"What's more useless than having an Arts degree? Having a Fine Arts degree!"
Arts students (and Fine Arts students) have heard this and similar from the moment they decided to undertake said degrees. These cliches are usually spouted by those too ignorant to see the value in this education or those who wasted their degree and did nothing with it. Don't listen to them, your degree is what you make of it.
In the coming week students will be getting their college offers. When I was in sixth year anyone who didn't know what they wanted to do in life was applying for an arts degree. It's been stated ad nauseum that it is nearly impossible to know what you want as a future career at the age of 17. Anyone who does know what they want to do is really, really lucky.
I was one of those who didn't know what they wanted to do in life so I continued on with the subjects I liked in school which were English and History. Living in Limerick, Mary Immaculate College had a wonderful Liberal Arts programme with many different topics I thought would be interesting. I figured I would decide on a career in college.
On my first orientation day in college the head of the English Department Dr. Eugene O'Brien said to us that an arts degree wouldn't open up the door to a specific job but it would nudge open an array of doors into different industries and it was up to us to kick open those doors with further training and experience.
Finishing my degree in 2011 I still didn't know what I wanted to do.
The economy took a nosedive so I decided to hide out in college a little longer and do a Masters degree. I liked the idea of working in publishing. After finishing this degree I went on to a Jobsbridge internship at Southern Advertising as an assistant editor.
With this in mind I continued my studies, I liked the editing world and working freelance really appealed to me. I figure if I have to work for the next forty years I will damn well like what I'm doing and enjoy this life I have. As far as I know, I'm not getting another life.
So I made my Arts Degree work for me, it gave me an insight into many different industries, broadened my mind and my horizons and when I decided what I wanted to do I pushed the door marked "Freelance Editor" open with all of my training and experience. My Arts Degree was not useless, I use it every day in a job and a life that I love.