The journey as an Art major is not an easy one. Many do not view the arts as important or worthwhile. While there are some people who appreciate the arts for their special qualities and crucial nature, sometimes it’s hard to find those people, especially in a large university. The mass opinion seems to be that having a major such as acting, animation, drawing, film, printmaking, or dance is pointless and will eventually be detrimental to your ability to get a job after you graduate. This opinion is not only hurtful when expressed to art majors (by insulting their passion and life goals), but it’s completely untrue. Yes, it may be hard to find a job after college, but not because you have an art major. These days, it’s hard for anyone just getting out of college to find a job. Jobs are not guaranteed for any student after they graduate, no matter what their major is.
Then there are the bigots. The people who make fun of art majors not because they’re worried about their ability to get a job, but because they hold less respect for people who commit their lives to less “noble” pursuits, like the arts. But here’s a little secret: art majors are full of brave, passionate people who deserve the same respect as the rest of the community. Art majors do what they do because they love it, not because it's logical or pragmatic. It’s not a hobby, it’s not a side interest, it’s their career. And it’s downright rude to disrespect that. Most art majors are good at accounting or writing, too, but that doesn’t mean they should focus their schooling on those things.
Some parents argue that if they are paying for their child’s education, they should have a say in their child’s major. That’s true, but there should be an asterisk next to that fact. Parents and children in college should always have an ongoing dialogue about their child’s education, but it crosses the line when parents say that they won’t pay for their child’s education if they choose a “useless” art major. When parents issue that kind of ultimatum, it shows the child that their parents are more invested in the idea of them having a job and being financially stable in the future than being happy. In addition, a more practical major does not always equal a stable job. All you can do is focus on what you’re good at and shape your education around it so that you may one day find a job that makes you feel happy and purposeful.
Another argument I’ve heard against choosing a major in the arts is that people should pick a major that allows them to help people in need and contribute to society in a useful way. Yet, if you think about, art majors can be some of the most useful and beneficial people around. While they might not cure cancer or help orphans find forever families, they make their contributions in different, equally valuable ways. If you think about the last thing you saw, heard, or read that moved you in an emotional way, chances are, it was created by an art major. Paintings, films, music, books, comics, TV shows, these are all things that evoke inside us a sense of wonderment, belonging, and camaraderie. It’s what makes us appreciate our lives, it’s what creates individuality, and allows us to express ourselves in different ways.
Imagine what life would be like without art majors to create such beauty. Imagine life without that song that was so moving it made you cry, imagine life without that TV show that connected you with a community of lifelong friends, imagine life without that movie that taught you what is was to be a good person, imagine life without that book that gave you the courage to keep going. “It is the useless things that make life worth living,” as Stephen Fry said. Because without the things that give us life, what is there to live for?