I Am A Starving Artist And I'm Proud

I Am A Starving Artist And I'm Proud

An article in defense of all the artists who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of beauty and truth.

I am from a small town in Southwest Oklahoma.

So, in essence, I am from a part of this country where football is as important as going to church on Sunday. I've never been one for sports. I spent my childhood hiding in the back of the classroom too scared to raise my hand for fear of people looking at me.

When I was in junior high, I decided to take drama as my elective for some reason I can't even explain to this day. I fell in love immediately. I found that I loved to talk in front of people; I loved to perform. When I got to high school, competitive theatre became my way of life. It's what I dedicated all of my free time to.

I spend a majority of my high school career frustrated as I realized people didn't care nearly as much about the "theatre geeks," "band nerds," and "art kids" as they did football players, wrestlers, and basketball stars. When something had to be cut from the school budget, art was one of the first to go.

Theatre, communications, and creative writing were all gone in my town by the time I graduated. We have no community theatre. All I knew when I came to college was that I wanted to be an actress and how soon I realized I didn't know anything when I got here.

I became an orientation leader at my University this last summer and I was in charge of all of the incoming theatre/dance/music majors both performance and education. It hurt me to hear in every single session at least one of my students had a story of how their school was de-funding, downsizing, or getting rid of theatre and music programs altogether.

I have seen what art can do for someone. Kids, who would never speak a word, gradually became chatty and smiled more. Theatre was my escape. It was (and still is) the way I express myself. How beautiful it is to expand one's creativity and learn what it is to completely throw yourself into something. So many employers are looking for students with liberal arts degrees because of the creativity and critical thinking they can bring to the professional work field.

Everything we do, look at, and enjoy is the product of art. Every poster, CD, CD cover, magazine, book, movie, song, the laptop you look at is a result of an artist. How have we forgotten how important that is? I implore you, the next time you're ready to disregard "the starving artist" think of your favorite song, book, piece of art, etc. and thank them instead. They've poured everything they have to make what you love possible.

Cover Image Credit: nikarthur

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Should You Work Remotely? The Benefits and Challenges

Why work in a cubicle when you can work on the beach?

While some people enjoy cubicle life, an increasing number of people would prefer to work remotely. In 2016, 43% of employed Americans spent at least some time working remotely, and those who worked remotely 60% to 80% of the time had the highest rates of commitment to and enthusiasm for their job.

While telecommuting has its obvious benefits, there are also a few challenges. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before switching to the freelance life.

Pro: You Can Be More Productive

Numerous studies show that working the standard nine-to-five isn’t congruent with productivity. The brain can focus only for limited amounts of time before it needs a break. By working remotely, you can get flexible with your work hours and factor in mini breaks to give your brain a rest, helping you enjoy greater creativity and enhanced productivity.

Con: It Can Be Lonely

Even if you aren’t an extrovert, working day in and day out in your home office can start to feel isolating, especially if you live alone and are a homebody. You may find that a week goes by before you leave the house. Force yourself to make social connections, whether it’s with another remote employee or with someone from a community group. You can find groups of people with shared interests on Meetup.com and Facebook

Pro: You Can Be More Creative

Some people say they’re morning people, and others night owls. But have you ever heard someone say they’re an afternoon person? This is because you’re most creative when you’re tired, and this time is usually either right when you wake up or before you go to sleep. By working as a freelancer, you can set your schedule around your peak creativity hours or your peak focus hours—when the sun rises or long after it sets. 

Con: You Have to Invest in Business Essentials

When you take your work from the office to your home, a poor internet connection or continuously ringing phone can mean working longer hours and feeling stressed about fast-approaching deadlines. Consider getting a second phone line solely for business purposes, and answer it only during work hours. You’ll also want to research the fastest internet providers in your area and determine how much speed you need for the type of work you do. 

Pro: You’ll Save Money

Despite having to invest in a few business essentials, most remote workers save money. On average, commuters spend $2,600 per year, or around $10 per day, getting to and from work. That’s no small amount to spend on gas and car maintenance. This amount doesn’t include the costs for buying your lunch and coffee when you’re running late. Working from home eliminates these commuting costs and makes it easier to make coffee and lunch at home, rather than eat out.

Con: You May Feel Left Out

According to one study, many remote workers feel purposely left out and shunned by their in-office colleagues, and some even feel their colleagues talk behind their backs and lobby against them. When you’re not in the office, it’s easy to fall behind in the daily news, including growth and promotion opportunities, and it’s more difficult to speak up and share your input. You’ll want to find ways to stay in the loop and make sure your opinions are heard.

Pro: You’ll Feel Less Stressed

Several studies show that remote workers are happier and less stressed than their in-office colleagues. For one, working from home allows you to avoid the grind of traffic and the anxiety of commuting. It’s also easier to feel happy when you have the freedom to set your schedule, enjoy more time with your family, and work in a space where you feel most productive. 

Con: It Can Be Hard Blending Work and Life

Ironically, establishing a healthy work-life balance can be more difficult when you work from home. When there isn’t a boss looking over your shoulder, it’s easy to start online shopping when you’re on the clock or to start working in the evenings while watching a movie with your family. Keep your work and living spaces separate, and establish a set work schedule. This separation will help you get your work done on time and not let it bleed into your evenings or weekends.

Switching from office life to remote work marks an exciting time in your career, but before making the leap, weigh the advantages and challenges. Consider whether the pros outweigh the cons for your personal preferences and how you can tackle the cons. Having a plan will help you make the right decision and set you up for success.

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To The College Student Who Thinks They Don’t Have It All Figured Out Yet; It’s Okay.

Everything works out in the end.

As soon as we throw our graduation caps up into the air, some of us have a general idea as to what we want to do with our lives. Some may have a specific outline in mind, from internships they want to pursue to colleges they want to go to for their master's degree. Some know their major and just plan to figure the rest out along the way. Yet others? Others may not even have a clue what to do.

No matter where you currently are on this stressful timeline, it's okay.

Growing up, I was so set on pursuing journalism. I was constantly looking at journalism programs throughout high school, planning on picking up a journalism minor along the way, and I wanted to potentially work at a television station someday. Yet after learning more about this field in my mass communication class, I suddenly started having second thoughts.

I found myself beginning to panic, wondering what else I possibly wanted to do. All I knew was that I wanted to be involved in the communications fields—that was it! And that’s where I am now.

While I did experience this sudden change of heart early in my college career, it’s okay to feel this way no matter where you are right now. College allows us to take classes in an array of subjects, participate in a series of clubs and organizations, that will all help us realize where we want to go.

It’s hard to be in this state of uncertainty, yet this state of uncertainty allows us to learn more about ourselves. We can explore our interests, go into every general education class with an open mind. As we’re learning about ourselves, we’ll eventually wander down the right path—the path we were meant to be on.

So, It’s okay to not know what you want to do. It’s okay to change your mind and second-guess ourselves. That’s just life. We just always have to remember one thing: everything works out in the end.

Cover Image Credit: Henrique Félix

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