When my sister was in grade 12, she had no idea what she wanted to do after graduation.
Mum’s solution? “Get an Arts degree while you make your mind up.”
Her reasoning was that it was a bland, generic degree that could be sculpted to suit a person’s interests. She did not see it as a window to a career, rather as a time filler for someone to gain more experience in their hobbies.
As someone who has spent their fair share of time at university, I am the first to appreciate a degree when I see one. The time, effort and money a person has funnelled in to honing their skills in a certain area are proof of the person’s passion for the industry and their qualification to work in the profession (with the right experience, of course). The difference between succeeding and faltering with a degree then is simple: it comes down to the passion a person has for what they study. Ministers and Executives are often the first to grandstand, saying that Creative Arts degrees are worthless – because the more people with Creative Arts degrees, the fewer people there will be to choose from “higher demand” industries.
Who would you hire, though: a person with the qualifications and the drive to work in your business, or the person who has the qualification simply because they were told the industry they love is worthless, and to choose something else?
Many people don’t place the same value on the Creative Arts simply because they cannot comprehend the full diversity of it: the billboards they drive past, every second of sound coming out of their car radio, the design of their clothes and even the news they read. It is so hard to quantify an industry that shapes our world, giving other industries a voice, and entertaining us.
University degrees are not things that should be studied for the sake of it, or to fill in time. They also will not make you successful in an industry you are not interested in. They are tools that should be used to advance a person’s skills in an area they are passionate about, so they can find a job they love and will be successful in. A person who studied Physics at school will struggle just as much in a Creative Arts degree as an Arts student would struggle studying Science.
A person’s success also comes down to their willingness to follow their passion – if you’re in an industry with limited positions, you will have to be open to travelling elsewhere for your passion or ‘starting at the bottom of the ladder’ so to speak: not settling in the dream job as soon as you graduate. If you have no idea what to do after high school, but you are passionate about an area of the creative industries, then study an Arts degree. The only reason they are considered as ‘useless’ by some is because they are a class of people who are not passionate about anything within the industry, and could not imagine themselves working in a creative profession.
If you are passionate enough about something, you will succeed.