My Case For Studying Whatever You Want In College

I had a teacher tell me during my senior year of high school, “So you’re going to study art history? What are you going to do with that?” That question made me feel worthless and unsupported, especially after I had worked so hard for my UCSB acceptance. However, I had absolutely no clue what I was 'going to do’ with an art history degree. Throughout your life, it’s common for people to doubt your endeavors, but this type of question really tampered with my confidence. 


College majors are often associated with careers in the same field. STEM majors usually end up working in a lab. Education majors will pursue a career in teaching. Art history? Most people draw a blank there. After giving this subject some thought, here’s my defense for studying whatever the heck you want in college.

  1. 1. You Need to Actually Enjoy What You’re Studying

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    College only lasts four years. That seems like a long time, but my first quarter just flashed before my eyes. Many other first-year students I spoke to were always complaining about lengthy chemistry labs and regretting their commitment to a major with so many prerequisites. I’m not saying you should choose the major that’s easiest, but know that your college courses' rigor plays a role in your overall happiness. Since the UCSB Art History does not require math or science, I’ve enjoyed a quarter full of amazing humanities courses that I truly love!

  2. 2. Your Degree Does Not Equate Your Post-Grad Job. Here’s An Example:

    For many fields, employers only wish to see that you have an undergraduate degree. Unless you want to become a neurosurgeon, most career paths will accept a degree in anything because it shows that you completed a rigorous undergraduate curriculum and excelled! My brother, a 2016 UCLA graduate, studied economics with a minor in film. Despite his economics degree, he was still able to land a position at a management company for writers and directors. I’m only 19, so I’ve never had a job like my brother’s, but employers often factor in many characteristics other than your degree when considering hiring you.

  3. 3. There’s Always Graduate School

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    Undergrad is not the last stop on the education train! If anything, your first four years are just the beginning. After undergrad, there are so many options to further your education, including graduate school or a master’s program. Although I’m studying art history now, I may also explore the possibility of business school! As my sister in law school has pointed out to me, continuing your education gives you a little more time to figure out what you want to do in life.

The Art History major hosts a smaller group of students at most universities. I haven’t met one other Art History student yet, partially because of remote learning, but I kind of love how my major sets me apart. Other students always tell me how unique my choice of major is. I used to feel left out for choosing a more unpopular major, but now I’m really proud of myself for listening to my conscience and doing what I love, rather than what people consider ‘typical’ majors.