What To Study In College: What Zombies Can Teach You

What can zombies teach you about what to study in college? Plenty. If you think about the behavior, physical characteristics and overall appeal of a zombie, it's pretty clear that a majority of the population (save for some hardcore fans) would NOT want to become one.

Zombies are soulless, brainless, drones who wander about, ever searching for food. They are physically unattractive and very unhealthy. They have no other interests or pursuits. Sound familiar? Does it sound like someone in your life, or someone you know? The question is, do you want to maintain an exhausted, shuffling existence; your mind infected by one thought or goal – to earn money at all costs.

Don't be the person who got sucked into the college because of the way Hollywood made it glamorous and fun.  There are Reasons To Go To College and there are ways to go to waste your time and money.

If it is – cool. Maybe you will love your job so much, you will find yourself energized or satisfied after each shift, instead of exhausted and worn down. Some people, like nurses, LOVE their jobs. They have to work double shifts, weekends, holidays or even being *gasp* on call. Nurses are dedicated people whom we love because they are awesome.

However, if you are going into nursing just for the money, pick something else [Tweet This] The long hours and extra stress will not be worth any monetary value to you in the long run. Don't want to be a zombie? When picking a career, LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT.


They are dead, inside and out.


What does that have to do what to study in college? While most articles about what to study in college talk about payroll, degrees and schooling needed to obtain them and ease of getting the job after graduation, there is one very important element that is missing.


Quality of life.


Do you want to make money, but work insane hours that leave you wandering around in pursuit of only work and your next meal, leaving you dead inside?

Or do you want to make money, but be balanced with work and life, eat and live healthy and be alive in every way?

 Hopefully you chose the second one.

If you chose the first one, you may already be a zombie. Look! There's your boss! Go eat his brains….

 The rest of you, keep reading.

I have come up with a “zombie effect” score. This score is based on data given for each career field. If no data is given on the amount of stress present in each job field, then I will compare similar occupations and assign it a score.

Of course, the zombie effect score is a guide. Due your own research; talk to professionals in the field, do job searches, get on their email lists, read magazine articles, whatever you can do to determine what to study in college.

College is one of the biggest investments of your life in both time and money [tweet this]. When you are trying to figure out what to study in college, you need to really do your research.

If you don't have a clue go ahead and take this “Color Test” to figure out what kind of person you are and find a degree path that matches your personality. (Take Test Here)


What To Study In College By Major



From The Karcher Group Via Visual.ly


This list of top careers to get into was compiled from an article by Dan Berman in Think Advisor.

I've written this post around it to help you get a better idea of what to study in college.


Starting Salary: $49,400

Mid-Career Salary: $88,800

Business Insider has compiled a “10 Best Jobs For People Who Love Math.” This list includes a “stress score” put together by CareerCast.

They are:

  • Economist
  • Stockbroker
  • Tax collector
  • Insurance Underwriter
  • Accountant
  • Astronomer
  • Meteorologist
  • Statistician
  • Financial planner
  • Actuary

The economist can make more than the stockbroker, but their job is far less stressful. On the other hand, the job growth is expected for stockbrokers, but a decrease of jobs is expected for economists.

As a stockbroker compares to the other jobs, he or she can make more, but not much more. There are much less stressful jobs out there.


Zombie effect: Mixed. The diversity of jobs in mathematics presents all kinds of challenges.



Information Technology

Starting Salary: $49,900

Mid-Career Salary: $84,100

According to the U.S. News Money section, these are their best technology jobs. They also factor in both stress levels and quality of life.

  • Software developer
  • Computer systems analyst
  • Web developer
  • Information security analyst
  • Database administrator
  • Civil Engineer
  • Mechanical engineer
  • IT Manager
  • Computer programmer
  • Computer systems administrator

Zombie effect: Mixed. Depending on what you are working with and what people you deal with, you can go from relaxed to crazy.




Starting Salary: $50,100

Mid-Career Salary: $96,700 (15th)

According to Forbes, this is one of the top ten fields to go after when pursuing a Master’s degree. Earlier, I noted that growth is expected to drop in this field – according to Forbes, there is “projected employment increase for common jobs associated with this degree.”


Zombie effect: Low. Not very stressful.


Occupational Health and Safety

Starting Salary: $50,500

Mid-Career Salary: $80,300 (40th)


According to Explore Health Careers, the job outlook is very good for this profession.

However, they also say, “Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians work with many different people in a variety of environments. Their jobs often involve considerable fieldwork, and some travel frequently. Many occupational health and safety specialists and technicians work long and often irregular hours.”

Zombie effect: High. Prepare to take extra vitamins and visit the doctor/masseuse often.




Starting Salary: $52,500

Mid-Career Salary: $98,900 (13th)


Great pay, low stress good projected job growth. According to the American Statistical Association, health, business and government are the top employing industries. If you want to know what to study in college, statistics is a good bet.

Zombie effect: Low.



Starting Salary: $53,100

Mid-Career Salary: $101,100


Physics is one of those careers that is very versatile. You can become more than a teacher. Physicists are needed for pretty much everything, from design to deployment. Some examples of careers in physics include:


  • Sound engineer
  • Special effects technician
  • Programmer
  • Professor
  • Researcher
  • Particle physicist
  • Science jounalist
  • Forensics
  • Coastal scientist
  • Civil engineer
  • Architect


Zombie effect: Though I haven't seen much data on stress levels, I will say mixed to low. Compared to other, similar careers, the stress level is pretty low.


Civil Engineering

Starting Salary: $54,300

Mid-Career Salary: $91,100

what to study in college

 According to U.S. News Money, civil engineering is one of the best technology jobs. According to their article:

There are many career paths within this field. Specialties include architectural, structural, transportation, traffic, water resources and geotechnical engineering. Civil engineers may work for state or local governments or in the private sector at consulting or construction firms. Some civil engineers hold supervisory or administrative positions, while others pursue careers in design, construction or teaching.


Could not have said it better myself.


Zombie effect: Moderate



Starting Salary: $55,400

Mid-Career Salary: $71,100


If you have ever been to the doctor, had a baby, or been hospitalized for a period of time, you know how indispensable nurses can be. Good news; nurses will never be out of a job, especially with an aging population and an epidemic of cancer and obesity.

Some of the nursing jobs include:

  • Women's health
  • Geriatric
  • Physical therapy
  • Diabetes
  • Hospice
  • Pain management
  • Radiology
  • Toxicology
  • Urology
  • Oncology
  • School nurse


Zombie effect: Long hours, hard physical labor and lots of stress? I would give it a high zombie effect. The question is, how high? An emergency room nurse has a lot more stress than a urology nurse. Research each specific field and weigh your options.



Computer Science


Starting Salary: $59,800

Mid-Career Salary: $102,000

Computer science is so hot, that Forbes classifies cities with the most computer science jobs. This article was written last year, but despite the terrible job outlook, computer science was still going strong.

Popular computer science jobs include:

  • IT architect
  • Network architect
  • Data scientist
  • Storage engineer
  • Client services director
  • Software quality engineer
  • Project engineer
  • User experience designer
  • Mobile app developer
  • Systems administrator


Zombie effect: Moderate


The Connection Between Quality of Life and What to Study in College

Quality of life is used by the government to measure how the population in general is doing. Quality of life varies widely from city to city, even within each city.

Quality of life is affected by the quality of the physical, mental, and social domains of life. It is also used to measure life expectancy.

It makes sense: the better your quality of life, and overall health, the longer you will live. Not only will you live longer, but you'll get more mileage out of your years.

For many, they seem to forget about quality of life. They think about pay and what they are good at, but not how fast your job can kill you.

Pretty big thing to consider.

Quality of life can be affected by money. Most people assume that money will take care of any and all quality of life issues. But not all money is earned equally. Earning $100,000 a year as an economist is a lot less stressful than earning that same six-figure income as a stockbroker.
It also all depends as how you can handle stress, and what you perceive to be stressful.

For example, some people stress out when having to call people on the phone, even if they are giving them good news. For others, they love being on the phone – it takes away face-to-face confrontation.

Whatever you decide to do when figuring out what to study in college, you should really consider what you can handle, and what the job will dish out at you.

The first element that effects quality of life is money. Money pretty much effects every aspect of quality of life [tweet this], from where you will live, to what kind of food you eat, to the quality of healthcare you receive to the kind of education your children (or future children) will receive.

According to the World Health Organization:

The poorest of the poor, around the world, have the worst health. Within countries, the evidence shows that in general the lower an individual’s socioeconomic position the worse their health. There is a social gradient in health that runs from top to bottom of the socioeconomic spectrum. This is a global phenomenon, seen in low, middle and high income countries. The social gradient in health means that health inequities affect everyone.


Health Care

When considering what to study in college, think about what kind of health care you get. Insurance, disability, 401K, etc. In the quest to find a job, this is one perks that people will overlook. Everyone knows they need health insurance, but it can get overlooked.



We live in the 21st century, and enjoy advanced technology in communications and science. But in some fields, the mentality towards gender equality can be stubbornly stuck in the 19th century. Don't fall into the trap of thinking all are that way – do your research and find out about the company culture.

You don't just want to find something that pays the bills and then some. You want something that will breathe life into you, making you as little like a zombie as possible. Passion and purpose will make you love getting up for work in the morning, and that nice paycheck will be the cherry on top.

There is a rising trend of the “Educated Minimum Wage Worker“… don't be that person


Getting advice from well-meaning friends and relatives is fantastic! It means that they care about your future. But you have the ultimate say in what you want to do. At the same time, pick something that pays well, has benefits and where you can find work relatively easily. If you want to try something more arcane, consider starting off as a freelancer in that area instead.

Take your decision of what to study in college seriously. It will determine a good chunk of your life and career, the people you meet, your future friends, maybe even your future spouse. It will determine where you live and how you spend 40 hours a week (if you don't work long hours).

Research, ask questions, hem and haw and then lock down on something. If the task seems too daunting, then try working on a little bit everyday.
What to study in college is an important decision. Ultimately, it will be your ability to network, market yourself and work with others that will make you valuable to a company. Here is another article I wrote about the College Degrees with the Best Return on Investment. What you pick is up to you… the stats are there and your personality is there.

Who knows?

You could end up in a great career (an article I wrote – Easy Careers To Get Into And Odd Places You Will Find Them) that has nothing to do with your major. Your hard-work, persistence, passion and dedication shine through and that is what employers are looking for – a great big plus sign to add to their companies.

Will you be what they are looking for?

Mixing in current systems and careers that solve the main problem

1) doing what you love (do more of it) – time freedom (not job restraints)
2) generating income (to make enough to live your lifestyle)

This is what I would recommend learning before college, during college, and after college:

truth or hype

Lawrence Tam

Helping people since 2007 get online and make some money. Living a happy and healthy lifestyle by playing online and Generating his first million in 2013 with 3 kids and doing most of it part time while working as a Mechanical Engineer. Go through his 10 videos on Marketing by clicking here.

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20 thoughts on “What To Study In College: What Zombies Can Teach You

  1. Lawrence, you have some of the best information on the topic of “college value” I’ve seen.

    It seems like every year I become less and less convinced a college degree is worth the investment in the majority of cases.

    This is a great post that every high school kid (along with his/her parents) ought to read!

    • i love college… but has to be for the right reasons.

      getting a degree for paper?
      for prestige?

      are you going to work in that field and use the degree?

      is it worth $100-$300k in college tuition debt?

      my kids will go but not for say… history degree…

      if I’m going to pay for my kids tuition I want them to go for specific reasons

  2. I went to college and had to take all kinds of courses I had to pay for that had absolutely nothing to do with my degree. I later got my MBA so I could move up in the company I was working for. I have had much more success and learned more valuable lessons by becoming an entrepreneur. I have been able to take my life back and spend time with people I choose to spend time with instead of those who I have to spend time with. Love this post and how it shows how low salaries actually are, that is after you have a college degree.

    • i feel degrees do a couple of things and going to a college and busting your butt helps in a LOT Of things.

      I just wished college kids knew “WHY” they were doing it and if it’s worth the college debt.

      Scholarships… cool
      but if the ONLY intention is to get a ‘JOB’… money can be had in many different ways without a traditional job.

      You might as well go into a trade school or technical college learning photoshop and programming to start your own business.

  3. I wish I would of read this article before I went to College! I am totally pro going to college. You have to really do your homework of why you are going to college and why you will be studying because the amount of money you invest is huge and everyone should take it as what will my ROI be?? & I am not talking about the piece of paper! Great post!!!

  4. Awesome article. I agree. If you are going to go to college, than do your homework first and know exactly what you are going for. Picking a career just for the high income associated with it will turn you into a zombie. Your career should be something you love to do. Thanks for sharing.

  5. All I have to say is….don’t spend $40K in one year at a private school if you’re really not sure that’s what you want to do. I made that big mistake, and I am still paying for that one lonely year of college 12 years later!

  6. Awesome post. Braking the categories down like that is more than I can chew. And like me, most people fall into a specific category because of influence or that they might think it’s all they’ll ever know how to learn. The occupational field I found myself in was “at one time” rewarding but the stress level you mention is spot on. Thank for the reminder lol. Thanks for sharing

  7. Awesome stats here Lawrence. I went to University (Australian) a long time ago and went at a time when our governement ws paying people a small allowance to go and no fees. How the world has changed. I went there to get a piece of paper and earn money. My attitude was pretty bad and I did enough to pass. I was working at the same time.

    My observation is that many people who do not go to college or drop out do way better in business and earn more than graduates. I know you are an excepetion.

  8. Awesome! I have a master’s degree and it’s getting me nowhere near where I want to be. It was the only option at the time. I didn’t know other options existed. Glad I know differently now.

  9. Love this LT! In the Corporate world, they always told me “Get your Bachelor’s” and then it was “Get your Masters”. All it’s doing is stacking up school loans that you’ll be obliged to for the rest of your working life. I did learn how corporate structures work, but they don’t really have a curriculum for how to start and manage a home-based business. That’s why there are so many floundering entrepreneurs getting frustrated out there. I love the training I’m getting in the various support groups I’m associated with — many entrepreneurial opportunities don’t have that either!

  10. Good article. It always amazes me the jobs that are not included in these lists that are much higher paying. Agree, take the 4 Year Career path instead of 4 yr college page and maybe way ahead of your peers!

    Vickie Washburn

  11. Love this articular Lawrence on… 16 thoughts on “What To Study In College: What Zombies Can Teach You”

    College and the cost of just making it in today’s society. Even after graduating and then going out looking for jobs, how the heck are next generation going to pay this debt? Please do not get me wrong, i truly believe in a college education but things must change.

  12. Great blog, as always LT! I’ve always had degrees in business, but when it came to my Masters degree, I wanted it to have something to do with what I do today. So I chose to get my Masters in Leadership. I believe that great leaders can build any type of business by using the power of people. I’m not a process type of person, i.e. accounting, finance, statistics, etc….. But I know how to motivate and take care of people, which is why I chose to complete my Masters.

  13. This is such an entertaining article, yet very informative. Wish I would have read something like this when I was in my last year of high school thinking about what to do with my life. I ended up taking one year of Graphic Design, which at the time was one of the most expensive courses they offered, with all the supplies, laptop and programs we had to purchase. I dropped out after only one year (long story). But you know what I wouldn’t change a thing because the things I learned and where I am now is exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’m so thankful that I found online marketing and this incredible team. Great article Lawrence, I’ll be sharing this one for sure!

  14. This article, and information just like it, is why I don’t stress that my kids should go to college. I’d much rather teach them to be entrepreneurs and have the potential to make $50,000 in a month working for themselves, than $50,000 a year working for someone else.

    We need to teach our kids how to fend for themselves, and not depend on a JOB to feed their family. i know SO MANY people that lost their jobs in their mid-40s and can’t seem to find another job. It is an epidemic and a job will not give you security to keep a home, feed your family, or pay your medical bills like so many people desire.

    Open you mind to other opportunities. You can have a job while you build your business.

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