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"paying" daughter to go with STEM - doing the wrong thing?

allgussiedupallgussiedup Posts: 23Registered User New Member
edited October 2011 in Parents Forum
Hello, Just "stumbled upon"this site, we'll see what happens.

Son and daughter are both pretty good students who went to the same high school ... but son has always been a cut above and it shows in his major choice, electrical. They are a year apart. Daughter is a very genuine person and a kind, caring person but while her counterpart's ECs have consisted of wowing internships and lots of hands on type of activities Daughter's have been baby sitting, working at a coffee shop and so on.

Daughter, a HS school senior, wants to major in woman's and gender studies. When she told me this I had an OMG moment. Husband is mechanical and I am civil.

But we milled it over and finally we decided, fine, she's bright and maybe she'll get a job somewhere. But lately we've thought about it and honestly, we think the opportunity cost is just too great (besides the fact that we dont see "women's and gender studies," whatever that really means as a subject worthy of FOUR YEARS of costly college education).

We have told her that she will work 20-25 hours a week at least or she will not be receiving a dime from us. The thing is that even internships these days only want people who have skills i.e. not lib arts majors, according to my son and according to my own search, they want people with quantitative skills. So any internship she did get would probably be clerical in nature and uninspiring and boring for her. we are also thinking her workload will be light enough so as to permit her to be working (not to step on any toes, but everyone knows that engineers and natural science people have to study more on average than other majors - NOT TO SAY that that's always the case, I am sure there are many very hard working and driven liberal arts majors). We also picture her going the way of most liberal arts freshmen and going totally gaga over some extreme social activism issues, which we are not a fan of.

On the other hand we have sat down and talked with her and even had her go to her GC and talk about whether this major was the best idea in this economy. We are trying to push her into biology or another comparatively easy science just so she'll have SOME skills under her belt by the time she graduates. We are trying really hard to talk some sense into this girl. Again I do NOT mean to insult the liberal arts in general, I just think it's SO silly in this economy to play around taking up subjects that should be hobbies at best.

But i talked with my sister about this (a political science major in college who then went on to law school, hated it, dropped out and has been a housewife ever since, go figure) and she says I am playing favorites.. She said that Daughter with her lib arts major will have lots of reading, writing etc to do. In your experience is this true? This sister was always having take home exams and that sort of thing so we're not sure whether to trust her. Please give us any advice you have, we want what is best for both our kids and we think making D work would build up her character as well as giving her SOMETHING to put on her resume and an iota of financial security post-grad.
Post edited by allgussiedup on
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Replies to: "paying" daughter to go with STEM - doing the wrong thing?

  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Posts: 25,551Registered User Senior Member
    Nice troll work! You've hit all the buttons - disdain for liberal arts, a complete lack of awareness that there are financially successful people outside of STEM majors, and an attempt to "pay" your daughter to do something she doesn't want to do. Well done!
  • vlinesvlines Posts: 3,579Registered User Senior Member
    What does she want to do with the major once she gets it?
  • turbo93turbo93 Posts: 2,359Registered User Senior Member
    It's a troll alright. Women don't study Civil Engineering :-)

    (:-) for the humor impaired)
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 35,752Registered User Senior Member
    I really hope this post is not a real. I'm really hoping that this is a first post by a troll...and this is not really happening.

    You know...not every student WANTS to major in a STEM area...and you know...we also need folks who are NOT STEM majors. You are trying to punish your daughter by having her work an excessive amount of time per week (25 hours is way too much for any high school or college student to work) in hopes that she will change her mind and major in a STEM related field?

    Sorry...I just think this is very sad. Isn't there some way you can celebrate your daughter's strengths rather than trying to bring her down by punishing her?
    Please give us any advice you have, we want what is best for both our kids and we think making D work would build up her character

    Then make your SON work for his college costs too. You ARE playing favorites...your sister is right.

    Your daughter already has character...sadly, YOU don't see it.
  • ShrinkrapShrinkrap Posts: 11,636Registered User Senior Member
    C'mon..your trust in your sister comes from something more than the kind of exams she takes.


    Can we just have a "thread to rule all" the STEM vs humanities major threads?
  • allgussiedupallgussiedup Posts: 23Registered User New Member
    Pizzagirl wrote:
    Nice troll work! You've hit all the buttons - disdain for liberal arts, a complete lack of awareness that there are financially successful people outside of STEM majors, and an attempt to "pay" your daughter to do something she doesn't want to do. Well done!

    Hm - not sure I understand - you make it sound that I have invented some grand story that couldn't possibly be real or written fiction. The REALITY is that it is hard to get a decent job in this economy with a liberal arts degree and no prior work experience so is it so hard to imagine for you that I would be worried about my daughter's future. I do not have real "disdain" for liberal arts and in fact I am a big French lit person. But I think it is unwise to spend so much money on a degree in it for example. We are not trying to force her to do anything, it is her choice. But she did express an interest in psychology earlier in HS so we have also talked with her about a BS psychology, which while not optimal would give her SOMETHING over the garden variety liberal arts major. If you are not interested in helping I recommend you please go to another website.
  • stradmomstradmom Posts: 3,534Registered User Senior Member
    RobDeg, you need to find another hobby.
  • allgussiedupallgussiedup Posts: 23Registered User New Member
    vlines wrote:
    What does she want to do with the major once she gets it?
    That is the other thing, she has no idea. If she said " I want to major in Women and Gender Studies and then go on to law school and become a lawyer" we would be less hesitant. But her answer for now is "mom, I'm only 18, I don't know" which is not an acceptable attitude in this economy for someone with a major with such dim employment prospects.

    FYI, our definition of STEM is broader to include almost anything including math and science like economics, BS psychology, etc. is that so unrealistic? We just do not want her majoring in subjects like English, Women's Gender Studies, etc that expose the student to no quantitative or scientific ways of thinking.
  • abasketabasket Posts: 8,618Registered User Senior Member
    Wow, I don't even know where to start.

    First of all, many students who are "a cut above" choose careers that may APPEAR very simple (like teaching perhaps) and are phenomenal. Please don't measure your kids this way!

    Do you really have the type of relationship that you can say, "you will not receive a dime from us" or consider to pay her to study your "hand picked" major? Remember, she may play along with your major and do poorly (cause it's not suited for her, or because she's simply not geared towards those subjects) and then your DIME is wasted anyway!

    Biology, "easy science"???

    I'll stop there but just say that it's her life and career - of course you can choose to support it or not, but you HAVE your career - it's her turn now. She may stick with Women's Studies, she may not. But really, it's her call as long as she works hard at it.

    Will sit back now and see the other responses tally up. :)
  • JustTryHarderJustTryHarder Posts: 187Registered User Junior Member
    But, she really is only 18. And maybe she really doesn't know.
  • buriedalieburiedalie Posts: 855Registered User Member
    Husband is mechanical and I am civil.

    I have absolutely nothing to add to this thread, but I just wanted to say that the above quote is almost poetic. Good work, OP.
  • MizzBeeMizzBee Posts: 4,295Registered User Senior Member
    Your daughter will come out able to argue effectively, write well and think ciritically. She will have a solid grasp of history, political science, etc as anyone with an interdisciplinary major. She could find work in non-profit organizations, political think tanks, in academia, etc. An undergraduate biology degree would not prepare her for much more than lab work and she would be competing with thousands of failed med school applicants. Better to have her gain skills in business writing, organizing, public relations. Her courses adn internships allow her to interact with people from various backgrounds, which is another plus that is not always appreciated by STEM majors.

    I am sure that you will receive many replies about how hard humanities and social scientists work, and I will agree. While problem sets and lab work is time consuming, so are papers and researching. My program in Women's Studies was very rigourous, and I was published as an undergraduate. Expecting her to work more than her brother is indeed playing favorites, and telling her loud and clear that her passions and interests hold no value.
  • starbrightstarbright Posts: 4,660Registered User Senior Member
    RobDeg, you need to find another hobby.

    Lol. You know you've been on CC too much when you actually get the joke. Sigh.

    Abasket and MizzBee, don't take the bait, or feed the troll, or encourage them further.

    Oy...
  • allgussiedupallgussiedup Posts: 23Registered User New Member
    Have decided to ignore all the unhelpful posts.
    MizzBee wrote:
    I am sure that you will receive many replies about how hard humanities and social scientists work, and I will agree. While problem sets and lab work is time consuming, so are papers and researching. My program in Women's Studies was very rigourous, and I was published as an undergraduate. Expecting her to work more than her brother is indeed playing favorites, and telling her loud and clear that her passions and interests hold no value.

    I understand your view but daughter expressed NO "interest" or "passion" in this subject at any time before. I feel like if we asked her to write a paper describing why she chose that major she would write something like "because I didn't know what else to pick." We think she just hasn't discovered her interests yet and would love her to just give something else a try. If she enrolled in a good BS program and HATED it then well it's her choice to switch majors. She also stated that she does not want to become an academic, she said something to the affect of "I would make a horrible teacher." Well then what's left for her?
  • ShrinkrapShrinkrap Posts: 11,636Registered User Senior Member
    "Lol. You know you've been on CC too much when you actually get the joke. Sigh"

    Hey, does that mean I haven't CC too much? THAT can't be true....
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