majoring in Asian studies with an emphasis on Chinese for the last three years. I have not enjoyed learning the language for a very long time due to various reasons, so I have decided to drop it down to a minor. I'll might pick the language back up if I later chose to teach English in China. In its place, I have picked up two majors, art history and anthropology. I normally deal exclusively with Asian art, but I have come to adore Renaissance art recently. For the latter, I may specialize in cultural and biological anthropology. I am extremely interested in primatology. I was thinking about fusing my love of history, art, and primate behavior to research the origins of art and various other concepts of human nature and society. I'm shooting for a PhD, but I don't know if I have enough steam for it.

    According to my adviser, most of the anthropology majors at my school switch in their junior or senior year, so I am not alone. Has anyone else here made a switch of this magnitude late in their college career?
    Last edited by ghostexorcist; 04-21-2012 at 11:25 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostexorcist View Post
    Has anyone else here made a switch of this magnitude late in their college career?
    I had switched from textile engineer into computer science. It took me 3 more years to get my computer science BA degree again. While all my friends are working on their PhD degree, I was still working on my BA degree, it was not a good feeeling. Until one of my friends who just received his PhD degree in physics and couldn't find a job, he came back to gradulate school and worked on his computer science PhD degree again. I felt a bit better after that.

    My father used to say, "Everybody need to wear clothers. Not everybody need to use computer." If I continued in textile in my career, I don't know where I could find a job in US. Last time I went back to Taiwan, even my own college (Taipei Institute of Technology) had closed down the textile engineer department completely. All the textile jobs had been outsourced to China.
    Last edited by YouKnowWho; 04-21-2012 at 12:35 PM.

  3. #3
    Greetings,

    I did that in my senior year and, shortly thereafter, ended up dropping out for a period of years.

    I politely suggest that you take a moment to focus on what how you plan to apply your studies after you have graduated. It appears that you are enjoying the learning experience (nothing wrong with that). But what constitutes the light, the reward, at the end of your educational journey? This is the kind of mapping that you should be doing now, in all seriousness. It is good that you are taking the time to talk with people, here, about what you are doing. If you have not done so, talk with your other supports, family and friends. Sometimes, it will be just their concern and support that will help center you and empower you to make the best decision for yourself.

    mickey

  4. #4
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    Wow, Ghost. After reading a couple of your essays I thought you must already have a Masters and be working on your Phd. As long as you're planning on grad school, I don't think you have anything to worry about--just stay in the top 10%.

    Mickey raises a good point, though. As an English major who didn't go to grad school (or get a minor in education), I've ended up working as a cook for the last ten years, now I'm planning to teach EFL in China to get my foot in the 'educator' door.

    Anyway, I've known a lot of major switchers...been one myself, though I switched early...College takes 5 years on average now, not 4...It took me six (took 1 1/2 years off). Nothing to worry about as long as you've got the money.
    Last edited by ShaolinDan; 04-22-2012 at 12:47 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mickey View Post
    Greetings,

    I did that in my senior year and, shortly thereafter, ended up dropping out for a period of years.

    I politely suggest that you take a moment to focus on what how you plan to apply your studies after you have graduated. It appears that you are enjoying the learning experience (nothing wrong with that). But what constitutes the light, the reward, at the end of your educational journey? This is the kind of mapping that you should be doing now, in all seriousness. It is good that you are taking the time to talk with people, here, about what you are doing. If you have not done so, talk with your other supports, family and friends. Sometimes, it will be just their concern and support that will help center you and empower you to make the best decision for yourself.

    mickey
    Thank you for the suggestions. I would like to point out, however, that I am not fresh out of high school. I'm a "non-traditional" student, meaning that I am quite a bit older than most students. This is due largely to having served in the military. I originally began studying Chinese because I have an interest in the culture and because there is an obvious economic benefit. But I have not enjoyed learning the language for the last few years because I have no real outlet for practicing it on a face-to-face basis (I live off campus where there are no large Chinese communities), and even if I did, I can’t apply it to my daily life. All of the great western experts in Chinese that I have spoken with all studied abroad. I know I won’t progress without it, but I’ve failed time and time again in trying to get a scholarship to study aboard. It is for these reasons why I decided to drop Chinese (for the time being).

    The decision to switch majors was a long time coming. I racked my brain for months weighing the pros and cons. I had several heart-to-hearts with my professors as well. They all agreed that the change was for the best. Contrary to how it may appear, the shift from Chinese to art history and anthropology is not that drastic. I was already required to take classes on Asian history, literature, art, and religion. These are subjects that I research in my free time to a great extent. Most importantly, they all fall under the study of cultural anthropology. So I’m merely focusing less on the language aspect. Also, my interest has spread beyond Asia to all cultures, as well as the origins of human creativity and social structure.

    As I explained above, I am shooting for a PhD. I’m doing this because I would not only like to be on the forefront of research, but also to pass on what I have learned. I feel this will be very rewarding for me. There is zero chance of me dropping out between now and then because I only have a limited amount of time to use my military college benefits. There are not too many people who can truthfully say that they bled for their college money. This means I take my education seriously.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaolinDan View Post
    Wow, Ghost. After reading a couple of your essays I thought you must already have a Masters and be working on your Phd. As long as you're planning on grad school, I don't think you have anything to worry about--just stay in the top 10%.

    [...]

    Anyway, I've known a lot of major switchers...been one myself, though I switched early...College takes 5 years on average now, not 4...It took me six (took 1 1/2 years off). Nothing to worry about as long as you've got the money.
    Thank you for the compliments. I've been doing research into various subjects for a number of years now. You tend to get good at something with enough practice.

    I figure that I will have to go an extra year to finish out both majors. Hopefully the Army will at least cover that. If they don't, I'll have to get federal funding. It would be awesome if they would cover me through my planned PhD, but I doubt it will happen since I am no longer active duty.

  6. #6
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    Regardless of majors, kudos to you for taking advantage of your benefits. I earned my BS downrange in Iraq, got my MS while an intelligence officer, and finished most of my PhD work while deployed. Not a dime owed in student loan debt.

    It irritates me when soldiers never take college while on active duty. They are throwing away free money, and an advantage most college students would give their right arm for.

    So, yeah... good job!
    The weakest of all weak things is a virtue that has not been tested in the fire.
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    A warrior may choose pacifism; others are condemned to it.
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    "You don't feel lonely.Because you have a lively monkey"

    "Ninja can HURT the Spartan, but the Spartan can KILL the Ninja"

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drake View Post
    Regardless of majors, kudos to you for taking advantage of your benefits. I earned my BS downrange in Iraq, got my MS while an intelligence officer, and finished most of my PhD work while deployed. Not a dime owed in student loan debt.

    It irritates me when soldiers never take college while on active duty. They are throwing away free money, and an advantage most college students would give their right arm for.

    So, yeah... good job!
    I am no longer active duty. I actually tried to go to college while I was still in, but I was constantly missing classes due to jumps (I was in the 82nd) or other training. I also tried to go to college right after I got out, but, because I had somehow graduated from high school minus an advanced math, I had to take remedial classes before the college would fully accept me. The Army pulled the funds for the classes at the last minute, so I was faced with a rather substantial bill that I had to pay out of pocket. It took several years to pay it off before the school let me register again. I've been going to school solid since 2009.

    That's impressive that you finished your schooling while deployed. What is your PhD in?

  8. #8
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    Information Technology, with a focus on IA and Security.
    The weakest of all weak things is a virtue that has not been tested in the fire.
    ~ Mark Twain

    Everyone has a plan until they’ve been hit.
    ~ Joe Lewis

    A warrior may choose pacifism; others are condemned to it.
    ~ Author unknown

    "You don't feel lonely.Because you have a lively monkey"

    "Ninja can HURT the Spartan, but the Spartan can KILL the Ninja"

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drake View Post
    Information Technology, with a focus on IA and Security.
    I'm sure you won't have a problem finding a job after you retire from the military. I went overseas in early 2003 when they made the initial push. I wasn't over there long, though, because we did a mission and came back. It's good to know they have since then set up an infrastructure where soldiers can go to school (online?) while they are over there.

  10. #10
    i knew a 30 year old man in college who switched after 4 years in law, another after 4 years in archeology.

    its not big deal if you have the money.

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  11. #11
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    I never switched BUT I did go back a couple of times.
    I have a Bach in Business, then I went back and got a Bach in Mechanical Eng, then I went back and working on my Bach in Theology.
    Psalms 144:1
    Praise be my Lord my Rock,
    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanjuro_ronin View Post
    I never switched BUT I did go back a couple of times.
    I have a Bach in Business, then I went back and got a Bach in Mechanical Eng, then I went back and working on my Bach in Theology.
    That's part of the reason why I switched to anthropology. I'm interested in so many things. Anthropology is a combination of all of my interests.

  13. #13
    its hard to find a job with those degrees. if you only wanna learn you can just buy the textbook.

    25th generation inner door disciple of Chen Style Practical Wombat Method
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostexorcist View Post
    That's part of the reason why I switched to anthropology. I'm interested in so many things. Anthropology is a combination of all of my interests.
    Is it a marketable degree?
    Psalms 144:1
    Praise be my Lord my Rock,
    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

  15. #15
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    It takes a long time to figure out what you want to do but if you have an academic career in mind I would not hesitate in switching. Life is for studying, who doesn't love to study is a fool. Don't be stuck studying something you don't want to and don't worry about time unless you are really set on starting a family soon.

    Myself I have a BSc in Physics, but I lost interest long before the end (Not so much lost interest but they didn't teach enough maths, and it gets very difficult to fully understand as opposed to learning parrot fashion). I finished it because I wanted to do something else entirely and I felt obligated to finish but I do wish to return and study again. I think I would have switched but in England there is much less room to as we don't do majors and minors, we exclusively study one subject and there is no room to choose courses outside of it.

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