I'm Graduating with the Wrong Degree -- Now What?
Let's pretend you're a senior biology major, but the only reason you chose biology in the first place is because you liked going to zoos and didn't really know what else to major in. Now as graduation approaches, you wish you could go back and major in communications and become a writer instead.
Changing your major now isn't a realistic option. You simply can't afford it in terms of money, time or energy. You just have to wrap up what you started and graduate with the wrong degree. Here are some ways to apply your wrong degree to the right career:
Focus on Transferable Skills
These are the skills you can easily transfer from one job or career to another. If you're a biology major who wants to work in communications, your transferable skills might include:
- The research skills you gained in your biology lab courses. You can use them to gather, analyze and make sense of information before you write about it.
- The analytical skills you developed when researching your biology papers. They can be used to determine if the information you're gathering is accurate and legitimate.
- The writing skills you polished when actually creating your biology papers. They can now help you write about other topics.
Supplement Your Wrong Degree with the Right Experience
As a biology major, for instance, you may not have even considered doing an internship with a PR firm or publishing company. But that doesn't mean you can't pursue such an internship now or even after you graduate. As any employer will tell you, appropriate experience will make up for the wrong degree or even surpass the right one.
For example, you could combine your biology background with your interest in gaining communications experience by:
- Pursuing an editorial internship with the National Wildlife Federation.
- Offering to write content for a scientific publishing company's Web site.
- Volunteering to develop brochures and other marketing materials for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Look for Exceptions to the Rule
Maybe you've heard from other people, "You have to be a communications major to become a writer." Not so. In practically every field, there are exceptions to the rule.
In all but the most strictly regulated fields, there's no such thing as the wrong major. So if you find yourself thinking you've taken the wrong educational path, think again. Start exploring the many ways you can turn your wrong background into the career that's right for you.
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