UR is a school best known for its scientific research and notable STEM qualifications. From our impressive lasers in Optics to our leading researchers in our Environmental Sciences departments, STEM is quite noticeably the beast fueling the engine at this school we call home.
But what about the students who don’t identify with the scientific method or don’t want to study the same species of flower for years and years (or genus of flower? I’ve never known the difference). Well, we tend to have some… interesting conversations with older folks or even our own STEM peers. The question on everyone’s mind seems to be: “You know how hard it’s going to be to find a job, right?”
I’ve found a few ways to get around this question, strategies that have saved my friends and me in more than a few situations. Let’s say you’re in a situation where your behavior or service is important, like if you’re getting tips at a job. Sometimes the topic of college and majors comes up during conversation. No big deal, right? Well, if you’re an English major or in a similar boat, it can often lead to awkward conversations and smaller tips. So my advice? Lie.
I know, I know. What about my academic integrity? What if I’m proud of my major? I’ll be honest — if you’re a service worker, I’ll assume you’re not there because you want to be. It’s an honest job that makes money, and the goal is to get tips. So tell them you study statistics or even accounting — older folks eat that up. Everyone knows someone in one of those fields, and they’ll tell you a story about their niece (maybe named Nancy, she’s a wonderful girl from Nevada and always excelled at math) or maybe their brother (he didn’t do much in high school, but he was okay enough at numbers and didn’t have a backup plan). Either way, they’ll feel familiarity with you and probably leave a larger tip. A friend of mine at Smith College, who studies anthropology, utilized this strategy at her job often over the summer. On nights where she would usually have gotten less than $100 in tips, she ended up with over $200. Any way to make a living, right?
However, you might be in a situation where you can’t lie about your major. Maybe someone who already knows asked about your future plans, or maybe it’s part of the professor’s “introduce yourself” icebreaker. No big deal! Tell them your major, and then no matter what you hope to accomplish in life, tell them you want to become a teacher. No shade at all to teachers, of course — they are America’s most underappreciated heroes. There are two perks to “becoming a teacher,” though. First off, your major doesn’t necessarily matter in undergrad. English major of any kind? Say English teacher. History or anthropology major? Say history teacher. Simple as that. Secondly, there is a severe teacher shortage in this country. Sure, it’s becoming more and more of a dangerous profession due to school shootings, but nonetheless has a built-in argument for your job market search.
The last issue arises when parents bring up the job market. Some parents are very supportive of their children’s interests and endeavors, but many are not. Some parents bring up the fact that “there are no jobs for creative writing majors” or “you can Google history — what’s the point of going to college for it?” Well, I can only give you this advice: Don’t have that conversation. Change your major; avoid your parents; change your name to William and move to North Dakota; anything to avoid talking to your parents about the job market.