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greyrobin
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06 Nov 2013, 8:32 am

I'm applying for college and can't choose between majors.. I would love to study Philosophy if only the career after graduate could be more interesting, or Computer Science but I'm afraid that I may not be able to handle the Math courses. So I narrowed it down to Geology and Cognitive Science.

I've been into Geology since young. I spent my childhood in reading books about historical geology, collecting rocks and memorizing names of dinosaurs. During secondary school I started to interested in Psychology, and found that Cognitive Science is the area that I interested most, as it can be related to many other fascinating disciplines including Philosophy, Linguistics, Artificial Intelligence, Neuroscience, Psychology, Anthropology...

And now I have to make a choice between them to be my major in the coming college years and perhaps for my whole life but I can't make the decision to concentrate on either of them and give up the other one. I'm afraid that I'll be regretful or don't like the one I chose, or what even worse, that I lost interest in it some day in the future. Also I think I should choose the one with more Aspie-friendly career after graduate as I'm super shy and socially awkward that I don't think I can do jobs that need lots of social skills.

Could you please give me some suggestions? And how do you cope with it while losing interest in what you are majoring in? I'd love to read about your special interests and majors in college or anything you would like to talk about on this topic. Thanks a lot! =)


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arielhawksquill
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06 Nov 2013, 9:22 am

Many schools will let you enter as an undeclared major, or make it easy to switch majors once you are already accepted. You don't have to commit yourself before you have even taken any classes! As a freshman and sophomore you'll mostly be taking general requirements and prerequisites that don't focus on your major yet, anyway. Try taking some of that math you think will be too hard (take it pass/fail, so it won't effect your GPA if you can't hack it), THEN decide which major you want to declare.



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06 Nov 2013, 10:32 am

Since you like science but worry about math, you might have a preferred cognitive style of story/narrative, say similar to the case study approach of law, medical, or business school. I'm kind of this way. And I can do well at technical classes but have to really put the time in. For example, I need to be able to describe verbally at least to myself what a graph is doing. I can't just look at a chessboard and 'see' it, like apparently some people can. So ideally, I like to take only one technical class at a time, or pre-study even a little bit and that can be helpful.

To me, biology and geology feel like nontechnical sciences or very much lend themselves to the narrative approach. Whereas chemistry and physics feel like technical subjects.

In a speech from around 2007, Temple Grandin said persons on the Spectrum tend to have one of three cognitive styles, with some overlap of course:
1) abtract thinkers, who can dive into math, chess, and maybe music,
2) narrative thinkers like myself, and
3) people who think in pictures, visual thinkers, like Temple herself.



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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06 Nov 2013, 10:46 am

This is Temple's speech. See about 21 minutes into it. And please remember, this was posted back around 2007, so people may have even better information these days.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgEAhMEgGOQ[/youtube]



Codyrules37
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06 Nov 2013, 10:52 am

flip a coin. heads its geology and tails its cognitive science



Thelibrarian
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06 Nov 2013, 11:27 am

Speaking as a philosophy major, it is a great degree in that it teaches you how to think and evaluate information. But it is lousy in terms of finding a job. I went for a master's in a field where I could find work.

So, my recommendation would be to major in the field in which you are most likely to gain employment, and it seems to me that would be geology. This is especially true in today's terrible job market.

As far as your other interests are concerned, those are things you can learn about on your own.



greyrobin
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06 Nov 2013, 12:03 pm

AardvarkGoodSwimmer wrote:
Since you like science but worry about math, you might have a preferred cognitive style of story/narrative, say similar to the case study approach of law, medical, or business school. I'm kind of this way. And I can do well at technical classes but have to really put the time in. For example, I need to be able to describe verbally at least to myself what a graph is doing. I can't just look at a chessboard and 'see' it, like apparently some people can. So ideally, I like to take only one technical class at a time, or pre-study even a little bit and that can be helpful.

To me, biology and geology feel like nontechnical sciences or very much lend themselves to the narrative approach. Whereas chemistry and physics feel like technical subjects.

In a speech from around 2007, Temple Grandin said persons on the Spectrum tend to have one of three cognitive styles, with some overlap of course:
1) abtract thinkers, who can dive into math, chess, and maybe music,
2) narrative thinkers like myself, and
3) people who think in pictures, visual thinkers, like Temple herself.



I totally agree with you on both cognitive style and the "nontechnical sciences" and "technical science" part. Just like you, I also do better in the "nontechnical sciences" and need to spend time on changing the concepts in "technical sciences" into a more cognitive-friendlier way. I'm pretty good at logical reasoning but the sense stopped working when it related to numbers and calculating. I think I'm somewhere between visual thinking and narrative thinking, much closer to the former one when I was young but not rely on it entirely now (perhaps because of the training through the school years).

And thank you, I really enjoy watching the speech! =)



greyrobin
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06 Nov 2013, 12:19 pm

Thelibrarian wrote:
Speaking as a philosophy major, it is a great degree in that it teaches you how to think and evaluate information. But it is lousy in terms of finding a job. I went for a master's in a field where I could find work.

So, my recommendation would be to major in the field in which you are most likely to gain employment, and it seems to me that would be geology. This is especially true in today's terrible job market.

As far as your other interests are concerned, those are things you can learn about on your own.



Sad but true, Philosophy is really wonderful and worthwhile learning if only ignore the part of getting employed.

I also tend to choose Geology as a major and keep the others as interests, but kind of worry if I start to lose interest in it someday like I kind of *did* in secondary school and cannot change back to Cognitive Science anymore.

Thanks for your advice! =)



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06 Nov 2013, 2:05 pm

You're very welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed the speech.

I've found the three types, with overlap and mixtures of course, to be very helpful. When I was younger, people would always tell me how great I was at math. I was if my life circumstances were such if I could put time into it and if I could kind of 'bite' into it.

By the way, I classify astronomy and economics as technical subjects, too.



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07 Nov 2013, 4:00 pm

I would be looking at how good the courses are at the college you will be attending. There is little point doing a degree in geology if it is so low ranked internationly that it is like an expensive bit of toilet paper.

Just my 2 cents.


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MakaylaTheAspie
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07 Nov 2013, 4:45 pm

Just whatever you do, don't go in undecided. You're more likely to succeed if you declare a major. They're all for your money, that's about it.


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greyrobin
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08 Nov 2013, 11:42 pm

Solvejg wrote:
I would be looking at how good the courses are at the college you will be attending. There is little point doing a degree in geology if it is so low ranked internationly that it is like an expensive bit of toilet paper.

Just my 2 cents.



Good point, thank you! According to QS the college I was applying ranked top 50 in Psychology, 50 to 100 in Biology, while Geology was in top 150.

Could that be considered "low" in Geology?



greyrobin
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08 Nov 2013, 11:44 pm

MakaylaTheAspie wrote:
Just whatever you do, don't go in undecided. You're more likely to succeed if you declare a major. They're all for your money, that's about it.


Thank you! I will probably make up my mind in a month and start to prepare for it. =)



Solvejg
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09 Nov 2013, 9:10 pm

greyrobin wrote:
Solvejg wrote:
I would be looking at how good the courses are at the college you will be attending. There is little point doing a degree in geology if it is so low ranked internationly that it is like an expensive bit of toilet paper.

Just my 2 cents.



Good point, thank you! According to QS the college I was applying ranked top 50 in Psychology, 50 to 100 in Biology, while Geology was in top 150.

Could that be considered "low" in Geology?


I would go psychology for that point alone.


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Aleithei
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11 Nov 2013, 12:45 pm

also a lot of schools will let you do a combined degree or a double major. so if you have it narrowed down to 2, you could do both.


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11 Nov 2013, 2:48 pm

If you do geology, you can always move to North Dakota and work in the Balkken Oil field.