I have been musing over this dilemma for some time now, and the other college thread made me decide to write this one. Ok here is the thing, I am in my third year of college, and I have switched degree plans three times. At first I started out wanting to be a Physical therapist. I was making 30k a year at a factory, and figured I wanted something new. I realized that physical therapists don’t make much money, but it was the job security I was after. School for PTs was pretty competative, and I later learned how much Pharmacists make, and that they don’t have much more schooling, and the program was just as difficult to get into. So I switched plans. No change in classes though, as they were pretty similar.
Later, after working in a pharmacy for a year, just in the last 6 months actually, I decided pharmacy wasn’t for me. The customers overwhelmed me and I tended to lash out in minute ways, and I discovered that my defense mechanism was a bit of arrogance. All this world needs is another grumpy, arrogant pharmacist that cannot handle the stress of a high pressure, fast paced job.
So I decided to switch my degree again. I was sticking to a biological field at this point because most of my current credits (64) were mostly maths, chemistry and biology (probably 30 credits in the sciences and math). Now, I chose biochemistry because I still plan on doing some pharmacology, but it is open to whatever grad school I get into.
But my dilemma is that I am not really all that good at it. I get B’s in chemistry, and tend to slack off and not study as hard as I need to. I guess I get distracted by those that absorb it readily and don’t need to study so hard. Math is definately not my strong suit, and I get low B’s, and have to work pretty hard to keep them up that high.
Now to get into grad school, I only need to maintain a 3.0. I gather that grad schools are not all that competative (the ones I am going for anyhow), and that many people do not go to graduate school, so they accept most of the ones that meet minimum requirements. 99% of the biochemistry students go pre-med. Very few go grad. The question isn’t whether I can get in, but what sort of scientist I can be at my best. Mediocre. I find the subject interesting, and am somewhat passionate about it, but I have this constant feeling that I am dooming myself with high student loans for a career that may not be for me. I know it sounds silly, but I have always had pretty high marks in my english classes, and anytime I am assigned a paper I get special praise from my teachers. I feel passionate about writing, and while I am no editor, I am pretty creative and see myself as an artist of words.
I realize that I can write with any degree, and that learning this field may not hinder my writing skills, but am I doing myself a disservice? Should I be in an english degree, or working on some creative writing degree? Or am I doing the write ( ;)) thing by challenging myself with a field that makes me work hard for decent marks?
I should also mention that I am 28 years old, and by the time I graduate with a masters or PhD in any field, I will be something like 35 years old. (2 1/2 years undergrad, and ~4 years grad)
At this point, part of me is really regreting starting school. I could have gotten an AA degree in some techincal field and been making 35-40k a year with minimal loans. When I graduate with a B.S I will have something like 40-50k, and a degree that is meaningless in my field without a PhD. (not much money in jobs that only require a B.S in Biochemistry- lab techs- something like 12-15 dollars an hour)
I know I am not putting in everything about myself, but knowing what is above, and that my intelligence is only mediocre, do I stand much of a chance? The field isn’t highly competative, but I am a writer yearning for a story more than a scientist with a specific goal in mind. Writing, though, is better left a hobby, or should it be?