Unlikely Majors of Well-Known Celebrities
By Mary Lorenz, CareerBuilder.com
Sure, she can baste the pants off of most people in any room,
but what can Martha Stewart teach them about ancient Egyptian
artifacts? Well, probably more than you think. After all,
Stewart holds a bachelor's degree in history and architectural
history from Barnard College, a background that doesn't usually
guarantee a future as a home design expert, business CEO and
reality-television star. But that didn't stop Stewart. Read on
for more surprising celebrity majors.
To the benefit of many Americans who get their nightly
kicks watching "The Daily Show," host Jon Stewart
decided against pursuing a career in psychology, his major
at William and Mary College.
Though sports journalist and "Tuesdays With Morrie" author
Mitch Albom holds a master's degree in journalism
and business administration from Columbia University, his
undergraduate degree is in sociology from Brandeis
Before he became a recording artist, singer/songwriter
John Legend was studying comma splices and misplaced
modifiers as an English major at the University of
Perhaps Bart is more enlightened than he lets on: "The
Simpsons" creator, Matt Groening, studied philosophy
at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington but later
traded in Kant for the Kwiki-Mart.
After retiring from competitive ice skating at age 20,
Vera Wang began studying theater at Sarah Lawrence
College, but soon convinced herself that she wouldn't be
able to make a career of being an actress. So Wang switched
majors, received her bachelor's degree in Art History, and
embarked on what would be a successful career... as a
Before he made drug-free, silent births a religious
experience, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard
studied civil engineering for two years at George
Washington University's school of engineering.
Nigella Lawson read Medieval and Modern Languages at
Oxford and went on to pursue a successful career in
journalism before she became a celebrity chef hosting her
own cooking show, "Nigella Bites," and authoring several
What's the lesson here? Perhaps Martha Stewart just woke up
one day and decided she'd much rather study gingerbread
houses than Victorian mansions, but she also needed the
skills and background to successfully pursue her career in
home entertaining and decorating (to put it mildly).
These celebrities ended up where they are by developing
their outside interests and skills over time: Groening's
career as a cartoonist began after he developed a cartoon
titled "Work is Hell" to communicate his first
out-of-college job experience to his friends; Jon Stewart
discovered a knack for making people laugh while working an
odd job as a puppeteer; and Wang launched her bridal line
when she started to design wedding dresses after a long and
arduous struggle to find the perfect dress for her own
Not to say that your major doesn't matter -- more
psychology majors actually work as psychologists than, say,
fake newscasters -- but as the above examples prove, it
doesn't necessarily have to limit you, either.
Mary Lorenz is a special contributor to CareerBuilder.com
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