Kit Steinkellner
October 23, 2014 1:03 pm

So if you got a degree in something even a little bit artsy, you’ve probably gotten flack about your arts degree at some point. A parent, a friend, a stranger, it seems like someone is always ready to give a creative person serious grief about failing to get a degree in “a practical major.”

But research is showing that getting a degree in a traditionally unconventional field might actually be the most practical thing you can do for your future. (Parents of theater majors everywhere faint from shock.)

No, but seriously, I have some stats to back this up. In a survey conducted by the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), researchers found that arts grads are “among the happiest professionals in the US.” Out of the 17,000 recent arts graduates interviewed, 65% were able to find work in arts-related fields, and 52% of recent graduates said they were satisfied with their recent income. Overall satisfaction in the job in which they were spending the majority of their time was high, with recent graduates at 75% and prior graduates at 82%.

So the best piece of advice a guidance counselor could give you might just well be “major in whatever is going to make you happy.” Here are some more reasons to pursue the path you want to take and not the one you think you should follow.

1.)Your Degree Could Prep You For Some Pretty Surprising Jobs

I was a theater major which has to be the artsiest major known to man. I mean, sometimes I was late for ballet class because I was coming from tai chi, I don’t know how you go artsier than that. And yes, some of the people I graduated with are professional actors. There are also a couple lawyers in the mix. One girl became a speech therapist. One dude became an American Sign Language interpreter. Other theater majors I know went on to become publicists, event planners, movie producers, puppeteers, the list REALLY goes on and on. And we were ALL prepared for our future jobs and lives with a theater education. Apparently law schools really LIKE when theater majors apply, because what is a court of law if not a theater and what is a jury if not an audience? So your artsy major may be prepping you for a lot of jobs you never expected to be prepped for

2.) This Is The One Time In Your Academic Life Where YOU Get To Call The Shots

You don’t really get to decide what you want to learn about in school grades K-12. I mean, yes, you may have a choice between regular and AP English, you may get to decide whether you want chemistry or physics to be the last required science you take, but by and large your choices are very, very, very limited. In college, your choices are very, very, very expansive. So don’t limit YOURSELF, use this time to choose what YOU want to learn.

3.)Majoring In Something You Like Will Make You Less Resentful About Student Debt

If you’re like the majority of college graduates, you’ll probably incur some amount of student debt. And you’re ALWAYS going to be grouchy paying that ish off every month. But I got to tell you, if you have a great time in college, and really feel like your degree is meaningful to you, you’re going to be a lot less pissed about paying those bills.

4.)If You Major In Something You WANT To Major In, The Chances Of You Meeting “Your People” In College Go Way, Way Up

You want to make best friends for life in college. You want to find artistic collaborators, business partners, a BFF who will someday hook you up with an opportunity because she knows you would do the EXACT same thing for her. And you meet these kinds of people in college, and if you’re in classes together and working towards the same goals, it’s a lot easier to foster that camaraderie.

5.)Look, Let’s Shoot Straight, For A Lot Of Employers, Your Degree Won’t Matter

I can count on MAYBE one hand the amount of times anyone in a superior position asked what I majored in during college. Because I work a lot of artsy jobs and mostly they don’t care. They don’t care about my bachelors, honestly, they rarely even care about my masters. They care about my resumé. They care about what I did with my life AFTER graduation. And I think a lot of us liberal arts majors are in the same boat. We’re our accomplishments, not our degrees. So make sure your degree is something that is going to matter to YOU, because chances are you are the main person it’s going to matter to.

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