Why I Studied a Creative Degree by Becca Harrington

I never found a passion for subjects like maths, science or geography at school, and had no drive to to study them or take them further down the line in education. I can even apply this to English to some extent, where I felt trapped merely studying the works of other writers. My passions have always been in expression, creativity and freedom. And so, having spent 7 years building up to my university course decision, some people could’ve argued I picked an ‘easy’ and ‘irrelevant’ degree.

When I tell people my degree – Media and Communication and Creative Writing – I get a range of responses. The most common is a strange look and ‘what on earth are you going to do with that?’. Of course, I know it is a strange combination and not your average maths or physics degree, but even so, people are quick to assume that without these standard, academic degrees, I’ve got no chance in the real world.

Of course, the world needs lawyers, doctors and engineers – but think of a world without art, music and film. The arts industry is full to the brim of different career paths – be them freelance or not – and any art degree can open hundreds of doors into amazing and interesting jobs. So why is it assumed that arts degrees are a dead end?

When I was in school, many people chose Media Studies as an ‘easy’ way out, something that could be a filler subject and could easily bag them a good grade without them having to try too hard. It obviously took them aback when they realised how much creativity, dedication and skill you need to actually succeed. What’s more, Media as a subject also relies heavily on theory – Mass Communication Theory, Feminism, Hegemony and Marxism to name a few – which people seem to skim over, assuming it’s all filming and fun. At university, I spent hours a day reading academic journals and books on theories for my modules, and almost all my assessments were essays. With this being said, subjects like film production or art, which are much more practical based, require so much skill, knowledge and understanding to be executed well too.

This is also the case with my Creative Writing degree. Creativity can’t be conjured on demand, so while it’s relatively easy to sit down and just write an essay, this isn’t the case with a piece of writing. I regularly implore everyone to understand they are capable of creative writing, and anyone can string a story together and chuck in some metaphors for good measure. But, making a career from creative writing is no easy task. To create a whole world, a range of diverse characters with their own likes, dislikes and personalities and from this, mould a whole plot that can stand out amongst all the others on the shelves – now that’s a challenge.

And of course, I’m not discrediting academic subjects like those I’ve mentioned – just seeking to level peg the people studying degrees that fill the world with expression, entertainment and creativity.

If creativity is your passion, nothing should stop you pursuing it, no matter what the press or people who think they know the workplace say. The world is changing and new jobs are springing up everyday for both academic and creative minds. We’ve never been so free to find a career in what we love, so don’t waste the opportunity in choosing a safe degree that you don’t love.

Dive into the creative, competitive world of arts degrees and let the lawyers who love reading and the film-addict doctors thank you later.

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