People With So-Called 'Useless' Degrees Were Asked: 'How Did That Go For You?'
People on Reddit who got a "useless" degree (ie. art history, gender studies, etc.) were asked: "How did it turn out?" These are some of the best answers.
How did it turn out? Well, a lot of the classes wound up not being that interesting. Don't get me wrong, some of them I really enjoyed, specifically the ones that involved doing big research projects. Working on those and just pouring over countless books and documents, that was really fun and I was really happy with the work I did on those.
But, like I said, there was a lot of "fluff" and when I was in my junior year, I remember thinking "What the hell are you doing? You're better than this!" But I felt I was too far along and changing a major would wind up costing even more money that I didn't have. So I stuck it out and finished the degree.
I kept my old job as a tennis teacher during my first year out of college as I kept hunting through various entry level positions, finding I was often either unqualified or overqualified for the positions.
After just over a year, I got a temp position at a chemical plant doing technical work. It was originally meant to be a three month job. Then it became six. Then it became nine. Then a position opened up and it became a full time, salaried position.
The best part is while working alongside the engineers, I'm remembering things I leaned in my first three semesters and actually enjoying doing that work (for a change). And since the company offers full reimbursement, I'm going back to school to finish my engineering degree.
2/30 I got a diploma in special effects makeup - I've worked on The Hobbit, Mad Max, Wolverine and I, Frankenstein.
So far, so good!
3/30 I have an English degree. I got really lucky and landed a job in publishing.
4/30 I had no idea what to do in college, so I panicked and took as many classes as possible. Ended up with a triple major: Spanish, international studies, mass communication.
I'm a cook now.
5/30 I have a History degree from a good uni in the UK. It enabled me to work in Abu Dhabi as a teacher for 3 years, despite not having a teaching qualification, because it was seen that my level of English/intelligence should be pretty good. From AD I travelled much of Asia and had many experiences I would otherwise have missed out on. Upon returning to London I became a PA/project assistant and earn a nice enough wage to be buying a house later this year. It is only "useless" if you believe it so and make nothing of your opportunities.
6/30 I completed an Arts degree majoring in Anthropology. It was considered useless unless I went on to do honors or another degree on top of it. But I honestly didn't enjoy University and couldn't be bothered.
How'd it turn out? Awesome! I was able to use the degree to stay in an Asian country teaching English for almost 4 years earning good money and experiencing an amazing culture. It was the time of my life.
I would not have been able to achieve this without a degree as my Visa would not have been extended beyond 6 months. It didn't matter that I had no formal training in education.
When I returned to Australia, I was able to use my degree again in the field of ethnographic research for a major university conducting a nationwide research. I was based in a northern city for 12 months and worked with Aboriginal communities.
My current job of 5 years is not related to my university qualifications, but has definitely been a factor in several promotions I've received at my company.
7/30 Doctor of Musical Arts in Trombone. Professor. It turned out fine.
8/30 English is the butt of a lot of jokes, but I got a job as a financial marketer. It's not as useless as most think because plenty of places have a need for people who can write and communicate well, and its something that's really lacking in most companies. It's all about selling your degree for more than being able to analyse poetry or know obscure facts.
9/30 I have a degree in philosophy and applied ethics. I have a job in research and I work with my institution's Research Ethics Board. Worked out pretty well.
10/30 I got a BA in art history & graduated in 2012. Upon graduation I got a Fulbright grant, acceptance to Oxford & UCL, & invited to join the Teach For America corps. I initially accepted the Fulbright & deferred the others, but when my funding fell through, I ended up joining the Teach For America corps. I've spent the last two years giving back for the great education I received & being part of the working world while planning to return to academia post corps. I'm still waiting to hear back about the Fulbright, but yesterday I got into an underwater archaeology program in Denmark. Meanwhile, I still have deferred Oxford & UCL to keep my options open.
I'm really happy with my life right now. I got to pursue learning about something I love for four years & have continued to grow as a person, as a teacher, & as part of the working world. I also got the opportunity to travel around Southeast Asia over this past summer. The future is looking bright, & I have no regrets. I wouldn't have done it any other way.
11/30 International and Area Studies with a focus of East Asia (Primarily Japan) and minored in Japanese. It was like a combination of history and political science about all of the world while taking a couple additional classes for your focus. I think it would've been good if I had decided to go back to work in Japan, but I still wasn't completely fluent. It really didn't get me far other than entry level jobs where having a bachelor's was minimum requirement. My first job after graduation was part time (talking like 8 hours a week) teaching English reading/phonics to kindergarten and first grade non-native students. My second job was working for a school year in my old high school as an in-school tutor/mentor "college preparatory assistant" for at risk students. As you can see, neither were in my field. I found out a little too late that I liked teaching/helping people to switch to something like education.
BUT, with that being said, I will say that my major helped me out by being more open to other cultures and understanding plights and situations that people here don't think too often about. I also studied abroad for a year which changed me in too many ways to list here. I graduated from a tough school that had an insane workload. I really had to force myself to buckle down and study for the comprehensive exams and senior thesis for a major that I didn't really love. The hard work helped me more than the major itself.
After not landing any stable jobs, I went to grad school about 2.5 years later. This time I made sure I knew what I was getting into. It's in a field completely different from my undergrad but I love it and was hired for a comfortable career just one month after graduating.
The debt from both really sucks, though.
12/30 English Language and Culture in Specialized Communication. Since graduating I have worked in two factories (manual labour), currently unemployed.
13/30 I have a degree in Psychology. I only have a bachelor's, I realized too late that I didn't want to go into any careers requiring further studies like counselling. As for work, I now qualify for all the entry level, low paying jobs that say degree required or preferred but they just want you to have gone to college, they don't care what for. I have mostly done secretarial and administrative assistant type jobs. I was a part of the generation told that all you had to do was get a degree. I honestly wish I would have either not gone to college or waited until I knew myself enough to know what I was really interested in.
I also live in a relatively small town so there are fewer and less varied job opportunities than there might be in a bigger city.
14/30 English -- I'm working as a project manager in healthcare IT. I got lucky and found an employer who doesn't care what your degree is in, as long as you're smart and able to learn.
15/30 Literary Journalism degree. Not altogether useless, but journalism isn't exactly easy to get into these days, it doesn't pay well for a long time.
Got into Technical Writing instead, and now am looking into Project Management thanks to my software experience. English majors are actually highly valued in Technical Writing, especially if you can work even slightly with technology. Documentation, user guides, business proposals, regulatory paperwork, everything - if you can type in English and work to consolidate information, then you are hireable.
Knowing how to create and manage a wiki is a plus.
16/30 I have my Bachelor of Fine Arts, majored in Photography.
I now have a government job as photo/scanning technician (digitizing old things to "preserve" them and to put them online).
17/30 Got a BFA in printmaking/bookmaking. Everyone said that would be useless. I got a job in an art conservation lab right after college because of my degree. I still work in conservation and my job is way cooler than anyone I know who got a "useful" degree.
18/30 A "useless" degree is only made useless by the individual.
How you value your time, and how you want to spend your days plays into whether your reap what your degree has sown. It also depends on how hard you are willing to work, and whether you are even in a good location for your degree's field.
Not surprisingly, I graduated with a fine arts and graphic design degree. I currently work at a well-respected art museum, and in my free time meet and connect with other artists and hold gallery events as well as publish my stories, comics, etc, and attend comic conventions.
I love life and the people I have chosen to surround myself with and the opportunities that have come from working on my art more than at the museum by networking and getting to know people.
19/30 BA in Graphic Design and and BA in Illustration. Somehow ended up in marketing and design, started a full time job 4 days after graduating. Win.
20/30 I have a degree in art. I just work at Dunkin Donuts. But I do commission work here and there and I update a webcomic regularly. I'd love to turn it all into a living some day but right now it's just a little bit extra here and there and the webcomic I don't make anything off of. I designed the mascot for a school band nearby and it's so well received it's being moved for being the mascot of the entire school district. So that's something :)
21/30 I have a degree in history. I worked at Arby's and Kinkos and worked my way up to manager of a bookstore over the next few years.
I am now a technical writer. I make very good money. And I owe a lot of that to my training in history; I digest large amounts of information and write clear, concise summaries of that information.
22/30 I have a Master's in Art History and work in the digital realm for television. My degree has actually been more helpful than harmful, granted I've always had a strong background and interest in technology and new media. It gives me a lot of insight into things people wouldn't normally think about in regards to visual representation, marketing, and how things work overall.
23/30 Got my BA in Latin Language and Literature. I work in a health-care field doing clinical reporting now. People always think they got me when I tell them that's what I did with my degree, but I love Latin, wanted to study it, and did. I don't regret it and feel like it has enriched my life. Plus, it's always a fun party trick to just break out some Latin.
24/30 I have a degree in Creative Writing. It was a struggle finding a job at first but after half a year I became a receptionist at a University, then quickly became an administrator for a few undergraduate degrees. The experience working at a university helped me get my current job, but my degree helped me in getting the receptionist role in the first place.
Can't say I've been writing many novels, but the degree itself was a lot of fun and made me realize I wanted to work in the public sector rather than private.
25/30 I fairly blindly chose a Games Design and Multimedia Technology degree. It's pretty useless, the technology we were studying was out of date at the time we were learning it, and game design just isn't worth studying, it's a lot more practical than what was taught.
I'm now working as a software engineer for a game developer, I'm confident saying it's nothing to do with my degree, it's the work I did in my own time, because I really wanted to make games, so I taught myself what I needed.
It's possible to have a good career with a [bad] degree, it's just really hard.
26/30 I hear a lot of bashing on Communication(s) degrees, and I've got a two-fer or three-fer I suppose: Communication with minors in History and Women's Studies. I spent 5 years doing issue advocacy/government affairs/political work for Planned Parenthood and now work as a Communications staffer for a State Senator.
27/30 I have a major in Women and Gender Studies and Psych. The WGS degree got me exactly where I needed to go in my field, more so than the psych. degree. I just focused in on certain sub-sects of the degree, poured my heart, time, and energy into community involvement and employment, and viola! 4 social services job offers after graduating college. I took a position as the case manager for a domestic violence shelter. Just have to be creative and look for opportunities that tie in within the community. Network. Be good at it.
28/30 Got a degree in film production. One of my films was moderately successful and now I'm currently in development for a documentary that is funded. I'm basically doing what I love and getting paid for it. I'm not making outrageous amounts of money but I'm doing alright.
29/30 I did English (mostly literature, but my degree certificate says English Hons). It's a good degree from a decent university and I graduated 10 years ago.
I'm a secretary and have always been a secretary. I'm a good one, I make an ok wage, but I'll never do anything more because I don't know what I want to do.
I could have done a lot with the good degree that I have. I didn't because I didn't know what I wanted.
I would have been a lot better off doing a 'junk' degree that I was really, really passionate about with an eye on it getting me into a career I was interested in. Instead, I have a 'good' degree in something that, while I enjoyed it, I only did because it was a subject I found easy. I had no idea what I wanted to do, I figured something would turn up.
It didn't. I'm a secretary. And I'm very, very bored.
30/30 Music major, here! I am now a Solutions Architect making six figures almost six years out of school. It definitely gave me skills such as being able to take critiques and being comfortable with public speaking (demos are very close to a performance). It took my own resourcefulness to make the change in career right off the bat (during the beginning of the recession, no less), but I get angry when these degrees are called useless. You are really just getting a degree these days, major doesn't matter, so why not do something you love?
Laws should always protect the people, ALL the people!
Laws are amiable. We know this. They often change with the times, with enough revolution that is. Laws are there to protect and serve, however they can be too complex and just downright odd and often absurd.