Advisors, counselors, and parents recommend pursuing degrees in STEM. These fields tend to have very good job security. Unfortunately, many students pursue these fields without considering some key points.
Most people do not have the ability to be in STEM. For the vast majority of STEM majors, they have to choose 2 of the following 3: work/research, social life, and sleep. There are a rare few who have the ability to get 3.8+ GPAs while maintaining friends and sleep schedules. If you give up your social life, you will regret it later (sales/social skills are the only required life skill). Furthermore, developing a social life without the structure of school takes effort (networking, going to bars/clubs, talking to strangers). Imagine if you also didn’t learn those social skills in college…you’re gonna have a bad time.
The kids who do the best are introverts. Are you introverted? Find out.
The introductory classes are designed for you to fail. The intro classes are designed to prevent kids from attending grad school. It’s not a coincidence that the worst professors teach the intro classes. Why pay to fail?
The international students cheat…a lot. The international students are from East and South Asia. One of my graduate economics courses had 60% East Asians (Chinese). These kids
- Had graduate degrees in economics from China, but they were repeating coursework to gain American university swag.
- Knew students who had taken the course before, so they had access to previous exams.
- Would swap booklets during the exam, too.
Are these cheating methods only limited to East Asian kids? No. However, the Chinese kids are the best at them. You will get crushed in classes that are graded based on curves.
I do not blame the Chinese kids at all. The schools are at fault for accepting kids whose parents risk all of their savings for their children to enter an American university. Schools should better screen international students before accepting their money. When failure isn’t an option, people will resort to extraordinary measures.
What if you still want to study STEM?
Study science at a small/liberal arts school. If you’re at a research institution, your professors are there to do research — not teach kids. However, it is harder to get research exposure at a non-research school… What do you do? Apply to 25+ summer research programs to get your research experience.
Take classes with English language requirements. Are there science classes with presentations or papers? Take those. The foreign East Asian kids will not take those classes.