Why I Became An Art Major

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Demetria Slyt, Opinion Editor

Art majors get dished a lot of criticism for their career choices, not only from family members but also peers and colleagues. The biggest issue with that is people underestimating what you are capable of or how successful you will be – which can create doubt in yourself, as well as invalidate steps you’ve taken towards your professional life. Obviously, no one wants to become the stereotypical “starving artist,” but it is important to confront the conflicts of artmaking. Why did I become an art major, despite these criticisms and slighting jokes? How do I handle the harsh words or jabs at my choices? What have I learned in my time in college? What advice can I offer others?

A professor of mine once said, “most people do not get into artmaking because it will make them a lot of money.” People become artists because creating or making is what they are passionate about, or because it is something that makes them happy. Just like anyone else, artists should be able to follow their passions without judgement from others that they will not be successful. A recurring fear of mine is that I am not good enough. Or maybe I made a mistake along the way. Or that I should have chosen to pursue some other path like law or nursing -something that other people would find worthwhile. That’s when I remind myself: I did not become an artist because I cared what anyone else thought. I chose to pursue a degree in art because it was what I wanted to do, and I made a commitment. I wanted to make things that were bigger than myself and make connections with people through my artwork.

A previous partner told me that it did not matter how I looked or presented myself because unlike him, I was “just an art major.” But I did not let that sway me from continuing down the path I set for myself. If you are following a certain path, that may not seem “ideal” to others, you will come across a lot of naysayers. If ever you are confronted with someone who does not respect you or thinks less of you because of what you are doing in life, cut them out of your life. If that is not an option then you may have to explain what you are feeling to that person or try to be patient. It is not always an easy thing to cut people out of your life. One thing I have learned while in college is to not tolerate disrespectful people, or let anyone walk all over me.

If you are passionate about something, whether it be making art or otherwise, I say go for it. Do not let anyone hold you back or stop you from doing what sparks joy in your life. If you find that you are doubting yourself, just remember that the only one who can make it worthwhile is you. There is no right or wrong way to succeed in life, and the people who believe so are wrong. Do not let others make you doubt yourself and do not let anyone devalue your work. Take the criticism of others with a grain of salt.

Demetria Slyt is a Dakota Student Opinion Editor. She can be reached at [email protected]