When you kids say they want to major in philosophy!

Joyce Ojeda

Advisor Member
Jun 30, 2014
For 19 years, you tried... you really tried... to be the model parent. You did it all: the diaper watch, the grueling PTA meetings, showing up at every last soccer game, supervising homework. And now, well into his or her second year of college, your son or daughter sits you down during mid-term break to deliver the news. He's going to major in philosophy. Oh my God! Your heart drops. You can't believe what you've just heard. What do you do?
Take the following pop quiz: a) You scream and shout -- and remind this wayward sophomore of that pricey college tuition bill, and the much-discussed family plan for him or her to make money in a business career. b) You enlist the help of some thickly-built North Jersey contacts, to have a serious talk in the university parking lot after hours with the wacko professor who inspired (misled) your innocent kid. c) You suck it up, and when the folks at the country club and your extended family ask how your son or daughter is doing, you change the subject.
Here are the answers (in order) to a, b, and c: no, no, and -- you guessed it -- no. What appears to you as a death sentence is anything but. In fact, if you treat the news properly and see things in perspective, it's not even a setback.
Students rarely pursue a career related to their major in college. Besides, your son may be experimenting -- something which he or she has every right to do. Also, need we remind you now that they are an adult, and have every right to choose their own career. Sure, if Junior wants to stay with philosophy per se, he'll pretty much be confined to a teaching career -- but so what? You should treat his newly discovered independence of thinking as a compliment -- or what's a major in philosophy for?
Secondly, stop stressing out over all the Internet statistics you read about which majors in college wind up with the most or least rewarding jobs or income. Not only do those figures change from year to year; but consider this list of notable executives who can point to philosophy as their undergraduate major: Hedge Fund manager George Soros, former FDIC chairperson Sheila Bair, former Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin, Overstock.com co-founder and CEO Patrick Byrne, Paypal co-founder and CEO Peter Thiel, and controversial activist investor Carl Icahn.
Not a bad list to cite to your country club cohorts, should you choose not to change the subject when they ask you how your son or daughter is faring in college. (By the way, is there some pressing reason that you care what they think?)
Finally, philosophy is a marvelous discipline for training students how to think, and how to determine true ethical values in a world full of cheaters and moral minefields. As David Schraeder of the American Philosophical Association has observed, "the skills that philosophy teaches you are wonderfully transferable."
And if you must play gotcha over a cocktail with your fair weather friends at the country club, you can always quote Peter Lynch, head of Fidelity Magellan Fund from 1977 to 1990:
"As I look back on it now, it's obvious that studying history and philosophy was much better preparation for the stock market than, say, studying statistics. ... Logic is the subject that's helped me the most in picking stocks, if only because it taught me to identify the peculiar illogic of Wall Street."
Enough said? Now hug your young sophomore, and congratulate her. Then take her out for a drink at your country club. She earned it.

Independent News for the Right-Minded American


Jo Edwards

Sep 16, 2014
United states
I'm going to model my college choices and how this leads me to start a company worth over $100,000,000 per year with over 400 employees. Anthropology is one of those, "teaching" degrees, really only setting you up to teach something in a lab. Anthropology is the bastard child of sociology, and psychology. Really, the only reason it existed was to say that white people have the right to oppress minorities even during and invasion when they were the minority.

I picked anthropology when I was 5 because it was the first major in the dictionary, and I didn't want to look through every word when I could watch TV. I took anthropology my first year. Other students took general ed there first few years. Both methods work. When focusing on a major, take an intro course, or at least look at the subfields and play a little in each. I tried each one in anthropology: cultural, biological, linguistics, archaeology, and applied anthropology/forensic anthropology. I settled on linguistics. I followed the same process. I settled on neuro-linguistics among cohorts who settled in phonetics, semantics, and etymology. From here I focused on eidetic memory, aka photographic memory, and a cognitive language for memory. I could focus on eidetic memory in children, in teens, in adults, in seniors, or in animals. From there I could explore different phenomenon. I apply all the findings to my careers. New discoveries lead to dramatic changes in my career.

I consider the career as a blank canvas stretched over personal relationships. Your major is really about deciding what to write your dissertation on. If you tried to write a general dissertation of philosophy, it would fill a library;therefore, you start general, and you specialize your major until you have a specific enough research field to conduct an experiment, create a master work, or teach. Keep this in mind if your son or daughter chooses a "careerless" major. Sure, no one will be scouting them out of college for a six figure starting salary like my friend in computer engineering, but forming friendships, conducting research, and applying new findings to real world opportunities is what college is about, not that piece of paper. If you wanted to give your son or daughter a career, you could spend the money you used for tuition to start a business, discover something new worth money, or set up five to ten years of living expenses. Make sure they know why a major is a starting point on a longer road, and make sure they know what the point is at the end.

If you're worried about their financial security (and potentially yours considering social security isn't much to live on), here are a few things I've noticed about millionaires and deca-millionaires I've met.

1. they have passion - I learn languages:eek:ne every 3 -4 months by learning 40 words per day/ or 4 words per hour. Tai Lopez reads a book a day. Anik Singal enjoys travel for his Honeymoon, he traveled all throughout Europe looking for the exact perspectives of famous photographs. Bill gates loves to help people. He plans to spend a billion dollars on foreign aid. Warren buffet likes numbers. He sits down every day just to look over numbers. After meeting more millionaires, I started to learn languages. I just sat down and did it. Never missed a day.
2. they are always learning - picking a major is great, but knowing how to formulate a research question, create a hypothesis, identify variables, and analyze data are important for understanding how to improve things. This is why I got more and more specific with my major. I want to know more, and when I learn something new, I can always get more specific
3. They understand how to win support - passion goes a long way, but understanding how to condition people (operant conditioning) through rewards and punishment are key to becoming a leader and doing big things. I can help maybe 20,000 people per year on my own. If I study what works, then I can teach it to others and employ them. In return they each help 20,000 people. This way, my ability grows exponentially.

If you learn only this, If you insist on guiding your son or daughter as an adult, such as choosing a major, choosing a career, making "reasonable" decisions, your son or daughter is a less successful copy of you. If you let them free, they may make mistakes, but they will surround themselves with the best people. The only guidance your child needs as an adult is getting next to the most amazing people in the world. The process is as follows. "Who is the most amazing person you know?" you ask. Condition your child to ask this of everyone as well as for an introduction. They will choose the right friends.

Good luck.

Aree Wongwanlee

Advisor Member
Dec 13, 2014
None of my children had decided to major in philosophy so I would never know what I would do if they did. Basically, my children wanted to major in making money. And they all succeeded in varying degrees.