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I am a 12th grader looking to choose her career path, but I am stuck between two very different routes; agricultural/animal sciences, or art? How should I go about making this big decision?

Throughout high school, I've been interested in both science and art for a potential career path. I've been able to narrow my search to animal/agricultural sciences, or game design/animation. Is there any way to combine these interests into a future path? If not, what would be a smarter overall choice to pursue in college?
#career-paths #art #college-choice #science #animator #agriculture

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Yarek’s Answer

First, you should know that your college major will not decide your future career path! You have identified two very different academic paths. As far as college goes, this makes it unlikely that you would be able to major in both. But, you might choose to major in one and minor in the other. This just means you would take most of your credits/classes in one field, and a significant (but smaller) number of classes in the other field. It's a way to get additional exposure to another field of interest, and perhaps demonstrate to future employers that you have some training in it.

Could you combine them? Nothing is certain, but you might! You might look into scientific illustration - illustrators are used for things like textbooks, technical journals and manuals, catalogs, and websites. There are many ways you could combine animal science and art/design in a career. Agriculture is a big field, so consider all of the different industries and agencies that touch on it.

Thank you for your response! I have discovered a major near my area that deals with illustrative textbook drawings, called biomedical arts, and I will definitely be looking into this further! Morgan L.

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Brian’s Answer

Hi Morgan - that's a great question! On top of what others have mentioned, I would certainly recommend that you look for internships or part time jobs in these areas to get some actual experience under your belt. Reading and learning about certain professions in school is great, but nothing beats real world experience in the field and this will provide you with a better perspective on if you would like that type of work, and will also let you meet and learn from people who have actually held those types of jobs for some time.

On combining your two interests, this may be very specific, but have you looked into veterinary medical illustration?

I have not looked into that, but now I certainly will! That sounds like a perfect fit for me! Thank you, and have a wonderful day! Morgan L.

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Brooke’s Answer

Hi Morgan! I have worked in Agriculture for 8 years now. I love it! When I went to college I did not know I would work in Agriculture and I majored in Marketing Communications. BUT I loved art and because of that I did an Art minor. Whenever I interview for a new role people love to ask me about my art minor, and I always like to use it to show that I can think out of the box with my creativity. So find a combination that works for you!

This is great to hear! What has been your general experience in agriculture? Has it been difficult especially during the pandemic? Thank you so much! Morgan L.

I've really enjoyed working in agriculture. I especially like working with our sales team and cooperative customers. During the pandemic we did have to shift a lot of things to a virtual environment but we are still very busy! A lot of our business was available virtually anyways so we were thankfully prepared. Brooke Anderson

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Leahanne’s Answer

Who do you most want to serve with your work?
What are your best skills and talents that you can apply toward that end?
Those questions will point you in the right direction.

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Sydney’s Answer


Good job in figuring out a few options you are interested in pursuing as a career path. Picking a major can be daunting but half the battle is making a decision on which one you want to pursue. I did some research and found that https://www.collegechoice.net/college-life/choosing-a-major/ covers many aspects of picking a major, picking a school that has your major, information about areas of study, and what to do if you have multiple interests. Since you have multiple interests, one possible path is to major in one and minor in the other. You may want to research what is possible in taking that approach because not every college/university may have the combination of major and minor you are looking for.

Picking a major is very important because you will want to pick a school best suited for that major. Going into college with an Undecided major is not bad at first but you have to figure what major to pick very quickly. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting behind in the courses you need to take for the selected major. This can get pretty expensive in student debt if you end up having to transfer to a new school that better suits your major and spending more than the traditional 4 years to get your undergraduate degree.

I suggest you take a look at https://collegeinfogeek.com/dumb-major-choice-mistakes/ for some tips in making a decision on your major. This will identify some questions you will need to answer for yourself and possibly help guide your decision more logically instead of emotionally. Emotional decisions are more likely to have some form of regret and the main reason for the decision is "because this is what I felt was right." Logical decisions have many more reasons that you and everyone around you can understand. I also found
https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/slideshows/10-things-to-know-about-selecting-a-college-major which may have some helpful information. There is also a quiz https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/college-major-quiz available that could be useful.

I will say that going to college is important for any career path and it is the foundation you will need to actually start your career. Some students pick a major before starting college and they finish in that major. Others like myself started in one major then changed to a different one while in college. Thankfully I made the decision to change in my second year and picked up as many classes as I could carry to graduate on-time. For me, that required going from around 16 credits to about 20 credits per semester to meet that goal. Also, we go into college thinking that what we major in will be the careers we have after graduation. That is not 100% accurate. Yes, many people follow this path while others find themselves in jobs different from their undergraduate major. That degree does not define your career path, you do!!

I encourage you to make an appointment to talk with your high school guidance counselor to get more information or even contacts in your fields of interest to talk with and get a better sense of which interest you want to focus on. Continue doing your research on your interests and schools that fit those interests.

Best of luck!!

Sydney recommends the following next steps:

Review https://www.collegechoice.net/college-life/choosing-a-major/
Review https://collegeinfogeek.com/dumb-major-choice-mistakes/
Speak to your high school guidance counselor about schools and your potential interests
Research the majors you are interested in to identify schools that fit your needs
Take this quiz https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/college-major-quiz

Wow! Thank you so much for all of these resources and advice! This is invaluable stuff to know, and I appreciate the time you put into answering this! Morgan L.