Poll: College Major

The ages at which most of us spent our undergraduate years was a time of searching to figure out who we were and where we were going with our education. Some of us knew that we would use our education in the job market, others knew that we would use it to magnify our roles as mothers. Seeking knowledge in this life is considered a divine and eternal attribute in LDS culture. Please share with us what your major in college was (or is) in this week’s poll. And if you choose “other”, please share what your educational pursuit was/is in the comments, and tell us what you have done with it, or what you plan to do with it. You can even tell us how you feel about the importance of formal education in general and what, if anything, you have done in addition to or instead of a college education.


Corktree is exploring life and spirituality in new ways and new environments while studying midwifery, reiki, yoga, homeopathy, herbology and evolutionary nutrition. She has 3 daughters and one son, which add up to what now feels like an enormous family of 6.

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77 Responses

  1. Keri Brooks says:

    Political science with a minor in philosophy. I was two classes short of a double major, but I was eager to graduate and get on with life. Not taking those two extra classes is a regret of mine. The irony of it is that it took me 3 years to get through college, but I got stalled on my law degree. I’ll finally be done in May, 6 1/2 years after I started. (The time wasn’t all continuous, though.)

    If I had it to do over again, I would have majored in philosophy and ditched poli sci altogether. I discovered that I don’t really like it that much, but I love philosophy. I actually debated between law school or getting a PhD in philosophy. I’m still not sure if I made the right choice. (I love law, but I don’t want to be a lawyer.) I’ll make more money as a law professor than as a philosophy professor, but I hope I don’t spend my whole career pining for philosophy.

    I’ve tossed around the idea of going for the PhD anyway, but I’m not sure I can justify the extra time. If I went for it, I would be 34 when I finished, and I don’t think I can wait that long to get married and have kids. I know plenty of people marry and have kids while still in school, but there’s this nagging feeling in the back of my mind (entirely cultural, I’m sure) that says that graduate education is only for single, childless women. It’s not helped by my professors who have said that for aspiring academics, the window for childbearing is that narrow period between tenure and menopause. (Of course, I don’t know if marriage is even in the cards for me, but that’s a separate issue entirely.)

  2. Whitney says:

    I studied nutritional science. I was planning on going into dietetics, but instead, I am now in a PhD program studying sociology. Ultimately I think I’d like to do research, maybe for a non-profit health-related organization or working for the government.
    And, Keri, I met and married my husband after starting grad school. Don’t know when we’ll have kids, but that’s mostly because we just don’t want ’em yet.

  3. I majored in accounting, graduating with a M.Acc. in 1986. I’ve not worked full-time for pay since my oldest child was born 20 years ago, but with my youngest finishing elementary school this year, I’m ready to return to the paid workforce, although I’m hoping to do so part-time.

  4. Julia says:

    I have to admit, I was rather horrified and offended when I read the poll “choices”. Why the bias towards perceived “lite women’s majors”? Of my college friends who were LDS women, there was a variety of majors: Spanish/Biology, English, Biomechanial Engineering, Political Science, Psychology, Clinical Laboratory Science, Biology, Math, etc. Maybe it was because I didn’t go to BYU that such variety existed.

    I obtained a BA in biology, minored in chemistry, with a strong liberal arts focus. After taking a year off to be a lab rat, I finished four years of medical school, am completing a 5 year residency and will be going for an additional two years of fellowship training so that I can be a critical care physician and work in a ICU. It will be 15 years of schooling/training since high school before I’m done – I don’t think I foresaw that in high school when they were doing career counseling and I thought being a doctor would be cool. But I (mostly) love my career and profession. I love being involved in people’s lives and making an impact. I love the continual education. I love my coworkers – nurses, residents, attendings, students – they enrich my life everyday. I love working with those who are shunned and judged by society and seeing the humanness in them. (I’ll save the rants for what I hate for another time, but the 30 hour call shifts definitely top the list). As frustrating and exhausting as it can be sometimes, I don’t regret my decision and am grateful for the support of family and friends that has gotten me here.

  5. chanson says:

    I majored in Mathematics. Understanding how to reason mathematically is extremely helpful in my daily life, both in my career (as a software engineer) and in general. Also, it’s fun! 😀

  6. Vada says:

    I majored in anthropology and minored in computer science. I applied to grad schools in computer science, but ended up getting married and moving to where my fiance was working instead. I worked at a museum in college and I’d like to someday get a master’s in museum studies, but we’ll see.

    More than anything else in college I loved getting the chance to learn so many different things. Besides anthropology and computer science (and I can’t tell you how many strange looks I got in both of those departments for combining the two) I took classes in astronomy, Shakespeare, physics, medieval European history, calculus, geology, Italian, electrical engineering, linguistics, psychology, and German literature (in German). I think loving learning and being willing and able to learn about anything probably has helped and continues to help me more in life than just about anything.

  7. kia says:

    I got my BS in Genetics & Biotechnology with minors in Chemistry & Molecular Biology (and as science-biased as that seems I really did take an enormous amount of humanities/liberal arts courses as well). I then worked for two years at Children’s Hospital Boston doing vascular & cardiac tissue engineering. I’m now pursuing my MD, PhD degree in regenerative medicine and look forward to being a physician-scientist once I’m done with all of my training (which, to be honest is still quite a few years away). It was a difficult decision to make such a huge commitment to a career path, especially realizing all I may have given up in order to pursue my academic passion. But, I know there is nothing else I’d rather be doing with my life and I’m loving every minute of it.

  8. jeans says:

    Anthropology, after starting in Biochem/Genetics. I went on to get a PhD in History, partly because I couldn’t figure out how a couple of years of graduate fieldwork in Anthro would fit with being married and having a family, and the disciplines of history seemed more do-able. (I got married partway through undergrad). The job market for humanities PhDs then tanked (glutted with people like myself) so it took almost 10 years to land a tenure-track position within commuting distance of my home. Which, in retrospect, was fine, because it meant I was part-time or semi-employed while the kids were younger & that worked out well for everybody.

  9. Diana says:

    I got a BA in psychology, and a minor in French. Now I’m working on a Masters in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling.

    • k5ne says:

      Dance/Movement Therapy sounds really interesting! Could you direct me to some sources so I could learn more about it? 🙂

  10. Caroline says:

    Majored in classical languages, minored in English. If I could do it all over again, I’d do women’s studies.

    I imagine those were the poll choices because the author of the poll wanted to see how many of us who read Exponent fall into the stereotype of what Mormon women tend to major in.

  11. Beatrice says:

    I went to BYU and majored in Marriage, Family, and Human Development. I then obtained my Ph.D. in Child Psychology at another university. As an undergraduate who was planning on graduate work and an academic career, you can imagine my frustration with fellow BYU students who treated me like I wasn’t serious about academics. Psychology and especially Child Psychology tend to be looked down upon by some, and I found that these attitudes were amplified at BYU. Some of the most common misperceptions I faced were:
    1-MFHD is not a “real” major, but just one that BYU made up.
    2-MFHD is not a very challenging major; therefore students in this major are not very ambitious or intelligent.
    First of all, it seems a bit crazy and presumptuous that BYU made up the science of studying the development of human beings. Secondly, the idea that studying children is easy also seems a bit crazy to me. Human beings are the most complex creatures on earth, thus their development is immensely complicated. Yes, there were plenty of women in my classes who were planning on using their degrees in their personal lives, and I don’t see anything wrong with that. Overall, I wish that child psychology/human development as a field would get more respect and people would recognize the importance of research in this area.

    • Rebecca says:

      Beatrice – Similar road! I have a B.S. in Psychology from BYU. Then pursued an M.Ed.S. in School Psychology, also from BYU.

      The poll focuses on majors that might be looked on as family friendly. I’d say that was a factor in my deciding to pursue a career that could have a more flexible schedule. In that sense, I followed a traditional woman’s path. I was encouraged to apply to a Clinical Ph.D. program but stopped short because I felt School Psychology would give me the opportunity to practice with better hours as a mother. If I had thought that I’d never marry, I’d have absolutely gone forward, and may have gone to Medical School. Turns out, I was married just before I finished my graduate studies. I worked part-time until my second child was diagnosed with profound disablities, then became a SAHM.

      I am concerned that young women are sometimes encouraged to choose family-friendly careers, with the expectation that the money they make will just be supplemental to their husband’s income. This sets many of us up for poverty if we never marry, divorce, or are widowed. I will absolutely encourage my daughter to get all the education she would need to fully support herself financially.

    • stacer says:

      Me too, Beatrice–or at least, similar. I started out in animal science with the intention to become a veterinarian, but hated chemistry and had to finally admit that my allergies would prevent me being terribly happy in that career. I switched to Human Development and Family Studies (then transferred to BYU where it was called MFHD) because it sounded fascinating and, honestly, because it was still in the College of Agriculture, so I could keep my scholarship. I stayed in it because I loved the classes–I was learning so much that made me a better person, and that, yes, I could use in my personal life. I don’t think MFHD should be looked down upon as a “lady-major,” but in fact, I think it should be required that every person take at least one class in conflict management or some other family science. We’d all do a lot better when conflict came up in any of our relationships, especially those of us who come from dysfunctional homes, if we did.

      Much as I loved my classes, though, I didn’t want to do a career in any of the choices I had after graduation (social worker, PhD track, counselor to troubled teens) for a number of personal reasons, so I tried to change my major again, to photography. Got accepted to the major, but BYU wouldn’t let me back in because my grades were too low (it’s a double-application process: major and university), so I appealed and asked if I could just *graduate* (and get that little piece of paper that means so much) if I stayed in my original-to-them major.

      I did, graduated 2 years later (total of 9 1/2 years from HS graduation to BS graduation). And promptly went on to work in publishing–without ever having majored in English.

      After a few years I got a master’s in children’s lit and went from editing/photographing/reporting for a trade magazine in the electromechanical aftermarket to children’s books–another academic and professional discipline looked down upon because it’s all womeny and childreny. So what if it’s a relatively stereotypical thing to do? I love what I do, and as a farm girl who could change my own oil, muck out the barn, and drive the tractor home, I really don’t care about what’s stereotypical or not.

      Those of us who work in fields with children or that are stereotypically women-dominated fields find a lot of bias against our work *because* it’s therefore “soft.” But I’m not playing into a stereotype. I’m just doing what I love, and, I think–I hope–doing important things at the same time (making geeky nerdy fantasy and SF for kids and young adults featuring characters of color available to the masses!).

      • stacer says:

        Also: That’s not to say that it wouldn’t be really great to use this education in my family should I ever get married (37, still single). But I resented the implication that I was looking for an MRS. I was there to study, as were most of the people with me in my major. So much of human interaction was covered by it–from childhood to senior citizens. I focused on child development (which helps a lot as I figure out if a book is developmentally appropriate; many editors of children’s books don’t have that kind of training), but others focused on marriage (some went on to be marriage counselors), some on parenting (i.e., focusing on the parents, with knowledge of children but not the focus), some on geriatrics.

        Some focused on women’s issues. The major covered a multidisciplinary gamut of sociology, psychology, history, and the humanities. One of my electives was a dual English class covering the family in literature, in which I read Anna Karenina among others. I learned about feminism in a family science class–I became a feminist in name because of a BYU family science professor’s definition of feminism (what a great prof and a great class).

        Covering so much, how could at least one of the classes not be relevant in any given person’s life, regardless of gender?

    • Beatrice says:

      Thanks Rebecca and Stacer for the comments. I love your attitude Stacer. I think the point of breaking down stereotypes is to let people have more options to do what they love. People shouldn’t be looked down upon if what they love and choose to do is in some ways the stereotype. I guess the perception is that they were somehow forced into it or were not ambitious because they didn’t break out of the mold. I think that regardless of what the stereotypes are, there are various ways to break them. One way of breaking them is by following the “typical” path, but then making it into something unique. It sounds like you used your degree in a creative way which is admirable.

      It sounds like you are talking about the Family in Fiction course at BYU which I also took and loved. I took it some time during 1998 or 1999.

  12. Corktree says:

    I hope no one is insulted with the choices. As it was impossible to list all majors, we were curious (as Caroline mentioned) how many mormon women fall into stereotypes. I’m not saying the stereotype is bad or wrong, but it’s a fact that an overwhelming majority of the women I meet at church are in one of those three categories. Just a census to see how widespread it is and a chance to have a discussion of the usefulness of majors (and what other fascinating ones you all chose! Thanks for sharing!)

    As for me, I majored in Med Lab Science as a pre-med track, but I wish I had chosen a social science. Anthropology is absolutely fascinating to me and I wish I felt about learning then as I do now. I was so singular minded and didn’t really enjoy the necessary classes. I think if I had mixed in some of my other interests in the name of pure learning I would have enjoyed it all more. As for now, I’m starting my midwifery courses at the beginning of the year and I’m so excited!

    I definitely use my education in my home, but like I said, I wish it was more well rounded so that I could supplement teaching my children even more effectively.

  13. ssj says:

    It’s so sad but true. I did major in Human Development, with an emphasis in family studies. But I’m not a true clique because I went to a public school in my home state. So I guess I’m just part clique. I have continued on to graduate school and will work as school psychologist so I hope I have wiggled out of that stereotype.

    (Rebecca, good to see school psych on here. I’m still in school but really enjoying my program so far!)

  14. I majored in French as an undergraduate because it was a very short major that I could finish before the scholarship money ran out and still leave time for other activities (notably, a touring performing group). Knowing that graduate school would give me more viable career options, I took the GMAT, GRE and LSAT during my senior year, then took two years off after graduation. I didn’t do better on one test than the others, but ended up going to law school. I got married at 29, started having kids at 33, and stopped working right before my first was born. 10 years later I’m still on maternity leave, having maintained active bar membership the whole time.

  15. Duerma says:

    I double majored in Near Eastern Studies and Linguistics, with a minor in Spanish. I had started out as a Computer Science major since it seemed more “careery,” but at the end of my freshman year I decided to study something I really loved. I had imagined going on to get a PhD, and even began a MA in Linguistics, but when I got pregnant – with TWINS – my plans kind of fell apart. Maybe someday I can pick my education up again. The hard thing, though, is that I’d have to move in order to study what I’m interested in – you can go to law school anywhere, but you can’t get an advanced degree in ancient near eastern civilizations from just anywhere. I could broaden my scope, but if I’m going to go into debt for thousands of dollars, it better be for something I really want, you know?

    Anyway, I’m a stay at home mom now, and I’m glad I studied what I did instead of computer science. My education has given me a rich background for understanding the scriptures and thus teaching Gospel Doctrine. It’s been a great foundation for story writing and Dungeons and Dragons world building. The Spanish has helped me get jobs in the past, and Linguistics has been great for understanding how my kids are learning to talk and read. And while my technical knowledge of the ancient languages has faded with disuse, it’s still easy to pick up a book and be transported back into my studies. I’m not sure I’d be able to do that if I had studied a more technical field.

  16. Kelly Ann says:

    I majored in Molecular Biology with a minor in English. With my brain a bit mushy from my mission, I went back to BYU for a Masters in Biochemistry with the intent of applying to Medical School. However, I decided I didn’t have the passion, competitive spirit, endurance for schooling and residency, and desire to deal with the liability of being a doctor. While these points were critical, I recognize more now how my background thinking I would someday be married and have five kids influenced my decision even though I have always been career-minded. I fell in love with research but didn’t switch to the PhD program even though my advisor was encouraging it because I couldn’t see myself staying in my thesis specialty (or working for my advisor for another two to three years) and if I was going to be an academic, I wanted to go somewhere different.

    After graduating, I found a good research job in a biotech company as a Senior Research Associate that utilizes my two degrees and other work experience. I briefly considered applying abroad for a PhD, but realized it wasn’t necessary for the path I wanted. In the past few years, I have considered a number of cross-over fields that would utilize my background (biotech business, patent, etc) that I could eventually transition to as I try to think about what I want to be when I grow up … I like working in the lab but don’t want to do it forever. But I have been busy enjoying my job and its’ opportunities, as well as time (I rushed through undergrad and grad school) and money to enjoy life and travel.

    As I worry about being laid off next year, I have finally been prodded to start a certificate program at UC Berkeley in Clinical Research Conduct and Management. It would help me transition to being a Clinical Research Associate or Clinical Trial Manager. This has the potential of being something less family friendly as it requires travel to monitor clinical trial sites but I think it could be a fun opportunity that would incorporate my background and interest in medicine.

    And sometimes I think that if I was to do it over again I would be a Nurse Practioner or do a MD/PhD in Medical Anthropology (with an element of social science), I realize that I don’t want to give up my house and am happy where I am at. The only thing I would seriously think about changing if I had a time machine would be to go somewhere other than BYU for maybe my undergraduate and definitely my master’s degree. I don’t like the Mormon stereotypes that come with the association and I feel like I have to defend my decisions to go a lot, since I could have gone to big name schools, even though I got a good education and training. But it is always easy to wonder about alternate paths. I also remind myself that I am only 31 and still can do anything I want.

    • Corktree says:

      We sound like we had similar aspirations Kelly Ann. I decided if I had made it through Med school I would have gone into research to avoid the medical system pitfalls. Medical anthropology would be so much fun! It sounds like you have some great opportunities ahead of you.

      I wonder at this apprehension of a lot of women, especially LDS women it seems to go through with medical school. Does the time commitment seem too much to women who assume they will one day marry and have children? I know getting pregnant made me think it was an absolute non-option anymore. It depresses me that the competitive and ruthless schedule of school, internship and residency keeps so many women out that would otherwise possibly be revolutionizing medicine and the health care system.

      My midwifery courses are designed to be family compatible or I wouldn’t be able to do it right now, but I decided if other Exponent women could work on PhDs while having babies, I could make it work. I wish other programs that really need women in them would figure out how to allow women to do both at once as easily as men.

  17. Rachel says:

    Undergrad at byu in social work, and a master’s a few years later, also social work. I had completed grad school at 26, married at 27. Worked full time until having our first, and then moved to part time.
    I work now about 25-30 hours a week and am the clinical director of a psychiatric intensive outpatient program.
    I’ve been looking into doctoral programs, and briefly entertained the idea of a physician’s assistant program, but it just isn’t in the cards right now. At some point I’d like a “Dr” in front of my name. But it may have to wait until my kids have a BA/BS after theirs. But by the time they do that they may need a grandma babysitter.

  18. css says:

    I majored in sociocultural anthropology and minored in African studies at BYU then went on to a MA and a PhD at Boston University in both cultural and biological anthropology and an African studies graduate certificate.

    I’m the first woman on both sides of my extended families to ever get higher ed or pursue a full-time career and so I felt very unsure at times that a) I could do it and/or b) that my family situation would allow it.

    Luckily, I have an extremely NON-traditional husband who takes my career and parenting seriously. So far we’ve traded off work/life balance based on our current situation. I got married after I’d applied and gotten accepted to graduate school and my husband followed me out to Boston and worked and got an MA for the 4 years it took me to finish coursework, exams, and my extensive fieldwork abroad. Now I’ve relocated to follow him while he works on his PhD coursework and I’m writing my dissertation. We aim for equal parenting but right now it is about 70%/30%, but that is likely to even out or even swing the other way when he’s done with classes and I start a Post-Doc.

    I love this post and I love reading about everyone’s career paths! It is so enlightening and helpful. I wish I had known ANY of these women when I was younger because I felt like I was doing it all on my own- when really there are a lot of us interested in taken our education seriously.

    How can we reach out and be mentors to the younger generation so that tthey don’t ever feel this way?

  19. Janell the Great says:

    I completed a bachelors and a masters in layman’s terms, “Computer General Studies.” I chose this major because I adore technology and loves the hands-on, jack-of-all-computer-trades major. I intend to use the degree as a source of income.

  20. FoxyJ says:

    I put “English”, but I actually double majored in English and Spanish Translation at BYU. I did that because I love languages and I love studying words; I intended to work as a translator, but most work in that field tends to be freelance and I just don’t have the drive to sell myself. Plus in the US there tends to be a much higher demand for native speakers of Spanish translating into Spanish rather than the other way around. I went on to get an MA in Spanish at BYU. I did a year of PhD in Comparative Literature but decided that I really didn’t want to go the PhD route. By that time my husband and I had been married for seven years and one or both of us had been in school the entire time (he has two master’s degrees). We had two kids and were burned out with the student lifestyle. He found a great full-time job that he loves; it’s flexible and is web-based so he works from our home. I teach as a part-time adjunct at a local college and I’m grateful that I have my MA so I can do that. Our kids are only 7, 4, and 9 months, so right now it really doesn’t work out well for us to have two parents that are employed full-time.

    I have loved my educational experiences and don’t regret either of my degrees. The only thing I regret is that I have always wanted to be a librarian and I want to get an MLS. I had planned on doing one after my undergraduate degree, but my husband was already attending BYU and we had some family issues that we wanted to stay in UT for. Library science programs can be hard to find. BYU’s language programs are really good and I felt fully prepared for my PhD when I got there, plus I completed my undergrad and MA without loans (that’s one good reason to go to BYU). It’s just that I think I would prefer library work to teaching. Right now my plan is to keep working as an adjunct for a few more years until my youngest is in elementary, then I will do a library degree online.

  21. TopHat says:

    I majored in mathematics! I just liked it. When I do my grad work, I’d like to do women’s studies or possibly public health.

  22. nat kelly says:

    My major was History (with a focus on American economic and labor history) and my minor was African Studies (with a focus on West Africa).

    I wish I’d taken more women’s studies courses, but I didn’t really get interested in feminism until the tail end of my college career. Bummer. It’d be fun to go back.

  23. D says:

    “Maybe it was because I didn’t go to BYU that such variety existed. ”

    BYU gets a bad rep. Most female students take their education seriously, pursuing degrees as if they were going right into the work force. Also you’d be surprised at the number of women in the”hard sciences.”

    I graduated in Kinesiology/Exercise Sciences and have worked for the past 6 years at a sports medicine clinic as a ex physiologist/personal trainer. (I have 2 kids and work part time) Love my kids, like my job, but cannot hardly wait to go back to grad school! Just waiting for the right time to strike.

    • Sijbrich says:

      I’ve gotten the impression that in the past (like 20, 30, 40 years ago), it was common for many BYU female students to drop out of college once they got married. Everytime I see those posters at church for “Finishing the Degree you started at BYU” they usually show middle-aged women. I think now it is much more common for women to graduate, regardless of whether they’re married. Hopefully BYU will get a better reputation as time goes on and more women continue to graduate.

  24. Sijbrich says:

    I was a little miffed (but not fully offended. Don’t worry) by the choices given, but I’m so pleasantly surprised by how many commentors studied math and sciences, amongst so many other diverse subjects. Very impressive.

    I started out as an accounting major, but in the last class I took I found myself daydreaming too much during lectures about exciting places that I’d like to travel to, so I took that as a sign and changed my major to Anthropology. I love traveling, but I especially love it when it’s more purposeful than staying at a nice hotel and lounging on the beach, so anthropology has worked out well. I eventually got a Masters in ESL (English as a Second Language)/Bilingual education. I worked in teaching ESL for a few years, but now that I’m a SAHM with a toddler, I get to use my background on my newest student. Her first words have been in Spanish and it’s been extremely gratifying to witness. My husband is from Peru, I served a mission in Argentina, so it’s important to us that our kids are at least bilingual (we’re entertaining the thought of trying tri-lingual) to communicate with our respecting and mainly monolingual families.

    “css” posed the question about how we can be mentors to the next generation of women. As mothers I think we have a powerful role, or as leaders in YW or Primary, etc. I was in YW for several years, and I’d like to think that I mentioned my educational background at least a few times…I know my husband and I will be encouraging our daughter(s) (and sons) to pursue their interests and not just follow the crowd.

  25. Conifer says:

    Sociology for me, though I started out as an English major. I wish now that I had majored in something with a better paycheck and minored in Sociology (because it made me a good person), but it’s a bit late now, and I’m okay with it. I loved my classes and the ways that major changed how I look at other people and institutions.

  26. Stephanie says:

    I too was a little miffed at the three choices that were listed. What’s that all about?

  27. Stephanie says:

    Sorry, just read the reason for listing those choices. I got it. Perhaps, I’m a bit sensitive being a single woman in her 30’s who has never been married or had children. Also, my reaction is coming from a place that feels that this blog can get too focused on motherhood and marriage. Not that those things are bad! But, someone of my demographic feels left out and out of place in the church as it is. I admit, I panic a bit when I visit Exponent . . . . and I feel the same way.

    • stacer says:

      You’re not alone, Stephanie. Part of it is that most of the permas on feminist Mormon blogs are married w/ kids–which of course means that’s a huge part of their lives. But it still means frustration at times. I really love Dora’s posts for those times when I get frustrated–she’s a 30-something single woman who’s doing some really cool things, like traveling to Nepal most recently.

      • Stella says:

        I’m not married. Never have been. Single. All of my posts usually revolve around this idea and I try to make my voice VERY loud. But I’d love to hear ideas for any posts in particular you think need voicing?

        For me, the irony of this poll was the fact that I fit in the mold so well because, during my BYU days I was TOTALLY planning on being married at 20 and thus, I think my educational choices mirrored that belief.

        Later, with my higher education, I tried to remedy that a bit.

    • Caroline says:

      This is great feedback for us. Thanks for letting us know about your desire for non-marriage/kids topics. I want Exponent to be a place for ALL Mormon women who are interested in women’s issues, so we’re going to keep this in mind as we navigate the direction of the blog.

      And I second Stacer’s recommendation. Dora has great posts about her life as a single woman. Amelia, Stella, Kelly Ann, and Zenaida also write as single women.

      • stacer says:

        It was late last night and I couldn’t think of the couple of other single permas I was trying to think of!

      • EmilyCC says:

        Oh, I do hope this thread will inspire more of our single readers (and other groups we permas don’t represent as fully like women of color, women in their 50’s+ and college-age women) to send us guest posts! The sharing of the diversity of women’s experiences is at the heart of Exponent II’s mission.

      • spunky says:

        Thanks for your comments, Starfoxy. I sincerely do not mean to pick a fight with anyone or accuse anyone of intentional exclusion. Based on your experience in that ward, I find it either ironic or prophetic that the majority of the permas at Exponent II include the number of children they have in the “about” tab on their profiles. It’s not a bad thing, maybe that is what Mormon feminism is… a celebration of the whole procreating power of the mortal body. (I personally wonder if we will procreate/give birth in heaven in the same manner as we do in mortality, but will give a nod to the possibility that birthing/giving life in mortality is at least comparable.)

        Happy Thanksgiving- I am thankful for Exponent!

    • spunky says:

      I agree, Stephanie. The focus on motherhood is what drives me away from mormon feminism and into “worldly” gender studies. I mean, isn’t the Exponent II creed, “Am I not a woman and a sister”? The temr mother or marriage isn’t there, so I am drawn to it. But….

      I am married, so although there are some entries from single women, there are exceptionally few entries from women without children. It all reminds me that Mormon women are valuing each other based on their bodies, and while we may like to argue that it is our right to not be judged on physical attributes to men (or “the world”), to me, the emphasis on child-bearing is nothing different than women judging each other based on how much others weigh, what they wear or how they style thier hair. It is all still focused on what they do with their physical, mortal bodies.

      I have personally opted out of the CGU project as a subject because I feel I have no place or use in the Mormon feminist community because my mortal body and bank account can’t have children. But I was inspired to opt out after I asked 3 other childless LDS women to do their histories. They all responded in the same way, “I have no value in Mormon Women’s history because I have no children. I am not important, especially to Mormon feminists.” Pretty sad, but the more childless women I ask, married or not, the more the answers are the same.

      • mraynes says:

        Spunky, it breaks my heart that you and others feel that you have no value to Mormon women’s history and to Mormon feminists. And I am sorry that I, as a Mormon feminist and a mother, am complicit in making you feel this way. I often write posts about motherhood, especially when I am pregnant and am so wrapped up in the physicality of it all. My intention is never to exclude, just to share my experience. I know you say you have asked but I have obviously missed it, so how can we/I do a better job at including the voice of childless women?

      • spunky says:

        Mraynes- sorry I couldn’t respond to your comment, the reply icon was absent (?) I personally think that it is a part of the Mormon oppression image– women have to be mothers in Mormondom (or at least wishing to be mothers) or they have no inherited power… or value. Women feel strong, even Godlike in child bearing, I get it. But it is a shame that childbearing seems to be the only universal point in which Mormon women unitedly feel powerful. For me, this makes Mormon feminism an oxymoron as a significant number of Mormon feminists are only inclined to feel power through childbirth. I feel power as a daughter of God, as a vessel of the Holy Ghost. But I rarely hear any women express that they feel this way as well, yet– this is how men seem to express power– the priesthood, the authority- the priesthood line of Christ. I am endowed, I can raise my hand to the square and I have infinite eternal value… but yet… somehow, as a mortal woman, especially to other women, I am barren, therefore fruitless and invaluable.

        Sufficed to say… am I not a woman and a sister? If I am not a mother, can I not be your sister as well? Must mothers sometimes talk down to me as though I were an idiot just because I have not suckled a child? Seems that way. But philosophy is my thing, so maybe I am the oxymoron as a female, fruitless Mormon. Anyway, I assume as a perma that you can see my email? Just drop me a line offline if you want to brainstorm/chat.

      • Alisa says:

        Spunky, I hear you too. I was married for 8 years without wanting or even trying for children. The talk, “Mothers Who Know,” given 3 years ago, seemed to confirm to me that I was worthless as a Mormon woman who was married and really not so sure she wanted to have kids. It combined with other factors to send me into a huge tailspin and really crushed me and my confidence that I could lead the Mormon life I felt called to lead. I already felt isolated in Relief Society because of my childless status, but I felt there were a million wrong reasons for me to have kids.

        Unfortunately, I stayed away from blogging about this topic when I joined Exponent, because I was afriad of opening my wounds up too much, and I was afraid of picking on Pres. Beck too much. But it was something personal I really struggled with.

        Now I am a mother, and a full-time businesswoman (English M.A.). And I now blog a lot about my experiences as a mother, partly because I discovered the divine feminine while I was pregnant (but not because I was pregnant, if that makes sense). But my posts before pregnancy weren’t all focused on being childless — which maybe was a good thing. They were about caring for my father with cancer, or meditation, or a million other things that made me a whole woman. Now that I’m a mother, all I have time for is my full-time job and my sick baby. So that’s what I blog about. I was much more well-rounded as a married woman without kids for all those years.

        That said, I hope you’ll continue to give us your perspective. Perhaps you’re braver than I am. I would like to keep hearing from you on this.

      • spunky says:

        Thanks, Alisa, but I am pretty sure you are the only one who wants to hear any more about Mormon feminist women who feel powerful without motherhood. 🙂 My heart goes out to you for the time you spent isolated as a non-parent, and the struggle you have now with an unwell child. Perhaps in an odd way, the time you spent before having a child prepared you for your very personal experience as a mother?

        I have tried for well over a decade to have children, and frankly it isn’t happening for me. But I am not sad. I feel empowered because I did everything I could. It doesn’t hurt me to be childless- it hurts me to be excluded from mormondom because of childlessness. My husband no longer attends church primarily as a result of this– his exclusion as a non-father.

        So- if I am empowered, and am empowered as a daughter of God, and feel empowered in being female, even if barren and unlucky in adoption, where do I fit in Mormondom? In my experience, I am often treated as a slave to the mothers in relief society who assign me unreasonable assignments under the umbrella of ‘you don’t have children, so you must have all the spare time in the world’. I am treated as a simpleton by primary workers because as parents they are so much more brilliant than me (funny how their kids beg me to teach their classes), and feel excluded in Mormon feminist work that is so grounded in being mortal givers of life.

        Anyway, no one wants to consider spiritual power as a daughter in the kingdom -sans childbirth- as being a form of powerful, omnipotent authority in Mormondom. But “worldly” feminism speaks of this. So I am comfortable, loved and accepted for who I am there.

        Listen, I love the Exponent II and will always be a fan because it speaks well, is important and offers a much needed perspective. I mean to offer all support to the women here (and will continue my subscriptions) 🙂 , I just don’t think the typical line of Mormon feminism really works for me because I don’t feel attached to my mortal / procreating body as the definition of femininity. I also don’t feel incomplete because I am a woman who doesn’t have children. I seek spiritual direction as a daughter of God for the eternal feminine, rather than the mortal body feminine. That’s me.

        P.S. I am with you; Beck for me is hit or miss. I think I’d like her in person, but sometimes her talks are … difficult.


      • EmilyCC says:

        I’m also guilty of having focused my posts a lot lately on pregnancy and childbearing, but Spunky, I think you make an excellent point. It would be wonderful to see more of women’s experiences who can’t or don’t become mothers because you’re right, so much of Mormon feminism revolves around motherhood.

      • Jessawhy says:

        Your comments remind me of one of my first experiences in RS. When I was a freshman in college, was visiting a ward that had just had a boundary change and all the women were introducing themselves to each other by saying their name and one thing about themselves.
        As the women introduced themselves, they would say something like, “I’m Kathy, and I have 8 children and 12 grandchildren.” It went like this around the room and it made me mad. The women without children or grandchildren were obviously embarrassed and often said, “I don’t have children.” I did not pity the fact these women didn’t have children, just that the introductions were set up to make them feel less than the women around them.

        Why couldn’t they introduce themselves by their career, hobbies, talents or any other individual trait? It was a good lesson for me, but it’s not always one I remember. Women are women, we are sisters. But life and children have taught me to be a little gentler on the women from that meeting. We all know that children are a huge time-suck and sacrifice. It’s easy to stay focused on them when there’s no reason to.

        Also, as Starfoxy pointed out in her last post on Modesty at fMh, women are placed in archetypes like Whore, Mother, Crone, etc. We own these static titles and do our best to stay in character throughout our lives (which is why we resist aging so much!). It’s hard to break out of these assigned roles even when you realize they exist. For those who don’t even see it, it’s probably almost impossible.

        In sum, let me also apologize that we have created for you the RS meeting that I experienced as a freshman. It’s not healthy or helpful for a community of women to focus mainly on marital status or children. I’m sure we’ll still find these subjects in our writings, but I appreciate your encouragement to pull us out of these archetypes and the challenge it is to help us find new ways to identify ourselves and tell our stories.

      • Stephanie says:

        Spunky – Thank you! I’m not sure if you’re going to read this because I am replying so late. But thank you for clarifying and articulating this deep frustration I have been feeling with the Exponent blog lately. I feel more and more that I have no place amongst Mormon feminism. Instead, I’m put in this other classification, “single”, and oh how blessed those single women of the church are! Bless their hearts, they’re doing such amazing things and are so strong!! We have lost our voice. But why does it have to be the “single” voice and the “married/mother” voice? Why can’t it be the WOMEN’S VOICE.

        One of my greatest fears about marriage and having children is that I will no longer have my identity. Instead I will be defined as a mother, I will no longer be Stephanie, and all I’ll be able to talk about is my babies and my husband. I come to Exponent and all I read is about marriage and babies and it only reinforces that fear!

        I TOTALLY understand the sacred nature of those two things and I do hope to be married and have children. I strongly believe that every mother on this blog has an identity and life experience outside of motherhood and marriage. That they are individuals who know who they are independent of the roles they play in their lives. Isn’t this what Exponent is about? A forum where we can come to as equals, as women, as sisters . . . .

  28. Jenne says:

    I took the poll options to be jokingly referring to the stereotype of educational pursuits of female LDS students. At BYU, those three majors and the girls who chose them were the butt of many jokes. I was an MFHD graduate and M.Ed. in early childhood education, but I joined in the jokes too because in my estimation of things I wasn’t in it for the MRS or the preparation for motherhood and housewifery. I was in it as an academic focused on family studies as a research topic that could address social justice issues. I have to say that I was very happy when Home and Family Living split from MFHD because then finally the housewife major and the social science major were separate and therefore less likely to be confused with one another. The legacy is still there though….

    Back to the poll, I appreciated the joke and I’m so happy to see how many LDS women have pursued education outside of the stereotyped fields.

    I’m beginning to wish I had a better understanding of the sciences because that’s definitely my weakness when it comes to homeschooling. It is my husband’s strength, however, who knows if he’ll ever be home enough to provide those homeschooling opportunities to our children.

    To the single readers, your experiences are valid and welcome and I can see how the motherhood discourse is pervasive. I say we need more single sister voices and bloggers and permas. I have much to learn from you. My very best friends are single and we often live vicariously through one another.

    • Corktree says:

      I’m glad you weren’t offended by the choices either Jenne. I think much good can be done with those majors and that they are important pursuits regardless of marital inclinations or status and whether or not someone has or will ever children.

      Like I said, I’ve so rarely met women (married or single) that weren’t tied to those choices, so I’m glad to see so many readers that fall outside those lines.

      And I’m truly sorry for any frustration that topics cause our single readers. I’ve tried to be aware and not make things too slanted, but I realize it’s hard to stay away from completely and I probably do it subconsciously, but I and I’m sure everyone at The Exponent are aware of the need to make topics a bit more neutral. I apologize for making anyone feel marginalized here.

      Please keep reading and joining your voices and perspectives to ours to enrich the diversity here for yourselves and others! Kelly Ann and Stella (in addition to Dora) are single and living lives that require neither excuse nor pity. Please join with them in sharing yourselves with us all.

  29. isobel says:

    i got a BM and MM from New England Conservatory in violin performance, and am now a professional, sometimes touring, free-lance musician.

  30. It’s so interesting to see everyone’s majors. Not too much in art & design. Seems like most feminist leaning women in the church gravitate toward the more intellectual majors. Maybe that’s why I’ve felt like I never quite “fit in”.

    I got a BA in Fashion Design and went on to work in the fashion industry for 4 years full time while supporting my husband through the rest of undergrad and law school. After graduation, we had our first child, I quit my full-time design job but worked another 3 years part time as a freelance designer until the birth of our second child. My latest small business venture has definitely been successful because of my education and my work experience.

    The thing I love about my college degree is that I learned very marketable skills that can be used in the workforce, to make money from home, to bless my family, or just to fulfill a lifelong passion. It was the perfect choice for me.

    • EmilyCC says:

      I didn’t think of this, Carrie, but you’re so right–I don’t think I’ve seen much by way of the fine arts majors here. I wonder why that is.

      (I’m hoping your baby finally decided to make his appearance :))

  31. DefyGravity says:

    “Not too much in art & design.”
    Let me change that. I’m currently finishing a degree in theatre education, with plans to teach high school drama, get an M.A. in Applied Theatre and keep one foot in the directing world. It’s interesting to me to hear the conversations about how marriage and family influence the choice of a major, because I never felt that way. Having kids has never been important, or even appealing, to me, even after I got married, despite the fact that I love working with teenagers. I’m always slightly insulted when people assume I’m going into teaching because it’s a good career for mothers, as though my own interest in theatre and teaching or the fact that I feel called to teach has nothing to do with it. So I guess I chose a typical “female” career without any typical “female” concerns about marriage and children in mind. I figure we’ll deal with kids if they happen, and in the mean time not worry about it. Maybe that’s a bad attitude, but I’m not sure how else to do it.

  32. annie says:

    I have both a bachelors and a masters in accounting. I work as a tax accountant and my husband and I also run our own accounting business on the side.

    Truly, I wish I had followed my gut and studied what I wanted to: psychology. I was recently accepted into a masters program to pursue this path, but felt that the timing was off.

    I followed a path that has provided a secure path for me and my family, but it doesn’t get my heart racing and I definitely dread going to work.

  33. k5ne says:

    I studied Japanese with a minor in Communications and currently work in IT as a webmaster. I’ve totally put my degree to good use, haven’t I? lol

    I intend to apply to grad school in anthropology. The current idea is to get a Phd and become a forensic anthropologist. I may or may not have been influenced by the show “Bones” (haha) but I’ve always held a stronger interest in mummies and human remains, etc with anthropology so it seems to be a good fit anyway, but I suppose we’ll see when I actually start the grad work. 🙂

    I do find that having learned Japanese has helped with my personal study with other languages (currently learning German). Having done it once, it’s not that hard to do it again.

    Both of my parents have a profession in education and both have master’s degrees, so formal education has always been important.

  34. Erin says:

    I got my degree in French with a minor in Linguistics. I did it because I love the language, I love learning, and I wanted to get a degree. I knew I would be doing nothing with it in terms of making money (I have been to France 3 times and plan on going many more when I can afford it). I’m just glad I did it!

  35. Two of Three says:

    Anthropology major, Spanish minor. I had parents who let me make my own decisions about school, but sometimes I wish they had said “But, what are you going to DO with an anthropology major?”! It was facinating and I’m glad I was exposed to it, but I now wish I had done something practical, like nursing or accounting. Yet, it gives me the piece of paper I need to sub in my kids school. I would like to continue after my youngest is out of elementary school. Education for education’s sake!

  36. alex w. says:

    Er..as an English major, I’m not quite sure how to take the options presented. I already feel like I need to defend my choice of major. If it’s any help to my cause, it was in my English classes where I became a feminist.
    I’m about to finish my degree in English literature with a minor in Library/Media science. I’m going to be a librarian, and want to get involved in literacy programs.
    I may or may not go to grad school after I pay off my student loans. I can’t decide what I would want to study. I’m a fan of education for education’s sake.

    • alex w. says:

      …Or at least started to become a feminist. It’s sort of a process.

      • Sandra says:

        Know the feeling about English. I never selected that major because it was easy or it could get married with it. I chose it because I loved literature, I love writing and I had the encouragement from my professors that I had the capacity.
        I’ve applied to grad school twice now, but never enrolled. I have two children and supported my husband through his graduate work because he didn’t have the flexibility in scheduling to trade off in parenting and home responsibilities. But he is behind me 900% and realizes that within the next few years I will be able to go back to pursue graduate work. We don’t all do things in the same order or at the same time.
        I try to not feel put down that this is the way we felt inspired to go about things. It is hard to still identify as someone who is smart, academic and asset when you are putting those things on hold.

  37. rachel says:

    BS in poly sci then MS in natural resources and environmental education. thought i’d chime in since there doesn’t seem to be any women on here that studied natural resources. i’ve worked for the federal government…bureau of land management…for the past six years. the ultimate career choice for me…i get paid to teach people (kids and adults) about the natural world.

  38. Coffinberry says:

    Sociology major with music minor. It was all about maximizing variety in undergrad. Twenty years later, I got my J.D.

  39. Beatrice says:

    Reading through all the comments on this post, I am sensing a tendency to try to distance one’s self from the stereotypical women who would choose one of these majors. Whether we chose one of those majors or not, we don’t want to be classified as an LDS woman whose only goal in college was to get married. Likewise, we don’t want to be seen as someone who didn’t take our education seriously or plan on doing anything “important” with it.

    However, as mentioned by several commenters we need to be careful not to devalue the three fields listed. Each of these majors could be pursued by an intelligent and motivated individual (male or female) who could do something really valuable in their professional or personal life. We need to be careful not to give into the stereotype that those who focus on the social sciences or humanities are less intelligent than those who focus on the hard sciences or mathematics.

    While cultures vary a great deal in what are considered to be “women’s” tasks or “men’s” tasks, generally whatever is considered female is devalued and considered less important than things that are considered typically male. Thus, in order to break down gender barriers we should help women break into male dominated fields. However, it is just as important to bring more prestige and respect for female dominated fields.

    Yes, it is bad if women feel like they don’t have many options and thus feel pressured into one of these majors. However, it is just as bad if women feel ashamed to pick one of these fields because of how they will be perceived by their peers. If women feel embarrassed to pursue typically female dominate fields then we have defeated the purpose of breaking down gender boundaries. The point of breaking down these boundaries is to give both women and men the ability to choose what they love.

    • Corktree says:

      Thank you for making those points Beatrice. I agree, and we need to make all fields equally useful to women regardless of their family/career aspirations. Hopefully change will come as women change the stereotype and move beyond it.

      And I want to be clear that my mention of the 3 typical majors was not in any way a judgment of those who chose them. I never thought it meant that someone who went with those directions was less committed to education or less intelligent. Just a difference in interests and goals, all good.

      Thank you everyone for sharing a bit about yourselves and showing that the educational spectrum of Mormon women is richly diverse and that just about any choice (even the stereotypes) can be put to good and meaningful use. It’s been wonderful to hear from you all and this community is better because of your presence and participation.

  40. Melanie says:

    I had intended to be an education major, but when my university changed its program to accomodate No Child Left Behind, I dropped the pursuit of that major for ethical reasons. Reading D&C 93:53 at an opportune moment confirmed the legitimacy of my passion for history and I completed by bachelors and Masters as a result. Currently hacking away at my PhD in history. I work every single day. It is a gift to be doing something I enjoy so much.

    When I was choosing my major for my BA, people in the church told me to be careful because history could challenge my testimony. When I was choosing a Masters program, people in the church told me to be careful of where I went so I didn’t choose a place with too few potential suitors. Perhaps they were right- as a PhD student I am inactive and single- and happy.

    • spunky says:

      Hey, Melanie- we are two peas in a pod! Well, at least academically. I am a history major and am now doing a doctorate as well- I am shocked that someone said that you might lose your testimony having history as a major! I think my participation in MHA has particularly increased my testimony. Unlike you though, no one gave me direction on wher to choose a master’s– I guess I was too much of a wildfire for them to even suspect that was a consideration for me. Are you on the mormon women in academia e-newslist? (It isn’t very active)

  41. Miranda says:

    In high school, I did research in a biology lab at a local university and volunteered at a local hospital because I wanted to be an oncologist. I began my undergraduate degree in molecular biology, but I soon realized that studying science and doing research probably would consume my life, and I did not want to choose between science and having a family. I switched majors to English, another subject that I enjoyed in high school and my mother’s major. When I started taking English classes, I did not have specific professional goals. While taking an Old English class, I unexpectedly fell in love with Old English poetry. The religious imagination of the Anglo-Saxons fascinated me and felt simultaneously familiar and foreign. To continue studying Anglo-Saxon culture (England c. 500-1066), I completed a master’s and doctorate in medieval studies. Now I am a professor at BYU, and I teach medieval literature in the English Department. Sometimes I wonder if I made the right decision to leave science; I am still single, and it feels ironic that I gave up my childhood dreams for domestic dreams that were not realized. Nevertheless, I have many opportunities to learn and grow as a professional scholar.

    Most of my students are female Mormon English majors. Many of them will become typical Mormon moms, but many will not. Regardless of what opportunities these women will have in the future, I believe that they all will be able to make a difference in their families and communities because they are studying narratives. That is, they are learning how to empathize with people, places, and periods beyond their immediate experience, and they are learning how to articulate their arguments persuasively. I am proud of them and their hard work.

  42. Lori Pierce says:

    I got my BA in French and German Teaching, fully expecting to teach and expecting that it would fit in well with a family or be a great “fall-back career”. During student teaching, I discovered that I hated all the stuff that went along with high school teaching. I love teaching, hate intrusive parents and paperwork. I went on to get an MBA and worked in Market Research for several year before my first “retirement” to motherhood. Was home full-time for 10 years and just this fall started teaching part-time and hope to make it full-time next year – teaching both French and German at local high schools.

    So, the undergraduate has been a great fall-back career. Living in a small Mississippi town, the MBA isn’t going to do me much good and the teaching schedule does work really well with my children all now in school. At the right school, the extra requirements aren’t too bad, plus I’ve matured enough to understand better where intrusive parents are coming from.

  43. CatherineWO says:

    I’m a little late to this discussion, but I just read all the comments and find them fascinating. What a diverse group of women we have here!
    I majored in English with a history minor because I was (and still am) passionate about the written word, fulling intending to get an MA in nineteenth century American lit. I got married six days after graduation, and in those days (early 70s), very few married women attended graduate school at BYU. I was accepted into the program but dropped out to support my husband in grad. school. I was accepted into another MA program several years later, but dropped out again because of conflicting family schedules and my husband’s busy church calling. I’ve had a full life, working for many years at a bookstore and as both a freelance writer and newspaper journalist. I no longer want or need the MA degree but I have always regreted not getting it.
    I find most interesting the comments made about the Mormon emphasis on motherhood. Ironically, I find myself agreeing with those of you here who don’t have children. Though I did marry and had four children (whom I love dearly and wouldn’t trade for all the degrees in acadamia), I always resented being seen only as a mother and wife. Not that I didn’t want to be both of these, but I have always seen myself as an individual first, separate from husband, children and extended family. Yet, in church settings, I have always felt like an appendage–someone’s mother or wife. The few times I have mentioned this to anyone at church, I have been chastised, as if I were putting motherhood down. I’ve always felt like such a misfit in Relief Society because I would rather discuss doctrine or the historical setting of a scripture than what my little darlings were up to.
    I appreciate this post because by the very act of asking the question, you place value on the individual answers. We have lived in our present ward for nine years, but I don’t think I have ever been asked what my college major was. Yet, I never talk to anyone without being asked how many grandchildren I have now or how my husband is doing. I would love to have a conversation with someone at church in which we discuss ideas and someone asks for my opinion. I in no way want to devalue motherhood, but it is not how I wish to be defined.
    So I come to Exponent and other blogs for cerebral discussions.

  44. Merkat says:

    Interesting thread…although late I’ll add mine since I’m in the thick of it- 7th year in post high school education.

    I double majored in Creative Writing and Neuroscience- great combination of taking poetry class, contemporary literature and then philosophy of mind and neurobiology in one week. I hear BYU discourages double majors, my school (USC) loves them!

    I then brought the arts and sciences together to do my MA in occupational therapy- just got licensed and registered and started a clinical doctorate in occupational therapy. I’m working with the body and the mind- in lifestyle looking at pain management, weight management, and mental health. I also work in early intervention with babies with neurological impairments and teach foundation courses at the university.

    Didn’t see many healthcare professionals here so wanted to add my voice!

  45. Erin says:

    Another arts person here – I did Clarinet Performance. While going through the program it was frustrating to have people say it was a good major for me because, y’know, I’d be getting married and not really need a degree anyway. Or something to that effect. And it definitely got frustrating that once I did get married my professor assumed I didn’t need to know about competitions or whatnot since I obviously wouldn’t be going to grad. school. At the time I definitely planned on grad. school and hoped for a performance career. But now it’s four years and a kid later and I’ve had to admit that that will not ever happen. Thankfully, I’m okay with that because I now have other interests I’d like to pursue. Once my husband finishes his masters, I’ll be looking into a few different graduate degree options for myself. In the meantime, I use my degree to teach sectionals for local schools and private lessons. It’s something I enjoy more than I ever thought I would, but still not something I want to do forever.

  46. Beth says:

    I did a BSc in Chemical Engineering. I then went on to complete a MASc (Master’s of Applied Science) in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering. Afterwards, I work for 3 years as a management consultant for one of the top 4 consulting firms. Then I took an LOA and worked in Africa with Engineers Without Borders for 5 months. Came back to North America, quit my job as a management consultant, and am now working as an Environmental Engineer, with a specialty in Air Quality. And absolutely loving it. I never thought I’d be in this job, and love it all. In the mix of all that, I was married, and divorced. And now have an awesome, career-oriented boyfriend (not that the ex- didn’t support my career, I was financially supporting us while he dabbled as an entrepreneur), who shares the excitement of all the new cool things I get to do.

  47. MB says:

    Corktree, though you hoped not to offend, I found the list of three majors annoying. My father got his degree in English. My sister-in-law, who is now a faboulous practicing family therapist and an ardent feminist, got her bachelor’s in MFHD before going on to grad school.

    I know you didn’t mean to annoy, but I found this triad of choices offensive in its implied stereotyping of the students who choose these majors. Please be a little more aware next time. Thanks.

    • Corktree says:

      Thank you for respectfully voicing your concern about the choices, MB. I understand how it came across, but I hope it is still clear that the stereotype being exposed is of Mormon women in general, not what women are like that pursue those majors. Does that make sense? We weren’t trying to imply anything negative about a woman that chose those directions for their degree, just highlighting what seemed to us was a disproportionate amount of Mormon women in those fields. I think it was more a curiosity to see if that was true (at least of our readership) than a judgment. I apologize again for making anyone feel less because of this. It truly was not intended, and clearly the examples of women with those backgrounds gives nothing but a positive stereotypical view.

  1. May 30, 2016

    […] they take them off for bathing, swimming, intimacy, exercise and yardwork.  The question “What was your major in college?” only had three multiple choice response options, so it is not surprising that 69% of […]

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