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Don't Know What to Major In

Harper
Posts: 374
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5/5/2015 8:07:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
So, I have already accepted an offer of admission into a college for biochemistry. My original plan was to get an undergrad in biochemistry them go on to become a genetic engineer. However, as with many research science careers, it doesn't pay well and it will be very difficult to get a job. As much as I enjoy genetics, I don't know if I like it enough to sacrifice a comfortable life. Additionally, biochemistry as a bachelor's degree is also pretty bad, if for whatever reason I cannot continue to grad school, I'll be stuck with a useless biochemistry bachelor's that won't land me any decent job. I'm just worried that I'm making the wrong choice, and it led me to consider other options.

I would enjoy (interest-wise) any of these fields: genetics, aerospace science/engineering, astronomy, nuclear science/engineering, computer science/engineering. Engineering undergrad degrees pay a lot more, but I don't know if I can have an undergrad in engineering and then go on to become a scientist (can I?). I want to be a scientist, but I want my bachelor's to be something I can fall back on... So, for example, could I get a computer engineering undergrad then go on to study science in graduate school?
Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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5/5/2015 8:17:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Already have the spirit sucked out of you and want to trade a career you'd love for one that pays well. Sorry to hear that sort of thinking poisoned you at such a young age. I'm sorry to hear that you don't want to change the world, but to merely be comfortable. Yeah, don't change the world. What if you fail. You'll always regret not doing that thing you weren't ever fully interested in anyway.
Harper
Posts: 374
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5/7/2015 9:05:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/5/2015 8:17:42 PM, Wylted wrote:
Already have the spirit sucked out of you and want to trade a career you'd love for one that pays well. Sorry to hear that sort of thinking poisoned you at such a young age. I'm sorry to hear that you don't want to change the world, but to merely be comfortable. Yeah, don't change the world. What if you fail. You'll always regret not doing that thing you weren't ever fully interested in anyway.

I was talking more about a better undergrad major-- not necessarily that I would give up on becoming a genetic engineer. I chose biochem, but it's pretty useless, and I wanted to know if I could get away with an engineering (biomed, computers, chemical etc.) major. Because if the whole "become a successful genetic scientist" thing doesn't work out for me, at least I would have an engineering undergraduate degree to keep me afloat.
Harper
Posts: 374
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5/7/2015 9:18:03 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/5/2015 8:21:53 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
At 5/5/2015 8:07:34 PM, Harper wrote:

Define comfortable life?
I come from an upper-middle class home, so I'd like to keep it that way... I've read many a testimony of scientists (with PhDs, postdocs, and everything) who don't even have enough money to buy themselves an actual house. Our society values science so little, that the very people that are bringing us all of these cool findings and discoveries that we can't even imagine life without are financially abused. It's as if people want all of the benefits of science without having to pay for it.

How much does it pay?
Average (after post doc) is 80,000 a year, which is by no means bad (compared to the national average of 50,000)-- but that's after over a decade of hard work at college and if you can even find a stable job in the first place. My father (an entomologist) got lucky, he works for the government (a much safer place of employment than his other ones) but I don't know if I'll be so lucky.

As I've said, I'm not planning on giving up on being a scientist if I can get a good fallback major (preferably engineering), but I'm wondering if that would be possible for me, now that I've accepted a biochem major and plan on going into science.
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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5/7/2015 9:47:40 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/7/2015 9:18:03 PM, Harper wrote:
At 5/5/2015 8:21:53 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
At 5/5/2015 8:07:34 PM, Harper wrote:

Define comfortable life?
I come from an upper-middle class home, so I'd like to keep it that way... I've read many a testimony of scientists (with PhDs, postdocs, and everything) who don't even have enough money to buy themselves an actual house. Our society values science so little, that the very people that are bringing us all of these cool findings and discoveries that we can't even imagine life without are financially abused. It's as if people want all of the benefits of science without having to pay for it.

So, your definition is clearly different than mine. LOL
No offense, but this sounds like typical whining that everyone makes about most jobs and their pay.

How much does it pay?
Average (after post doc) is 80,000 a year, which is by no means bad (compared to the national average of 50,000)-- but that's after over a decade of hard work at college and if you can even find a stable job in the first place. My father (an entomologist) got lucky, he works for the government (a much safer place of employment than his other ones) but I don't know if I'll be so lucky.
Stability is a big thing, I get that, but I'd kill for $80K. To me, that's very good money, and if you were married and she made close to that, you're talking serious cash, and serious comfort.

As I've said, I'm not planning on giving up on being a scientist if I can get a good fallback major (preferably engineering), but I'm wondering if that would be possible for me, now that I've accepted a biochem major and plan on going into science.
Love what you do, that's my motto of late. It gets me through my 12 hour days to come home to bills.
My work here is, finally, done.
Harper
Posts: 374
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5/8/2015 12:26:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/7/2015 9:47:40 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
At 5/7/2015 9:18:03 PM, Harper wrote:
At 5/5/2015 8:21:53 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
At 5/5/2015 8:07:34 PM, Harper wrote:

Define comfortable life?
I come from an upper-middle class home, so I'd like to keep it that way... I've read many a testimony of scientists (with PhDs, postdocs, and everything) who don't even have enough money to buy themselves an actual house. Our society values science so little, that the very people that are bringing us all of these cool findings and discoveries that we can't even imagine life without are financially abused. It's as if people want all of the benefits of science without having to pay for it.

So, your definition is clearly different than mine. LOL
No offense, but this sounds like typical whining that everyone makes about most jobs and their pay.
None taken, I probably am just overreacting.

How much does it pay?
Average (after post doc) is 80,000 a year, which is by no means bad (compared to the national average of 50,000)-- but that's after over a decade of hard work at college and if you can even find a stable job in the first place. My father (an entomologist) got lucky, he works for the government (a much safer place of employment than his other ones) but I don't know if I'll be so lucky.
Stability is a big thing, I get that, but I'd kill for $80K. To me, that's very good money, and if you were married and she made close to that, you're talking serious cash, and serious comfort.
Hmm, you are right.

As I've said, I'm not planning on giving up on being a scientist if I can get a good fallback major (preferably engineering), but I'm wondering if that would be possible for me, now that I've accepted a biochem major and plan on going into science.
Love what you do, that's my motto of late. It gets me through my 12 hour days to come home to bills.
That's what my father said. Of course, my mother has a completely different view of things-- she's been encouraging me to go into medicine because it pays a lot, but I've already spent 3 years of high school in a medical magnet program and did not like it at all-- too much social interaction.