The other day a friend of mine was talking to me about the futility of art majors because she thought people would never make a living off of that. She was telling me that people should ‘try to study something practical’ – something that someone can apply to a job straight out of college. And then she proceeded to change the subject to complain about how someone on the news criticized a certain body type.
There is the idea that we can’t body-shame, but we can major-shame, and it is absolutely terrifying to me. In high school, we were taught not to bully people for who they are so that they can continue to be themselves and follow their dreams. We were also taught to be who we are, and not to hide behind masks of insincerity. So if I’m allowed to be who I am, why should I be ashamed of what I want to be when I grow up?
“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” -coco chanel
I am a self-proclaimed writer, and am in love with all things poetry. I tell people this with a smile on my face because I love what I’m studying, and what I’m majoring in. That’s right – I’m a creative writing major. I am getting a degree in how to write beautiful things , how to make people feel something through words, and how to make metaphors out of the simplest day-to-day conversations.
But I haven’t always been so certain about my dreams. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I mean, I’ve always wanted be a writer, but it took me a while to admit it without blushing or without the daunting embarrassment that unbelievably comes along with wanting to follow my dreams. Even today, halfway through college, people are still cringing and telling me, “You know that doesn’t make a lot of money, right?”
Here’s the thing: I know that I will have to work hard in my future, just like all the business, pre-med, accounting, art, dance, and theater majors that I’m friends with. Majoring in anything these days is hard work. And yes, I might not get a job right out of college that I will be able to use to support a life of the highest luxury. Yes, I won’t always be writing about things I love. But I won’t have to live in a box the rest of my life either just because I majored in something artistic.
I’m not sure people understand how much it hurts to hear that my major isn’t practical or useful. To me, it’s as useful as anything else that I’ve ever learned. It’s practical because I’m not giving up on myself or my dreams. It’s my passion – it’s what I love to do.
Throughout college, I have met amazing people, all of whom have incredible interests and passions. They love poetry, medicine, painting, numbers, psychology, and drawing. But they say this with an air of embarrassment, with their cheeks tinged pink. It’s as though they are ashamed and scared to love these things. We are so scared of admitting what we love in fear of people telling us it’s not okay, or it’s not realistic enough.
It has come to the point where we are not only criticizing an artist’s passion but everyone’s passion now. It has come to the point where we are hurting everyone. My best friend is a business major because she wants to study corporate law in the future and I think that’s amazing. I am a creative writing major because I want to continue writing in the future, and that should be seen as just as amazing.
Featured image via Bethany Laird on Unsplash