The Stigma Around Art Majors

“Oh, you're an art major? What do you think you're going to do with that?” I’ll bet my most expensive pack of oil paints that every art student has heard this line before when talking about their major. It's fun to be doubted about your future, right? No.

Students within a STEM major don’t get that type of question from others, so let me get you familiar with it if you aren't an art major. Often times when we art majors get asked “What's your major?” we get hit with the classic “That's so easy” or “Oh, you're never going to make money” in response. Let me tell you why this hurts. As an art major, I’m doing something I love and have always loved since elementary school. It doesn't sit well with me, or any of my peers when someone disapproves of our passion. To other people, majoring in art means that I’m doing meaningless arts and crafts all day and my classes include How to Draw an Apple or The History of Bob Ross. Okay, not actually, but that's what people seem to think. When someone doubts my major, it gets to my head a bit. Why am I being doubted? I'm working just as hard as everyone else.

As a society, we have decided that the moneymaker is your science/technology degree. As an art major, I'm looking to join an advertising firm and make a career out of my graphic design skills, working on ads, logos, commercials and more. People laugh when I say I'm an art major because they have this deep-set thought that no one can make money with that degree. When people hear “art” they hear “not a real job.” In reality, I plan to be employed with, yes, a real job in the near future! I plan to make money just like any other student at my university.

Before I go into the corporate world and start that real job, I’ve realized that majoring in art is hard. Majoring in art is having three-hour studio classes four times a week, on top of other courses. Majoring in art is committing all your free time to your work. Mainly, majoring in art is being graded harshly; there is never a black and white, right or wrong answer when you turn in an art assignment. Art tends to be graded subjectively in schools. Oftentimes it's hard to know what grade you'll receive. What you think is an immaculate project may not seem all that great to your professor; it may be an okay project to them, but not stellar. Sometimes you’re told you didn't do the project wrong per se, but you also didn't do it right. It's challenging to be an artist because of instances like this where your grades aren't just based on what a scantron marks your answer as. Art is challenging just like math and computer science are, just like chemistry is, and so on. No major is superior, so no, art is not an “easy major.”