3rd year undergrad student considering a 180 change on college path

<p>Hi,</p>

<p>I just finished my 2nd year as a BioSci major (GPA 3.48, Science GPA 3.2, Non-Science GPA 3.8-3.9) and biology and science just doesn't seem to be working out for me. I'm not enjoying it and my grades are beginning to reflect that more and more. I am a strong writer with eclectic taste and I feel that science is too provincial for me. I'm much more interested in marketing or advertising. </p>

<p>Thus, I've been contemplating switching majors to a SocSci or Arts/Humanities (probably International Relations) for almost 2 years now, but have been afraid to make the switch because I've already taken so many rigorous science and premed courses such as upper div biology and organic chemistry (that have also brought my GPA down). How will employers and grad schools judge my academic performance? Will they actually look at the courses that I took and understand that my GPA falls below the average for social science majors because of the science courses? </p>

<p>Would I be making the right move by completely changing disciplines just because I'm not happy with how biology is going. I've had 2 years to think and I don't want to be regretting my major the rest of my life. The last thing I want to be doing is working in a research lab all day. Nor do I have enough passion to go into medicine like my father, who is partial to me studying biological sciences. Unfortunately, business is an unknown territory to me and my family and I don't know if I will succeed. </p>

<p>Here are a few things about me;</p>

<ul>
<li>My grades in science classes have been steadily declining</li>
<li>I've always gotten As in lower division SocSci and Arts/Hum classes</li>
<li>I can't see myself having a job in science in the future <-- Big problem for me</li>
<li>I enjoy writing </li>
<li>I enjoy working with people</li>
<li>I work hard but Bio, Chem, Physics, Math departments are unforgiving </li>
</ul>

<p>By the way, I go to UC Davis, where it is the norm to be an engineer/scientist. The pressure is immense and I just don't know if this is a risk that will pay off. </p>

<p>Please help me decide what I should do. </p>

<p>I appreciate any and all of your support, help, and advice. Thanks so much!!</p>

<p>If you aren't happy now, you're not going to be happy 5, 10, 20 years down the line, so why continue down this path? I would explore your humanities options. If you like writing, you could have the opportunity to specialize in medical writing, or you could write whatever, wherever. Find something you really want to do :)</p>

<p>You need to change your path immediately. I would absolutely change. The question is how and to what. Now you don't have a lot of time. Are you about to begin your 3rd or 4th year, by the way?</p>

<p>To a certain extent grad schools will consider your grades, but improvement is important and other things like activities and internships are too.</p>

<p>The only problem I have with your post is that it says more about what you don't like than about what you do. Figure out what you like. Find out what it takes to graduate with a degree in IR. Take economics and writing classes, get some cool internships, whatever.</p>

<p>Stop the course you are on right now. It's not working for you and you'll be much better off if you respond to that fact forcefully rather than going through the motions and sticking to some program that's a road to nowhere.</p>

<p>You don't have a second to waste. And the first order of business is to figure out a plan, and the second order is to tell your parents you are going with your own instincts and predilections (better to do this, though when the plan is firm).</p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>Thank you. By the way I will be a junior next year. I'm halfway through college. </p>

<p>You guys are right. If I make the change it has to be now.</p>

<p>But I talked to my parents last night for a long time, and they emphasized that a technical degree will get me farther than a degree in a social science, alluding that it's natural to be struggling and disliking the classes and things I'm learning about. In other words, they were suggesting that I stick out finishing my biology degree, and after college, could go to business school and get into marketing. They believe that I've dug myself into a hole, that I need to dig myself out, and that I shouldn't start digging another hole. The question is, when I get out of this hole where will I end up and is it right to reluctantly try to get my biology degree while having my eyes set on something else (business and marketing) after college? </p>

<p>Thanks again. I really appreciate it.</p>

<p>
[quote]
But I talked to my parents last night for a long time, and they emphasized that a technical degree will get me farther than a degree in a social science, alluding that it's natural to be struggling and disliking the classes and things I'm learning about. In other words, they were suggesting that I stick out finishing my biology degree, and after college, could go to business school and get into marketing. They believe that I've dug myself into a hole, that I need to dig myself out, and that I shouldn't start digging another hole.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>If you really feel that this is good advice from your parents, go for a double major. It's true that you don't want to give up on something too easily, but the logic that a technical degree will get you farther than another kind of degree is true only in the context of liking what you are doing well enough that you can actually do it. What your parents are saying has a kernel of truth to it in the sense that if you now start going down another path and end up disliking it, you've lost some more time and you start to look really indecisive.</p>

<p>If you know what you really want to do, just do it and don't look back.</p>

<p>I would think you have at least some degree of science and math aptitude. Why don't you get a degree in economics (which can always help in the business world), apply to Berkeley's BASE program for next summer or other similar programs, and get yourself a good internship for the time being if you can?</p>

<p>One thing we all learn is that parents are sometimes useful as sounding boards and for guidance, but other times you have to treat them like interviewers. If you go to them and say, "I don't know what I want to do, but I just hate biology," it's a lot less likely to impress them in the right way than "I've thought about this and developed a plan and I am giving up biology to focus on X because I now know that that's where my best path lies." Even if you present the latter, it doesn't mean you have to agree with and follow their response.</p>

<p>Maybe you can take an extra semester at Davis to make a transition work out better for you.</p>

<p>If you want to go into business, the first thing you need to start doing is learning about it. It's a big wide world out there, and the key to get onto the right path is to find out what paths there are. Something like BASE could be really good. Google it.</p>

<p>Unfortunately I cannot double major because I have too many units. Not only that, but I've spoken with a counselor before and they think it'd be really hard to do both since I need to do research and projects as a bio major while an undergrad. </p>

<p>Thanks for the information about BASE. I'm considering it and I plan to find out more, probably even try to speak with a recruiter to increase my chances of being accepted next summer. But does doing BASE asssume that I stick with majoring in bio? And how competitive is it? </p>

<p>As usual, thanks again.</p>

<p>The only way out of a hole is to climb out. You have to pursue what you enjoy - success follows passion, and if you aren't at all passionate about what you are currently on the path to do, you won't be nearly as successful as if you were.</p>

<p>
[quote]
But does doing BASE asssume that I stick with majoring in bio? And how competitive is it?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>No idea. Ask them. There are other schools that have programs like this, I think. Why not look into a few, just to make sure you end up at one you want to attend? I think the BASE program is attractive 'cause it's set up like a mini-MBA.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Unfortunately I cannot double major because I have too many units.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Do you know what it is you want to do academically? That is where answering whether you should drop bio should start. Otherwise, it COULD seem like you are chickening out perhaps. But generally, I would just go ahead and drop it and move on.</p>

<p>Are you aware that for a lot of UC classes, if they aren't overenrolled, you can enroll in them as extension courses in your situation. Now, it does cost. But let's say you decide you will just grit out the Biology major because you decide you might want to do biotech marketing even though you don't like biology per se. You could do course work in the other area (e.g., economics) and get as close to a degree as possible. And then make up the difference with add-on extension courses that also appear on a transcript, but that don't count for a degree. It's just a thought. It would of course require explanation to grad schools and companies and wouldn't be added to your degree GPA, but it could be a good story you could tell. I wouldn't do it if it required more than an extra summer and fall semester, myself; at a certain point, it probably starts to look weird.</p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>Have you looked into scientific or technical writing? Your science background, combined with excellent writing skills, makes a potent combination. A friend of mine used to be an engineer and now writes books on CS systems. Sounds like a great life, and you can make your own opportunities if you want to hang out your own shingle.</p>

<p>Thanks for all the suggestions. So far you all have been more help than any advisor. I've never heard of extension courses before. I probably need to find out more about then. </p>

<p>Biotech marketing seems like an exciting field to be in. I think that for now, my short term plan is to at least take some introductory econ classes. The question is, is that enough, and is it enough to get into programs like BASE, etc?</p>

<p>Scientific writing also seems like an interesting choice. Teachers and TAs do comment on my exceptional lab reports, but I wonder what it's like as a career.</p>

<p>You can write for magazines or newspapers (and their online counterparts). There is always a need for good writers to explain complicated ideas in ways that readers can understand them -- and yet without insulting your audience's intelligence. </p>

<p>Lots of scientific companies (pharmaceutical companies, software developers, research facilities, etc.) hire writers to prepare technical manuals, marketing materials, internal and shareholder publications, etc.</p>

<p>I looked into CS tech writing at one point (I was a journalism/polisci major) and was daunted by all the CS I'd have to take. It was a full minor's worth of programming courses! I wound up temping for a financial services firm that hired liberal arts sorts, was hired, learned pension administration, and then branched out into employee benefit communications. The writing skills made the difference in my career.</p>

<p>You haven't lost anything here -- just learned something important about yourself, and early enough that you can change paths without backtracking.</p>

<p>OP your GPA was decent enough and 100 level humanities courses are ridiculously easy. The advice given to you three years ago was tripe. I guarantee that if you followed it, that you are now a loser.</p>

<p>^ lol. Jeez, that was a bit harsh. But I'm curious to see how it turned out for him.</p>

<p>It seems like you have already made up your mind.</p>

<p>I'd keep your current major.</p>

<p>A BioSci major will be qualified to get most jobs that any LA major can, as long as you have some decent writing and communication skills.</p>

<p>I'd get the BioSci degree, then try to get into Pharma Sales - good money, good quality of life, low stress.</p>

<p>Remember, there is always grad school, and if you want to work in business/marketing - a BA in BioSci combined with a MBA or MA in Marketing is VERY employable in the BioTech field.</p>

<p>You'd be making a mistake by switching now, you are on a good pathway.</p>

<p>I will echo the pharmaceutical area as a potential area for you. There are ad agencies that specialize in biotech that would love someone who can write and knows how to read scientific literature.</p>

<p>lol the original post was three years ago. i don't know why people keep responding...</p>

<p>^^</p>

<p>Yep, for all we know the OP self-immolated.</p>

<p>Have you looked into whether a minor in another subject would put you over the unit-cap? This could be a good way to keep your technical knowledge and specialize it towards marketing/writing/business.</p>