I love to learn. Absolutely adore it. While school hasn’t always been my favorite thing in the world (mostly due to waking up at the crack of dawn), the learning aspect of attending has always gotten me excited. From elementary through high school, I was required to take certain classes, like every other school in the US. And although I didn’t end up majoring in Mathematics or English Literature, I still loved becoming more knowledgeable in those areas. My junior year of high school I took an AP Art History course, and at the time I had no idea what kind of an impact it would have on me.
Quick disclaimer: I said I love to learn. I never said I love doing homework.
Throughout my entire education up through the secondary level, I “coasted” through school. Meaning that yes I learned so much during class, but my outside of class effort was dramatically different. So during my art history class, I loved what I was learning. I absorbed it. But due to my little effort put into my homework- I passed the AP exam, but only with a 3.
I entered into college as a Pre-Dental major (HAHAHA I know). I took Chem 101 and Bio 110 and completely hated my life. Also, my grades reflected it. Something that I was never told before entering into college the fall of 2013 was that it’s a lot harder to truly focus on and care about a subject that you don’t see yourself truly committing to for the rest of your life. Occasionally I would get really interested in what we were learning, but my motivation to expand my knowledge in Chemistry and Biology past the high school level was at zero. At that point, I started questioning what my major was going to be.
So I was entranced by art since that first art history class in 2011. However, I was terrified of the typical things people who get degrees in the humanities are: no job, no money, lots of stress as a result. Thus, I decided to find a career with art that would be “more likely” to get me a job. I turned to art therapy. The following semester of Spring 2014 I took Psychology 101, Drawing Fundamentals, and Baroque Art and Architecture. I dropped the drawing class after attending two class sessions and realizing that just because I liked looking at art did not mean I could actually do it. I then understood that art therapy was not the way to go. So yet again, I’m left stumped about what to actually get a degree in and the pressure was on for me to decide. I continued in the psychology class just because it was interesting. The art history class, however, was my saving grace. I had been considering minoring in art history just for fun. After art therapy was thrown out the window, I turned to art history. I loved it and I was excited despite the fear of lack of careers in it (which I later realized is a false fear, there are plenty of careers in your passion so NEVER settle).
I am now graduating in two semesters with a Bachelor’s degree in Art History. Just after I realized I wanted to stick with this major, I had to start thinking about graduate schools. And oh my goodness, the possibilities are endless. Here’s a few:
- A PhD in Art History. Career opportunities: art historian, art history professor, museum curator, etc.
- A Joint Master’s in Art History and J.D. Career opportunities: art lawyer
- A M.A. in Arts Management and Policy. Career opportunities: self explanatory just by the degree title.
Then I started thinking… Do I really want to stick with just art history? Do I love it that much? Do I want to learn about something else for awhile? So I started thinking about other things I like to do- helping people, expressing my opinions, fighting for the rights of myself and others, improving the world. (I know- I’m super noble and ambitious.) Should I get a degree in Nonprofits Management? What about just history? What about just the humanities? How about a degree in education to be able to teach?
And I still haven’t figured it out. So if you were reading this hoping for a happy ending… Well, I’m not there yet. I’m currently leaning more towards getting an education degree. I’ve always wanted to teach, I just felt like I had the potential to do more (not saying teachers settle- just that my passion isn’t just to teach). I may pursue a higher degree while I teach. Because if there’s one thing I know for certain, its that I don’t want one career. I don’t want to be limited. I want to be a high school teacher, a college professor, a museum curator, a community outreach director, a nonprofit manager, a librarian, an art consultant. I want to do it all, which doesn’t surprise me because I’ve always loved to learn new things.
The pressure is on for me, but I’m deciding to not let it get to me. I have to start applying to graduate programs in the fall and that terrifies me but hey, all great things involve a little bit of fear. I used to think that to be 20 was to have your life together and a 5 year plan. But I’m starting to realize, that’s not true. 30 isn’t as old as it always seemed, so it’s okay if I don’t have it figured out until then. I have yet to turn 20, but when August comes and I hit that mark of no longer being a teen, I won’t freak out. Life is beautiful, folks. And we have all the time in the world to explore multiple opportunities.
(P.S. I know I really just talked about me, but I hope some people also took a detour out of Stressville with me.)
Let’s all take a breath, run our fingers through our hair, and not be so desperate unlike Courbet here.