A summary of the emotional rollercoaster that is a fine arts degree.
We’re back into the swing of exams, and IH couldn’t be more focused on their studies and university work. Whilst writing this article, I’m effectively procrastinating from my own studies, and trying to take my mind off my upcoming exa-
Woah, slow down there Karolina, did you say exams?
Uhh yeah, how come?
You’re a music student, right? Do you have, like, normal exams? Do you even get assessed on anything? You must have hardly any studying to do!
Of course I do, my degree is just like any other degr-
But you’re doing fine arts, surely that doesn’t count as a normal degree? What are you actually planning to do after university? You know you have to get an actual job, right? What does your degree even give you?
The previous scenario has played out too many times to count throughout the past few weeks, which has made me think a lot about my degree and what I am doing with my life (typical edgy thoughts, I know). Scrap that though, this whole year has been one big question mark, as I have fudged my way through weekly existential crises, hours of late night rehearsals, dozens of public transport adventures, and an excessive amount of cold mochas, wondering what in the world I have gotten myself into. Yes, it is no myth that the life of a fine arts student is a risky one, with surprisingly many contacts hours (twenty-eight a week to be precise). It is a road less travelled, and often less respected, in the sense that all of our hard work and creative output, as exhausting as it may be, supposedly leads to nowhere.
I whole heartedly dispute the notion that a fine arts degree will get you nowhere, as my whole life I have continued to be inspired my musicians, actors, and innovative leaders, who use their art to empower and entertain the world. I strongly believe that with art and creativity, you can genuinely entertain, inspire, and help the world be a brighter place. Whilst for a long time, I was set on undertaking a more substantial degree (who knew Karolina dreamt of being a lawyer for, like, ten years?), I reached a point in my teens where I realised that without being able to put out my music to the world, I wouldn’t be satisfied with my life choices, and I would always feel some kind of dissatisfaction and regret.
The great thing is, I know I’m not alone in how I feel. Fine arts, arts, or totally unrelated to arts, everyone has that one idea in their mind of what they want to do in their twenties, and how they want to reach that dream. Without that incentive and passion to succeed, the world as we know it would not be possible. It is so important that we all pursue what we love, regardless of what it is, as everyone one of us has set out a role we were born to play. Ahead of us, there is still so much more, and it is too big of a waste to not take a risk and think of what could have been. Whilst at least once a week, I will genuinely sit down and ask myself why in the world I am wasting my time doing this degree, I will also once a week, be at work, teaching primary school aged girls singing, performing in a recital hall, or even just playing in my own solitude, and in those little moments of pure satisfaction and enjoyment, I know that I’ve made the right choice.
From my perspective, all of us come to college for the same reason; to study what we love. There’s no way anyone would exert so much money, time, and dedication into moving overseas or interstate to study something, unless they were completed passionate about doing so. If we look at things from that point of view, it becomes clear that your and my degree aren’t so different. Sure, I may spend my days in rehearsals, playing or writing music, others may be working on science practicals, learning about finance and politics, or researching how the world has changed and what is yet to come. All of these are equally exciting in that everyone one of us is doing these things because they genuinely interest us, and we strive to be better at them. The moment you start to feel this passion not only in yourself, but amongst everyone else here, it ceases to matter whether my fine arts degree is less valid than a commerce degree, or whether an arts degree has less direction than one in science. Because really, to be in your late teens verging on adulthood, and dedicate all of yourself to what you love to do and strive to do in the future, is an art in itself, and quite a fine one at that.
To everyone currently completing exams and take-homes, worrying about their grades or their plans for next year, I invite you to take a break from your laptop screen, put on some soul-inspiring music (I’ve been playing Belle & Sebastian for the past half hour, but like, Smash Mouth or the Zac Brown Band is cool too if you’re into that), read the rest of this Globe, and have a think about all the great things in your degree. Think of all the times that you’ve been genuinely interested and motivated by your studies, the feeling of satisfaction that you get from acing your exams, and about why you travelled all the way to Melbourne in the first place. Whilst our bachelor titles are used to separate us into different groups of people with different career prospects, all of us share the common bond of doing what we love, and are here to get something more out of last few adolescent years. That’s what really matters, and I know that’s why I chose the degree that I’m doing. What happens in the future, where that degree may take me? Those are just the finer details. Either way, I’m excited to see what happens next, and you should be too.