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How do I become more employable as a Humanities + Cog Sci major?

goatgirl28goatgirl28 0 replies2 threads New Member
Hello :)
I'm a current freshman at a small, highly-ranked liberal arts school double majoring in Cognitive Science and Comparative Literature. Lately I've been worrying quite a lot about becoming gainfully employed after college, considering the amount of money my family is putting into my education and how much I want/need a very intellectually stimulating job that makes use of the skills I'm learning now.

My dream is to go into print journalism, maybe in science/tech reporting. I'm a strong writer; I've won a lot of scholastic/collegiate journalism awards, I'm on the editorial staff of my college paper and I have been building a strong portfolio. I've had one relevant paid internship in this field as well. What can I do to make myself more employable in this competitive field?

I figured having computational skills would help, so I took an Intro CS class and LOVED it, so I'm considering taking more advanced CS classes as part of the Cog Sci major or even minoring in Comp Sci. The other computational courses I have taken/will be taking are: Statistics, Data Structures, Computational Neuroscience, Artificial Intelligence, Human-Computer Interaction, Natural Language Processing, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Advanced Linguistics.

Is this enough? Am I building enough skills to be employable? I truly love comparative literature and languages but I worry the requirements for that major are taking space that would allow me to do something more "useful."

I also don't particularly want to work in a tech company as a software engineer or whatever; I just want to be employable in a field I do like. I want to have concrete skills and a job that allows me to apply them. (Being a QA Linguist, Journalist, Editor, etc). It's really important to me that my job is challenging and interesting and I hate hearing all the stereotypes about unemployed liberal arts majors :( What would be some good jobs to look at?

Lastly (thank you for staying with me so long): I worry about money a LOT. My family is full-pay, which they can afford and are happy to do, but I constantly feel guilty because I know I didn't work hard enough in high school to get a merit scholarship, which my school gives out quite generously and I probably could've gotten if I worked harder. ( I was a classic "high SAT, low GPA" case).

I'm going to be an RA for the next few years, which will reduce the costs a lot, and I have 2 other jobs. Should I graduate early? I can easily do my double major in 3 or 3.5 years, and at these private schools that's a TON of money saved. My parents aren't asking me to do so, just like they didn't ask me to go to UCLA although that would've been cheaper. I just feel guilty about the money and my previous slacking and that's part of why I want to make my education pay off and be more economical.

But I know that this kind of typical college experience is something I'm incredibly lucky to have and I also want to take full advantage of it before going into the workforce. I am taking 22 units with a 3.7 GPA, have 2 super engaging jobs, have a great boyfriend and group of friends, and spend a lot of time exploring my new community and having fun. Is it irresponsible to extend my expensive college years when I'm already making the most of it?

thank you so much for your patience with my rambling! xoxo
edited March 28
3 replies
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Replies to: How do I become more employable as a Humanities + Cog Sci major?

  • HPuck35HPuck35 2112 replies16 threads Senior Member
    It is good that you are concerned about what to do after college. But don't overly obses about it.

    Talk to your placement office and see if they have any guidance. Ask where last year's graduates ended up.

    Keep up your GPA. Be the best at what you do and therefore be prepared and ready for whatever opportunities present themselves. Be the one that the employers will want to hire.

    Nitche jobs are one possible idea. The intersection of writing and CS is tech writing, including instruction manuals. I read so many bad tech manuals that there must be (or there should be) employers begging for competant writers that also understand the tech behind it.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7757 replies82 threads Senior Member
    edited March 30
    You are balling up a whole lot of worries here which magnifies the anxiety level. You might find it helpful to find somebody to talk to locally (well, virtually these days, but you get the point!) to tease out the strands of which worry and fret is worth paying attention to and acting on, and which it's ok to put down for now.

    So, you realize now how much harder you could have / should have worked in HS- super!. We had a collegekid come to that realization, though we had known it all along. What we also knew was that she was doing a pretty darn good job of growing up in herself (which is hard, and way more critical to life overall), and that she did a *good enough* job at the grades/stats part of HS to get into a college that would challenge her and be a good place for the next part of her growing into herself. Sounds like you did something similar. In college, ours shone- because she was ready and able to.

    Your parents have given you the gift of debt-free education. That is their decision, and their responsibility. Your decision and responsibility is what you do with it. "Guilt" is not a helpful construct here, but "choice" is: you recognize that you have been given a fabulous gift and - by this very post!- you are choosing to find ways to use it well. That is genuinely the best that you- or anyone- can do, and speaking as a parent, is all that we hope for :smile:

    Worrying about being employable is a valid worry for almost every college student. From where I sit- old enough to have seen and been part of several employment boom & bust episodes, and with collegekids/gradschoolkids in the same boat with you, the best thing I can offer is: follow the thing that is most interesting to *you*. The gift of a LAC is that you have a little time to try new things- as you did with CS!- and learn more about what things are interesting to you. One of my collegekids has reverse engineered many, many careers of people who have jobs/lives that she admires, trying to figure out how they got there- so that she can follow their path. One of the things that she has discovered in this process is that not one of them followed a straight path. In retrospect, you can see the threads, but you would never guess it working forward. For a superb example of a (still pretty young) woman who ended up places she never dreamt of- despite lots of problems and screwups along the way!- read Susan Power's book The Making of an Optimist.

    To re-phrase your last question, is it responsible to waste an amazing opportunity and not maximize it?
    edited March 30
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2886 replies8 threads Senior Member
    To be marketable be sure to take 2 levels of a programming language. SQL, C#, Java, .NET, etc.
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