The future is bright

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Sean Wetselaar
Arts & Life Editor

If you’re in an arts program, chances are you’ve had someone ask you the dreaded question — so what are you going to do with that? To be fair, whoever asked you that question probably didn’t mean to be condescending. They probably didn’t mean to imply that you’re going nowhere with your life.

They were probably just legitimately curious about what sort of career paths you have in your future. They were probably wondering about what someone who majored in New Media goes on to do with their lives. They’re probably wondering why a degree in fashion is worthwhile.

And if you’re in an arts program, you’ve probably struggled to answer these questions. Justifying a degree in your life’s greatest passion can seem a lot harder than it should be. So, this goes out to every arts major that has ever felt even a shred of doubt.

To every actor, photographer and graphic artist who has worried about those dark years after university. You aren’t wasting your time. Sure, let’s not kid ourselves — you probably aren’t going to make millions. You probably aren’t going to drive a Ferrari to work at a sleek downtown office. But you aren’t in it for the money, are you?

You also probably won’t have a mid-life crisis at 30. You won’t wake up in the morning wondering what you’re doing with your life. You won’t lose sleep worrying about the choices you made — the things you gave up. The fact of the matter is that arts majors haven’t made the decision to waste their university careers. They’ve chosen to do something different with them. An arts major isn’t going to school to make a career that society considers appropriate, and they aren’t studying to get rich.

The truth is, if you’re taking an arts degree, you’re doing what you really want with your life. In five years, your friends will probably be making a lot more money than you. And you’ll probably be happier.

Now, I’m not going to get up on a soapbox and preach at you. If you’re a business major, or studying to become a lawyer, there’s nothing wrong with that. But let me ask you something you probably haven’t thought about since you were twelve years old.

Is that really what you want to do with your life?

This week, we’re taking a look at ten Ryerson students that are doing what they love, and loving what they do. We put out an open call for nominations to the campus, and this is the result. It’s probably worth noting that this list is in no particular order, it’s just a chance to showcase some of the amazing talent on campus.

The people in this issue are doing some amazing things, both on campus and throughout the greater Toronto community. From interior design students fighting homelessness and poverty with a gorgeous design, to a photographer making a splash in commercial photography, we’ve got an enormous variety of artists.

So, instead of asking an artist what they plan to do with their lives, maybe we should try asking them how they’re going to get there. Let’s celebrate our artists, instead of marginalizing their talents. Next time someone asks you what you’re doing with your life, don’t be ashamed.

Hold your head high and say, “I’m an artist.” Concentrate on the awesome work you’re doing. Stop fixating on the future. Because the future, my friends, is bright.

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