Telling people you’re studying the arts: Some awesome go-to answers

If you’re a high school senior approaching graduation, you’re probably used to fielding a lot of questions. Where are you going in the fall? and What are you studying? probably pop up most often. It’s about that time of year when you’ll start being able to answer at least that first one with confidence and (hopefully) excitement. Usually, everyone will be happy to hear your college choice, smiling and nodding politely. When you tell them you’re studying the arts, however, you could face some blank stares or, even worse, negative opinions you didn’t ask to hear.

We wanted to give you some powerful go-to answers for all those negative Nancys out there questioning your decision to study your true passion.

“Shouldn’t that should be more of a hobby?”

Cliches aside, the saying Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life is actually pretty spot on. Studying the arts might not be the easiest path, but you’ll know that no matter what, you’ll be doing what you love. And there are very few people that can say that.

“What do you plan to do with that degree?”

A degree in the performing or visual arts actually opens up a lot of career paths. The first career that most people think of is working as an artist on the stage, behind a camera, or in a studio. These definitely are good options, but there are also opportunities in teaching, arts administration, the nonprofit sector, and the business community as a whole.

“Don’t you want to learn more tangible skills?”

Contrary to what some people believe, the arts teach you very tangible skills that are desirable in every workplace. Along with creativity and critical thinking skills, the arts also teach you how to pay close attention to details, deadlines, and “the audience,” whoever that may be. Also, artists across all disciplines are extremely goal-oriented. Go ahead and try to say that those aren’t tangible skills.

Odds are, not everyone will be supportive of your decision to study the arts in college. You’ve probably run into a few naysayers already and will most likely continue running into them. Just remember that this is your decision and your life. You shouldn’t have to justify it to anyone, but in case you want to, we’ve got your back.