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What should I major in and what career path should I choose?

Hi, subjects I'm good at are math, psychology, and physiology. Subjects that I'm somewhat good at/also interested in is neuroscience and writing. I don't think I would like to go to medical school as it's very rigorous, and I don't mind pursuing grad school either. Any advice for what career path I should go into?

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Subject: Career question for you

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John’s Answer

HI B,

This is an interesting question! Instead of providing a specific degree to pursue, let me suggest you take the hardest course load in the math science and engineering departments you can. Lots of college students change their degree several times in the course of their college career. And there are new careers evolving that didn't exist in my day. You may even invent something new. By taking the hardest courses you can, you'll leave your options open the widest. So that when you find what YOU want to do, you'll have the best chance possible of being able to complete a relevant degree.

The one other thing that comes to mind, is to take some computer science and robotics courses. The medical field is ripe for automation. You might enjoy a career in developing robotics assisted surgery or something like that where you need both some medical knowledge and computer science as well. Maybe that gets you close to a medical profession without having to go to medical school per se.

Finally, don't say "no" to medical school yet. You sound like you could handle it. And God knows we need more and better doctors.

Best of luck,

-John

John recommends the following next steps:

Go to college: focus on the hardest subjects you can.
Don't say, "no" to Med-school yet
Invent your best path. Don't limit yourself to existing careers. There may be something new that fits you best.
Consider intersections of two fields like math and physiology or phycology and computer science.
Keep asking good questions like this one!
Thank you comment icon Wow I never hear of or thought about robotics assisted surgery, until you mentioned it. I'll look into it further as it seems like a really cool idea and thank you for your support and answer! b
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Andrew’s Answer

Hi B,

The subjects you've identified I'd see as applicable / transferable to a wide range of careers and so it might help to identify specific things you care about / would want to work on i.e what is your purpose and then determine what careers might align to this - advice I often give is to people is to think about the work you want to do and the impact you want to have vs a specific job.

For example, you might have a particular interest in mental health, which continues to be a significant societal issue, and so could turn your capability and passion for things like Psychology and Neuroscience to this in a range of ways, such as becoming a psychologist, or going into Neuroscientific research (which would also bring in Maths).

Netted out, I would work backwards from your purpose, layer in what you're passionate about / interested in, then layer in what you are good at/ what you'd need to be good at to fulfil this purpose, and then identify specific careers / jobs from there.

Hope that helps!

Andy
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Nathan’s Answer

Hi B,

I love your question. You say that you're good at math, psychology, physiology, and interested (and probably also good at) neuroscience and writing. You sound like a pretty talented student, kudos!

One thing you don't mention, is what you care about doing (I mean, you don't say necessarily that you really like math, psychology, or physiology, just that you're good at those subjects). Picking a major can feel like something you have to do RIGHT NOW, and one thing to always be on the lookout for is picking a major in a rush just because you get good grades in the subjects that major focuses on. I know some people who are accountants because they were really good at math, but they hate accounting. I know some people, too, who are in the medical field because they were really good at biology / physiology, but they hate working as PAs, nurses, physical therapists, etc.

If you're not sure about what field you'd like to go into, I'd recommend starting off by looking over the majors that sound interesting to you. For example, with the subjects you listed that you're good at, I imagine you could make a really good technical writer, or perhaps a medical or psychological researcher or research assistant -- with those fields, you get to mix up math, writing, and a bunch of other skills.

I guess all I'm trying to say, is don't limit yourself by picking a major just based on what subjects you're good at -- your major sometimes (a lot of the time) will have nothing to do with the career you eventually pursue (for example, I was a history major with a minor in theatre, and now I work at a software company in a technical role). Look for what interests you, and where that might intersect with a particular field of study, and take your first couple of semesters at college to think about that and figure it out. Also, once you're there, DO NOT be afraid to get in touch with all of the resources available to you for academic advising -- those people are there to help, so make sure to make use of them! :)

Nathan recommends the following next steps:

Start College!
List out your interests vs. the things you are good at, and then look over the course catalog to see which majors might combine both your interests and your talents.
Don't rush into a major; take a couple semesters to test the waters. Focus on your general education classes, since you'll need those for any major.
Don't be shy about asking for help from all of the advisors you'll have access to once you start school.
If grad school or med school sound like big lifts and you're sure you don't want to be in school for 6 or 8 years, make sure to think about majors that you can complete in 4 (or 5) years and that will get you started in a career once you've got your Bachelors Degree.
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RAVI’s Answer

Hi B,
Do not write out any major/profession just yet. As you grow and learn new things, your interests also might change.
With the kind of subjects you are interested in you do have the world is wide open.
If medical degree is very rigorous, you can become a physicians assistant (undergrad+ grad school), Nurse, engineer, teaching in the fields that interest you currently and future interests. You could be a statistician, data modeler, in oil and mining exploration companies. You could be an artificial intelligence analyst etc. etc. etc. The limits are endless.

My recommendation would be start your undergrad program without declaring a major for the first 2 semesters, learn about possibilities as you interact with students, professors and people in various activities in the college. Network with as many people to explore possibilities.
Then you can chose a major, may be by beginning or end of 2nd year. You can still go to a graduate program, probably in a completely different field than you imagined right now.

It is probably a little too early to overthink about it. Enjoy life, work hard, learn about new things, and changing world and industries and the professions that come along with the changes.

Best of luck for everything in the future.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hello!

Mapping Out Your Major and Career Journey

Given your aptitude in mathematics, psychology, physiology, neuroscience, and writing, you have a plethora of potential majors and career trajectories to explore. Here are a few recommendations for majors and corresponding careers that resonate with your areas of interest:

1. Major in Neuroscience:

Career Path: Opting for a neuroscience major could lead you towards a career as a neuroscientist, delving into the mysteries of the brain and nervous system. This field provides the platform to work in academic institutions, research facilities, pharmaceutical firms, or governmental bodies. You might also venture into clinical neuroscience, focusing on comprehending and addressing neurological disorders.

2. Major in Psychology:

Career Path: Choosing psychology as your major paves the way for a range of careers, including psychologist, counselor, therapist, or social worker. You could specialize in sub-fields like clinical psychology, counseling psychology, or industrial-organizational psychology, depending on your specific interests.

3. Major in Math with a Minor in Psychology or Neuroscience:

Career Path: Merging your mathematical prowess with your interest in psychology or neuroscience can open up a diverse array of career options. You could explore roles in data analysis, research, or academia that involve utilizing mathematical concepts to decipher human behavior or brain functions.

4. Major in Writing with a Concentration on Science Communication:

Career Path: If your passion lies in writing and science, consider a major in writing with a concentration on science communication. This pathway could lead to careers as a science writer, technical writer, content creator for scientific journals, or communication expert for research institutions.

5. Advance to Grad School:

Career Path: If you're open to further studies, graduate programs like a Master’s or Ph.D. in fields such as neuroscience, psychology, public health, or science communication could enhance your knowledge and pave the way for advanced career opportunities in research, academia, or specialized roles.

The ideal major and career for you will hinge on your unique interests, ambitions, and preferences concerning your work environment and job duties. Consider seeking internships or job shadowing opportunities in various fields to gain firsthand experience of potential career paths before making your choice.

Top 3 Credible Sources Used:

American Psychological Association (APA): The APA offers valuable insights into diverse careers in psychology, including educational prerequisites, job prospects, and specializations.

Society for Neuroscience (SfN): SfN provides resources on neuroscience careers, outlining various paths within the field and offering information on educational programs and professional development opportunities.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): The BLS provides extensive data on job prospects, salary details, and educational prerequisites for a variety of occupations across industries, aiding individuals in making well-informed career decisions.

Stay Blessed!
James Constantine.
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