It’s that time of year again! The time when high school juniors start looking at colleges and having panic attacks over the SAT/ACT. (Or was that just me..?) It’s also the time when high school seniors start filling out college applications, a.k.a the easiest way to memorize your social security number. Regardless of where you are going and what you want to do it is a crazy, hectic, and exciting time in your life. When the end of my junior year hit I could not wait to get my butt out of the door and into my own exciting new life.
However, this time can also be super stressful without the support of family and friends. I fully understand that struggle. All of my older siblings went to school for “practical” careers. One is a lawyer, the other a vet-technician, and the third-oldest is in the Army Reserves and has her medical assistant degree. You can imagine how thrilled my parents were when I told them I wanted to go to school for theater. Their fourth daughter, a straight A-student, was pursuing a career in theater?
My parents humored me, but it was not an easy feat. I was having trouble finding schools with the program I wanted and the whole process of applying online and writing essays and gathering financial documents was a bit crazy. I would spend countless nights arguing with my father about going to a four-year school for theatre. He wanted me to go to county college for two years (which is a very smart idea, just not my cup of tea). Eventually we both just got tired of fighting.
Eventually, everything was set. My applications were out, I was accepted into my top schools, and I was attending my first “admitted student day” with my dad. I was taking in all of the excitement of my next home for four years and it was magical. My father did not see it the same way, however. He wanted to know where I was getting a job after graduation, how a theater studies degree would do anything for me, and how many people with arts degrees get jobs straight out of college. We spent countless hours with academic advisors, deans, financial aid office workers, and honestly it was all quite overwhelming.
Throughout the course of the day, I had learned about the option of an arts administration degree. Arts administration is essentially a business degree with an emphasis in arts like music, theater, and dance. I eventually decided to claim arts administration as a second major, and after getting a paying job at a theater company as an assistant director that summer, my parents’ minds were eased a bit.
Long story short, the option to pursue a career in any type of art is not an easy decision to make. However, it is important to stay true to your heart and do what you love to do. I was always told that if you are doing something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. That always stuck with me and I am so happy with what I have chosen to do.
Regardless of if your parents come around, make sure you're doing what's right for you. Everything seems hard and scary right now, but just remember, you will always find someone in your corner to help you push through it all. The pay-off after walking down the aisle on graduation day and getting your diploma in something you love is worth it more than being unhappy with your college degree, even if you think it will “guarantee” you a job. Besides, you can always change your major or minor in something you find interesting. So, no sweat. Push through, and you’ll kill it.