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Not utilizing my college degree. Has anyone else done this?

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Hello all,


I am 22, soon to be 23 and graduated college a year ago with a degree in geology. I loved, never changed it once, I love this field with a passion!


When I graduated college, I said to myself "alright, I will get a job with a company and do "geology" things for them and my life will be set"


But what college never told you is that it doesn't work like that.


All these interviews I went on were for jobs that had VERY little to do with my degree but required me to have it!??? Sitting in office all day, writing papers, faxing, is not what my major is about or most majors are about! So I said screw that, that is boring and not my personality!


So I got a temporary job working in a warehouse while I look for a new job, I decided to become a teacher. I can talk about what I love and it fits my personality. Then as I did research, I found out that teachers have to pay for stuff on their own and are limited when it comes to teaching. I will already be making little money as is but then I will have to be spending more? So now I am having second thoughts!


At the company I work for now, one of my managers told me their is a position that is opening up that is pretty much a pre-manager position. So its a promotion.


I have been thinking about taking it so I can finally make more money, move out on my own, and start my life. But at the same time, I will fell SO GUILTY knowing that I wasted so much of my fathers money to go to college and not end up doing what I love to do. What was the whole point then?


Please help me!

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College is about more than using the facts you learned about your specific major. It's about critical thinking, learning how to question things, analyze things, learning how to learn. I mean, what do you think philosophy majors do?


My father told me to get the most difficult degree I could and that would show that I was intelligent, and then I could find something somewhat related as my career. I majored in biology and chemistry and now I do project management for pharmaceutical research. I am most definitely not doing chemistry problems and reciting biology facts all day at work, but I am still part of the scientific process, and the job is challenging and exciting. I definitely feel like I am using my degree.


I am also still a huge science buff and watching scientific shows and reading the latest journal articles and books is a big part of my life. I will always be happy I understand the core basics and be able to keep up in the field.


Personally I don't know much about geology but there must be more to it than loving talking about the facts you read in textbooks. You oculd still find some job that deals with the basics, maybe something in the energy industry.


I know a girl who was a geology major and she doesn't do anything directly related now, but had a gorgeous rock collection in her apartment. Just because your job doesn't center around geology doesn't mean it can't be a great life-long love for you.

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Oh gosh. I just wrote this whole detailed reply, but then accidentally deleted it. Anyway, I am a geologist too! Or rather, I will be. I graduate in the Fall. In my classes they strongly advocated grad school because most industry jobs do not consider only bachelor degrees. If you are short on money, apply to a university heavy in research because they pay you to conduct research of your choice. Also, apply to get fellowships even if you have a low GPA, because I know two grad students who have lower GPA's (like 3.1) who got a great amount of money just for applying.


My other reply had more details, but I cannot recall what it was. I hope this little amount helped! PM me if you have any questions or anything.

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Frosted, maybe you should think: what really appeals to you about geology? Because I suspect the answer isn't just "rocks"!


Which aspect of it really worked for you? Analysing a situation, and then understanding it? Collecting data? Being in a lab? Being outside?


And then try to figure out how a career might appeal in the same way.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hmm well you're in a similar boat to many college graduates. So many college degrees are not worth what you put into them and don't guarantee specific jobs, but it's too late to do anything about that. I agree with others here that you'd probably have to go to grad school, maybe look into less selective colleges, retake the GRE if possible, and become more studious. But you know what, if you know yourself well enough to say "I'm just an average Joe", this warehouse pre-management position might be perfect for you. If you make a decent amount of money, that's something to be proud of. At least you aren't an unemployed geology major.

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Of all my close friends from University and High School, I can only think of 2 who are using their degrees day by day at work. One's a town planner (he was on the same course as me), and one, a friend from high school, is a civil engineer. Of the 15 or so people who graduated off my course (and we all had masters) I think the guy I just mentioned is the only one working in planning.


Part of this is down to the economy, in my particular case planning is one of the hardest hit professions, being both public sector and linked with the development industry. Almost all planning jobs advertised these days are part-time, temporary or both. I used my degree for a total of 20 months, working as a planning consultant, got made redundant and haven't worked in it since. That was 4 years ago, so the chances of getting back into the profession are pretty much zilch. Now I'm a photographer, I also work part time in a call-centre and you would not believe the number of people in there who hold higher degrees.


But people who do science degrees are even less likely to be using their degree, there are so few professional scientists in the world. Chemists probably fair best, my Dad did chemistry and works for a chemical company, other chemists tend to work for big pharma. I had a friend who studied geology and he said he would love to be a professional geologist after graduating, but also pointed out that unless he could stay at university as a researcher, being a professional geologist almost invariably meant searching for oil deposits, which he didn't really fancy. So now he lives in a cabin in the Orkneys making and selling wooden crafts while admiring the local geology.

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