Hey, guys. Welcome back to TNTH!
With the school year now in full force, it’s common to meet new people and classmates in your classes. From experience, I realize that after asking someone new what their name is, the second question that follows is usually “what’s your major?”
It’s amazing just how quickly their expression changes when you tell them you’re pursuing a degree in performing/creative arts. It’s like you can feel the judgment through their eyes, and it’s such an uncomfortable feeling.
It’s sad that we live in a world (or a city like NYC) that as young adults, we have to choose our paths according to how practical it is and how much money we will be making in the future. The purpose of higher education is to develop people as intellectuals in order to make it in the real world. With that being said, a lot of people gear towards majors that are very financially promising: business, pre-med, biology, psychology, social work, education, nursing, etc. Those who tend to pursue a degree in anything that’s creative are usually frowned upon on. In most cases, most people view those majors as those that people who are not “that smart” pick because “it’s easier”. It’s not dealing with logic and math and science and every other major that umbrellas under that division.
I am an English major. Even more so, I’ve been an English Major for the last 6 academic years. On the outside, it looks practical. It’s broad enough so that most people assume you’re pursuing English for a practical career. In the six years I’ve been around other English majors, I’ve noticed many of them pursue English to teach public school and eventually on the college level. It’s a common goal for pursuing a degree in a subject; I bet other subject-related majors have students who want to teach with their degrees.
Me, on the other hand, don’t want to teach English. I didn’t get my bachelor’s in English to teach and I’m not pursuing my Master’s in English to teach. I do not want to teach.
I want to write.
When I was a newbie in college, I learned the harsh reality that writers do not make it big in this world. Nobody is really writing books anymore, and creative writing in any aspect does not guarantee a life-long career. For awhile, I considered changing my major to something else. I had no idea what I would’ve changed my major to, but I was getting discouraged about my life goals and asked myself where I was going to be after college. But I didn’t. Writing is my passion. Writing is an essential part of me, and if there’s anything I wanted to do in life, I would want it to be something I love. As I get deeper into my department at my college, I am beginning to realize why writing (even more so creative writing) as a concentration is discouraged by prospective students. Writers in English get the short end of the stick. I mean, I never encountered an English major who specifies in Literature who got asked what they plan on using their literature degree with.
Like, let me tell you how many people in my grad program went from writing concentrations in undergrad to literature ones in grad. It’s saddening.
Creative Writing as a major falls under those type of majors that are usually frowned upon because they aren’t realistic enough. It falls under those majors like Dramatic Arts, Vocal Performance, Music, Dance, Photography, Cinema, Art, shit even Philosophy. These majors are considered as money and time wasters, a college joke perhaps. People frown upon those who go after their dreams. They laugh at those who would rather try and pursue their creative dreams instead of just settling for a practical major. I knew so many people from my high-school who were crazy talented but ended up studying economics or accounting in college because it’s practical and it’s a guaranteed salary. Those same people end up switching from major to major because they simply don’t feel like they belong in their “practical” major.
They say to ignore the advice “do what you love and love what you do” because you end up jobless, in debt, and broke in a dog-eat-dog world. They aren’t wrong, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try.
In the world that we live in, creativity doesn’t really exist anymore. I mean, there’s a reason why so many sequels and reboots of classics are being made on television and big companies steal each other’s ideas just to jack up the prices on their products. It’s so important to keep creativity alive because we have a whole younger generation entering college that is literally preparing themselves to be robots in this society. To pursue (and feel confident) with your performing/creative arts major, you have to realize that yes, it’s going to be hard to find a job once you graduate. You have to accept the risk and create your own opportunity and honey, I know more people succeeding doing creative things than those who decided to do practical things.
I personally think the key to creative success is your confidence in your talent and your studies. I worked with a group of actors during an internship two years ago and some of them moved on being cast for the silver screen and for even bigger productions. I know photographers who advanced their skills and now are web graphic designers. It takes perseverance. It takes passion.
And it takes pride in what you do. So, go for it! It’s your life! Make the most of it.