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B.S. in Adventure...
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Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
B.S. in Adventure... on 10/04/2007 12:44:35 MDT Print View

I've needed to declare a major for quite some time now, and I just found the greatest degree ever!

The degree is in Health Promotion and Education with an emphasis in Emergency Medical Services. You take the core classes and then get to choose an interest track. One of the options is Wilderness Response! Check out what the classes cover:

- Avalanche Rescue
- Map and Compass
- Rock Climbing
- Ropes Technician
- Search and Rescue
- Swift Water Rescue
- Wilderness EMT
- Wilderness Nutrition
- Wilderness Safety and Survival

Some of the classes are taught in collaboration with the University of Utah and the Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS.

I found my major. I can imagine it now... "Ryan - I need you to fix the deck this weekend." "Sorry honey, I have homework. I have to go get lost in the mountains and find my way out."

Edited by splproductions on 10/04/2007 12:46:14 MDT.

Thomas Knighton
(Tomcat1066) - F

Locale: Southwest GA
Re: B.S. in Adventure... on 10/04/2007 12:49:06 MDT Print View

I'm jealous!


Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Sweet Major! on 10/04/2007 12:51:42 MDT Print View

Very Cool! I got my major in psychology and I was going to get my master's in wilderness therapy, but am now veering away from it. It is perfect for me, but I question if wilderness therapy is actually effective. I'm not talking about adventure therapy or "boot camps."

Wilderness therapy is a seperate field alltogether. Check it out on wikipedia if you want to know more..Not that I'm trying to sway you from your goal, cause what youa re looking at is totally different (and better in my opinion!)

So for me, the outdoors will just have to remain a hobby until I can run away and live in the woods sans technology. I wish I had a Native American grandfather!

That major sounds great, but there are many others you might explore also. When I was on my search I almost became a backcountry ranger. Anyways, there are many many many jobs that put you outside for long periods of time. Photographer, researcher, any kind of ranger, etc..

Great for you though! Getting excited about a major is a great thing!

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
... on 10/04/2007 13:00:42 MDT Print View

I actually don't know if I'll do anything with that degree. I'm looking for a major to declare while I'm doing pre-requisites for Pharmacy school. You don't need a B.S. to get in, but if you don't get in the first time they suggest that you have a degree on the backburner - get the degree and then re-apply.

So if I end up being a pharmacist (boring, but get paid up the wazoo) then so be it. If not, I'll have a degree I'm interested in that I could do many things with.

I'll look that up on wikipedia - sounds interesting - thanks!

Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Re: ... on 10/04/2007 13:14:24 MDT Print View

I haven't learned this lesson yet, but people older and supposedly wiser than myself/us have always said not to work for money...

Why would you want to be a pharmacist if you think it's boring? Just cause the money? Man..40/hrs a week for 5 days a week equals a lot of time being bored...

Please tell me you don't REALLY think it's boring... I think it would be awesome to know all those meds and how they work, what they do, etc... I loved my psychopharmacology class..

Don't you think that getting a B.S. in Chem would be helpful to getting into pharmacy school? How does that work? Either way, you should do what interests you. They always say that everything works out if you follow your heart...

All this being said, I can't say that I'm really following my heart..easier said in hindsite than done me thinks..

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Re: Re: ... on 10/04/2007 13:34:11 MDT Print View

I haven't learned that lesson yet either (about the money vs. doing what you love). I don't really see too many things I love to do that will support a family.

I guess I think the knowledge of pharmacy is interesting, but counting pills day in and day out is what sounds boring.

As far as a Chemistry degree, the pre-reqs for Pharm school already include 1 year of Chem, 1 year of Organic Chem, as well as Physics, Calculus, Anatomy, Physiology, etc. I'd just rather get a degree in something I'm more interested in then continue with more Chem classes.

As far as "following your heart"... yeah, I wrestle with that daily. I know alot of people who "followed their heart" and are barely scraping by. But maybe that's OK, and even preferable to having money and hating life.

Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Re: Re: Re: ... on 10/04/2007 13:44:52 MDT Print View

We're starting to get deep... heh :)

Yeah, you're right. It's the whole supporting the family thing that throws me off too. Sucks how that works. I wish my heart was into being a CEO!

I suppose the key is happiness! If you follow your heart you are supposed to be happy, even if you are barely scraping by. Like the artist who buys paint instead of food. Or more closely, the hiker who loves the hike, though they the hike may have suffering included. Same goes for climbing, kayaking etc... Life in general... I will find out more because I've come up with some theories on happiness and I'm in the process of writing up some papers to present. Hopefully I can get some research going!

In the meantime, we'll wrestle along with all the others...

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Papers... on 10/04/2007 13:50:52 MDT Print View

Send me those papers when you're done - I love psychology (not enough to do it 40 hrs a week though).

splproductions (at) yahoo (dot) com

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: B.S. in Adventure... on 10/04/2007 16:07:55 MDT Print View

Sounds a lot better than Electrical Engineering, which is what I'm working on. Don't get me wrong, I like most of my classes but its the math that I loathe. I've never been a whiz at math so it always takes me a little longer to figure things out than most people.
On a side note, I get to fly down to Huntsville, AL in 2 weeks to interview for a coop. I'm not too thrilled with the way they do their coop (3 rotating semesters of work and school) but it seems like a neat company to work for. I was shooting for somewhere a little more west though, but no one else came calling. Anyone from AL? How's the hiking? If I don't get the coop or don't like the company its still a free trip to somewhere I've never been. Did I mention they're paying for the flight, hotel, transportation, and food? They can't be all bad :).


Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: ... on 10/04/2007 17:53:48 MDT Print View

Maybe you could marry a pharmacist? Wise cracks aside, I'm reminded of an old climber's adage: "At either end of the economic spectrum there's a leisure class". So don't give up on following your dream, especially while you're young, 'cause there's a whole lot more to life than making big bucks. I would venture that Dr. J, Roman Dial, Jason Geck, et. al. are not rolling in dough, but they are rich in experiences and the pure joy of living life to its fullest. I would venture to say there aren't many pharmacists that can say the same. CEO's; I dunno; depends on how much a person gets off on power tripping and big bucks, I guess...

Edited by ouzel on 10/04/2007 18:04:46 MDT.

Joseph Jacaruso
(CaptainJac) - MLife

Locale: Southeast
BS in Adventure on 10/05/2007 04:51:43 MDT Print View

My son recently wrestled with the same problem of choosing a major. We had several long talks and this is the advice I gave him. Money will not always make you as happy as you think. The happiest I have ever been is when I made the least amount of money and enjoyed what I did.

I started as an engineering major and changed to education. I found that making kids “stay on task” was not how I wanted to spend my life. I eventually took a major cut in pay to become a firefighter. Interestingly enough I became good enough to teach others how to run into a burning building that I now make more money than when I taught school (but not as much as an engineer). I work directly for a deputy chief that I introduced to backpacking. Every time things get tough, he tells me we need to block off some time to go up on the “trail” (AT). I also spend time as a Scoutmaster of a very active Troop. Life has a way of working out.

As for my son, he is a Recreation Management major at ASU (Appalachian not Arizona). He is spending next weekend certifying as a backpacking instructor. We were laughing last night at the recommended gear list he is to bring on the trip. It more than both of us carry on a weeklong trip. His goal is to work for a group like NOLS (if they ever truly go light). Or maybe Ryan could find him a spot at BPL (I need an excuse to go to Montana)!

Thomas Knighton
(Tomcat1066) - F

Locale: Southwest GA
One thing I've learned in life on 10/05/2007 06:04:53 MDT Print View

The one lesson I have good and truly learned in this life is to be happy with what you do for a living. When you dread waking up in the morning because of your job, you won't be happy in almost any aspect of your life. However, if you like what you're doing, you'll work around a lack of money more easily.

My goal in life is to make enough money to pay my bills, and to enjoy what I'm doing so much that I'd be willing to do it for free if I could afford it. I'm not quite there yet, but hopefully someday :)


Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: B.S. in Adventure... on 10/05/2007 19:08:18 MDT Print View

My experience is that people who say "Money is the root of all evil" have never been poor. There is NOTHING wrong with a job you appreciate that makes good money. Unfortunately there are almost no jobs in outdoor education or recreation that make for a livable income by themselves. I know of what I speak on this.

In 2003, after working the previous two summers as a seasonal NOLS instructor, I moved to Wyoming, put my belongings in storage in Lander, and proceeded to gain as much work as possible from NOLS.

I learned to be a professional mountain bum, living out of my jeep, on the couch at the Teton Valley Branch, the city park in Lander, or wherever I was able to hike independently when I wasn't on a course. When Teton Pass wasn't snowed in, I drove over to Jackson Hole and temped, cutting firewood, trimming shrubbery, or helping with construction.

When I had contracts with the school, I worked mountains in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Oregon, caves in Nevada, and canyons in Utah. It was the best job of all time.

But as winter approached, work dried up to nothing both with NOLS and temping. I was getting deeper and deeper in debt, and I had to pack in the dream and accept that NOLS wasn't a viable career option for me.

Regular work for NOLS tends to follow a bit of the "old boy" network, except it would have to be expanded to the "old girl" network also. Like many jobs, to get more work, the right people have to know you and know you are available. Most of those who are "full-time" NOLS Instructors work 4-6 months a year and know people they can work for (often family) during the off time and leave at very short notice. Otherwise, work just doesn't come your way outside of peak seasons.

I could have made more than twice as much money working for the YMCA camp during the summer. Plus NOLS doesn't reimburse you for travel or maintaining your WFR certification. I actually lost money in the long run working for NOLS.

The result was that I found a balance that let me exercise my passions. And since I loved teaching, I went back to it. Now, fully certified with my master's degree, I make good money and get LOTS of time off to do the other thing I love, hiking. I am MUCH happier with a stable, sustainable career and a way to enjoy my life for weeks at a time in the backcountry.

Now as for my time with NOLS, and the debt I incurred, it's a lot like the Visa commercial: starvation grocery list with scavenging from the refugee bin - $42, WFR certification - $345, waking up in the Wind River Range with a fresh inch of snow on August 30th - priceless....

I'm glad I gave that life a try. I'm even more glad I have a livable income with a sustainable lifestyle now.

Edited by Bearpaw on 10/05/2007 19:12:05 MDT.

Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: B.S. in Adventure... on 10/08/2007 02:22:17 MDT Print View

Shawn is right on the mark, as usual. I didn't have to learn it the hard way like many others have, but I have a stable job with plenty of time off to pursue my passions, and have no regrets. Perhaps Dr. J would have a different perspective on this, but I think he's the exception, not the rule.

As for pharmacy, you had better really be into it if you hope to succeed. They will definitely look at your declared major as proof (or not) of your intent when you are trying to get into the professional program. And if you think that pharmacists mainly count pills, you apparently don't know all that much about pharmacy. I have two brothers and a sister-in-law that are all PharmD's, and none of them spend their time counting pills.

But hey, the B.S. in Adventure sounds great if you can work out a viable career path.

Edited by jbrinkmanboi on 10/08/2007 02:24:59 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Outdoor jobs on 10/10/2007 07:31:45 MDT Print View

I've seen programs in Lesiure Studies and recreation oriented programs in phys ed departments over the years. As far as wilderness oriented jobs, I've always thought that geologists got to spend as much time in the mountains as anyone.

Mireille Halley
(tinyscrafts) - F - MLife

Locale: So Cal
go for the money on 10/12/2007 12:47:10 MDT Print View

add me to the list of those with a wildlife degree and too few jobs/a non livable wage/lifestyle. Money can't buy happiness but poverty sure is miserable!

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: B.S. in Adventure... on 10/12/2007 14:14:49 MDT Print View

I have a similar situation playing out right now. I had intent on outdoor education until midway through last school year. The program in GCSU was heavily book intensive with little experiential education and their big expedition at the end sounded similar to a glorified scout retreat- 8-10 miles a day hiking with a little river stuff and climbing in between. Other schools are more experiential, but still very book and concept intensive.
I switched to marketing due the prospect of a livable income, and have been thinking heavily about teaching lately. I could easily spend 60 hours a week for 8 years or more working my tail off to make more money that I will ever need, but i don't want to waste my youth on that. I plan on getting a masters in marketing and probably teach at a college and get lots of time off and enjoy what I will do. Teachers, especially college profs, have a respectable income more than able to sustain the UL lifestyle. If i have a desire for lots of money, it would be possible to get it, but i doubt that will happen. Experiences are way more important than money and materials goods. Plus it would be awesome to live in a college town. good luck with your decisions and be sure to stay realistic about things.

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
Don't forget on 10/15/2007 23:17:53 MDT Print View

Another thing to consider is that in a wilderness job you will probably sometimes be dealing with people that can be jerks, idiots that refuse to listen that can put your life and the lifes of your other patrons in danger, and just plain obnoxious customers. That may also be true of pharmacy, but at least you are dealing with them for a few minutes instead of days...

Shawn's remarks on balance are right on. Enough money and enough time to enjoy doing the things you want is important. I once heard 'money won't buy happiness, but it will sure make misery a lot more comfortable'!

The right career and some judicious investing can allow for some fun now and lead to a lot of enjoyment in the future. A 'fun' career with low pay can result in a few years of enjoyment and lot of years struggling day to day financially and no real hope for improvement in the future.