I am about the be a senior in college studying philosophy. Recently I've been trying to figure out what I want to do after graduation. When I first started college, I was a business major, because I wanted to start my own business (who knows what kind) because autonomy is important to me (for those familiar with MTBI, I'm a prototypical INTP
). I switched to philosophy because I didn't feel that my fellow business students were very concerned with original, analytical, or critical thinking, and that was well reflected in the courses and professors also. I had no interest in being funneled into the highest paying cubicle as possible after graduation.
I've considered law school before, because I've always been proficient in argument, debate, and persuasion. As a libertarian, I would find meaning in legal work aimed at promoting freedom and minimizing government oppression, however, I am afraid of becoming a sophist, working as a hired gun for causes that I do not care about but are profitable. I'm also turned off by long hours and work that follows me everywhere as well as the monotonous paperwork that makes up a substantial portion of the legal profession. Additionally, although I do well on standardized tests (scores correlating to an IQ between 125-135), my lack of motivation has lead to a GPA of 3.5, which is uncompetitive for admission into law schools.
I've considered doing graduate work in philosophy or economics, but neither of these seem to be great options either. Although I am an introvert, the idea of spending the better part of a decade in computer labs and libraries reading and writing sounds tortuous. I would not be able to get into an economics program unless I added years to my undergraduate education, or got a master's degree in mathematics. I have an interest in studying ethics, and have ideas I would like to write about one day, such as justifying libertarianism from an existentialist meta-ethical standpoint, but although I find these ideas interesting, I am self aware of the following realities:
1) these ideas are likely not as profound and original as I think that they are.
2) unless I am accepted into a top university in philosophy, employment is generally limited to small liberal arts colleges that aren't on the map.
3) I would find it very troubling to spend much time and effort publishing about ethics only to have it end up on a shelf somewhere in a university's archives, having no impact on the world. This is the reality for most Ph.D's work. Consider that every Ph.D has written at least one book (dissertation) to obtain his or her degree. How many of them have you read, or even have even heard of?
I would love to write a canonical work of philosophy that would be read, and improve the lives others, for generations, but I understand this to be somewhat vain, and unlikely.
Recently my girlfriend suggested that I should look into architecture. I took this suggestion with some serious weight for a few reasons. The first being silly, but psychologist David Keirsey referred to INTPs as "Architects". Some more serious considerations, however, include my childhood experience. I can't remember enjoying myself more than working on science competition projects in middle school, where I had to design items to maximize performance at a certain task, given certain restraints. I understand this to be similar to the problem-solving and design process that architects engage in. Also, as a senior in high school, I took a computer aided design course, which had an architecture unit. We competed in a state contest, and my design was a finalist. I am also very sensitive to bad design in houses and apartments that I've been in.
My problem with architecture is that I can't see it as something that is a noble life calling. I don't think that my life purpose is to build buildings, although it would be something fun and practical to do. I don't think that it's a field that can deliver the recognition, although vain, that I crave. Additionally, I feel like it's a career dedicated to solving "first world problems" and not real problems, similar to building, designing, and distributing iStuff. On the other hand, it is a growing industry, particularly in the "Sunbelt States" and could help me relocate. (I currently live in Indiana, and get acute seasonal depression, so moving to a warmer climate is imperative for me.)
How could I find purpose in architecture? Or how could I find practicality in philosophy? I believe that I would enjoy both.