Change of major... From top 5 architecture school in US to mediocre kinesiology program?

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    Mar 22, 2011 8:56 PM GMT
    I got two canker sores in my mouth over SPRING BREAK from stressing over this... I'm currently halfway through my 3rd year of a very rigorous, respected B.Arch program at the University of Texas. I like the work, but absolutely hate the lifestyle as it doesn't allow me to be nearly as earthy and active as I want to be. I'm also starting to face the fact that this lifestyle doesn't necessarily end with school.

    I am looking into a health promotion degree which suits me in many ways... I love helping people, love more human interaction, and am becoming more and more of a health nut / fitness enthusiast (I will voluntarily research eating habits, good food/ bad foods, exercises, and supplements while I should be studying for a construction test or working on a design project). I can't tell you how many people I have boughten giant almond containers for with my Sam's club membership to save them $ and so they have a healthy snack.

    I don't know too much about the health promotion field, but have seen that for the most part is not a very lucrative path to take, even less than architecture which is arguably the most underpaid field considering the required level of qualification.

    My dad was very upset when I sprung this on him (I am not out to him yet and he probably doesn't know I will most likely just have to support myself).

    But instead of a B.Arch, I can get a BS in Architectural studies and double major in health promotion. Only difference is with the BSAS I can't become a licensed architect and if I go the health promotion route I would eventually need a masters.

    Making 6 figures is not important to me, but I would like to live comfortably and not always have to worry about being frugal like I do now. I haven't been in the real world yet and don't really know how much is required to do that.

    Anyways, I really appreciate anyone who took the time to read all of this and appreciate all the feedback I can get. I am meeting with past arch professors this week and the health promotion adviser next Monday. If I choose the health promotion route, I may drop out of school this semester to work because my classes will not count towards any degree and will most likely not help my GPA. I already have completed the required design work for the BSAS and am now in the most intense semester of the entire 5 year B.Arch program.

    Once again any insight is greatly appreciated, especially if you know anything about health educators or the health promotion field or architecture! But I know I can learn from anyone with real world experience :-)
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    Mar 22, 2011 10:19 PM GMT
    I dropped a career as a mechanical engineer to take up flying.
    Financially, that was a mistake.
    Emotionally, I'll never look back.

    Do what makes YOU happy. icon_cool.gif
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    Mar 22, 2011 10:20 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidI dropped a career as a mechanical engineer to take up flying.
    Financially, that was a mistake.
    Emotionally, I'll never look back.

    Do what makes YOU happy. icon_cool.gif
  • mke_bt

    Posts: 707

    Mar 22, 2011 10:33 PM GMT

    Here's a few thoughts that I'll just through out there. Do you love architecture? Maybe at the present you are suffering from apprehension. I went through that my junior year of an intense music performance program. All those hours in a practice room, no time for much else, will I even get a job? I did finish and went out and auditioned for orchestras. It was tough but I'm glad I completed my studies. Unfortunately, I never got my dream job of playing in a major orchestra.
    Anyway, here's a novel idea. Wisconsin is the only state where you can become a licensed architect without a degree. You can become licensed after completing an apprenticeship program. (thank you FLW). Having the BSAS degree might give you a leg up and shorten the time you would be apprenticed. UW-Milwaukee is creating a new school for public health which will include fields in health promotion/fitness. They also have a very well respected Architecture/Urban Planning school.
    Just my two cents. Peace and best wishes.
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    Mar 22, 2011 10:43 PM GMT
    I am going through the same thing right now.
    I just finished a bachelor in Administration and I have applied to start another one in Kinesiology...
    From what I heard,you can actually make good money, but you are your own company and work weird hours (5-9am,after6pm), but I prefer this to the 9 to 5 lifestyle that I find so boring.
    If anyone is in kinesiology,their advices are welcome icon_smile.gif
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    Mar 22, 2011 11:31 PM GMT
    As long as you end up doing something you are passionate about. The rest really shouldn't matter.
  • pelotudo87

    Posts: 225

    Mar 22, 2011 11:32 PM GMT
    I'm going through something similar to this.

    I graduated with a BS in Marketing and a BA in Spanish this past July, and found a full-time position in marketing research. It's really good money, and I'm in a good position to really grow in the industry...but I wasn't happy.

    I'm now going into personal training. I studied for my NASM certification, as well as one of the recertification exams, and am now getting input on my resume.

    Honestly, I went into marketing because I knew that there would be jobs that paid reasonably well, and that it would probably be one of the less painful lucrative jobs for me because it fits in with some of my personality traits (ie. curious, like to research things).

    However, I've come to the conclusion that you truly need to do what you are passionate about. All the money in the world won't actually make you happy...as long as you have enough to live on, and can get up in the morning and not wait to go to work, and still have time to do things like working out consistently that you won't have time to do if you go into a more time-consuming but lucrative field...then I say that you are a rich person.

    Just be happy that you wanted to make a change while you are still young enough--I know a ton of older people who HATE what they do and HATE going to work everyday, but they have to because they need the money...


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 22, 2011 11:44 PM GMT
    It sounds like you have invested a lot of time into your B.Arch program and that the issue is your heart being in another field (not a lack of competence in your current field). Another consideration would be to complete the B.Arch program and then pursue a MPH afterwards. This way, you might not need to delay your education. Even if you decided to major in health promotion as an undergraduate, you would ultimately be more competitive for many health promotion careers with a MPH degree.
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    Mar 22, 2011 11:46 PM GMT
    something to take into consideration is that most with a non-professional degree do not end up with a career that fits their major (e.g., most art history/poli-sci/etc majors end up working retail, etc). i'm not familiar at all with a health promotion degree, but research the viability of that degree and what types of realistic options are available to you upon graduation. i'm not saying that you won't end up in your dream job, but the odds against you do exist. at least with architecture, you'll know what you're getting into, and the reputation of that degree is there. just my .02

    best of luck with everything, and m/
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    Mar 23, 2011 12:00 AM GMT
    What you do in school is not necessarily what you do in your future job.

    You are not content. That much is apparent. You have this opportunity to jump to another field which you admit you haven't done a lot of research on, but seems to push your buttons as a hobby.

    I would suggest that before you indulge in your escape fantasy (and there's nothing wrong with having escape fantasies, or even pursuing them), that you do some research. Why do you want to do "health promotion"? What will a kinesiology degree do to get you to that goal? Is this a true change of heart, or is this simply a bump in the road that you have to get past to pursue the career you wanted that prompted you to pursue a B.Arch in the first place? Clearly, you didn't just blindly stumble into a B.Arch either. It's easy to lose sight of the goal that got you where you are when the going gets tough.

    Lifestyle is what you make it. Changing your major may provide some novelty in the short term, but I wouldn't think of it as a magic key to happiness even if you are developing this "passion". I think it's great that you want to help people and that you are becoming a health nut. But to be frank (and perhaps this is too frank), "kinesiology" is definitely fun when you're doing it on your own terms, just like architecture was probably fun when you were doing it on your own terms. It's not necessarily fun when you have to meet degree requirements.

    Here are my recommendations (for what they're worth, speaking from the perspective of someone who was willing to just leave medicine altogether 3 years ago for very similar reasons) Sorry if they're blunt:

    1) Do some research. The fact that you're referring to "good food/bad food" tells me you're still on the "pop" level of even understanding the topic. You're just consuming right now, and enjoying the buffet. There's nothing wrong with that, but you should get a real idea of what ACTUAL career prospects are out there for a BS in Kinesiology.

    2) Do some soul searching to decide if you just don't like architecture anymore at all, or if you still love it. There is no perfect lifestyle. You will always have tradeoffs. If you like the work, then find some mentors who can give you some real perspective on what life might be like when you're finished your degree. Find some mentors who might be living the lifestyle you want while still doing the work you like. You may end up having to create the lifestyle you want. Yeah, it's gonna take balls, but you were born with a pair, so use 'em.

    The reality is that with a B.Arch, you can still pursue the appropriate certifications to abandon architecture and become that "trainer" that you want to be. You will be eligible to write the CSCS or the NASM exam, thanks to there being absolutely no standard for personal training certification.

    Yes, you should do what you love, but even loving relationships have arguments.
  • htex24

    Posts: 47

    Mar 23, 2011 12:08 AM GMT
    I actually graduated from UT with a B.Arch degree in 09 and honestly after your sound building studio your studio life becomes more relaxed. The thing I realized after sound building was 1. I really am passionate about architecture and 2. it's that there is more to architecture than studio or that you can be passionate about more than one thing at once. So what I did was better managed my time and treat my gym/leisure time as I would with school work.

    I think I actually had better studio work because I was happier and less stressed about it. No doubt there will be all nighters but I still get my workouts in or hangout with friends no matter what haha but it was just shorter...instead of a weekend it's was just dinner...you know...

    Plus after doing the residency program, there are firms that have a school-like studio culture and some will be more 9-5...it's just really deciding what you want and what you end up choosing.

    But I myself love the fitness promotion aspect that you are talking about, but what I think I would do is stick it out with B.arch and do a masters in your kinesiology program after plus you can do it elsewhere too with a better program. Hope this helped and didn't confuse you even more haha icon_smile.gif
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    Mar 23, 2011 12:16 AM GMT
    "I will voluntarily research eating habits, good food/ bad foods, exercises, and supplements while I should be studying for a construction test or working on a design project"
    It sounds like you're more interested in this field than your current one.

    You can, however, make a decent living working as a personal trainer.
    Well established trainers can earn about $75 per hour- of course those guys/gals are self-employed- chains take about 70%+ of that away. icon_confused.gif
    ...and you're basically looking for your clients anyways.

    Nutritionist earn about $40,000 a year-
    Physical/Occupational Therapist earn about $60,000 a year-

    Just know that although you will need to take a new batch of classes- several of the ones you've take will cross over- your psychics and math courses for example- the other courses are essentially as follows: general chemistry- advance chemistry- organic chemistry- anatomy- human physiology- and microbiology (This is about two years worth of work- and it's just the foundation)
    If those courses sound enjoyable then I guess you have your answer. icon_razz.gif

    I have to get back to washing dishes now- If you have anymore questions feel free to ask.
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    Mar 23, 2011 12:23 AM GMT
    I think it's important you do something that I love. Stick with architecture.
  • SkyMiles

    Posts: 963

    Mar 23, 2011 12:23 AM GMT
    As an architect, I've found that the profession of architecture always was difficult and is becoming more and more so as time goes on. Unless you deeply, deeply love architecture and absolutely can't see doing anything else, definitely consider moving on to another career.

    -Architects are the second worst paid profession in the US based on the level of education and qualifications you need.

    -Every year, architects are responsible for more and more. Not just design, health/safety/welfare, and coordination but construction cost, liability and now environmental performance. That would all be fine...IF architects got paid more for all the extra work.

    -Construction in general is cyclical, based on the economy. In some areas like Charlotte and Atlanta, the unemployment rate for architects tops 50%. One senior guy I know lost his house, another (a VP) got laid-off, and another (a partner, no less) actually got fired so that the firm he worked for wouldn't have to pay unemployment benefits.

    I'm not trying to crap on your dream if being an architect is what it is. But there's a lot of ugly reality to this profession you should be aware of. Don't even take my word for it because I'll admit I'm jaded. I do think you should look into the down side and explore other careers you might be interested in that are less punishing.
  • Ironman4U

    Posts: 738

    Mar 23, 2011 1:51 AM GMT
    I say follow your passion, but as noted earlier, make sure you do some deep introspection first. Talking to professors and advisors and doing your own research is advisable too.

    I worked for a health promotion company for about five years. There are good positions out there. And, in any field, there are paths you can take to become a respected expert which is where the money is (if that's important to you). That doesn't happen overnight, but with the right vision, it's a path that you can create for yourself. I've helped a lot of folks do this, so happy to chat with you more about it, if it's a path that interests you.
  • conservativej...

    Posts: 2465

    Mar 23, 2011 1:57 AM GMT
    You have answered your own question. Step back and read your first two paragraphs.
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    Mar 23, 2011 2:03 AM GMT
    Coming from a guy that changed majors quite a bit in college, you need to go with what you love and are interested in. Whether it be architecture or health promotion. I have a degree in health management, which is a counter part to health promotion and have found it very hard to find a job since graduating in 2009. In fact the only job I have found is being a substitute teacher. I not trying to discourage your choice at all. I don't know if it was the right one for me though. Especially since my real love and passion photography, since I have not been able to find a job in my degree. I am seriuosly leaning towards the thing that does make me happy and excited when I talk about it.
    Again do what your passionate about and what you love if that is health promotions then go for it and study hard. They are fun classes I can tell you from taking, I liked them.
    Good Luck!
  • slasherOCD

    Posts: 43

    Mar 23, 2011 2:09 AM GMT
    I was in a similar situation when I was in undergrad. I talked to my parents and realized that I spent my whole life imagining myself as a doctor and that was my dream. I chose not to change majors and now that I have completed school I'm glad I didn't. School is always the worst of it. I hated biology classes and dreaded going every day but it was a means to an end that I wanted. You spent 18 years deciding and major and now you're going to change for a new interest? I think you should talk to people in both professions to get first hand knowledge from them. Then decide what suits you best in the long run.
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    Mar 23, 2011 2:19 AM GMT
    And dying in your bed many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days, from this day to that, for one chance--just one chance--to come back and tell you father that he may take back his approval, but he'll never take your giant almonds containers!


    Well...hmmm

    1. Money isn't everything.
    2. What will matter most to you when you ARE dying: your lavish bank account or knowing that you enjoyed living the life you led and helping people?
    3. Your dad needs to grow up--this is your life, not his.
    4. Do what makes you the happiest... whether that's being an architect, a board certified health nut, a poet, or a porn star.
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    Mar 23, 2011 3:22 AM GMT
    Hey, I got to a school that is just as crazy as yours in terms of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and those design fields.

    People do this because they love the field. Frankly, very architects becomes any sort of starchitect. This is college, you have more opportunity now to set yourself up to do what you love than you may have in years to come. From what I understand of the professional world, it will be crazy as hell. If you can something that you love more, do it.

    Designing is not worth it if you do not love it. Your gonna hate yourself if you get Architecture just to please your parents.
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    Mar 23, 2011 3:37 AM GMT
    I have been through three programs already myself, my dad graduated history then went back to do business, my uncle went halfway through bio at a very good science school, quit went to something else, quit that, and decided in the end to be a lawyer. This is very common.

    Go with what you feel makes you happy, not what makes someone else happy. I wish I could find that in a career path myself.
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    Mar 23, 2011 3:57 AM GMT
    AGS89 said
    Making 6 figures is not important to me...


    You say that now icon_lol.gif

    I really think you should think long and hard about this. Ask yourself why you took Architecture in the first place. You must have liked it at some point. And try to remember what about it you liked that made you decide to pursue it.

    Not to offend you or anyone, but health promotion seems more like a hobby to me- something I can do alongside a real job.
  • ROYCE13

    Posts: 315

    Mar 23, 2011 4:06 AM GMT
    If you are already in the end of the third year of architecture school, I would suggest to finish it out and get your arch. degree and add your other interest later. The last difficult year is worth it even if you never do architecture work. If it was your 1st or 2nd year it would be a different story. I attended UT arch school as well and left after the first year, but I knew I was headed in that direction prior to starting. I did not like the lifestyle of the program either and I was juggling business and music performance as well so I had no life. But, never let the lifestyle rule you, you can now-a-days do what you want. You do not have do conform to the lifestyle. If you do enjoy the work and program, finish it. You have worked to hard to get into the program and you have survived three years. The other programs will be there, it is too hard to go back though. Best wishes on your decision.
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    Mar 23, 2011 4:12 AM GMT
    [quote]I'm currently halfway through my 3rd year of a very rigorous, respected B.Arch program at the University of Texas. I like the work, but absolutely hate the lifestyle as it doesn't allow me to be nearly as earthy and active as I want to be. I'm also starting to face the fact that this lifestyle doesn't necessarily end with school.[/quote]

    I've found the same thing to be true with my field. Luckily, though, even in a field that snags your time and drives you too hard, you can find (if you're creative and thoughtful about it) SOME ways to save time every week. You might have to be more diligent about that than you like, but the goal is, become as efficient as you can, accept help from colleagues, and remind the people you work with how important work/life balance is to you. Message me if you want to talk about this more. Think about this too -- if you go into a difficult field like architecture and do succeed at having work/life balance, you're paving the way for anyone who comes after you, especially if you share your story. Maybe that's part of your purpose.

    [quote]I don't know too much about the health promotion field, but have seen that for the most part is not a very lucrative path to take, even less than architecture which is arguably the most underpaid field considering the required level of qualification.[/quote]

    Yeah. My two architect friends worked in jobs they extremely disliked for about ten years before they were able to move into something better. It does seem like a very unfair field as far as not nurturing its young/new talent.

    [quote]Making 6 figures is not important to me, but I would like to live comfortably and not always have to worry about being frugal like I do now. I haven't been in the real world yet and don't really know how much is required to do that.[/quote]

    I know the feeling. There's a forum online where you can ask people about the cities they live in and housing prices; I've learned so much there. I've found if you earn in the $30-40K range, you still have to do a lot of budgeting and defer a lot of the things you want to buy. You can still build your life, but it takes longer to get what you want.

    [quote]I already have completed the required design work for the BSAS and am now in the most intense semester of the entire 5 year B.Arch program.[/quote]

    It sounds like you've gone so far with this that you might as well see it through. One thought - try attending conferences in your field. Maybe there is one sub-specialty of architecture where people have better work/life balance than others. You'll only know if you talk to people and keep asking questions.

    [quote]Once again any insight is greatly appreciated, especially if you know anything about health educators or the health promotion field or architecture! But I know I can learn from anyone with real world experience :-) [/quote]

    Good luck and its so good that you're thinking this through now. Regardless of what you choose, remember that this is a value for you and eventually that focus will lead you to a good solution. icon_smile.gif
  • ArmsandLegs

    Posts: 125

    Mar 23, 2011 4:36 AM GMT
    As an Athletic Training major in the Kines Dept, my advise would be to look into something other than Health Promotion if you are serious about studying Kinesiology. I don't know what the program there is like, but at BSU there isn't much you can do with the degree other than get your teaching credentials and teach Health classes or be a private consultant/ personal trainer. The Health Promotion majors here are sort of the bastard children of the Kines Dept. If you are serious about changing into a Kines major and want some sort of success, my reccomendation would be to look into Exercise Science, Exercise Physiology, Biomechanics, or Fitness Programming/ Evaluation.

    As far as your prediciment of fully changing majors, I'd stick it out for atleast another semester. I was burnt out on Athletic Training last year (my junior year) and was considering a switch to ExPhys but decided to push through it, and now I couldn't be happier.