Are they really cancelling the Shopper Degree?

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by gstboatguy, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. gstboatguy

    gstboatguy New Member

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    I was planning on doing the Marine Operations and Technology (Shopper) Degree, and I read from a few people that it may get canceled. Does anybody know anything about this?
     
  2. zonker

    zonker Member

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    Quickest way to a correct answer, call and ask Admissions.
    Some reps may be floating around as well, but I'd go right to the source.
     
  3. deepsea

    deepsea Member

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    A better description of what will likely be happening is that the regular deck major will look alot more like the shopper major just without the QMED endorsement which is now impossible due to sea time requirements. Starting soon deckies will be getting much more engineering.
     
  4. Is2day4him

    Is2day4him Member

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    honestly, if you want to be an engineer, then man up and be an engineer. if you want to be a deckie, then go for it (although i, as an engineer--with an obvious bias--strongly discourage such action). with the new sea time requirements to get the QMED, it hardly seems worthwhile to expend so much extra energy for such a small amount of applicable engineering knowledge.

    i don't know if this applies to you, but a lot of the shoppers that i've talked to went that path because they wanted to be engineers but were scared of the math-- dumbest reason ever. i'm not very smart and i've made it to second tri of 1/C year now as an engineer. if i can do it, you can too.
    don't let your decision be motivated by fear. that's a horrible way to go about it.
     
  5. eaglesmom

    eaglesmom New Member

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    Is2day, I respectfully disagree with your statement that you are not very smart.

    You are aces as far as I'm concerned.
     
  6. deepsea

    deepsea Member

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    I bet if you think back on your 300 days as a cadet at sea, or perhaps are willing to take away something from my 3000+ days at sea, you will remember that the mates that your fellow engineers worked with the best and respected the most were those with the most engineering skill and knowledge. And the ones who were joked about and ridiculed the most were those who frankly had no clue. (Such as the Chief Mate I sailed with who thought the engineers were messing with him when they would tell him they were blowing tubes, because he KNEW that diesels had no tubes to blow.)
    The reverse is true as well, the engineers who are the best to sail with are those that can tie a knot, understand cargo operations, weather, shiphandling, and seamanship. Having sailed around the world on a ship with 15 crew, todays industry has no room for specialists. I'm a shopper who still has a qmed endorsement but have never sailed on it, however I have used the skills that come along with it every day.
     
  7. Is2day4him

    Is2day4him Member

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    you are correct that the mates that had no clue about the engine side were not well received.
    it is important to know as much about both sides as you can i believe.
    while i was at sea i went up to the bridge on the 2000-2400 watch and was fortunate enough to have the mate on watch lead me through how they operate the radar, steering equipment, etc... it was a good experience and it helped me gain the respect of the deck department.
    there's definitely a need for highly competent deck officers out at sea, don't get me wrong, i just was stating a trend that i had seen in the last few years of people going deck for the wrong reasons. i've seen a lot of kids that wanted to go engineering (and in honestly should have--just how their minds work, they would have made spectacular engineers) but were scared by the thought of upper level math.
    if someone really wants to be a deck officer and isn't doing it to dodge "hard" classes, then i wish them the best. i just hate seeing guys make decisions out of fear. that's all.
     
  8. ParkerMom

    ParkerMom Member

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    May I submit to you that some smart people who are perfectly capable of handling engineering math choose to be deckies because they are not interested in being cooped up in an engine room when they could be up on the bridge enjoying the view . . . .

    It has nothing to do with 'manning up' or being "scared of the math".
     
  9. Is2day4him

    Is2day4him Member

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    you are right for SOME, however, i have seen many people go deck because they were scared of the math, hence why i said that.

    as i said, i am quite obviously biased. i admit that openly.
    i was under that mentality when i showed up at KP some years ago. i thought being in the engine room sounded horrible and that the deck side was the way to go. however, after seeing both sides of KP 100 i changed my mind due to the pull of one prof. (engine side) and the shoving away of another (deck side). after going to sea i realized i made a great choice.

    i have nothing against the deck side, i just don't understand it, that's all. i honestly think i'd lose my mind doing what they do. but that's the beauty of things, we're not all made the same.

    i was not indicating that all deckies are stupid, just trying to reinforce that if they go deck, to do it for the right reasons. :thumb:
     
  10. 2009KPer

    2009KPer Member

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    Huh??? I was an '09 shopper and I can say with first-hand info that NONE of us were there because "we wanted to really be engineers but were scared of the math or thermo or whatever." We were simply deckies who had a keen interest in knowing, to some degree, what goes on down there AND use it make ourselves better deckies. Having that experience (both classroom and practical) really makes you a better deck officer, not only to appreciate what the engineers have to deal with daily but to also have the skills to use tools, rebuild valves, trace down system problems, etc... These skills are very relevant to deck operations, particularly on tankers and tugs. For example, the stuff I learned in ME about pumps and valves is invaluable when applied to a tank vessel and equipment that is the DIRECT responsibility of the deck department.

    Having deck officers proficient in some engineering also frees up the engineers from having to deal with "stupid deckie" blunders on deck. The best chief mate I sailed with was a KP dual major grad and while he never sailed on his 3rd's, the amount of knowledge he possessed was so vast that the engineers would on occasion come to him with questions about a particular system or repair. He was worth his weight in gold on that ship (a crude oil tanker on the West Coast). With crewing reduced to what it is these days, gone are the times of narrow-skilled niche jobs, especially with the officers.

    If you want to sail as an engineer, go engine. If you want to actually sail as a deck officer, seriously consider going shopper - don't just blow it off because it's "more work". Yeah, there are more classes you need to take and you may be out at sea a little longer but it's well worth it. I wrench on my own stuff at home (cars, boats, engines) but I really love the deck stuff (sailing, navigating, piloting, shiphandling). When I was first applying to KP and flipping through the catalog, Maritime Operations & Technology was the first major to jump out of the page at me and I never looked back - stuck with it the whole way and I don't regret it at all. The majority of my section-mates would agree with that.

    Oh, and if deepsea is who I think he is, take his advice very seriously. He is easily one of the most valuable and knowledgeable persons at that school.
     
  11. deepsea

    deepsea Member

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    Thanks for the complement!
     
  12. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    You may not have meant to indicate it, but that's sure how you sounded.

    BTW, another tidbit from "back in the day" before SCTW sailing requirements made it impossible Maritime Operations and Technology was preceded by the dual license/dual major program. For the entering Classes of 1982, 1983 and I believe 1984, each had a maximum of 30 spots and had more than that number competing for those 30 spots. It was anything BUT a program for people who were afraid of the math to go engine as I suspect so too is the current Shopper program.

    I know that I tried and couldn't get selected for dual as my cum wasn't high enough at the time, I recall finishing Plebe year with between a 3.25 and 3.5 but don't know which it was. In any case I choose Deck because that was the way I wanted to go to sea.

    Post graduation I became a technologist/ engineer through my employment and basically OJT... Now, the way some young engineers, both from KP and elsewhere, talk I find amusing to some degree since after 25+ years I can look them and know that it takes a good 5-10 years after you graduate working in the field before you are indeed a "good engineer".
     
  13. kpmom2011

    kpmom2011 Member

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    I think I understand what is2day was trying to get at, as I too have had parents call me with the question about the math part of the engineering program.

    Unfortunately there are some plebes who declare a deck major becuase they are very afraid of the advanced math. They see and hear the stories of dis enrollments and setbacks and it makes them afraid.

    Every student should choose their major based on what will interest them. This is true at KP as well as anything in life. :)
     
  14. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    In general I agree with your sentiments but I would point out a few points I believe apply here that may lead mids to consider carefully their major selections relative to deck vs. engine selections:

    1) Most students at "regular colleges" can move/change their majors with a lot less hassles then changing from deck to engine or vice-versa at KP (pretty much impossible after sea year or the first trimester of your third class year starts) and they also have a longer period of time before they have to declare a major.

    2) If you are having extreme difficulty and/or duress from Plebe Math and Science course, then many of the engineering courses may be even more difficult for you and that may be an indication that your innate aptitude lies elsewhere. While I don't think that alone should drive Plebes to choose Deck Majors, it's valid to consider that point in their decision making process since upper-class required engineering course build on those things and are only likely to be "harder" and more work for those individuals. Again I'm not suggesting it's impossible, just pointing out as has been said, you have to want it and if Math and Science aren't your fortes you have to want it even more and work even harder. The unfortunate reality of KP is often that some people don't really know if they want Deck or Engine fully until after their first sea year and by then it's pretty much too late. That said, the current curricula works very hard to expose everyone to both before requiring them to choose and if KP is to stay a four year program, which it will for numerous reasons, the status quo is the best anyone can ask for or do because of SCTW licensing requirements.

    3) I've always thought the idea that you finish college and basically do what you've originally trained to be for the rest of your life to be very short sighted. The only classmates who I graduated with that I can recall of the top of my head that such a thing applies to are the small percentage who are still sailing after more than 25 years following graduation. I'd speculate that at a "normal college" there would be similar feeling anecdotally at least from those locations. For myself, I'm basically in my third career incarnation if not 3 1/2 and I have not had a day off without pay save for a 5 day period I took between my last voluntary job change 3 years ago since July 7, 1982... Of the 30 or so of the 253 peers in the graduating class of 1982, I keep up with except for that are not still sailing, every one is doing something that their KP undergrad education is useful for and not one isn't on at least their second "professional incarnation". My point is just because you go deck doesn't mean that you can't work in some technical field or area post-graduation and just because you go engine doesn't mean that post graduation you won't become a non-technical person... etc... When you graduate KP you are 25 or younger and have a long and productive life ahead, there's lots of time to explore the numerous options and opportunities it prepares you for and offers you; for some the key is/will indeed be to ensure they graduate at all...
     
  15. username

    username Member

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    Are you in Law school?
     
  16. kpmom2011

    kpmom2011 Member

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    Thank you Jasper...that's basically what I was trying to say :)
     
  17. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    I know that back in my day when the shopper degree first started there absolutely were people who chose it because of the math.

    We were on the quarter system and if my memory serves me correct, Deckies had to take Calc 4 but shoppers did not. Some of my friends specifically said they chose shopper over deck for that very reason. People definitely make choices of their major based on the classes that make up that major, whether it is fear of them or disinterest. In the end does it matter? If you are happy with the choice you made, the why is irrelevant.

    For what it's worth, I considered going systems for a while but eventually chose sweathog mostly because of Diffy 2 and Machine Design with Paquette. Best choice I ever made because I am far happier today in an engine room than I ever was driving a desk before going back to sea.

    By the way ... if you are a shopper, you do NOT have a minor in engineering.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2009
  18. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Missed that who made that assertion? Not I, for sure.
     
  19. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    No one here said it.

    When the program first came out that was part of how they sold it. You take X number of credits in engineering classes so it is LIKE having a minor in engineering. Next thing you know, everyone is running around saying they are getting a minor in engineering. Some people even put it on their resume.

    Having the same number of credits as a minor and actually having a minor are far different things.
     

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