Reactions to your Major

The school experience. School related queries, discussions, and stories that aren't specific to a subject.

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JShilpetski
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby JShilpetski » Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:22 am UTC

Option One -

He / She / It: "So, what's your major?"
Me: "English literature & linguistics."
He / She / It: "Good luck working at Barnes & Noble."

Option Two -

He / She / It: "So, what's your major?"
Me: "English literature and linguistics."
He / She / It: "I read The Diary of Anne Frank last year. Ever study that?"
Me: "No, actually, I'm concentrating on early British literature and literary criticism."
He / She / It: "What about The Kite Runner? Ever read that?"

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Intrepid
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Intrepid » Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:56 pm UTC

Me: Computer Science
Person: Oh you must know a lot about computers? Can you help me (some technical question normally dealing with a random application or some networking issue)?
Me [50% of the time]: (provides solution to the problem). [the other 50% of the time], I actually don't know anything about computers, but can I interest you in a conversation in graph theory or number theory?

My school's CS program is very theory based, we don't really learn very much about computers, just lots of algorithms and random math topics. It's actually the computer engineers who are capitalize of actually helping people with their computer problems. I can't wait until I go to grad school and reply computer graphics, then tell ask me to photoshop something for them... then again I used to make digital art on commission. Hmm wonder how they'll reply to "computational neurologist"...
(^@^)

maxh
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby maxh » Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:55 am UTC

"Compu-wha?"

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Meteorswarm
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Meteorswarm » Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:00 pm UTC

Me: Computer Science and Biology
Person: What's the use of that?
Me: Computational biology...

Although I might just ditch that and go with straight CS if I get tasty job offers.
The same as the old Meteorswarm, now with fewer posts!

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DorkRawk
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby DorkRawk » Tue Oct 05, 2010 4:55 pm UTC

My masters is in Human Computer Interaction.

When I tell people, they just assume that I work with robots.

It's easier to let them just keep believing that.

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Nathaivel
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Nathaivel » Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:18 pm UTC

"Computer Science and Creative Writing"
"Oh. Neat."

notice how I've managed to alienate normal people with CS, and then any remaining science/math types with CRWR. Oddly enough there are at least 3 other people doing the same double major at my very small college...
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Fight2Fly
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Fight2Fly » Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:32 am UTC

I went through two phases of this. The first was when I was working on my flight officer major. People were always impressed with that. Now that I'm working on my teaching certificates I usually opt to just tell them what I used to do. Telling most people I want to become a teacher, I find, yields very few positive reactions. It usually turns into an, "Oh me yarm I had the worst idiot teacher, blah, blah, blah..."

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charolastra
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby charolastra » Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:04 pm UTC

Graduated in May with a double major in political science and international relations (global environment and development track) and a double minor in environmental science and Latin American studies. If that's not complicated enough, we call political science "politics" and international relations "international and global studies". My college is a little ridiculous- had I not graduated a semester early, I would have had a 3rd major in Latin American studies and an anthropology minor.

So I tell most people that I majored in international sustainable development. I would *think* that would be less complicated, but oh no. "What is sustainability?" "What do you develop? Like, film?" If I include stuff about Latin America, I get asked if I speak Latin more than I am at all comfortable.

Now that I work at my college's Development and Alumni Relations department, things are a bit better on a day-to-day basis. My supervisors, coworkers, etc fully understand the overachieving multiple major situation of undergrads at my school. However, it makes the whole "development" thing confusing because sustainable development and university development mean COMPLETELY different fields.

I start a free MBA in nonprofit management with an impact focus soon- that will be fun to explain. :)

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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Sat Oct 09, 2010 11:58 pm UTC

Some more:
A few of my friends are bio majors who said "I'd like to do chemistry, but I'm not taking Calc2, so I'll go bio."
Now, they are considering manning up and finishing the calculus series and dropping genetics to switch to chem.
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby GonzoMcFonzo » Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:47 pm UTC

Me: "I have a B.S. in Agricultural Systems Management."
Them: *Blank stare*
At this point the conversation goes one of several ways:

Me:"It's in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering"
Them: "Oh, so like you fix tractors?"

Me:"That means I apply 'engineering principals and methods' to design and operate agricultural systems"
Them:"Oh, so like you're gonna work on a farm? You know my daddy worked on a farm his entire life...."

Me:"It's in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering"
Them: "Oh I was in engineering for a semester. I could've done it, but I actually wanted to have fun in college, that's why I'm a [insert blowoff major here]"

If I'm really lucky, all they'll do is ask me what an agricultural system is, at which point we may get to have a real discussion about the field I've devoted my life to (so far).
Or, if I'm in a particularly cheeky mood:
Me: "That means I git ta drive tha BIG tractor!"
Them: "Ye-haw!"

I don't have heart to the last group that I'm not from the country, never lived on a farm, and a textile mill, beer brewery or even grocery store is just as much an Ag. System as a farm is.
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314man
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby 314man » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:59 am UTC

"So what are you majoring in?"
"Actuarial Science"
"Oh, cool.."
"Do you know what that is?"
"Nope"

happens about 3/4 of the time
the other 1/4 are impressed though


sometimes I just say math instead of actuarial science because I can tell they don't know what actuarial science is.
or if they ask what it is, i either say "it's pretty much math", "risk management", or "insurance"

Also the worst follow up question:
"So what will you be?"
"An actuary... (obviously)"

masakatsu
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby masakatsu » Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:31 pm UTC

314man wrote:"So what are you majoring in?"
"Actuarial Science"
"Oh, cool.."
"Do you know what that is?"
"Nope"

happens about 3/4 of the time
the other 1/4 are impressed though


sometimes I just say math instead of actuarial science because I can tell they don't know what actuarial science is.
or if they ask what it is, i either say "it's pretty much math", "risk management", or "insurance"

Also the worst follow up question:
"So what will you be?"
"An actuary... (obviously)"


I thought the answer to what will you be is "wealthy". ;-p

I can't tell anyone mine (Ph.D. in Health Care Management) without someone asking about an ailment.
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Dr.Robert
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Dr.Robert » Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:50 pm UTC

philosophy. philosophy majors have it worst.

everybody: "what are you going to do with that"

me: "probably kill myself"

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Cathy
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Cathy » Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:17 am UTC

For me I get

them: "So what're you majoring in?"
me: "Computer Science"
them: *funny look* "I didn't think many girls majored in that"
me: "Yeah well..."
them: "....." *move away*

if talking to someone friendly:
them: *funny look* "I didn't think many girls majored in that"
me: "Well you know what they say; the odds are good but the goods are odd!"

Funny enough, Science majors tend to scare off random guys who hit on people. Yay?
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B.Good
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby B.Good » Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:41 am UTC

Reading this thread has taught me how little I know about the potential jobs of certain (read: most) majors and how stupid I'll look if I ask.

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Microscopic cog
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Microscopic cog » Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:56 pm UTC

Yeah, that's pretty much why I keep reading this. So I won't be a too much of a dick when I'm talking about this. To be honest my usual response was/is "Oh that's cool". Because really, what is an appropiate response?
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Ghavrel
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Ghavrel » Fri Oct 15, 2010 4:04 am UTC

charolastra wrote:If I include stuff about Latin America, I get asked if I speak Latin more than I am at all comfortable.


Funny. When I tell people I study Latin and International Relations, I get asked questions about Belize.


Just kidding! Nobody in the States knows about Belize. I actually get asked questions about Mexico.
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rheakith
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby rheakith » Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:46 pm UTC

I'll finally be declaring a major here in the next week or so, and I'm going with a double in Russian and Philosophy. The most common reaction so far is "So Russian philosophy?" to which the answer is no, followed by "So what are you going to do with that?" to which the answer is grad school followed by hopefully teaching somewhere.

Before I decided, being a 3rd year explorations (the fancy name they give us non-decision makers) major turned a lot of heads and frequently found me answering the questions of "They still let you not decide?" or "Just pick something already why don't you"

zoestercoaster
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby zoestercoaster » Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:07 pm UTC

Me: "Natural Resources and Fisheries and Wildlife Management."
Them: "So. Oil and fish?"
Me: "Sure why not"
Then I give an awkward explanation of Natural Resources and their eyes glaze over and I change the subject.

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charolastra
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby charolastra » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:46 pm UTC

Ghavrel wrote:
charolastra wrote:If I include stuff about Latin America, I get asked if I speak Latin more than I am at all comfortable.


Funny. When I tell people I study Latin and International Relations, I get asked questions about Belize.


Just kidding! Nobody in the States knows about Belize. I actually get asked questions about Mexico.


Eh that's like when I told people I was taking Portuguese classes, the asked why I would do that as a Latin American studies major. When I said, as uncondescendingly as possible, how important Brazil is, they would suggest I "check up on my research because Brazil speaks Spanish. Duh." *headsmack*

I studied abroad in Mexico and when people hear about that, I regularly get asked if I saw any drug battles. Yes, I was, in fact, dodging bullets Matrix style on the way to class.

Tofer
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Tofer » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:05 am UTC

Girl (who has been chatting me up): So what are you taking at school?

Me: I'm in Civil Engineering.

Girl: Oh... Well, at least you're doing something.

Me: :cry:

ElectriCom
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby ElectriCom » Sat Oct 16, 2010 4:47 pm UTC

Me: "I'm studying Computer Engineering"

Them: "Oh, so you do some programming?"
or "Oh, so you want to build computers"

I guess in people's mind, these are the only thing a Computer engineer does. BTW, my major is in Electrical and Computer Engineering, but I tend to ignore telling that to people in fear of them asking me to fix their electronic devices. At least when I say I'm a CE I can tell them "that's not a computer".

not good at these things
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby not good at these things » Sun Oct 17, 2010 6:06 am UTC

I'm also a mechE. It really depends though, at home I got either "oh wow...so like a mechanic?" or "oh mechanic boys are cute~" or some older people would seem shocked. I just kinda preferred to talk about other things so the subject changed pretty quick. Here mechE doesn't get much more above either "huh, I thought you were ____" or "oh cool". Sometimes saying I'm studying more into the robotics and mechatronics and controls aspect can get interesting conversations, especially with some CS students because they think that in robotics the only areas for improvements is in programming but really a lot needs to be done in the actual build, hell most robotics places love a mechE because they have so many electrical and computer folks but lack someone to actually improve on the design. But obviously I'm not going to talk about any of that at home.

I think the shocked response is most annoying, I don't know if it's that I don't look like a mechE or what but after a bit people seem to figure that mechE "fits" me.

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nyeguy
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby nyeguy » Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:07 am UTC

When people ask, I normally give a more full answer, akin to: "I am majoring in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Audio Tech, and I want to work with music tech stuff." I find even that even though those are technical majors, I don't get the off put reactions that a lot of you guys post, because instead the people seem interested in what I want to do, rather than what I study. Its very nice getting an "oh, that's very cool!" to what I'm studying.
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314man
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby 314man » Sat Oct 23, 2010 2:45 am UTC

masakatsu wrote:
314man wrote:"So what are you majoring in?"
"Actuarial Science"
"Oh, cool.."
"Do you know what that is?"
"Nope"

happens about 3/4 of the time
the other 1/4 are impressed though


sometimes I just say math instead of actuarial science because I can tell they don't know what actuarial science is.
or if they ask what it is, i either say "it's pretty much math", "risk management", or "insurance"

Also the worst follow up question:
"So what will you be?"
"An actuary... (obviously)"


I thought the answer to what will you be is "wealthy". ;-p

I can't tell anyone mine (Ph.D. in Health Care Management) without someone asking about an ailment.


Ah that's so obvious! I gotta use that now 8)

Pezander
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Pezander » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:12 pm UTC

Me: Robotics

this is followed by at least 2 minutes of stunned silence

I does not help that I am a girl

voidPtr
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby voidPtr » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:31 pm UTC

Computer Science:

- "Oh you must be good with computers then."

- "Oh great! Maybe you can fix my computer then?? "

Math:


- "Really? I liked math until Grade ___, but haven't taken any courses since then."

- "Really? I hated math."

- [From family members] "I don't know where you get it from, nobody else in the family has it." [ Disregard the 12 hour days studying in the library, reading and re-reading theory, solving thousands of problems, you apparently either have it or you don't have it. ]

- "I liked math until Grade ___, but not anymore."

- "Oh, you must like working with numbers."

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electronic mily
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby electronic mily » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:29 pm UTC

"Art."

"Like art history?"

"No, like studio art."

"Oh. What are you going to do with that?"

"No idea, really."

"..."

"..."

"Are you going to work at a museum?"

"Uh, no."

--
I'm not sure why people always end up thinking in that direction. If they press further I usually just say "I'll probably end up teaching."

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Ghavrel
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Ghavrel » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:44 pm UTC

electronic mily wrote:"Art."

"Like art history?"

"No, like studio art."

"Oh. What are you going to do with that?"


Have you considered ever saying "I'm going to do art?" I am pretty sure when someone tells me they are doing studio art, I usually ask what media they enjoy working with. It seems a logical follow-up
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Ave » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:00 pm UTC

Laup wrote:"Computer science."
...
"Oh, so I was using my computer the other night and X happened, do you think you could fix it for me?"



Runner up would be 'Oh that sounds cool! <insert some video game/internet anecdote or really obvious fact about computers here>.' Which I don't mind so much, at least they're making an effort to connect...better than silence, and sometimes I can impart some wisdom.

If people reply with 'Oh, I was never good at math,' then I'm pretty impressed that they made that connection.

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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby existential_squirrrel » Fri Oct 29, 2010 4:15 am UTC

I just switched to chemistry with an emphasis in biochem, and a minor in mathematics.

I get a lot of "We have a chemistry major plan here now?" (Dominican University now has a chemistry major)

I also get "why not bio?" and "You must be nuts!"

at least I don't get so much of the old "so you wanna be a doctor? or go to med school?" anymore now that I switched majors.

with the math minor, I get lots of people asking me cheeky questions and a lot of blank stares from old friends.
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby verbingthenoun » Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:10 pm UTC

"What are you majoring in?"
"Linguistics."
"How many languages do you speak?" / "I want to take a lot of languages, should I major in that?"

Or sometimes "what is linguistics?" which is a lot more difficult to answer than it rightfully should be.

I guess I'm not really sure what the correct response to that is though. I mean, if you're also a linguistics major, we can talk about linguistics things, but it can be such an esoteric field that just a 'cool, I'm an [x] major' is probably the best possible response if you aren't.

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Ostrich_Option
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Ostrich_Option » Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:19 am UTC

(With a friendly smile on his/her face) "Oh, you're finally off to college? Great, what are you majoring in?"
"Political Science, hopefully minoring in Business and Computer Science."
(His/Her face suddenly changes to either a neutral or subtly angry face) "Oh..." (trying to be polite)

Yeah, according to my highly conservative small town I'm training to ruin all our freedoms and destroy all that they have worked for... :roll:

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Havekk
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Havekk » Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:57 am UTC

I'm in Engineering. Haven't gotten any weird reactions to that so far.

Of course I'm at Purdue, where pretty much everyone is an engineer and thus that is the expected answer to the 'What's your major?' question. It's the people who say literature or history or something who get the 'Oh that's interesting...' response.
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby mochafairy » Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:47 am UTC

Havekk wrote:I'm in Engineering. Haven't gotten any weird reactions to that so far.

Of course I'm at Purdue, where pretty much everyone is an engineer and thus that is the expected answer to the 'What's your major?' question. It's the people who say literature or history or something who get the 'Oh that's interesting...' response.


Oh me yarm! I'm at Purdue! I'm totally waving out my window at close to midnight at all the xkcd-ers in the middle of these corn fields...

Okay, I'm done.
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nobody28
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby nobody28 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:39 pm UTC

I'm in Computer Science and Mathematics

To "Wow, you must be really smart!" I reply with "That's what they say."
To any question related to everyday computer issues I respond with "You know, I really don't like computers that much." Which is true, because I don't like computers, I like coding and solving computational problems.

A psychology major said that I am left brained, which sounds dodge to me, because I am also creative and think in pictures. Yes, I use my WHOLE brain.

When I met my girlfriend's mom she was very happy with having a mathematician in the family, because now there is finally someone to help her other children to get through high school maths.

In South Africa, there is a very high demand for engineering graduates. So if you take Mathematics and physical science in high school EVERYBODY wants you to go into engineering (except for my dad who wanted me to go into Microbiology), also if you take Programming in high school EVERYBODY tells you that the IT job market is saturated. Hence engineering majors usually think I will have a hard time finding a job. It turns out the IT job market is only saturated for those not holding a CS degree 8)

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KestrelLowing
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby KestrelLowing » Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:32 am UTC

Havekk wrote:I'm in Engineering. Haven't gotten any weird reactions to that so far.

Of course I'm at Purdue, where pretty much everyone is an engineer and thus that is the expected answer to the 'What's your major?' question. It's the people who say literature or history or something who get the 'Oh that's interesting...' response.


Yeah, while I'm actually at school (Michigan Tech), the answer is expected to be a type of engineering as anyone who comes here for anything but engineering and the sciences is making a serious misjudgment.

False Prophet
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby False Prophet » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:40 pm UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:
Havekk wrote:I'm in Engineering. Haven't gotten any weird reactions to that so far.

Of course I'm at Purdue, where pretty much everyone is an engineer and thus that is the expected answer to the 'What's your major?' question. It's the people who say literature or history or something who get the 'Oh that's interesting...' response.


Yeah, while I'm actually at school (Michigan Tech), the answer is expected to be a type of engineering as anyone who comes here for anything but engineering and the sciences is making a serious misjudgment.

I go to Missouri S&T (UM-Rolla is the older name) and we only say the Chem Es, Nuke Es and the Physics majors are insane. (well English and Phil majors too but thats not for the same reason)

sodium
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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby sodium » Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:14 pm UTC

The funniest comment I've heard is when I was told a guy in my apartment complex my major (Human/Developmental Biology).

"Oh, that's cool, I like photosynthesis."

Um, what?

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Re: Reactions to your Major

Postby Marbas » Fri Nov 19, 2010 2:25 am UTC

voidPtr wrote:Math:


- "Really? I liked math until Grade ___, but haven't taken any courses since then."

- "Really? I hated math."

- [From family members] "I don't know where you get it from, nobody else in the family has it." [ Disregard the 12 hour days studying in the library, reading and re-reading theory, solving thousands of problems, you apparently either have it or you don't have it. ]

- "I liked math until Grade ___, but not anymore."

- "Oh, you must like working with numbers."


I get alot of "Just Math? What are you going to do with that?"

Lately I've been worried about having to double major if I want an interesting job.
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