Extremely confused about my career path.. Any insight from adults/ college grads would be greatly appreciated!?

So here's the thing.. I am currently a environmental engineering major at Drexel University. I am extremely passionate about the environment. I am one of those people who doesn't believe in drying your hands with a paper towel or using plastic water bottles. I haven't done either of those things in years. That's how crazy I am. So I decided to go to Drexel for their five year engineering program because even though my heart wasn't set out on engineering, it was pretty much my best option at the time of picking a major/school. I didn't really have anything else reliable in mind so I kind of "fell" into it. Fast forward to today where I am almost done with my freshman year. I could honestly say I am not really that happy here and have been seriously considering changing my major/school. Drexel is an extremely fast paced school due to the quarter system and I think it is definitely underrated. The engineering program is difficult, rigorous and not for the faint of heart. And I'm really starting to hate it. I don't really fit in well here nor do I particularly enjoy it. It's almost like this routine I just get lost in everyday and hope I make it out alive. But I'm still here. I feel sort of safe here now and I can't imagine myself transferring schools or changing majors. Besides engineering being a lucrative field, it really makes a difference in people's daily lives which is something that is really important to me. So maybe I should stick with it right? Just stick it out; after I get through all of these weed- out class, maybe I'll like it better next year, etc. But everyday, without fail, I imagine myself as a music major. Writing it, producing it, singing it, doing all of that is my real dream. I've played piano since I was eight and I recently have really been getting super into it. I've written a few songs and will sometimes even cut class to work on my music. I love everything about the piano but I'm unsure if I can actually succeed in this field. It's so unbelievably competitive and I am not the best. That's just the truth. I'm a good singer but there are so many people out there who have been singing sine they were three years old. How can I compete with that? Can I really devote my whole entire life to this or is it just better off as a hobby? I am extremely passionate learning about music and the entire process it goes through. I want to take the leap but I am so scared. I've talked to so many people about my issue and everyone says stay with engineering because it's safe and you'll make tons of money. I went to a psychic, have had tarot card readings, and my palms read and they say to switch to music and that I am not happy with engineering. How can I choose between my love for the environment and my love for music? Or do I have to? I AM SO CONFUSED. I am terrified of making a bad decision and living with regret but I am even more scared of having a job I absolutely hate. I really need some advice from anyone who has been in this sort of situation before. Thank you so much!

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  • 8 years ago
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    Okay, here goes. I wish I had someone to give me better advice when I was a younger person than just to stick with something that makes money. Yes, you need money, but you need to look at what kind of person you are and what kind of job you can do. Are you a person who can sit at a desk forty or fifty hours a week solving engineering problems? Or go out into the field and fix "environmental" problems -- you could wind up doing work that is nothing like what you envision. So, first, I would suggest you ask what kinds of jobs people get who have your major, what those jobs entail, and seriously ask yourself whether you can see yourself working in a sewage treatment plant or an agricultural pesticides facility for the rest of your career, or perhaps you could get a civil job of some kind monitoring the water supply or measuring the effects of industrial chemicals on amphibian populations? Then, I would say, ask yourself what you ultimately want to do in music? Make music/records/perform/teach? What would you do for a day job if you do not hit it big there, as most likely you will not. Most artistic people must have day jobs. Would you be happy as a music teacher? A music therapist? A maker of musical instruments? A sound "engineer." A person with a small recording studio? Some of those jobs are steady and pay well enough to support a happy life. By all means, examine the options and the conditions under which you will work, the people you will have to work with -- stodgy engineers, flaky musicians, dedicated engineers, brilliant musicians, etc. -- each profession has good and bad, and decide for yourself in whose company and with what activities and income level you would prefer to spend the next forty-five or more years. It's a serious decision. Don't make assumptions. Look around and then decide.

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