Nothing is worse than regret.
The stuff we wish we had done always comes back to haunt us. And when we are at a nexus in our lives--college, when we must decide what to study for our future--we're not always mentally equipped to make the best decisions. Enter regret.
SS_Matt asked Reddit:
Here were some of the wistful answers.
MIS/Data Science. It was still a pretty newish thing when I was in college, and that's what I ended up doing as a career anyways.
But what did I actually major in? Russia Studies.....
If i had a college do-over, I'd major in "actually going to my classes."
Plants Being Plants
I didn't take the hint when I did really well in the plant-related units of my introductory biology courses. I did molecular biology instead, and it was interesting but competitive. Botanists are a far more chilled-out bunch.
Money Money Money
Engineering or Building Science.
I'm a high school calculus teacher. I like my job and am really good at it, but i'm 16 years in and my salary is capped at $51k. It'd be nice to be able to make what I think I'm worth....or at LEAST have the option to be rewarded for good work.
I studied renewable energy, If I could go back I'd double major in engineering or business. Probably Engineering.
I'd go to veterinary school. I didn't think I could handle dying animals before, but now I realize I'm mentally stronger than I thought and wish I could help them more.
Business, sales, marketing. I did engineering instead, but I am a crap engineer. I now sell things on Amazon. How's that for a swtich.
I wish I would have majored in Anthropology or History. I was more concerned with job prospects than my passions.
Building A Life
I would finish my architecture degree. My parents demonized education my whole life and any time I brought up an idea of a career they'd just kind of laugh it off. I put myself through community college and did really well, but there was no way I could afford going to a university so now I just have two pretty useless associates degrees and can't get a living wage paying job. I'm lucky to have a husband who is more than happy to take care of me, but it's hard not to be a bit bitter about it all. I always dread that "what do you do?" question in social situations.
I would major in finance and/or accounting. I really love my job (its my dream job) and I obviously got it with my marketing degree (I'm a business analyst for actuarial data processing) but having the foundation of finance and accounting would help me so very much. Now I feel like I'm two years behind just because I'm learning all these accounting and finance concepts. My MBA is helping me learn more in these areas tho so you could always learn outside of undergrad.
Tired Of Fighting
I would not have studied computer science. I graduated in 2001 and now that I'm pushing 40, I'm aging out of the profession. Being a 40 year old woman who is a programmer, architect, etc., is not a plus point. If I was an accountant or a doctor, my experience would work in my favor.
Right now, if I walk into a room full of people in their early twenties talking about Python (my fav), I am treated like their mother and it's yet another barrier I have to fight. I already fought the woman barrier, now I'm fighting the age barrier. It's exhausting.
Computer science, because living off a Counselor salary is impossible.
What is a counselor salary you say? anywhere between 25K to 70K a year depending where you go for work. Those starting out are expected to get 25k to 35k a year :(
What We Love Vs. What We're Good At
Through my entire childhood I was always REALLY good at math and science. I was taking high school level math classes in 6th grade, and spend half my day at the local community college taking math and science classes my senior year of high school. When I was very young, I also had a large interest in outer space. Combining that interest with my skill in math and science, I started college majoring in aerospace engineering. I was quickly disillusioned with the field. It wasn't as interesting as I had expected, and I didn't find that I had very much in common with many of my classmates. As a result, I didn't care about school so much, and started failing some classes. I did so poorly I had to switch majors. At that point, I was just looking for whatever would be easiest for me, so I switched to math, without really caring about the major. This did nothing for my self-motivation, and I eventually dropped out of college (no worries, that was a decade ago, and everything turned out well).
Since leaving college, I have discovered that I am passionately interested in history. I'm almost constantly reading a book on history, listening to history podcasts (or audiobooks), or watching history programs on Youtube. I think if I had discovered this passion before or during college, I could have found a field which was interesting enough to motivate me to do well in school.
I would not change: Accounting. I have had a good career in business & management. My advice to young people is when choosing a major be clear & informed about the realistic job expectations in that field. The education is the path, not the destination.
Culinary school. I work IT, the pay is nice and the work is always available. But I don't enjoy it at all. It's not for me. I would have gone to culinary school and been a chef.
First of all, I wouldn't go to a university THEN a community college. I'm in debt up to my eyeballs. Second, I'd major in software engineering/development. I would have loved to be able to work from home one day. I've tried, off and on, to teach myself programming but it seems my brain simply doesn't work like that.
i think what i decided to major in was a good choice for me, but not working during college and failing to land internships has really set me back. even if i am a college graduate, i'm hardworking, i'm smart, and most co-workers/supervisors like me, i've still ended up in low level labor jobs ever since i graduated college.
Art Isn't Easy
Graphic design. I love art and it should have been my first choice but was convinced into going into a medical career. I hate people so I chose vet technology and not have a 30000 degree I don't use.
Chemistry. I love chemistry, I just love biochemistry more. But there aren't a whole lot of jobs for me out in the real world. It's pretty niche, usually seen as "less knowledgeable chemist" or "less knowledgeable biologist" in the context of positions people need filled
Information Systems. Because it's my job and I like it.
I had to work my way up to where I am at, I think a degree would have saved me a decade of working to where I am now. On the other hand, because of my English degree, I can analyze the hell out of literature.