I'm 25 with a checkered academic career: good in high school, failed out of college. Going back to finish a proper degree, done properly (will work hard to get what I want, As and B's) NOW-- a big question, what in? My former attempted degree was in materials engineering, which I did enjoy: I failed out for other reasons (fairly bad depression, and perhaps some outright laziness-- not partying or drugs, but you can still fail to keep up with classes without drink or drugs). It no longer makes sense to get back into the expensive private school I had attended, I instead will be going to Iowa State University, which is inexpensive (relatively!) and, I'm happy to report, seems to have a solid engineering school overall. I can do materials engineering. They even have a 5 years masters program. I should have 2 years down-- so 3 more to graduate. I can do industrial engineering. Optimization and logistics have always been cool articles to read about in businessweek (not as good a magazine as it used to be), economist, nytimes, etc., and I think I'd enjoy it. They have a 5 year program that includes an MBA. Again, I should have 1.5-2yrs covered in transfer credits. And, since many of the happy and successful people I've personally met are in middle management in the government and at companies, I've heard good things about employment in the insurance industry and/or as an accountant. I don't think I'd be bad at it, and I don't think I'd mind. "stranger than fiction"'s protagonist did not seem so pathetic to me, as pathetic as that might sound. Those are the 3 options that are on my mind. Please advise. Or suggest other fields. The grass is always greener-- I'm told medical, all the way, and then dentists tell me that $250k in student debt is not worth a $60k starting salary at the age of 30+; nurses tell me that they make $40/hr, which would be $80k, except they're underemployed at 10hrs/week and still have $150k in student debt; while another acquaintance has been treated well in IT with his masters degree, but numerous articles state that new grads are not finding health, wealth, and happiness there. ...well, I don't have the temperament or interest for IT anyway. Mechanical engineers and physics majors are said by some to be good for being versatile, and by others to be bad for being unfocused and too general. "grass is always greener" and I get a lot of mixed messages about almost any given field. I'd like some clear wisdom. Personally, after failing out of engineering and needing a pick-me-up that was somewhat technical and more involved that working in fast food, I went and became a master mechanic. I don't regret the 3 years spent, I learned a lot about cars that I won't forget. But I never made more than $20,000/year, even at a Volvo dealership, and my more seasoned coworkers averaged probably $30-35,000. One kid bragged that he made $40k... but that was doubtful. The two most senior techs, who were 45 and 55 years old about, said that they had made $70k some years, but not recently. So, not gonna stay as a mechanic. It'll take me years longer to even hit lower middle class, and the trends I'm observing do not bode well. When I looked into being a mechanic, community college told me "$40,000, no problem." So when the department advisers at iowa state all claim excellent employment with fine starting salaries for their graduates, i feel I'm correct in at least investigating independently what prospects these fields actually hold. But where I go to next, I want it to be the right decision and the right investment. I do not need riches, but I do not envy penury. $$ will become important as I look to find a wife, buy a house, raise a family, and not do it in poverty.