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  • Choosing your degree major?

    Im in my 1st year in NUS and i chose literature....but now im having second thoughts... and i dont know if i should change my major...so i need some advice from everyone here...

    I kind of enjoyed lit in sec and JC and i did quite well in it then.... but now in university level, lit just seems a little too boring and difficult to me... maybe im just anxious, since ive only taken 3 lit modules so far. One was a lower level module, and now im taking a level 3000 module(because there are only level 3000 modules to choose from!) and another level 2000 one that is more on film than lit.... maybe its the boring nature of 18th century lit or the confusing nature of its works....

    im not sure.... im just wondering if im making the right choice by choosing lit esp when i seem to enjoy sociology more... but sociology is not a very economic choice... afterall, what can i do with a soci degree? Then again, i think im not really looking to be a lit teacher anymore, especially since i dread the idea of spending the rest of my life in a school.... do u think i should take my exams later and see how well i do for my lit modules, or should i base it on my interest and not on my grades...(i obtained a b+ for my first lit exam in uni)

    sigh. Ive always wanted to study a more creative line, like art history or simply art. I love art, though im not another extraordinary painter or artist... but i wasnt allowed to. And now im just feeling rather upset about the headaches lit gives me because i simply dread the lessons now and i cant figure out Tristram Shandy or Joseph Andrews at all....

    sigh.But like they always say, sometimes people end up working in a line that they has nothing to do with their degree. I was actually thinking of being a speech and drama teacher...but working in a art museum or something would be my dream. Meanwhile i can only sigh....

  • #2
    Re: Choosing your degree major?

    Originally posted by Pixash
    im not sure.... im just wondering if im making the right choice by choosing lit esp when i seem to enjoy sociology more... but sociology is not a very economic choice... afterall, what can i do with a soci degree? Then again, i think im not really looking to be a lit teacher anymore, especially since i dread the idea of spending the rest of my life in a school.... do u think i should take my exams later and see how well i do for my lit modules, or should i base it on my interest and not on my grades...(i obtained a b+ for my first lit exam in uni)

    I'm in the same situation too! I've wanted to major in Economics or Psychology because they've more economic value. But economics and psychology are very difficult so I'm thinking of majoring in soci. But what are the prospects of a soci degree?

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    • #3
      i dunno..... the website says Public relations, journalism, research analysts and some others ive forgotten. Its on the soci website! But im thinking that there are like a thousand soci graduates.... can u imagine how many would be fighting for a few jobs that anyone else can do? sigh.

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      • #4
        personally i think it doesnt really matter what you study as a major

        to do something which u dont enjoy is the worst thing it can happen....

        i did HRM and marketing in my bachelors and then international marketing and electronic commerce in my masters
        somehow find that what i end up doing is not quite applicable
        (i am a research analyst in a executive search firm)
        i do a lot of internet searches, industry profiles and strategic planning (acquisitions and mergers)

        pixash, i would say do what ur heart tells u..
        i have friends who did sociology but went into teaching and also some of them in the finance field..

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        • #5
          I was from the Arts fac in NUS and my majors were Geography and Sociology. True, these are not subjects with much "economic" value but guess which field I am in right now ? I am an IT consultant in a large IT firm. Makes you wonder right ? IMO, I feel that a degree is merely a stepping stone - it is how you perform at interviews that gets you the job and how you perform on the job that takes you places.

          My parents were absolutely horrified that I chose to study in the Arts fac. They wanted me to go into either Business Administration or Accounting - both which I abhor very strongly.

          Despite their objections, I followed my heart and where my interests lie and I have absolutely no regrets. I proved all of them wrong - people who say "what can you do with a arts degree ? teach ?" or "what is the value of an arts degree" ?

          Alot of my peers are *not* in teaching so there is hope

          Pixash, follow your interests - sometimes, "economic" value of the subjects you study is not everything. It is a double edged sword. More often then not, we do not apply what we learnt at school in the real world !

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          • #6
            well, I graduated last July from Arts and Social Sciences, majoring in Sociology. Yeah, it's good fun. but despite what josie said, it is truly not as 'marketable' as other 'hard sciences'.

            If you do browse through the papers, most often sought would be business degrees. You might not even get the interview without that degree. So I would say, if you do manage to switch into another field, it is probably through work experience.

            I am very much into literature myself, was a A student through secondary and junior college. so much so after my A Levels, my tutor recommended that i took Literature, English Language and Sociology for University. I am somewhat glad i did not. It would have killed my joy of reading. Seriously, when i was doing literature then, everything i read became a piece for scrutiny. *haha*

            anyway, Pixash, i would say follow your heart if you have the means. It is still somewhat true that the Arts student do earn significantly lesser than their peers from other faculties.
            Of course, unless you are among the cream of the crop.
            I know 2 seniors, both guys, 1 graduated from NUS FASS - Economics, the other is a Finance graduate. At age 26, the economics guy earns 2.5k, the finance grad is drawing 2 times.

            having said all, i just would like to present to you the other not-so-rosy side of having an Arts degree. Of course, it's the money factor.

            haha, i have to agree with her bout the bit of not applying what you studied in your work. I'm starting work in the bank doing Advertising and Promotions.....ahha

            and of course, the 1st degree is but a stepping stone. take my case for instance, i'm going to do my masters in Applied Finance (think my hair will turn absolutely grey)

            why not take the time to think about where you want to be at, what you want to be doing in 5 years time (know it's cliche but it helps) find out what matters most to you (interest, money, job satisfaction, career advancement, field of work etc)
            you will find your path =)
            good luck dearie!

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            • #7
              Thanks Alya and everyone! your views helped me a lot!
              I think i might pretty much change to soci sooner or later.... now im just tormented by my lit essay!!

              anyway my parents werent very receptive... they kept on saying that well whatever job you may get largely depends on the market demand....and even if some ppl get an IT job or et cetera, u may not because of the market or u may not even get ANY job. Well i said im in arts, not in Biz, so what do u expect? Beggars dont get to choose!!! Anyway, I also believe that one's willingness to learn and excel will be an important factor in getting and securing a job. If i am want to work as a copywriter and am willing to start of as a lowly paid assistant, why not? Because I believe that my hard work and talent would pay off in the end, so ya, i already know all about bad job markets and all, just dont understand why my parents have to keep drumming the negatives to me.....

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              • #8
                Pixash, that's our parent's job My parents were totally un-supportive throughout my entire 3 yrs in uni and even afterwards. They were skeptical that I could even find a job when I graduated. When I did get a job and was going to switch a year later, they were still skeptical that I could get another job ! Talk about unsupportive parents ? Perhaps it's generation gap ? Perhaps it's about them not wanting to see us fail etc., Not all parents are alike. Their support would have been nice. But in my case, I can't change them. So what can I do ? But then again, if we don't try, will we ever know ?

                Also, when you apply for jobs, don't be daunted by the "requirements". Where I am now is 'cos I was thick skinned (or should I say desperate ??? I was dying to leave my previous job) enough to apply for a job requiring a Business Ad or Accounting degree with 3 years relevant experience - I had neither ! I had an Arts degree with only 1 year irrelevant experience ! But it was how I did in the interview that got me the job. Perhaps my case is an exception but still, I think anything is possible !

                Prove all the nay-sayers wrong

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                • #9
                  For most global firms, they don't care what your degree is. The content you master during your degree usually will not help in your job, unless yours is a profession (e.g. doctor, architect, lawyer, etc). I know people who did Literature but became investment bankers. Your university education is to train you to think in a certain way - to be able to analyse issues, understand complex abstract issues, etc.

                  So actually, what matters more is the university you came from (is it reputable? has it produced good employees in the past?) instead of your major.

                  Our parents are right. 'Hard' sciences and professional degrees will have an easier time looking for a job. But they're not guaranteed one either.

                  there is no right answer. Afterall, though it's more fulfilling to follow your passions, you still need food on the table at the end of the day. If you choose to be idealistic and do what you want, be prepared for the consequences. You're going to have to work harder to find job opportunities, to prove yourself. You're not immediately going into a high-paying job like some of your peers. You have to be prepared to follow Michelle's example and have more initiative.

                  I guess the reason why parents keep drumming in the 'negatives' into us is because they want us to be realistic. I find that many Singaporean youths are so used to getting what they want that they don't understand why that may not always be the best option. And by the time they realise that, they've graduated and there's not much they can do to change it.

                  So just think carefully about what you want and what you value most. Job security (easy to find a job, decent pay) or job fulfillment (you actually like your job!)? :choice:

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What are the factors that matters most to you? Happiness, money, job security etc? These days also not much job security in Spore. When I entered the poly, telecommunications was all the rage, 3 years later, it fizzled out. Then came R&D, even this fizzled out. Then came Life sciences, and this didn't even take off as expected. Seems like every 3 years, the cycle changes. Just last year, the govt said service industry was the way to go. And now? because of Sars, global competition and slowdown, service industry don't seem to be a good idea. Few years back, MOE was desperate for teachers and so many people want to be teachers and now? MOE wants to cut pay and retrench teachers!

                    That's what I said to my parents when they wanted me to go into something stable. I just mentioned the above story to them. My dad said: come to think of it, it's true. Probably the only non-dying industry is healthcare, education and undertakers!

                    Based on your personal beliefs, you should be able to work out the majors you want to do.

                    For me, happiness is the most important thing. Even if I don't make big money, or am not a professional like a lawyer or doctor, it doesn't matter.

                    I prefer to be happy even though I might be earning less, than to be trapped in a job which I hate just for the money. I'm the kind of person: Make money work for you, but don't work for money.

                    So what is the thing that really matters to you in life?

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                    • #11
                      Work fulfillment is most important to me.
                      Money is secondary.....though i also have to consider to be reasonably paid, meaning paid enough to be able to shop n pay bills n still save. LOL. But i think im very willing to start low and work my way up... im not the kind that demands to be paid like 2000 and above on my first job.... i think job security also matters...hmmm................but ya, i would want to do something i have a passion for.. and what would that be? geez.

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                      • #12
                        i think making money is easy, depends on how u make it.
                        you can slog like a cow, working 12 hours a day or choose the easy way out... (errr...) :roll:

                        some pple choose to work for passion, and some work for the sake of money...

                        i dont mind working 12 hours just to earn the bucks, but for work fulfillment, i very much like to stay in my present job.

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                        • #13
                          I used to be rather idealist about my career and i wanted to do something that i have great passion for, no matter how miserable the pay was. Bottomline is, I wanted to be happy in my job.

                          But after working.......HEH Bring on the money. Being broke is miserable, yo!

                          Then again, there are times where i think where does life start for me? After work? I still envy people who do what the love and still get paid s.hit loads. But then, life is never fair and so if i have to choose it's still money.

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                          • #14
                            Hi Pixash, hope I'm not too late here.

                            I was in Bizad in NUS and I graduated in 2002, and me and my peers had big problems landing jobs with meagre pay. This is because the business degree alone is not valuable, its the experience that counts. So most fresh business grads were not even considered when companies look at our CVs.

                            My advice is that, you should choose something you like, and try to get some attachment or internship programs during your holidays. Since you don't mind starting low, I think its a very good way to start. You'll get to build up your professional experience and contacts, learn about what you love/hate to do, and also know what your strong/weak points are. This is how some of my schoolmates did, which I regretted not planning earlier for.

                            And sad to say, work and pleasure just don't gel, for me at least. I had very bad job experiences so far, and try as I might not to rant about it, my career choices really suck. Sigh, I guess that unless you're in the job, you'll never know whether you have a passion for it or not.

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                            • #15
                              What I feel is that the type of major doesn't really matter because as mentioned by the other cotters, the truth is that not many poeple actually end up working in a related field as their major...My uncle graduated with a first class honours in psychology and ended up doing an MBA and now he's working in a pharmaceutical company. I also have quite a number of friends who are in their final semester now and have already secured jobs mainly through internships and I personally feel that experience is one of the most important aspects which employers look at. Because at the end of the day, there are so many poeple who graduated with the same major as you so what makes you stand out is the experience that you've obtained.

                              However, since I'm also from Arts and we don't actually have compulsory internships, my advice to you is to take the initiative and search for them yourself.

                              Another important thing would be to make sure you obtain an honours because according to my relatives who graduated from NUS, the next most important thing that distinguishes you from the sea of Arts grads is of course your results. The painful truth is that unlike the "professional" majors such as law, accountancy and whatnot, Arts degress are really not as economically valuable unless you show that you have what it takes to excel and your honours degree would be proof of this. Therefore, IMO, it's much better to major in something that you have an interest in and excel in it rather than spend your time studying something that you dread and end up doing not-so-well.
                              Last edited by grace; 23-02-2004, 05:52 PM.

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