You’re working towards earning your degree, maybe for better employment prospects, higher expected income, or you have a passion for your field of study. Sometimes though, the reality of the job you’re working toward isn’t as glamorous as your perception of it. When this happens, it’s easy to think that the time and effort you put into your education wasn’t worth it, that it was wasted. However, if you apply what you learned in a new way, you may discover a rewarding new career that you didn’t expect to find. Here are just a few examples of some interesting and inventive ways to apply your education.
Chemistry - Firework Designer
Have you ever wondered how fireworks have such a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sounds? Firework designers, professionally known as pyrotechnic engineers, are the people who determine what chemicals to use and how to arrange them to create the effects that fireworks make during concerts, sporting events, and holiday celebrations. Their knowledge of chemical reactions, combined with their artistic vision, allows them to determine the right effects a firework needs to compliment the venue they’re being used at. Technology now allows a lot of firework show planning to be done electronically, but testing out fireworks at small scale to make sure they work correctly is still an integral part of the creative process.
Engineering Graphics Technology - Cosplay Armor Maker
I know what you’re likely thinking: “Cosplay? As in the outfits people wear to comic and anime conventions? What does that have to do with engineering graphics technology?” As the technology and materials used in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and 3D printing technology become more accessible to the general public, engineering technology specialists with an eye for the nerdy will start using the tools of their trade to design and create these outfits. There’s a significant market for cosplay armor pieces, with prices going up to four figure sums and above based on the materials used, meaning that there is a lucrative niche market for these products that an enterprising CAD designer could utilize. Recently, well-known Mythbuster and cosplay enthusiast Adam Savage enlisted 3D printing technology and CAD designs to create titanium pieces for a real-life Iron Man suit. It not only looked remarkably like the unpainted prototype from the first movie, but was strong enough to deflect bullets, protect against explosions, and light enough to hover short distances.
English - Fact Checker
When newspapers and television news media publish stories, they do so with the intention of providing the facts: what happened, who did it happen to, and when and where did it happen. Fact checkers are the people who confirm that the information being provided is accurate. They may do this before material is published by reviewing the source to make sure what’s being reported matches, or they may verify information after it’s been published, to determine if a claim made is factual. With their focus on research skills and working command of the English language, an English major will have a strong edge in being able to locate source materials to verify the facts, whether they’re in written records or contained within the expanse of the internet.
History - Historical Re-enactor
One of the ways that history is preserved and remembered is by groups who recreate the scenes of history. This is done for educational purposes or for entertainment, but ultimately serves the purpose of keeping alive a period of time that has since passed. While the most well-known re-enactments are of battles fought at various times, re-enactors also showcase the way that people of a time period lived by demonstrating how people cooked, crafted tools, or manufactured goods. These perspectives of the past not only show us how much we’ve grown technologically and as a society, but allow us to see our potential to grow in the future.
Physical Therapist Assistant - Martial Arts Therapist
Martial arts are practiced the world over as a form of self-defense, but certain styles also serve as a practical method of physical therapy. Martial arts are categorized by hard and soft styles, hard styles being the type which utilizes force against force, such as boxing or karate, while soft styles utilize redirecting an opponent’s force, like with Judo or Tai Chi. Tai Chi in particular has been cited as having several health benefits, including improved flexibility, balance, and muscle strength, but the lessons learned in other martial arts, such as how to fall properly in Judo, can aide both in the health of individuals as well as in preventing future injury. A well-trained martial arts therapist will know which techniques to prescribe based on their patient’s circumstance.
No matter which career field you’re going into, the training and education that you acquire can be reapplied both inside and out of your field of choice. It takes only a bit of imagination, creativity, and a willingness to learn new things that will allow you to apply the knowledge you’ve gained. So if you’re worried that your education will be wasted, remember that your education is your experience, and how you use your experience is up to you.