It's no secret how much I recommend going to university, but that's only if you know exactly what you're getting into.
Safe to say I wasn't prepared for some of the things that an arts degree entailed...
Your university experience is shaped by the course that you do. Sciences tend to have many class hours and independent study requirements, whereas humanities have less class time and emphasise the importance of extra-curricular activities - but of course this differs from uni to uni.
As all degrees are, doing an arts degree is going to be a rollercoaster. You'll come across so many different people that have varying opinions on what you do, and yeah, they can be hard to stomach. There's still some sort of misconception about the arts, especially when it comes to education, so it's better to know some of the things you'll come across before you dive right in...
- Be ready for never-ending strange...
Being the ever-evolving mediums that are the arts, some pretty crazy stuff happens in an arts degree. Drama, art, dance, film... as years go by, these art forms just continue to find new ways of expressing, provoking and stimulating the mind and society. When I decided to take drama, I had no idea I'd be so in love with a woman who's art involved being naked and letting others hurt her (ily Abramovic xx). So if you're about to do a creative degree, prepare for the never-ending strange, yet equally enticing education, coming your way.
- Being judged for pursuing your passions
Ugh. This is the worst.
Unfortunately you will come across people who judge you for doing an arts degree. They might say it to your face, they might just give you the stinky eye, nevertheless they're out there - but they don't matter. You have the right to do what you want to do with your life. Your unique creativity is your weapon in the world. It's a gift! Who's to say that you shouldn't share it?
If you come across these people, the best thing to do is smile it off and be on your way. Perhaps they're just bitter or jealous? The most important thing is it doesn't matter. Be confident in yourself.
- "Oh! So you wanna be an actor?"
The biggest misconceptions for arts students is being asked if they want to be artists, actors, dancers, directors, etc. It's not that any of these professions are bad, it's the fact people don't seem to realise that there are other jobs in every given field of arts. People don't take art to just be artists, the same way people who do biology don't necessarily want to become qualified biologists.
There are so many things that you can do when coming out of an arts degree, but not everyone knows this. Being asked twice if I want to be an actor because I do Drama is tolerable, but after the fourth time, it's understandable why I end up rolling my eyes.
- Less class hours, more extra-curricular commitments
This is another thing that non-arts students seem to misunderstand. Just because we have less modules, doesn't mean we have more free time. When you do an arts subject, you're expected to do A LOT of independent work alongside extra-curricular activities. Our creative portfolios are essential when applying for jobs, so make sure you join societies and look for work experiences that relate to what you want to do after university.
- No exams, but heaps loads of time-consuming coursework
This doesn't apply to everyone, but a lot of arts degrees don't have exams! We do get a tonne of coursework though and they can be super time-consuming. Don't underestimate how hard you need to work at university!
These are only a few things I can say you'll come across when doing an arts degree. I'll leave the rest for you to experience yourself.
Good luck! Stay positive and be confident in your ability to achieve greatness in your art.