One week of being a junior in university has passed? ALREADY? Seriously, time dashes by during the most instantaneous jiffies. There are moments where the clock seems to be soundly asleep, other days operating on over 400 mg of caffeine, and some incidents where it even runs backwards (though that might only exist in Alice in Wonderland). That being said, my experience with my Food Science major has taught me an immense amount of knowledge and wisdom, all completely encompassing that I will never ever be prepared for food production. As contradictory as that may sound, you’ll hear me out on this one later.
Before I dive into the meat of the post, I just want to address that Food Science is not for everybody. There are countless reasons why someone wouldn’t want to study in this field and would prefer something more artistic, more office-based, more mathematical, more forensic, more literature-based, and even more glamorous (because honey bun, food science is not quite the most glamorous field of study). Nonetheless, here are the ups and downs of being a Food Science major, all from my experience, given that everyone’s experience will vary from person to person.
- An abundance of job opportunities. Seriously, food companies and corporations are always hiring and always creating new positions. Not only that, you can find countless types of jobs and careers all around you as a food scientist. Think: baker, restaurant owner, menu creator, product developer, researcher, quality assurance, sensory tester, production manager, chef,
- Cooking. All the time. If you are a serious kitchen wizard, you are going to thrive with a food science degree. There’s always culinary school, but it’s much more cutthroat and a little less centered on the chemistry, engineering, and industrial aspects of food production and more on recipe and culinary development. Still, culinary school has its benefits. Fortunately, studying food science offers more than plenty of courses with labs where whipping up recipes and fun dishes are involved!
- Building high-quality relationships with companies. Networking encompasses a massive part of learning about food science. Reasons why: branding yourself builds relationships, which build connections, which bring employment, which grant experience in all kinds of outlets, as well as reverence in the industry. If you’re seeking to create your own business, it’s vital to cultivate relationships with individuals from companies, but high-quality bonds to gain the most solidified connections as possible. You don’t see these people as business partners. You can see them as good companions if you develop a strong, likable, and well-mannered character.
- Travel all around the world. Many careers as a food scientist entail traveling abroad, especially for research, marketing, networking, tasting, and many more. I don’t know about you, but traveling all the way to Southeast Asia to learn about medicinal herbs or visiting the United Kingdom for a week to down all the traditional grub sound like a DREAM.
- Grad school isn’t necessary. Unlike becoming a doctor, you don’t need to take the MCAT for two to four more years of studying for a PhD. It’s easy to find a job with a Bachelor’s. That in mind, graduate school is recommended if you want to open yourself up to more opportunities right after you step off campus. Obviously, you can definitely climb your way up the corporate ladder after you already find work.
- Students aren’t incredibly competitive. Let’s be real–you definitely experience a very different climate amongst fellow business majors, theater majors, and biomedical majors. Just to note: there’s still competitiveness in food science. However, for the most part, food science majors are not as nosy or snarky as those of others, given the abundance of job opportunities and different kinds of brands you can work with.
- Everyone only wants to help you. Unlike many other fields of study, you’re not here to constantly be put down (well, maybe culinary school might be different, but I could be wrong). Depending on your college, your professors ultimately want you to have the tools for success. I have yet to encounter a Food Science professor that I feel would hurt my chances of sticking with my major. I really hope I don’t jinx this, but all my major’s professors and colleagues have been nothing but of beneficence for my future.
- You learn about a lot of the dirty work that comes into the food industry. To name a few: unethical business practices, lawsuits, abuse of animals and small farms, and LOTS of food waste both on the producer end and the consumer end. Though there are more than enough regulations, policies, and legislation to ensure that all food products are safe to consume, certain aspects of food such as extra-virgin, organic, and many more are either not regulated or loosely regulated.
- There’s a LOT of science. Chemistry classes. Chemistry classes everywhere. (though this may serve as a pro for some of you)
- And not much of English. Though you definitely have to learn the fundamentals to gain reading comprehension skills, argumentation skills, persuasion skills, and overall writing proficiency.
- Oh yeah, and it is a lot of dirty work. Have you ever tried scrubbing rotten lemonade off a dispenser? Have you ever took a serious whiff of raw chicken? IT’S. ALL. DISGUSTING. Personally, the last I want to do is get my hands dirty. But I like working in a kitchen where you wear disposable gloves because your hands will always become dirty. Sigh. The irony.
In summation, the pros of being a food science major definitely outweigh the cons. Yes, aspects of the food industry suck, chemistry classes suck, and getting my hands smothered in grease sucks. On the other hand, I study food science to change the ways of processing and manufacturing. Call me idealistic and call me crazy. But we have seen enough drastic shifts in our society and legislation to evidently prove that goodness comes out of proactiveness and hard work. I study food science because developing new products that can benefit consumers fascinates me. Who wouldn’t want a bakery line of plant-based protein cakes? At the end of the day, I truly adore my journey as a food scientist. Even though I don’t always get to cook and I still have to complete one more chemistry course, nothing motivates me more than anything than the vision I have of myself thriving with my Food Science degree.
Check out what I do as a Food Science student!
Anyhow, please let me know what you are studying at college or university! I would love to know how you’re enjoying your field and where you see yourself with that degree!