I had an uncle who was a college professor in Arizona, and he was a champion of low-income, low-SES (socioeconomic status) students. He used to advocate really, really hard for almost all students to go to college. He believed that, above all else, college provided students with CHOICES that they would not otherwise get.
Not that he wasn’t all about expanding your mind and your intellect and your worldview and all that — he was. But as a former Marine and a cop, he was a street-smart guy who knew that those factors, for many students, are secondary to just getting up and onto your feet and out of a bad situation, and to do that, you need choices.
Today I was reminded of my Uncle George Fridell, who died of brain cancer in 2002, while responding to Josiah’s email below. The young man has a lot of choices in front of him and he needs to narrow things down a bit.
Hey Judge Josh,
My name is Josiah Moore, I am a Freshman ‘Pre-Med’ student pursuing my BS/BA degree… the slash is for an undecided major. First let me say that going Pre-Med was the very last thing I would have pictured myself going for just a couple of years ago. To be honest the thing that made me fall in love with that career path is my job.
Great to hear you’re in love with the career path; that’s more than most can say.
I am a Cardiac Monitor Tech in an ICU here in Colorado. The conversations that are held, clinical discussions, new studies, ect. (I have found I am a human sponge (: ). I absolutely fell in love with the medical field, and went through a 2 year process of bouncing around between BA/BS only degrees (RN/Admin/Finance/ect.) that relate to the med. field. Then after sitting down with a Critical Care MD that is just awesome, and talking about what I want to do, what my passions are, he suggested I look into MD programs.
That’s what’s up, Josiah. Aim high.
First I laughed, and kinda nodded my head to shake it off, then one night I got bored, and started looking up MD programs, and what it took, ect. (I have done my research so far, and continue to make contacts, and research more).
I, however, have hit a wall. I absolutely do not want to do a science based degree (Chem, Bio, Micro, Phys, Ect.), but I do not want to go all the way to left field and do something completely unrelated, or non-transferable.
Why not a science degree? You may have your reasons for this, but since I don’t know them, let me speak a bit in favor of a science degree. They’re in high demand (well beyond the medical field) and they’ll accommodate the possibility of you being a doctor one day.
You’re fascinated by the conversations in the E.R., and some of that fascination has to be science-related, right? I’m guessing here, but I’d think that if you’re fascinated by those conversations, then a deeper and more rigorous examination of science would only deepen and nurture that fascination.
Those degrees are tough, yeah, but obviously that critical care doc who turned you on to M.D. programs thought you could hack it.
I instead would like to do something towards the middle. Some of the ideas I have are: Medical Law, Medical Admin, Bus. Management, Pre-Law.
That’s cool, but do realize that even just the four you mention above are really all over the place, so even these middle-of-the-road type choices may set you on pretty divergent paths.
- Pre-law, of course, prepares you for being a lawyer (I know, I know, master of the obvious), which is fine if you want to specialize in law related to the medical field. Understand, though, that as a lawyer, your days and nights will be dominated by the minutiae of the LAW — not all of the actual fascinating science that law governs. Even medical lawyers are beset with the details of contracts, legislation, negotiation, and, unfortunately, litigation. If you’re OK with all that, then great — just go into it with your eyes open.
- Medical administration is heavy on the business end of health care as well (as is pretty much any course of study ending in the word “administration” :). Money-wise, there can be lots of cash in it for you if you rise to the top of the hospital-adminstration ranks, for sure. It is, though, more narrow/limiting than the other courses of study you’ve mentioned. If you train to be a hospital administrator and then it turns out you don’t like hospital administration — well, you’re good and screwed. This isn’t the case for law, business or science degrees.
- Business adminstration — the basic “business” degree — certainly gives you the widest array of options. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find any major employer, regardless of industry, that doesn’t have a slew of business majors on staff. In the immortal words of [insert your favorite rapper here] — business equals money, and money makes the world go ’round.
I want to do my minor in one of the sciences, or gen. science.
Oh, see, now you’re just asking me to twist your arm. 🙂 What, you can minor in science but not major? Think it over, my friend. It’s probably a difference of about 8-10 classes, the difference between a major and minor. The doc believes in you. I believe in you.
Also, you can surely consider a double major, right? Maybe one science and one of the others? I’ll tell you what, if you came out with, say, a double in biology (or chem, or physics) and another in business — your employability skyrockets. Science/biotech companies absolutely LUST after people who understand both business and science. Just sayin’.
Those are what I have come up with, and thankfully I have time to decide, but reality is that time flies. Most of the advisor’s at the community college I attend are worthless, and the ones that I have contacted at other Universities around me, have either not responded, or told me that there is no ‘free’ help.
There world has never been short on bad advice, that’s for sure.
I think that is crap haha, but I want… I need help choosing the best major possible, so I can not only narrow my path of study, but also narrow down the schools I am interested in (by their pre-req’s). I do have a few schools in mind for the rest of undergrad, but choosing depends primarily on which major I choose. I understand that many college students change majors, even change multiple times, but with looking at the students who matriculated last year (2009) and their BA/BS degrees, I realize that part of getting in is what I choose as a major (and excelling at it, of course).
I also thrive off of challenges, so of course, something like ‘law’ is something that ‘revs’ my existential engine. Grades are not of major concern… I have a 3.7, and its my first semester of college, plus I have been out of school for 5 years…
Well, I think I strung together my best advice up above, but if I had to cast a hard-and-fast vote, I’d say to double major: one specific science (choose one, don’t go “general science”) plus one that’s more business-related, like BA or management or something like that. That’ll be challenging enough to keep you awake, and it’ll also keep you totally viable for either law or med school as your perspective changes and you get more clear about what it is you’d like to do for a job once you’re done with school.
Anyways, your response would be majorly appreciated, and if I haven’t really provided enough info, then let me know. Thank you!!
Shit. I guess I should’ve read this part before speculating about why you don’t want a science degree. My bad. It will not shock you to learn that sometimes I fly by the seat of my pants around here. 🙂
What do you all think? The man needs our help — what should he major in? What path should he take? Let us know in the comments below.