Could use some help!

Konnor

New Member
Hey everyone, I hope this is the right spot to post this but anyways I am in a tricky spot right now in my life and could use some advice. As of right now I am a Freshman in college just completing my first semester. I am at Southern Illinois University Carbondale studying Computer Science as of right now. However I want to change majors to aviation. I originally was going to attend SIU for aviation but then thought otherwise because of costs of flight time and such. I like Computer Science but I want nothing more than to be in a plane. I don't have any licenses yet because my parents refused to pay for it when I was around 16. I know they wont be happy if I switch to aviation because they think it cost too much and I would be in debt for too long. Now saying I do switch to aviation, do I stay at SIU or transfer somewhere else? (I live in Illinois so get in-state at SIU, around 28k just for in-state not including flight costs) The reason I ask to transfer is could I get some place cheaper to fly I am not sure. Thank you all for your time.
 

SFLAX

Well-Known Member
If aviation is what you want good...just don't jump into it 100%, right away. It's expensive and a degree in it is not very marketable. Now, with a degree from an aviation school means less time to get hired at a regional, if your instructoring it's a few months of extra work, but you will save in the costs. Your parents paying the bills right now? If yes, stay with your current major and work and go fly for fun, and then work all summer and fly, I bet by the time you leave is 4/5 years, you will have your commercial single and your CFI will be super cheap to barrow for and then go instruct, and many places will pay for your MEI and CFII.
 

jetstar242

Well-Known Member
I wouldn't recommend aviation degree. I have a degree in mechanical engineering and managed to work hard during college to fully pay for my certificates all through commercial single and multi. My first job out of college paid for my CFI and CFI-I and I started instructing part time as I was building engineering experience (no weekends or evenings off for over 2 years haha). Now after nearly 2.5 years of instructing, I am jumping the ship from engineering to flying. I don't regret any decision as to the degree I chose as I can always go back if say I don't like flying for an airline after few years or if the economy plunges or for any other possible reason. I would suggest try and apply to good schools first and see if you can get any scholarships (you never know). I managed to get over 190k in scholarships and ended up having a degree in an industry that will be hiring like crazy in the coming decades. Look into STEM degrees, you can always use them to work on airplane design, testing and etc. or whatever else you choose.
 

Low&Slow

Ancora imparo
Your parents aren't going to have to live with your career decisions; you will.

Study what you want.
THIS!
I wanted to study aviation twenty-something years ago but was convinced by a college advisor that engineering would be better. He was wrong. I'm sure he meant well, but he didn't have the same passion for aviation and didn't understand mine.
I absolutely hated engineering. I did well in school and sometimes it was fun, but what you do in school is not what engineers do in real life. I had several engineering and engineering-based jobs, but was never happy at work. Ever. It was the worst field in the history of worst fields to me. I hated my life.
Finally got fed up with engineering and gave it all up a few years ago after "the Bobs" eliminated my position. I swore I'd rather work fast food than take another damn engineering job ever again. I was convinced I'd lose my house and be broke forever after that, but I didn't care.
If you ever watch Office Space, you'll understand a little more of how I felt. I'm pretty sure that movie was based on my life and the people I had to deal with every day.
Anyhow, I wasn't going to settle for the first job that came by, nope. I decided it was aviation and ONLY aviation for me and so I became an airframe mechanic with the goal of flying for a living. I still have my house and still make about as much now as I did in engineering, but my quality of life is freaking ridiculous now! I love my job, I get paid to play with helicopters every day and do "arts and crafts" kinds of things, and I fly airplanes part-time after work and occasionally on weekends. It's unbelievable!
I wish I could go back in a DeLorean and choke the college advisor who convinced me that I'd be better off in engineering, and then have a firm conversation with my younger me about doing what I want and not what others want me to do.
I've also started drawing and painting again too after being told not to go into art unless I want to starve, but that's another story for another time.
The moral of the story is that you should follow your own heart and dreams, and live your own life, or be prepared to live with the regret of settling and not trying for what you want. Standing outside the fence and looking in sucks. Don't be afraid to take chances to get what you want. Find a way.
Victory goes to the bold.
 
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dustoff17

Well-Known Member
Your parents aren't going to have to live with your career decisions; you will.

Study what you want.
While I agreed with this om the surface I do have to ask....who is paying for your education? If they are and they support an aviation course of study, then you have your answer. If not..........

............... I don't have any licenses yet because my parents refused to pay for it when I was around 16. I know they wont be happy if I switch to aviation because they think it cost too much and I would be in debt for too long.............
Wow....
There is quantitative value in attending the school to which your parents send their money. It would be easy for you to select a field of study that is both suitable for them and one that holds your interest (and future). Having a degree in another field is a great fall-back if you decide that an aviation career is not for you. Go to school, fly when you can and when you can afford it and go from there. You might find a great job that pays well and allows you the freedom to fly as you will.
 

z987k

Well-Known Member
The school I went to would let you take any degree program you wanted and you could still sign up for flight classes and get ratings.
If I was smarter at 18, that is what I would have done.
 

Cory Trevor

Well-Known Member
The school I went to would let you take any degree program you wanted and you could still sign up for flight classes and get ratings.
If I was smarter at 18, that is what I would have done.
My school offered this and that's the path I chose. While I may end up not regretting it, because I may use my economics degree if I lose my medical or whatever, it did keep me out of the airlines for about 6 or 7 months because I didn't qualify for the restricted ATP. Although that may not make a difference either.
 

FlyingAccountant

Well-Known Member
SIUC, huh? That's rough. Carbondale is a hell hole. :p

If you want to pursue the flight program then do it. I would stay in state, you'll save yourself some money. AFAIK, Carbondale is the only Illinois state school that has a flight program. It looks like UIUC got rid of their degree program a few years ago but there's still some sort of affiliated program at Parkland College? You might want to check that out, but you're probably better off staying in Carbondale.

Who's paying for college, your parents? If they are, like it or not, they do have some influence and some input here since they're paying the bills. If not, well, do whatever you want.

I was in your position 15 years ago and I wish I had focused on aviation. Instead, I got an accounting degree at SIUE.
 

Eagle421flyer

Well-Known Member
If I were you I would try and find a local mom and pop place down there and get your private, instrument, commercial (as many as you can) while working on your computer science degree. That way once you graduate you'll hopefully be working on your cfi and you'll have a 4 year degree which is a good back up plan. There are places that you can get your ratings quickly but you wouldn't have a 4 year degree, I would avoid this route. A lot of major airlines require you to have a bachlors.
 

mshunter

Well-Known Member
Finish your computer science degree. You need it to fall back on in case you lose your medical.

Get a job using said degree when your done.

Learn to fly with that money, and live cheap.

This job involves a whole lot of sacrifice. I've sacrificed things I never thought I'd have to. Are you prepared for that(as in do you have that type of personality)?

Just finish your current degree, and then figure everything else out later.
 

bucksmith

Did you lock the doors?
Hey everyone, I hope this is the right spot to post this but anyways I am in a tricky spot right now in my life and could use some advice. As of right now I am a Freshman in college just completing my first semester. I am at Southern Illinois University Carbondale studying Computer Science as of right now. However I want to change majors to aviation. I originally was going to attend SIU for aviation but then thought otherwise because of costs of flight time and such. I like Computer Science but I want nothing more than to be in a plane. I don't have any licenses yet because my parents refused to pay for it when I was around 16. I know they wont be happy if I switch to aviation because they think it cost too much and I would be in debt for too long. Now saying I do switch to aviation, do I stay at SIU or transfer somewhere else? (I live in Illinois so get in-state at SIU, around 28k just for in-state not including flight costs) The reason I ask to transfer is could I get some place cheaper to fly I am not sure. Thank you all for your time.
When your kid pokes you in the eye with a sharp stick, the aviation science degree won't be as valuable as a computer science degree. Study something you can do from a chair, in case you live after being hit by a bus.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
Hey everyone, I hope this is the right spot to post this but anyways I am in a tricky spot right now in my life and could use some advice. As of right now I am a Freshman in college just completing my first semester. I am at Southern Illinois University Carbondale studying Computer Science as of right now. However I want to change majors to aviation. I originally was going to attend SIU for aviation but then thought otherwise because of costs of flight time and such. I like Computer Science but I want nothing more than to be in a plane. I don't have any licenses yet because my parents refused to pay for it when I was around 16. I know they wont be happy if I switch to aviation because they think it cost too much and I would be in debt for too long. Now saying I do switch to aviation, do I stay at SIU or transfer somewhere else? (I live in Illinois so get in-state at SIU, around 28k just for in-state not including flight costs) The reason I ask to transfer is could I get some place cheaper to fly I am not sure. Thank you all for your time.
Whatever you decide, here's some advice for you.

Whatever you do, FINISH THE DEGREE.

The world doesn't need another pilot going "all in" on a carrier that has a flow because everyone else requires a degree and you dropped out early to chase the ring of pyrite and it's your only chance of going to a major to make decent cash and prizes. I hear too many stories of people that assumed the major would overlook all of the nooks, crannies and red etchings of their history because of an impending pilot shortage (LOL).

You're going to have an extreme amount of pressure to drop out and get your number on a seniority list by everyone from recruiters to some in your peer group who have done the same thing because you'll just simply finish it online. I'd say that less than 30% of the people that had this plan actually do it, and not a very large percentage of those finish up at a 'less than reputable' institution and a lot of majors won't even consider it.

Dear lord baby Jesus finish college. Brick and mortar HEAVILY suggested.
 

Finny

Well-Known Member
Whatever you decide, here's some advice for you.

Whatever you do, FINISH THE DEGREE.

The world doesn't need another pilot going "all in" on a carrier that has a flow because everyone else requires a degree and you dropped out early to chase the ring of pyrite and it's your only chance of going to a major to make decent cash and prizes. I hear too many stories of people that assumed the major would overlook all of the nooks, crannies and red etchings of their history because of an impending pilot shortage (LOL).

You're going to have an extreme amount of pressure to drop out and get your number on a seniority list by everyone from recruiters to some in your peer group who have done the same thing because you'll just simply finish it online. I'd say that less than 30% of the people that had this plan actually do it, and not a very large percentage of those finish up at a 'less than reputable' institution and a lot of majors won't even consider it.

Dear lord baby Jesus finish college. Brick and mortar HEAVILY suggested.
This advice x 100,000. I didn't treat college seriously when I first went and am suffering the fall out from that now. I'm 28, work for a better regional, but as of right now I'm not even qualified for my guaranteed interview with Delta because I don't have my degree finished. So now instead of upgrading, I'm frantically trying to finish school at the university I started at so I won't be stuck at a regional airline for the rest of my career. Finish school while it's easy, you can knock out flight training really quick once you have your degree finished. So, pretty please, with a cherry on top, finish your degree.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
This advice x 100,000. I didn't treat college seriously when I first went and am suffering the fall out from that now. I'm 28, work for a better regional, but as of right now I'm not even qualified for my guaranteed interview with Delta because I don't have my degree finished. So now instead of upgrading, I'm frantically trying to finish school at the university I started at so I won't be stuck at a regional airline for the rest of my career. Finish school while it's easy, you can knock out flight training really quick once you have your degree finished. So, pretty please, with a cherry on top, finish your degree.
I predict we'll have our first "Yeah, but my uncle..." rebuttals by 1800 Mountain time.

That $20,000 sign on bonus sounds great, but the true cost of that instead of finishing school is immeasurable.
 

trafficinsight

Well-Known Member
Hey everyone, I hope this is the right spot to post this but anyways I am in a tricky spot right now in my life and could use some advice. As of right now I am a Freshman in college just completing my first semester. I am at Southern Illinois University Carbondale studying Computer Science as of right now. However I want to change majors to aviation. I originally was going to attend SIU for aviation but then thought otherwise because of costs of flight time and such. I like Computer Science but I want nothing more than to be in a plane. I don't have any licenses yet because my parents refused to pay for it when I was around 16. I know they wont be happy if I switch to aviation because they think it cost too much and I would be in debt for too long. Now saying I do switch to aviation, do I stay at SIU or transfer somewhere else? (I live in Illinois so get in-state at SIU, around 28k just for in-state not including flight costs) The reason I ask to transfer is could I get some place cheaper to fly I am not sure. Thank you all for your time.
Hey!

So, what you're describing sounds a lot like what I wrestled with except I was going to SJSU during the dot com boom in 2000. So I figure I'll just tell you what I did.

I moved to San Jose in 1999 with the intention of getting a bachelor's in computer science because when I was in high school I was convinced that I'd never have enough money to fly (even then it seemed impossible.) I would have to put myself through school since my parents had nearly nothing and I didn't want to burden them. I had applied at and been accepted to Riddle and Berkeley, but the price... Oh god the price.

When I first got there I met a guy down the hall in the dorms and he had gotten his private over winter break, sometime in January he came over to my room and said "wanna go flying?"

Hell yes!

We did a night bay tour over San Francisco, it was cold and perfectly clear and I was mesmerized by the city lights.

I had to fly, it's one of the two constants in my life, since I was 3! That one flight changed everything.

By the spring of 2000 I knew that, while I enjoyed playing with computers, my heart just wasn't in it, I enjoyed making them do what I wanted them to, but hated doing what others expected of me. I eventually got kicked out of the CS department and drifted for a while, undeclared, taking GE courses and fun courses.

I knew from my friend that SJSU had an aviation department but I had also been told not to hang everything on that since the industry was so volatile (by now it was spring of 2001 and we soon would all learn exactly how true that was.)

But eventually I had to choose a major or I couldn't continue. I didn't know what else to do, so I declared aviation flight operations and signed up for the intro classes.

Our department had the requirement that every year a student had to get advising prior to registering for classes. My advisor was a guy named Steve who reiterated what I knew about the industry and asked if I had a backup plan, no, I didn't. He asked if I enjoyed working on cars or motorcycles or mechanical things and I said that yes, I did, I had restored my first car and ridden motorcycles since I was very young.

He suggested that I join the maintenance program, but also said that there was a problem because SJSU was in the process of shutting down their 147 school and it was past the cutoff. He said that he would backdoor me in by telling the university that they had listed me I'm the wrong major.

It worked, and I started taking A&P courses and eventually I was the very last graduate of the SJSU part 147 school.

I earned my private in 2004 and my A&P in 2005. I worked as a mechanic at a flight school in San Jose gaining my ratings (rather creatively at times), until we started Aperture Aviation in 2009. I became an IA in 2008, and I've continued to use my A&P until recently when things have dropped off a lot, but I would like to find another outlet for it if I can. Hopefully something vintage ;)

I got lucky, I had no idea SJSU had an aviation program when I moved there, I met my friend who took me flying on my very first day in the dorms and we became fast friends, and still are to this day, and I got an advisor who bent over backwards to give me what I didn't even know I needed.

It's turned out well so far.

Good luck!

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I've ended up where I needed to be.


- Douglas Adams
 

Finny

Well-Known Member
I predict we'll have our first "Yeah, but my uncle..." rebuttals by 1800 Mountain time.

That $20,000 sign on bonus sounds great, but the true cost of that instead of finishing school is immeasurable.
But I had a United jumpseater who had a friend who knew someone in their Chautauqua new hire class from back in the day who got hired without a degree...
 
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