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Considering a huge shift in my academic life. Yay or Nay?

GZA

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I'm a second year english student. I started as a sociology major first year but quickly realized it wasn't what I wanted to do and switched into english. While I find what I study in most of my classes to be mostly interesting, I also sometimes feel like I'm not really accomplishing much or doing something that is entirely fulfilling. I also wonder how useful my degree will inevitably be. My girlfriend seems convinced I should look into different programs based on what I've said to her.

She is an art student at Ocad, which is one of Canada's premier art and design schools located in Toronto (rivaled only by Emily Carr in Vancouver and perhaps whatever the east coast art school is). It's super hard to get in to, and it only offers programs in art and design as well as classes in english (which are required for the art programs).

She transfered there this year from the university I go to. At the beginning of the year when we would talk about our classes, I absolutely LOVED the sound of what she was doing. Studio classes in drawing and colour theory, as well as art history (which I am also taking and loving at my school), and I don't even remember the ones that sound interesting next semester. The kinds of things they have to do in her drawing class sound amazing; studying light, sketching reflections, texture, nude models, ect.

Today we had a huge conversation where she said that I should apply to go there because she believes I certainly have enough artistic talent/creativity to go, and because I am interested in her classes so much it seems like a perfect match. The idea is that I would get a double major in english and art. I would also love being able to take classes in design. The idea started off almost as a joke, but as we continued talking about it it started to make a lot of sense. From all the conversations we've had about her classes, as well as my art history class and my frequent trips to the art gallery, she really thinks I would do well and be much more fulfilled and interested with that kind of work.

I'm a little out of practice in sketching and drawing (I still do it, just not as much as I used to) but she believes with work I could get myself up to a high enough level of skill. She also thinks that with my understanding of composition and colour and other artsy stuff, plus the ideas I have about how to create art, I'd have no problem making the interview and creating an impressive portfolio based on her experience.

It's something I need to think about a lot more, but I was wondering what you guys think. Would this be a good idea? Does anyone have experience with art school, or with changing cities a second time (I don't go to school in my hometown so it would be my second move)? What principals would be best to make a decision like this on?
 

Usehername

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If art is important enough to you, you'll bust your ass for a great portfolio and apply to Emily Carr with aspirations and dreams that reflect you and your chosen craft.











I'm not saying you're considering switching for your girlfriend, but recognize that you're investing in your future with your education at the moment. I know you know this, I'm just framing the situation for better clarity here: You want to dream big about your own goals as they matter to you. Don't consider your parents, your siblings, your friends, your girlfriend, or your relationship with any of them. If those relationships matter the people in those relationships are going to problem-solve how to maintain them throughout your few years in school, wherever you are.
 

GZA

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I'm aware of how it is my girlfriend who suggested it and that it does therefor seem like a)she just wants me to move to be near her, and b)I may just want to move to her. However, I really am trying to think of this in the long term with what I want to do and what I want to be. I don't think she is just using this as a way to get me to move to her; in every conversation we've had about my issues with school she has always said I should do what I want, even if it was to mean moving even further away from her. I agree with the idea that I should do what is best for me and my future, even if that means going away from the people I'm close to. I already moved away from home and have remained close with my friends there, and I believe this experience was best for me and my friends understood this. It ended up being a very rewarding experience. I think I am very lucky to have friends and family and a girlfriend who seem to believe this too. I'm definitely super against the idea of having to move somewhere or change something for someone... if my girlfriend was trying to force me to move against my will I would be pretty pissed off! :p But what she says is she'll stand by me no matter what I chose and she just wants me to do well and be happy.

I guess basically what I'm saying, Usehername, is that I think that is very sound advice and I'm in a fortunate situation where I can just be who I am and not worry about the people around me. I guess the important question then is just to ask myself exactly what kind of future I want for myself...
 

Amethyst

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While deciding, I think it would be also good for you to consider the job market after you graduate with whatever major you're in. I'm not sure how important money is to you, or how long you're okay with being in debt (or if you will be in any), but I'd say try to find the major where you can both balance your passion as well as make it marketable, if possible.

I'm currently an animation major at a pretty decent art school (I know Pixar offers internships to basically everyone who gets through the program...but I don't know if that's saying much...I'm only a freshman/transfer) and I've been wondering the same things, like if this is what I truly want to do, or if I'm able to get through the rigorous competition betwixt students, or if it's something else. Are there any opportunities for you to experiment with classes dealing with art where you're at now, or observe people who have artistic occupations?
 

GZA

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The school I go to has no art classes. However, they do have design and a friend of mine is the top student in his program in design. He's told me a lot about it and has even taught me a lot of things about how to do design drawings and what design is all about. It is because of him that I mentioned an interest in taking some design classes if I was to go to this school as well. I don't have any opportunity to observe someone in the field of fine arts or english, but methinks people with these degrees rarely do something related to their job.

As for job opportunity, there is a good chance I would get more education afterwards. I am lucky in that for my undergrad education I will have no debt at all due to the relatively low cost of tuition in Canada and my parents having saved a lot of money for me my whole life. I'm not sure what kind of job I will want to pursue though.
 

Amethyst

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The school I go to has no art classes. However, they do have design and a friend of mine is the top student in his program in design. He's told me a lot about it and has even taught me a lot of things about how to do design drawings and what design is all about. It is because of him that I mentioned an interest in taking some design classes if I was to go to this school as well. I don't have any opportunity to observe someone in the field of fine arts or english, but methinks people with these degrees rarely do something related to their job.

As for job opportunity, there is a good chance I would get more education afterwards. I am lucky in that for my undergrad education I will have no debt at all due to the relatively low cost of tuition in Canada and my parents having saved a lot of money for me my whole life. I'm not sure what kind of job I will want to pursue though.


I hate you...and I hate your country. :dry:

Joking...but seriously, I'm rather jealous of the fact that many times in every other fucking developed country except the U.S. doesn't charge so much on higher education to the point where it will take more than one lifetime to pay it off. I'm currently in 50k of debt as of now, and I'M ONLY A FRESHMAN! I made a big expensive mistake, and it depresses me to no end. Even though I want to do animation, I know that I probably can't afford to do so financially, which is probably the only factor, as well as the strongest, as to why art should be avoided at all costs...


Sorry for ranting...anywho...

I agree with the degrees correlating to certain jobs people get...a lot of times these days the jobs are brand new and made up, so all they really look for is someone who is young, adaptable, desperate for a job to pay off their loans (at least in this financial hellhole of the states), and committed.

I'd say try it out, but it's your decision to make, and you should probably ponder a bit and hone your artistic skills before you make the decision. I don't think you'd be risking much with doing so. Best of luck. :D :smile:
 

Randomnity

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Along the same lines, do you know what exact career you're aiming for and how that degree gets you there? And what the job market is like in that field, and what you need to stand out in it? My sister is considering taking studio art in school and is realizing that it's a very very hard field to actually make a living in - because everyone else wants to do it, and there's a surprising number of very talented people out there who aren't able to make a living (and competing with you). Graphic design/advertising and such is a little more soul-sucking, but much more marketable, because there's a huge demand.

Also - the classes will only matter for a few years - the degree will matter for your whole life. If you're choosing based on the classes alone, you're choosing a really, really pricy and time-consuming hobby for a few years.

I know it's relatively low cost, but it's still thousands and thousands of dollars a year (plus loss of wages) and a lot of your time to be doing something that doesn't further you in your career. If you just want to take the classes, there are probably options that are significantly cheaper/not full time, or you could sit in on some of your gf's classes, if they let you (maybe not, for the hands-on ones - but maybe they'd let you come watch a class or two)

:)
 

Randomnity

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Along the same lines, do you know what exact career you're aiming for and how that degree gets you there? And what the job market is like in that field, and what you need to stand out in it? My sister is considering taking studio art in school and is realizing that it's a very very hard field to actually make a living in - because everyone else wants to do it, and there's a surprising number of very talented people out there who aren't able to make a living (and competing with you). Graphic design/advertising and such is a little more soul-sucking, but much more marketable, because there's a huge demand.

Also - the classes will only matter for a few years - the degree will matter for your whole life. If you're choosing based on the classes alone, you're choosing a really, really pricy and time-consuming hobby for a few years.

I know it's relatively low cost, but it's still thousands and thousands of dollars a year (plus loss of wages) and a lot of your time to be doing something that doesn't further you in your career. If you just want to take the classes, there are probably options that are significantly cheaper/not full time, or you could sit in on some of your gf's classes, if they let you (maybe not, for the hands-on ones - but maybe they'd let you come watch a class or two)

:)
 

GZA

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I'm not exactly sure what kind of career I want to have when I'm older. I do not intend to have a career as an artist, but rather just think it would be a fascinating thing to study. I think I also find the idea of the experience of doing this to be very attractive, and the idea of being able to focus on something creative for a few years of my life is creative too.

I agree that my indecision on my future career makes this choice much more difficult to make in the long term! :p
 

GZA

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What appeals to me about it is the idea of doing something very creative, and being an artist. This is something that has appealed to me my entire life, taking some time in my young days before I have kids to just focus on artistic things. I often think of it with music, but the idea of studying fine art is also appealing for the same reason. I'd still get an english degree, so I'm not necessarily sure it would close any options education wise... if anything would it not open up more by having a double degree in english and fine arts

Is it even possible to get a degree in english in fine arts, or would it be an BA English and a BFA in painting or whatever? I guess I should make my girlfriend find this out!

Even though I'm not really sure what I want to do, I've considered teaching, or law (which my family thinks I'd be good in, and many of them work in law as lawyers and law clerks and such), or just whatever... it's something I'm not sure about, it's something I feel unprepared to concretely decide right now as well. I realize that for teaching I would need to probably fill in my education with a few classes later (I'm thinking high school english for that). For law... my understanding is that here you can take pretty much anything as long as you do well on the LSAT and have good grades in what you did study. My parents know many lawyers who have diverse backgrounds, from english and history (which is what all the lawyers in my family have a background in) to all kinds of science... not sure how fine art plays into it, but I'd still be doing english. I suppose I should ask my dad... all the resources I need are at my disposal!

The idea that it would cost more money and not necessarily further my career is very true. That is a relevant factor, although I think the idea of studying what you like is just as important (not that anyone has denounced that idea in this thread :D).

I suppose it is unclear how practically beneficial this is. I think I would likely be happy I did it when I'm old and don't have to worry about practicality any more.
 

DiscoBiscuit

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How old are you if you don't mind me asking?

EDIT: I looked it up.

You're still young. Law School is an after university prospect. If art is what you are passionate about do it.
 

GZA

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Am I correct in my understanding that you are a lawyer DiscoBiscuit?

I forgot I changed my age... I am 19, but I'm pretty sure I used to have it as like 182 or something insane like that, the oldest age it would register.

Regardless, thank you for your advice, I really appreciate having a way to pitch these ideas to people who are sensible and experienced and have likely gone through similar questioning.
 

DiscoBiscuit

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I left Law School because I was tired of doing what everyone else wanted me to do.

I come from a family of Doctors and Lawyers, I know how bad the pressure can be.
 

kyuuei

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Do what makes you happy. Degrees are a lot more useless than they look like, but having a degree period puts you up a notch, so if you need one anyways, it might as well be in something you enjoy. Employers like degrees because they mean you worked hard. There's always a demand for jobs in the artist and graphical designer fields, so it'd be an okay option.

If it's what you want, take it. But I don't think an English degree is at all useless... it is the language several countries rely on to communicate and all. To be proficient at it improves all aspects of a person's life. But, then again, art knows no bounds.. to have art in your life could cross more than a few countries. :) Either way, the degrees are important.. so just pick one and don't look back.
 

GZA

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Kyuuei, if I was to do this I would get an english degree AND an art degree, unless it was so insanely impossible to get both that it was no longer worth the effort. But the idea is that I would still do english, I would just do art as well and try to make it a double major.

I havn't sorted out the logistics of this. I'm not sure if Ocad offers an actual english degree/double major in english with fine art. They offer english classes, and I know you can get an art history degree there, but I'm not certain if they would be able to do an english degree. If not, I would have to figure out if a joint degree between schools is possible (perhaps UofT or Ryerson), or if there would be some way to work on both degrees simultaneously (which sounds insane hahaha).

DiscoBiscuit, my family is doctors and lawyers (dad is a doctor, mother a law clerk, aunt and uncle are lawyers although my aunt no longer practices, my sister has almost completed medical school) and I think because of this there is an underlying expectation of academic success that would not necessarily include fine art. Even though the one thing my parents have always been impressed and confused by is my artistic ability, given that no one else in my family in any recent memory has had any whatsoever! Ironically, it is my mom, the least educated of all of us, who reinforced this idea the most. But I'm not phased by her hahahaha
 

DiscoBiscuit

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The only thing you should worry about is where your passion lies, and where you would be the happiest. :yes:
 
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