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Thread: Choosing a Major

  1. #1 Choosing a Major 
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    Hello all. I'm an entering college freshman for this fall. I am currently registered as an electrical engineering major, and I am undoubtedly very interested in it.

    However, I am also interested in...pretty much everything. Physics, chemistry, microbiology, mathematics, foreign languages, etc etc...what major or combination of double majors or minors do you guys recommend? My main goal is knowledge and enlightenment. I am aware of the practical aspects of a degree, i.e. getting a job with it later, but I primarily concern myself with learning as much about the universe as possible.

    What combo best suits that?


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  3. #2  
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    "My main goal is knowledge and enlightenment."

    Well your going narrow it down I suppose.

    If your that lost I suggest several things.

    One is any of the many available interest surveys. Most colleges offer them as well to help students such as yourself. It will focus you based on what you perceive to be your preferences. Do you like working with people? Do you like working outside? Take a realistic look at your capabilities which might narrow your choices somewhat. For example, and not to sound negative, but if you struggled through high school math you can eliminate sciences and engineering from your majors; if you struggle at writing, than history and journalism probably won't be your thing (though you'll need to get better in any field) etc. If you like working with your hands than you might consider a technical field. Do you see yourself rebuilding Lycoming airplane engines? How about as a nurse or EMT? Or a welder? Many technical jobs pay as well as academic fields.

    A lot of students expose themselves to more liberal arts classes in the beginning so they get exposure to as wide set of fields as possible.

    No reason to go to school right away either. Waiting a year or two doesn't hurt much.

    --
    But if your committed and unsure with your selection than I highly recommend you get yourself exposure into that field as soon as possible. This summer volunteer to help an Electrical Engineer or look for a job coop program.


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    "My main goal is knowledge and enlightenment."

    Well your going narrow it down I suppose.

    If your that lost I suggest several things.

    One is any of the many available interest surveys. Most colleges offer them as well to help students such as yourself. It will focus you based on what you perceive to be your preferences. Do you like working with people? Do you like working outside? Take a realistic look at your capabilities which might narrow your choices somewhat. For example, and not to sound negative, but if you struggled through high school math you can eliminate sciences and engineering from your majors; if you struggle at writing, than history and journalism probably won't be your thing (though you'll need to get better in any field) etc. If you like working with your hands than you might consider a technical field. Do you see yourself rebuilding Lycoming airplane engines? How about as a nurse or EMT? Or a welder? Many technical jobs pay as well as academic fields.

    A lot of students expose themselves to more liberal arts classes in the beginning so they get exposure to as wide set of fields as possible.

    No reason to go to school right away either. Waiting a year or two doesn't hurt much.

    --
    But if your committed and unsure with your selection than I highly recommend you get yourself exposure into that field as soon as possible. This summer volunteer to help an Electrical Engineer or look for a job coop program.
    Thank you for your reply. That's all a lot of really good advice.

    I apologize that I lacked specificity. My math skills are pretty strong. I took Calculus I one summer from a community college, and I placed into Honors Calc II for this fall, which is what I'll be starting with. I thoroughly enjoy literally every subject matter you can conceive of. Economics, political science, anthropology, engineering, physics, chemistry, medical research, business, etc etc.

    I am also competent enough to do fine in any of these fields. I know that sounds arrogant, but it's an honest assessment. I've also taken general psychology and a communications course to learn a bit more about college subjects and courseload, so I have a decent understanding of that.

    I understand - vaguely - what direction I would like to go. However, there is a lot of room for me to want to change my mind and explore other options. A better phrasing of my question is what combination of majors/minors gives me the most flexibility? As an example: if I were to major in chemical engineering, then working as a chemist or medical researcher would not be such a stretch. At most I would need to pick up one or two classes and I'd be good to go. Similarly, physicists can work as electrical engineers, albeit a somewhat limited one, but it is much harder for electrical engineers to do work with particle accelerators.

    So to summarize: What major(s) and minor(s) would let you switch gears the easiest and give you the most flexibility to enter a variety of grad school and career options?
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