Majors and Minors: Choosing Your Own Path

Published March 4th, 2016

I remember when I arrived at college excited and ready to pursue a degree in Acting. I get to wake up every single day and do what I love? Pinch me! Every improvisation, scene study and movement class felt like I was in a dream. I couldn’t believe that I got to train for four years and wake up each day excited for the challenges ahead of me instead of dreading them like I sometimes did in high school…ahem, math class.

However, even though I was blissfully happy, I felt like something was missing. While I loved my acting classes, I had this voice in the back of my head telling me that I was neglecting something else I loved to do. Ever since I was young, I attended and then taught at a children’s theatre summer camp. I went from a camper to intern to eventually, an instructor. I adored my summers and some of my fondest memories were watching my students blossom on the stage in one short summer.

I was worried, however, that if I changed my major, I would be looked at as less passionate than my fellow actors. I also debated whether or not my acting career would suffer. Would I be at a disadvantage when I graduated if I divided my time?

I pushed these worries aside and I ended up pursuing a double major in Theatre Education while keeping all of the acting classes that were important to me. I took some entrepreneurship classes and psychology classes as well. Each day was exciting, motivating and fulfilling in a way I didn’t think was possible. When I graduated, I knew I could fill my days with something that I loved to do that would supplement my acting career as opposed to getting a “day” job that I didn’t look forward to.

Since college, I have been lucky to have had a career on the stage and in film/television and have also been an acting coach/teacher since the day I graduated. I am fortunate to be able to say I have never worked outside of the performing arts. Is this divided career choice for everyone? No. However, do I feel like a huge part of who I’ve become is because of the college experience I created for myself? Certainly.

So, I am here to tell you: don’t tune out the voice in your head that reminds you of your other passions. It doesn’t make you less passionate if you want to get a minor in something else. As I always say over and over again, interesting humans make interesting artists. Your other interests can directly benefit you as a performer.

I’ve had many students over the years that have expressed various interests in other areas. I thought it might be helpful to give an idea of potential minors you could pursue that could potentially benefit your primary major:

If you are a dancer…

Physical Therapy Minor

You are already in touch with your body and its capabilities – so, how cool would it be to help others reach that potential? I know many exceptional physical therapists that received a dance degree and continue to pursue both.

Theatre Minor

Make yourself undeniably cast-able! There are so many opportunities for dancers who also need to have the ability to say a few lines or be present and expressive on the stage/screen. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone and you’ll reap the benefits.

If you are a musician…

Music Industry Minor

On top of performing, would you also like to understand the business and legal aspects of the music industry? This could be an excellent way to discover potential jobs that could fill downtime between your gigs.

Psychology Minor

If you have any dreams of becoming a Music Therapist one day, getting this minor could be a great jumping off point.

If you are a visual artist…

Web Design Minor

Learn how to create your own powerful website without needing to employ others. This could be a lucrative day job as well!

Computer Science Minor

A minor in Computer Science can directly benefit your career as a Visual Artist. You will be much more attractive to a potential employer needing your visual artist expertise if you also have top-notch computer skills.

If you are an actor…

Entrepreneurship Minor

You are, after all, your own business! Learn what it takes to own and operate your own empire. If you have ever dreamed of having a dual career alongside your performing arts one, this minor could help motivate you to put your dreams into action.

Creative Writing Minor

Chances are if you are pursuing acting, you are pretty creative! Get a minor in Creative Writing and you’ll have another outlet to express yourself. I’ve known many actors who received a Creative Writing minor and went on to write and produce their very own full-length play!

Stay true to yourself and make the most of the best four years of your life! Take advantage of every opportunity at your chosen school and follow your dreams. There is no correct path to living the life you’ve always imagined.

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