Finish out the degree?


Over the summer, I began to get a strong and peaceful feeling that the Lord was calling me to study theology in grad school after I finish my undergraduate studies at my public university.

Right now, though, I am anxious as to what to do. My major is in Engineering, and if I just finish this out, I will be finished in December 2011. I have the slight possibility of finishing a degree in Latin or philosophy (each of which I need about 8 more classes for) if I also take an extra semester and 2 extra courses this summer while working my full-time internship (which is already basically guaranteed for me).

I'm somewhat stressed out by the situation--I could make more money towards my studies if I finish out engineering and begin working. However, then I would need to take some additional philosophy courses before entering the program I want to do so that I have the prerequisites I need to start in theology.

I'm trying to keep in mind several things--my responsibility to my parents (they have paid for a lot of my college education, and I want them to be able to see that it helped me to support myself), the amount of extra time I would have to take philosophy if I waited until after my undergrad degree, the adherence to the Truth I would see in my classes (which, if I waited till later for the philosophy, I could be more sure of this--not so much with my public university), the reality of job prospects for either field, and so on.

I know that I would favor the study of theology over that of engineering--I'm pretty sure that if I finish out the engineering degree, I won't be in the field for long (I've known for some time that my personal interest lies more in the study of Latin and Theology-related things than engineering, but have always kept it due to the practicality, and because I never had any other concrete plans).

For the time being, I do not feel called to a religious order, so I would primarily do my theological studies, and my career afterward, as a laywoman. That is, pending further inspiration about God's Will, to which I am trying to remain open. :)

So, should I basically start over? Keep going? Try to tackle two majors? If anyone had the time to lend me some advice, I would greatly appreciate it.


I would suggest finish the engineering degree and work in that field while you pursue Latin/philosophy/theology. It is called keeping your options open, and having enough money to pursue your interests. Your parents are helping you with the cost of an education, I am sure they would approve of the financial security of following such an option.

As woman in a male-dominated field, you will be very employable with affirmative action. Go for it!!


The most important thing you need to do of course is ask God for guidance and where he wants you in the immediate future. If you feel genuinely called to drop the engineering program then do so, but it might also be the case that he is just starting to lead you down the path of where to head after the program is done since its end is in the near future and Grad School requires preparation like taking the GRE. The best thing you can do right now is keep it in prayer and continue to gather as much information as you can. I am assuming you have already started the current semester and not much can be changed at the moment so you have a few months to reflect on this an allow God to give you an answer. Generally speaking God is always willing to lead those who are willing to listen it just requires patience. In the meantime contact some grad schools and tell them your situation, often they are willing to make some level of concessions for prospective students in regards to requirements and you may be able to get prepared for things sooner than you think.


One thing to keep in mind: I recently thought of going back to school for Theology, and asked a college theology professor about it. He said that it is VERY difficult for a layperson to get work as a Catholic theologian because priests and nuns are so much more cost-effective. I may still go back (while still working, obviously), but it’s expensive, and if there is almost no chance that I will work in it, I will only be able to allocate money for the studies as I would for any other hobby–I can’t think of it as career training.

I don’t want to discourage you, and man does not live on bread alone–but having some bread sometimes is also good. :wink:

But by all means keep it in prayer, because you may be one of the few who can do it!



As a woman who has been working for over 10 years in a male-dominated field, I have never experienced or witnessed any affirmative action (not that I wanted or particularly expected any). I don’t say I regret being in a male-dominated field, because I really hate emotional workplaces (some of the things my mother told me about working in a high school astounded me!). If I get into an argument with a co-worker, it is always about work and is not personal.

But don’t count on any special treatment, possibly unless you are working for the government or a government contractor. I wouldn’t know about that, always having worked in private industry.



My advice. Be sensible and keep going. Don't take on more work by studying extra subjects. Put all your efforts in to your present degree. If you find that you don't have a vocation you'll need to be more than proficient at your chosen profession. The reality is that you'll be entering a profession where you 'will' be judged because you're a woman.
So it would be wise, at this stage, to put all your academic efforts into your Engineering degree.

If you feel you are called to a vocation after your degree the order you join will not waste your talents. My theology (scripture) teacher is a religious sister (I'm sure she'll not mind me telling you this) but she first studied for a science degree at Cambridge and 'then' joined her order. She was then sent to various universities to study Greek/Hebrew/Scripture and now she's a biblical scholar in her own right, besides her teaching role.

I'll say a prayer for you.

Sum Romanus.


I agree with everyone else.

Finish your engineering degree. You can then work and support yourself and possibly your parents while pursuing your Latin/theology studies.

That engineering may become very useful in religious life. Recently a DMME (I think) finished her PhD in electrical engineering. You could teach with that degree and also advise your community in its new building endeavors.


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