Career Indecisiveness

<p>Hello everyone!</p>

<p>I'm a 22 year old college senior from Missouri. My current major is Japanese Language & Culture. I will be graduating in May 2012. I definitely plan to get my first degree in my current major, but I am considering enrolling in a different degree program next year, possibly at a different university.</p>

<p>First, I'd like to explain some background information so that you'll be able to understand my current situation. When I first started attending classes at my current university, I was a Biochemistry & Biotechnology major. I've always had strong interest in the sciences. When I was younger, I lived in Florida and wanted to become a Marine Scientist. My family moved to Missouri when I was in the middle of my sophomore year of high school, and I was quite a pessimistic teenager, so I gave up on Marine Science (the only significant body of water we have here in MO is the Mississippi, which looks more like chocolate milk than water) and switched my career plans to becoming a Chemist. I was particularly interested in Pathology/Toxicology, so that's why I chose to be a Biochemistry & Biotechnology major. </p>

<p>In high school, I took Advanced Placement Biology and Chemistry, and scored high enough on both AP exams to get full college credit. So, I was planning on taking the second level chemistry class offered at my university during my first semester. To get a head start in picking my classes, I talked to an academic advisor the July before the school year was to begin. She told me that all of the second level chemistry classes were full and suggested that I simply take general education classes my first semester, so I did that and also took Japanese as a foreign language since I had studied it in high school and wanted to continue. (Now that I look back on it, I see that she wasn't the best advisor, but hindsight 20/20, right?) </p>

<p>Over the course of that semester, I really enjoyed the Japanese program offered at my university. At the same time, my interest in the sciences dwindled. Consequently, I decided to change my major to Japanese Language & Culture. I wanted to become a Japanese teacher. I had exceptional command and understanding of the language, enjoyed communicating in it, and wanted to instill in my students the same appreciation for foreign languages and cultures that my teachers instilled in me. I took many classes about Japanese literature and culture, and I'm currently enrolled in a very advanced level of Japanese. I've received many awards and have gotten involved in a variety of community organizations and events related to Japan. I studied abroad last year in Japan, receiving some generous scholarships to do so, and had an incredible experience that will remain meaningful to me for the rest of my life... In other words, I have put a ton of effort into my prospective career.</p>

<p>Anyway, here I am in the first semester of my senior year and I'm debating on whether or not I really want/should become a Japanese teacher. While I know I would enjoy doing it to a great extent, I'm not sure that I want to pursue it as a career, or if it is even practical for me to do so. With the economy in its current state and Japanese being a language that is not as in demand as Chinese, Arabic, or Korean, I'm not sure how many job opportunities there will be for me or if there will be any job security if I do happen to find a job. </p>

<p>This being the case, I've considered returning to school to study science after I graduate. With how rusty I probably am in math and science, pursuing a degree in something highly technical such as Biochemistry & Biotechnology seems rather unrealistic now. So, I'm thinking about going into Nutritional Science, which is closely related to my original career goal of becoming a Pathologist/Toxicologist. I would most likely want to become a nutritionist or researcher, and I would love to be able to somehow incorporate my study of Japanese into my future job because it's not only a "class" or "foreign language" anymore, it's a part of who I am. </p>

<p>I would greatly appreciate any advice that you can offer about what I should do, or about some of the careers that I am debating about (Japanese Teacher, Nutritionist/Researcher). </p>

<p>I'll be looking forward to seeing what everyone thinks. </p>

<p>Thank you!</p>

<p>I am very undecided myself, so I feel for you.</p>

<p>IMO, if you market yourself creatively, your foreign language degree will give you an edge when applying to a wide range of professions. International businesses could use your translation skills and cultural knowledge to reach Japanese clients. You could teach English in Japan, or work for a policy institute, social service organization, or federal embassy monitoring political and economic relations, peace, and diplomacy. Don't dismiss the value of your degree before you step into the workforce.</p>

<p>If you feel motivated to return to school, can pay for it w/o accruing additional debt, and believe that a degree in nutrition would provide more career opportunities than your current undergrad degree, then go for it. But first do some soul-searching. Why did your current interest in science dwindle as an undergraduate, and might you lose your passion again when pursuing a degree in nutrition? What level of involvement do you wish to maintain in Japanese studies now that you consider it a part of you? (e.g. Would you be satisifed if you only read Japanese books and news in your leisure time instead of using Japanese in the workplace?)</p>

<p>Btw, I'm sorry it took so long for someone to respond to your post! Maybe you should try posting in a forum that receives more traffic (e.g. College Life).</p>