I'm at a real crossroads in my life and was wondering if those who have been there, done that could help me weigh my choices.
I'm currently in first year university in an arts program that focuses on media studies. I also have an amazing coach, an amazing horse and show all around North America on the A circuit. I show jumpers, I just started seriously jumping last year and I'm progressing quite well.
The problem is that I hate school. It's really not what I want to do, I don't want a desk job! I would really like to do something horse related. I can pretty much rule out being a professional rider as I've dabbled in everything but never really stuck with one discipline long enough to reach a very high level.
I found a college in the UK, Hartpury (www.hartpury.ac.uk) where I could achieve a BSc in Equine Science and use that to get a job say as a therapist or nutritionist. I actually don't know what's out there and what I would like to do. I would discover what I'm interested in there. Getting in is not an issue as I am basically in. Money isn't an issue as it would be either showing A's or going to college.
so what should I do?
A) stay in school here, get a decent gvt. job and pay for riding, stay on A circuit
B) go to college and discover myself, get a horse related job and remain kinda poor but hopefully happy doing something that I love
a. you don't have to go across the pond to get an equine science degree. in fact that sounds like running away from your problems to me.
b. you could change your major to business or management with a minor in equine studies and then your goal could be a consultant for equine related businesses. OR you can do nutrition or therapy what have you and know how to build a profitable business for yourself. worst case you have THE most versatile degree there is.
c. think of jobs that fulfill a need for people even when they are poor. the economy SUCKS right now, and believe me the first thing to go is the equine nutritionist out of the budget.
There are a ton of schools here in the U.S. that have fabulous degrees in equine science or equine business! I don't think you have to choose between finding a job you love and showing your horse, at least not right now when you're 18. I was just there... well, 4 years ago, but still, I can tell you that your time in college will be invaluable to you in deciding what you want to do and nothing is worse than coming out with the feeling that you didn't study what you wanted. Definitely switch programs, if you feel like you're wasting your time in the program you're doing now. Keep your horse and show the A circuit when you have time/money (I don't know if your parents are helping you out or not). While you need to think about a job with longevity, like PetStoreJunkie said, you're lucky because you'll graduate after this recession largely has passed.
It took me until spring term my sophomore year, and many American political classes (Bleh!) to figure out that I really loved international relations. It's taken me until my 2nd term in grad school to even have an idea of what I want to do job wise. And I still have my ponies because I would fall over dead without them, and am still showing the A shows when I don't have Saturday classes. But my parents are incredibly generous and haven't kicked me out the financial support door yet... Yeah, they're wayyy too nice to me
But most important... DON'T PANIC about this!!! You have a ton of time to figure it all out! One of my best friends started out at West Texas A&M in equine studies, then went to CUBoulder for Sports Physiology, THEN went to the Art Institute for interior design. She's now hanging out as a trophy wife (I say it in jest) in CA and figuring out what she wants to do. Another friend has been to 6 schools and finally knows what she's doing, and will be at 7 before she graduates. You're only ~18, and these are questions that people who are 40 are still asking themselves!
Sorry, that was a novel. But it's not the end of the world if you need to switch schools or don't know what you want to do.
ETA: PetStoreJunkie, I adore your signature!! How appropriate!
Media Studies sounds like a really boring major to me, and one that may not have a lot of good job opportunities. If I were in your situation, I would start looking at the list of majors that your school offers. Pick a major that sounds fun, and will provide you with a good job when you graduate. Continue to show and ride, but try to get really good grades. If you have great grades, you can have your choice of grad schools if you can't find a job that you like after undergrad. You can spend a summer in Great Britain and take a summer class there. I would not transfer to a school over there unless you are sure it is right for you and will help you get a good job when you are done.
Media studies IF you work it right, is an awesome area- lots of potential jobs in advertising, communication, teaching, etc. But you need to tailor your learning towards a goal. I did my MA in media studies in NYC, got a lot of amazing business media and sales info from the program, then as a PhD in NJ the program was totally different, focused on writing and experimental data. Either way, if you don't like it, change now. Business will never lead you astray, and you can do an MA with almost any BA and good GRE's.
Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of theRiders with Fibromyalgia clique.
For me life was so much easier when I was 18 and thought I knew everything, lol.
Ain't that the truth!
To the OP, I am not sure. I look back at the many twists and turns my life has taken and it has been interesting. There is the logical part of you. It can look at the facts at hand and make a decision, In today's extremely fast world, that is not enough. Just a few years ago all my colleaugues -more or less the same age as me- all bought nice houses and settled down. I travelled , had horses-generally did what I felt like doing. They all saved and scrimped. Most of them(a bunch of us all came over from India the same time) are now at least 250-500k in debt with mortgages worth 30-50% lower than the value of the house. At that time, I was considered scatterbrained-now everybody looks at me like a genius!! I am getting ready to buy now.
I am not saying don't plan. But life-especially today-takes strange turns . Sometimes you get a strong feel about things-heart/gut/instinct/just kowing/whatever . I tend to listen to that and use my mind too. Sometimes you think something is your heart's desire -in reality, it could just be your fantasy and unwillingness to face reality.
The only way you can find out is to try it, fall down, get on up and try again. That is one thing I love about America. I was watching an interview with T. Boone Pickens and he made his fortune , lost it and made it again and at this age is trying to invest in wind energy.
You are young and if it doesn't work out-big deal. Try again or try something else.
I was a Communication Studies major, so probably not so far off from Media Studies. I work on the technical side of TV now, which allows for pretty decent pay for someone not so far out of college, and has some pretty flexible hours.
I think that if its an area that does interest you, it's definitely a path worth pursuing, as either something that could be equine related (marketing, websites, etc) or something that would provide a job that would allow you continue on the horse path as an ammy. Honestly, I think you'd be better off with a Media Studies degree (perhaps with a Business minor?) than an EqScience degree, as it would allow you a broader range of choices.
I am running late and haven't read all posts ( I will when I get home) so sorry if this is a repeat, but I wanted to share real quick. I too was in your spot after I graduated high school. I had been riding and competing for 12 years. It was my life. I was trying to decide if I wanted to make a go of it with the horses, when my mother said to me ( in that way mothers do) " Do you want to own the barn, or work in someone else's barn" Light Bulb. Off to college my horse and I went. Competing slowed down, but I still rode and learned that having varied intrests is truly rewarding. Now ten years later, I have a great job that allows plenty of time for riding and showing, and I own a small farm. It was what I always dreamed of- maybe a little less "fancy" than I once thought- but it is mine. While I don't "do" horses professionally, they are still a huge part of my life and pray they will be for a long time. This was the right path for me, and I wish you luck- it is a hard choice. Whatever you decide, just know that you don't have to limit yourself. If you aren't getting where you want to go, plot a different course ( another bit of motherly advice ). Good Luck- and whatever path you choose right or not so right -you will gain something from it.
I have a brother who is 27, lives at home, and just got laid off from another dead-end, low-paying job. He's actually a confirmed genius and has a BA in psychology from a great school, but he's the definition of wishy-washy and took way too long to graduate with grades that were way too low, changed majors way too many times, and never had a clear goal for what he wanted to do. Anyways, now that he's without a job and can't think of anything that he's qualified for, he's going back to school to take a few more classes (and hopefully raise his GPA). He wrote me an email the other day, and I had to stop and ponder when the boy who never focuses on anything wrote, "So, I have different goals this time around for college. A short term deadline, necessary good grades, and job-focus." All I could think was how great it would have been if he had had those goals the first time through school...
Anyway, the point is, wanderlust makes for a hard road and way too many possibilties for future disappointment. There's always the stories of those who strike out with the "I'll see where this takes me" idea and succeed, but it's not common, and it's not for everyone. 30-somethings living at home and working for pennies are common. I would very much suggest sitting down and coming up with some very definite plans for what you want to do before you make any changes. If you can identify a particular career in media studies that you would be happy with, then stick with that major and keep a narrow focus. (I would love to go back and do media studies, and would do graphic design if I didn't live in a dead-end town...) If you can identify a particular career in the equine industry that you would like to work towards, go for it. (Only go to England if that particular school offers the best opportunities for the particular career you aspire to.) But make sure you're working towards a GOAL and not just a VAGUE IDEA. If you choose a career, work towards it, and later discover it's not as exciting as you thought, then you can explore those vague ideas knowing that you still have a "fallback" career that you're experieced in and qualified for. It's entirely, entirely unfair that 18-year olds are required to make decisions that affect the rest of their lives, but, well, that's just the way it is. I would bet that your school offers some sort of career counseling service that can help you pinpoint a few jobs that you'd fit into, and an interneship would make a great trial-run. But don't make "A-circuit or no A-Circuit" the focus of the decision. You have a LOT of life ahead of you to ride and compete. Most folks have to put that on the backburner for a few years during and after school... remember, the idea is: "A short term deadline, necessary good grades, and job-focus." This is coming from my brother, the confirmed genius who WILL settle down one day.
Proud Momma of *Capital Kiss* and Bottle Rocket!
If you're dreaming of running to England you don't have to study equine studies - you could still study something else there. Do you want to get away more, or study horses or do both?
I transfered to Trinity College in Dublin Ireland and it was the best decision I've ever made. I chose it based on the school and the reputation though. Maybe I was running away at the time (needed to heal after surgery and was on a D1 sports team so I went to study abroad and ended up transfering.) The thing is I totally found myself living on my own in a new country. I changed majors from electrical engineering to economics in the process and had two years where I learned more about myself and my major than I could have ever imagined.
Think about how it fits in your bigger plan though. Will it help you get where you want to go? In the business world, I have found that having a degree from an overseas university has helped me (esp as I work for a large multi national company.) At the same time I chose a top international university and got top grades.
Can you shadow some people in some different careers or get an internship over the summer to try and find a career you think you'd like? I really wish I had done more of this when I was in college. I find school is a lot easier if you are working towards a goal.
I think it sounds like a very, very bad plan. Go to school and get a decent job, there are far too many acupuncturists out of work. The economy stinks and when things 'get better' it will be a permanently changed world. Get a degree in business, computer science, law or engineering, or something like that, so you can afford to ride when you get out of school.
Thank you all for your replies. I currently live at home so that I can help my parents afford to send me all over to ride. I still have no idea what I'm going to do. Obviously, the school as a means to an end is the more practical option and probably the one that I will take. However, I know that I'll always wonder what would've happened if I went overseas. If only we could go back after we know the answers.
I Get a degree in business, computer science, law or engineering, or something like that, so you can afford to ride when you get out of school.
Yep...because the secretarial position that I got with my computer science degree really paid for competing on the A circuit It's frankly all a crapshoot. You can have one of those degrees and still be unemployed right now. I am now wishing I had done something much more fun since it didn't make me any money and I paid for it for quite awhile Do something that interests you and do not get a degree that you *think* will be good money. After quite a bit of working crappy admin jobs, I am now working as an independent contractor in the finance industry and it's not all bad But my degree was absolutely useless. You still have to study and pay for it no matter what you get a degree in....make it something that interests you.
1) Once you have to work to support yourself, you will realize that in fact you loved school;
2) I don't really know what media studies is, I will disagree and say it sounds as good as any other major, and certainly won't prevent you from ever working in horses! I'm unclear as to why you think you have to work for the government, except that you will be able to slack off and will never get fired. Kind of an oxymoron too, work in media for the government? Free press here in the USA (Okay, more like online media nowadays but still!). There are way too many people working for the government! If you are good at media studies, maybe you should stick with it as you (your parents) have already invested in it;
3) I don't think I recommend taking a year off unless you have the luxury of not having to support yourself, working part time, showing your horse and living at home (it sounds like you actually probably do have that option available). Once you stop school and support yourself, school will be very hard to get back to without someone else's pocketbook, because you will have more pressing matters such as bills to deal with;
4) Every post I have ever read has recommended against an actual career in horses, outside of vet. You'll need things like insurance & 401K and if you want to do equine massage therapy, trainer, equine nutritionist, you will likely be working for yourself and have to pay for those things on your own.
So I don't really think you have a bad thing going on here. Stay at the university with the privelege of showing your awesome horse and not having to support yourself yet. You will have three more years to find suitable full-time employment and slowly sort out your priorities and untangle yourself from your parent's finances. That's what college is for! Be thankful for your education opportunities. Changing your major or transferring universities might be a good option if it still allows you to live at home to help save some money. If you think going to college overseas will help you better accomplish taking hold of your life, and your parents agree to pay, then I guess that is a viable option. But your horse will be gone, gone gone... maybe sold if your parents are teaching you to make choices (ah, to choose between traveling to Europe or showing the expensive horse!). While you are in college, it seems like you could be doing so much more- traveling, saving the world etc., but trust me, those are fantasies unlikely to be lived out at age 18 or 19!
Seriously, you need 3 "things" in life (jeez my Dad is smart)
That way when one is in the toilet, the other 2 can pull you through.
I'd stay in the US and TRY different courses at school - one may sneak up on you when you least expect it to. Be flexible - some of the MOST unhappy people I have known in their 40's "settled down" to a career at 24, and are now 20 years into it and either hate it or are unemployed with no other job skills.
I'm one of the very very fortunate - I love my job and (usually) look forward to it every day. It suits ME, whereas another person would hate it - the constant travel, working with new people every week, etc.