TED Conversations

Fonkou Djoendia

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Is your college degree worthless?

Hello Ted World! I will never stop asking you guys questions! It's out of respect though, I respect you guys so much!
My question is, is there such a thing as a useless degree? Okay. my interests in a nutshell. I love talking. I love debating. I love making films. I love directing. I love public speaking. I love planning events. I am currently a junior, 17 years old, and recently I held my very first event at school. I had speakers, performers, videos, presentations, and the purpose of the event was to inspire people to be themselves and love who they are. My ultimate dream is to be a talk show host. The best major that I think suits me is communications. I cannot tell you how many times I've heard that it was a useless major. That I would never be able to find a job. And live my whole life working at Burger king.
Is there such a thing as a WORTHLESS degree? And if you don't mind sharing, what did you major in? How did that turn out?
Thank you:)
I'll make sure to answer my own question after I've read everybody's response.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Apr 5 2013: Hey Fonkou. Unfortunately I'm not in the best position to give you advice, since I'm in a very similar situation to you. I'm 18 years old and currently in the first year of my advanced science degree, majoring in physics, and I have practically no idea what I want to do once I finish college. So most of my friends/colleagues chose majors that are clearly vocationally-oriented, and they made their decisions with their future careers in mind... they opted for practical degrees like law, medicine, engineering, accounting, commerce etc. I think I'm one of the very few hedonistic ones who just followed their curiosity, chose something "interesting" and hoped for the best. I'm aware that it was possibly not the wisest decision... Personally, I would rather study something "useless" or "esoteric" but interesting than end up in an unfulfilling job, constantly regretting not taking the chance to follow my passion. Who knows, maybe in 10 years time I'll be on the streets with a sign that reads something like "physicist for hire, will solve complex mathematical equations for food". :) :)
    The only solid advice I can offer (besides the usual fluff about following your dreams etc) is this: have you considered doing a double degree, or a double major? I know at my college this is quite feasible, and it only takes one or two years longer. You could pursue your interests and also have some more "practical" qualifications to fall back on just in case. For example, I know a couple of advanced science kids who are also doing a degree in computer science or engineering or commerce as a "back up" plan. If I had a little more time to reflect on my choices I would have considered this option.
    Anyway good luck. The choice is yours, at the end of the day.
    • thumb
      Apr 5 2013: Sylvia, physics is not at all a useless degree! In fact, the study of physics builds analytical thinking and problem solving ability and both concrete and abstract reasoning.

      The field embraces some of the most fundamental questions about where things come from and how things work.

      On an entirely practical level, if you choose ultimately to go into physics as a profession or into any other science or engineering, medicine, law, or even ecnomics, people looking for prospects in those fields will tend to know what a physics degree has given you and value it.
      • Apr 6 2013: Thanks for replying. Of course, it would be ideal if I could go into research. However it is good to know what other options there are, just in case I change my mind for whatever reason. Right now I am trying to find some actual examples of former physics majors who have pursued careers in other disciplines after graduating. If anyone here could point out an example that would be most helpful.
        • thumb
          Apr 6 2013: George Lockwood on this site started grad school in physics and then changed course to become an attorney.

          My daughter's best friend during college majored in physics with a math minor and is now an economics graduate student in the business school at Harvard.

          My daughter's roommate from freshman year majored in physics and is now an MD-PhD student at Columbia.

          Those are some examples that come to mind.
      • Apr 6 2013: Thanks Fritzie. :)
        I don't know anything about economics, but I'll keep an open mind. You have been really helpful.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.