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Old 02-01-2012, 07:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default need some advice for college major

so i got accepted to a couple colleges but decided to go to my local community college. At first i wanted to do marine biology because when im not boaring ill be on the water. But im also into photography and graphic design and up until today marine biology was what i wanted to do but today a couple of my works got accepted and awarded nationally(if your still reading your proably bored as fuck). Anyway wanted to know what opportunities there are out there in the graphic design industry(i dont want to be broke as fuck my whole life).
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Congrads on the pics, if you can go and afford college...do it, folks with 4 year degrees are becoming more rare in the general population. But chose wisely...follow your passion but with a watchful eye on how you are going to make $ with it...have a business plan and a plan B. Ya don't have to be greedy but a 4 yr degree still opens alot of clubhouse doors.

However being broke can mean several things: No soul, no time or no money...the trick is to end up with soul, some time and some money.
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:10 AM   #3 (permalink)
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My suggestions: Do your pre-req's at a community college to save money. I didn't do this because my parents paid for me to go to college, which I would do again if I had the chance (4 years at Michigan State), but if you're worried about money and have to take student loans out... I'd go the community college route for pre-reqs. To expand on this a little... don't go to a private art school in NYC to rack up $200k worth of student loans, for a job that will pay you $30k a year. It'll take your entire life to pay back the loans... have to do the math before you make a choice.

Next, choose a major that will get you a job. A lot of people go to college for History, Political Science, Journalism, etc. - then graduate and find that there are no jobs for someone with those degrees, and end up getting a job that has nothing to do with what they just spent years studying.

Marine Biology - kinda iffy. If you are in Florida or Cali or something, this may be a viable option. My sister is currently trying to get into Marine Biology and has done 2 internships so far (both were unpaid, and she actually had to pay them for boarding, etc.) - first one was in South Africa researching Great White sharks and the second was in Florida researching spotted eagle rays. She will be going to Bimini (spelling? Its an island between Florida and the Bahamas) in a couple months for more shark research, and again, has to pay to do it. A LOT of people think Marine Biology would be cool, but there are only so many jobs and enough funding. While she was down in FL for the eagle ray internship, they actually had to sit around and do nothing for a week or 2 because they didn't have enough funds to pay for fuel to go out on the boats. So keep that in mind that its not really easy to get a job in Marine Biology. Every person who loves the beach considers it.

Graphic Design - I was going to go into this in college because I was a pretty good artist and figured it would be a good major to get into that was "fun". But then I did the research and found that the average starting salary was around $25k per year. Yes, there are jobs where you can make more and yes, you can move up... but it was a pretty bleak outlook for starting salary and jobs in general. Its another one of those majors where a lot of people think... hey, I like to draw/design so I will go into Graphic Design and it will be easy. From what I've read in recent years, there is a lot of cut-throat type activity going on for design jobs. You may come up with a good design, but there are always bigger companies who will steal your design and not pay you, knowing that you can't really afford to pursue a lawsuit. Again, I have no first hand knowledge about this and most of this is just what I read about.

Sorry for the rambling.. just some of my personal opinions on your questions.
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:26 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Don't do it...unless you have a real good idea of what job you want and you NEED a degree to get it. In a job interview experience usually trumps education. If you just want to party for 4 years, get a job delivering pizza(what I did in college, cash in hand every night was nice...) or something on campus and just walk into random classes until you hear something you like. You'll learn just as much and won't have any loans to pay back, but you won't get a fancy piece of paper. I went for an associates degree and worked in that field for 3 years only to go back to what I was doing before I went to school, CNC machining. I get better pay, more vacation and better benefits/insurance, plus the company I work for now doesn't seem to believe in working hard, it's the easiest job I've ever had. If you REALLY want to go to college, go, it's not always a bad idea, I had fun but I'm still paying for it...

Sounds like you're already good at what you do, try to get a job now and see how many people in the interviews say you need a degree. You'll start off at lower pay, but 4 years experience will get you more money than no experience and a piece of paper.

Last edited by honeycomb; 02-02-2012 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Don't do it...unless you have a real good idea of what job you want and you NEED a degree to get it. In a job interview experience usually trumps education. If you just want to party for 4 years, get a job delivering pizza(what I did in college, cash in hand every night was nice...) or something on campus and just walk into random classes until you hear something you like. You'll learn just as much and won't have any loans to pay back, but you won't get a fancy piece of paper. I went for an associates degree and worked in that field for 3 years only to go back to what I was doing before I went to school, CNC machining. I get better pay, more vacation and better benefits/insurance, plus the company I work for now doesn't seem to believe in working hard, it's the easiest job I've ever had. If you REALLY want to go to college, go, it's not always a bad idea, I had fun but I'm still paying for it...

Sounds like you're already good at what you do, try to get a job now and see how many people in the interviews say you need a degree. You'll start off at lower pay, but 4 years experience will get you more money than no experience and a piece of paper.

I think it all depends on what the OP really wants to get into, and after he does his research he can make a decision. Not trying to argue with you, but there are a lot of factors that go into it. Most people that don't have some type of degree (Associates or Bachelors) - aren't going to easily find a good job like you did.

Again, I was lucky in that my parents paid for my education. My dad has worked in an auto factory since he was 19 years old, and he worked 7 days a week from the time I was about 10 until a couple years ago. At least 15 straight years of working 7 days per week, to get the overtime to pay for my sisters and I to get an education and not have student loans out the ass. My 4 years + that piece of paper started me at $50k right after I graduated. All circumstances are different, but of all of my friends back home who didn't go to college - there may be a couple who have decent jobs but most of them are still working the same random jobs they had after college. My degree allowed me to work for a Fortune 10 company in Michigan for 3-4 years, and then allowed me to move to Colorado for a better paying job right near the mountains. I don't think I would have been able to do that without a degree.

Seeing as this is a Snowboarding forum, Marine Biology doesn't really fit into the plan very well. There aren't too many places that you could be a Marine Biologist and also be close to the mountains. PNW maybe? A similar job you could look into would be a DNR (Dept. of Natural Resources) agent, where you are out in the wilderness all the time.

The cool thing about Graphic Design is that you can do it from ANYWHERE. There are design firms everywhere, or you can freelance and work from home - which could be at a condo at the base of a mountain if you wanted. The only thing is... you better be pretty damn good if you're going to freelance.

Speaking of which... why don't you post some of your art here?
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
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i'd say graphic design from what i've seen is one of those hit or miss fields. i know some of them who are good enough at it to live very comfortably, but they've been drawing/painting/sculpting since they were 5 years old. then i also know some who are washed out, holding down unrelated jobs and only applying their craft every now and then as a small side project for clients. in your case if you've been awarded nationally (assuming these awards are not just gold star stickers), you seem to be pretty good at it.

a quick google search will tell you what's out there for graphic designers without a college education. since it's a trade you might be able to farm out your skills as a consultant. i'm a programmer without formal education in it, but i still get called on for projects that pay very well.

that being said, for better or worse getting a college degree now is the equivalent of getting a high school degree a few decades ago, meaning it's at a point where it's almost expected.

if you wanna hear more you can PM me, but i'll just finish up and say that finances aside, if you decide to just coast your way through doing the bare minimum, don't bother. college isn't just about getting a job after, it's also about personal and academic fulfillment.
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
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While I agree that it's not 100% important to get a degree, having that stupid piece of paper is a pretty significant job security asset throughout your life. Many employers don't even really care if your graduating major isn't what they are employing you for - they just want to know that you have the capacity, drive and intellect to handle their job. College is also a very mind-expanding experience that will help you make better decisions throughout your life, if you let it. A lot of those who have Mummy and Dada paying think of it as a free party ticket and come out of it with no personal growth. Those are the people that perpetually act like they are in high school.

If you're a Freshman, I highly suggest just sticking it out in a Community College for 2 years to get your general ed stuff out of the way. Make sure you know what University you want to transfer to afterwards though, so you can take the right classes towards a degree. During your first 2 years, just take everything and anything. It will help you figure out what you really want to do. I was originally a Computer Science major, but realized as an outgoing and outdoorsy person it was the wrong life-choice for what I like, so I switched to Environmental Science. Taking all my gen ed in the beginning allowed me to be flexible too in changing majors without having to extend the 4-years. If you don't have to stray very far in classes, it doesn't hurt to get an AA at your CC either, I got an AA in Business Admin just for the hell of it.

As others have said don't let money be the prime motivational factor in picking a major, but at the same time you probably don't want to pick something that won't produce a job if your taking on heavy debt in school. I know I will never make big bucks in my major, but there will be lots of job opportunities and a very livable salary.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I understand the worry about about being broke the rest of your life, I'm in college right now and I don't have a cent to my name haha. However with a major like graphic design I doubt you could go wrong. Whether it be designing company logos, internet websites, advertising, etc., there are so many opportunities where graphic design would play a big role. Everyone worries about getting a job after school shoot I'm a communication arts and sciences major, where the heck does that leave me?

With all said and done though the money and time spent during college is probably the most worthwhile investment I've made so far in my young life. There are so many opportunities to broaden your horizon while at school whether it be joining club, organization, fraternity, etc. I know I've made some of the best friends I have right now through my fraternity, and nowadays with all the people I've met I've created a huge network of people at my school. All with the possibility to continue on into a professional life.

Ultimately college is one hell of a ride and if you can justify spending the money, go for it.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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One thing with college that is almost CERTAIN, is that whatever major you pick, it will not produce your dream job. You will likely find out after its already too late (your senior year applying for jobs) that the career path you chose isnt quite what you originally thought it was.

Here is what I would suggest. If you think you want to be a graphic artist, find a couple companies that do that work, and email a couple people and see if they will go to lunch with you and talk to you about what they do. I wish I would have done this before going to college, as it would have made my choice for a major much easier. If you still think its a great idea, ask the professionals what they look for in a person coming out of college, and take those classes and get whatever real-life experience you can.

The "marine biology" thing is probably a waste of time unless you plan on getting a PhD.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Pow?POW! View Post
I understand the worry about about being broke the rest of your life, I'm in college right now and I don't have a cent to my name haha. However with a major like graphic design I doubt you could go wrong. Whether it be designing company logos, internet websites, advertising, etc., there are so many opportunities where graphic design would play a big role. Everyone worries about getting a job after school shoot I'm a communication arts and sciences major, where the heck does that leave me?

With all said and done though the money and time spent during college is probably the most worthwhile investment I've made so far in my young life. There are so many opportunities to broaden your horizon while at school whether it be joining club, organization, fraternity, etc. I know I've made some of the best friends I have right now through my fraternity, and nowadays with all the people I've met I've created a huge network of people at my school. All with the possibility to continue on into a professional life.

Ultimately college is one hell of a ride and if you can justify spending the money, go for it.
this guy said what i didn't feel like writing because then my post would've been long

college is an experience. but like all experiences, you get out of it what you put into it.
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