Take Pride in Your Creative Degree

If I had a dollar for every time someone has expressed skepticism regarding my English degree, I would have… well, enough money to afford all the enormous anthologies on every lit class list. On a plane to Paris, the seemingly nice man sitting next to me said, “So you don’t want to make money?” upon hearing my choice of study. Similar comments and questions have followed me through college and past graduation. And I get it. If someone desires a field more traditionally lucrative, or pursues something primarily for the money, then it may be hard for that person to understand why anyone would go the artistic route.

For creative majors though, it’s not usually a choice. Anyone with a passion can attest to the fact that it’s challenging (not to mention miserable) not to follow it. Even if that means that money and success become afterthoughts. Sure, a career as a writer, designer, musician, or what have you may not be as stable as, say, a career in law, but it is equally possible with drive and dedication. And maybe a part-time job along the way. Lucky for our generation, the digital world provides countless opportunities for us to express ourselves and make our voices heard.

Whenever someone shoots down your more unconventional degree in a condescending tone, just remember all that you learned from studying philosophers or talking about art for hours on end. For instance, you learned how to think about the world in a fascinating way. You’re no doubt a more curious person, which means that you’re almost never bored. Maybe you’re a romantic or overly critical. Maybe you think things through way too much. Whatever your tragic flaw, it means that you approach the world intellectually, with a refined sensibility.

At the very least, look at a couple creative individuals who are doing what they love (AND making money). Mindy Kaling, who studied Playwriting, wrote episodes of “The Office,” published a  and now stars in and writes her own equally hilarious show on Fox. Talk about a leading lady.

Kelly Oxford’s witty  earned her a book deal that quickly led to her star status as a . She also just sold a screenplay. Oh, and did I mention she’s a stay-at-home mom?


I’ll leave you with the wise words of Gertrude Stein’s character in Midnight in Paris. Artists have pretty important jobs, huh?


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By Sophie Pawlowski

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