Every few months I see the latest report on what are the worst, the least marketable, and the most “worthless” bachelor’s degrees, and I eagerly click to see what’s changed. Spoiler Alert: Nothing. The list toppers always include a handful of the following:
- Fine Arts
- Drama And Theater Arts
- Film, Video, and Photography
- Graphic Design
- English Literature
Seeing as I have a degree in Theatre (Acting), I’m not super thrilled to see it in that light. Not because I think it will damage my reputation as a graduate, but because it means that so many people do not understand what a degree in theatre really is. This goes for all of the above degrees because they all lead to a particular type of person: An Artist. Come on, they are Bachelor’s of Arts degrees! But what does it mean to be an artist?
To be an Artist is to be an Entrepreneur!
Wait a second; I don’t want to be an Entrepreneur! That sounds like business! That sounds like work! Maybe you didn’t hear me; I am an Artist!
An entrepreneur is some who is skilled at a particular craft, produces original work, creates new opportunities, and risks everything on an idea. That sounds kinda like an artist doesn’t it?
Therein lies one of the major problems with an arts degree! The unemployment rate for these degrees is so high, making them “worthless” because the graduates are looking for jobs and failing. An arts degree doesn’t prepare you for the workforce/artforce! The secret to an arts degree is
Creating your own job
Stop waiting for someone to give you a chance and create your own opportunities! If every unemployed grad became a self-employed grad, then these arts degrees would climb to the top of the “Valuable College Degrees” list!
Another problem with the academic world of art is that people think you can’t teach creativity. A person with a master’s degree may be no more likely to be cast/selected than a high school drop out (debatable, but whatever). Maybe creativity can be unlocked with education? You hear of people “catching the bug” before starting their creative career and maybe that was the emancipation from traditional thinking. I know for me, I always wanted a Computer Science degree and to make video games. Hell, I gave up a full scholarship to ASU (for CS) and went to community college for theatre! I realized that what I really wanted was to make things. Things like video games, art, life. And I sucked at math, but whatever. Getting into this line of work/art is really a curse because if go through all this trouble it means one thing:
You can’t be happy doing anything else
And if you can, do that thing instead. It will be much easier. Promise.
Some people aren’t aware of the work related to an arts degree and it is not for everyone. If being self-employed wasn’t the goal and if you always want to work for someone else then you have obtained a “luxury degree”. There is nothing wrong with an arts degree that enriches your understanding of the world and creates a well-rounded living experience, just don’t expect a return on your college investment. And that’s what college is