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George78's avatar

How a major in history can take me far?

Asked by George78 (8 points ) July 5th, 2014

I intend having a major in history but my family and kindred seem not to share in my heart desire due to the high rate of unemployment… I’m dispirited now…need your help

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17 Answers

Michael_Huntington's avatar

It will take you as far as you want. If you’re extremely passionate about history, then I see no reason why you should consider another major. There are some people in law school who were Philosophy majors (a “useless” major that gets constantly bashed). Just do internships, make connections, and get good grades.

George78's avatar

thanks very much

Michael_Huntington's avatar

No sweat. I was constantly told the same when I majored in Literature. While I have no plans to go into work related to my major, I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy what I learned.

George78's avatar

@ Michael Huntington my great worry is how many institutions or organizations will employ me….kindly brief me on the job opportunities…

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I could blow sunshine up your backside and tell you that if you major in history you’ll find employment and be able to make a living with it. That’s probably not going to happen unless you get a teaching degree to go with it or a PHD. Getting a degree is better than not having one and that in itself will open doors for you. If you are really passionate about it go ahead but realize that it may not be the best choice when it comes to finding employment. Your family is actually doing the right thing. They obviously want you to be successful.

elbanditoroso's avatar

What you take in undergrad school doesn’t really mean much. It’s what you take in grad school that really prepares you for the work you will do.

That said, taking scientific or math courses will be more likely to earn you more money. And it will be easier to find a job. Ask yourself – how many history jobs open in a given year? Very Very Few.

Still, the world needs historians and that ilk. So if it makes you happy, and you don’t mind taking buses all your life, and living in cheap apartments, then by all means stick with history.

George78's avatar

thanks guys….I appreciate your advice

pleiades's avatar

As long as you intern and get an extremely well rounded (let them know you have social skills AS WELL as the book smarts as it pertains to history) resume together.

Also do this for the long haul. If you have to wait tables and get your Masters to get a professors job one day, so be it. Anything you do in life takes will, passion and desire. Michael Jordan was hell bent on proving others wrong. Maybe that approach will help you.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

@George78 This article says that only 27% of college grads actually have work related to their fields, so the odds are already stacked against you from the start—whether or not you choose to go with your History major.
ETA: It’s going to be tough for you when you’re going to look for a job/internship, too.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Many majors in history go on to law school, where
their major fares them quite well. Become a lawyer.

Lightlyseared's avatar

I would major in a subject I wan interested in.

As someone else mentioned a degree opens doors and the reason why a degree opens doors is because you develop a very useful skill set while getting the degree. Researching a subject, developing an argument for thinking a particular way, writing a report on it, giving a presentation about it etc are all skills that are incredibly useful in the job market, probably more so than the facts you learned at university.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@George78 I have two grown friends that have History undergrad degrees, one has his own lawyer’s office (five employees) the other is a professor of Archeology with a “dig” for Revolutionary history in North Carolina.

GloPro's avatar

You can kick ass on Jeopardy.

livelaughlove21's avatar

A couple of the attorneys I work for were History majors. Quite a few become teachers or professors. Others work in museums, and some work in unrelated fields. I majored in psychology with a minor in criminal justice and was constantly told I’d never find a job and, if I did, I’d earn minimum wage and live paycheck to paycheck. Well, I completed two internships, graduated with honors, had a job lined up before I graduated (not in the field of psychology, but I wouldn’t have gotten it without a degree), and six months later I’m making well over double minimum wage in a job I enjoy. I don’t have a glamorous job by any means and I’m not rich and never will be, but I certainly don’t live paycheck to paycheck. It’s too soon to call myself a success story, but those people that talked crap about my choice of major don’t have much to say anymore now that I make more money than most of them.

Your degree is what you make of it.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It is unfortunate, but your family is correct in its estimation of the value of your History degree. The degree will serve as an entryway to law school, but its rather obvious that this society has little regard for the field itself, and even less for those proficient in it. To my mind, the major explanation for the obtuse character of our country can be traced to the appalling ignorance of our citizenry overall, but there is a particularly exaggerated deficit when it comes to History, and it is reflected across the spectrum from foreign policy bungling to asinine political stupidity.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

When I was at OU I met a History professor there who just lived his profession. He was always writing papers and dissertations and getting published (Bosnia was the war zone at the time).

Get your degree(s) and learn some public speaking and take some courses on teaching and go out and enjoy the past right into your future!

JLeslie's avatar

I think the question is what career interests you? Are you going to study history just because you are interested in it, or do you actually want to work in the field? Do you want to teach history? Write about history? Work in a museum? Or, maybe work in a field where your history knowledge will be very helpful, but is not as obviously related like journalism or politics? I think start with history and then while in school try elective classes to help you explore other interests. In American universities this is usually a requirement, I don’t know of you are in America.

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