‘An arts degree? What are you going to do with that?’

Sound Off: The angst I feel over that question which pervaded my college years is as pertinent as ever

For those of you unaware, not every Arts student wants to become a teacher. Photograph:  Fairfax Media via Getty Images

For those of you unaware, not every Arts student wants to become a teacher. Photograph: Fairfax Media via Getty Images

 

College has been done and dusted for a year and a half now. The second-hand smoke and that feeling of shared procrastination of the Arts Block are starting to feel like long distant memories.

Yet, the angst I feel over that irritating question which pervaded my college years is still as pertinent as ever. Imagine you are talking about your life with a new person when all of a sudden they hit you with: “An arts degree? What are you going to do with that?” They look at you with that strange yet familiar mixture of pity and bafflement.

They grow increasingly uncomfortable as you defend your own indecisiveness. Finally they find a conversational life raft, something which will help them stay afloat with this irresponsible human: “ Oh so you want to teach? Ahh, you’ll be grand so… great holidays”.

Loss for words

For those of you unaware, not every arts student wants to become a teacher. I admire them, but it isn’t for me. On one particular late night taxi ride in which I really didn’t want to discuss my life choices with a stranger, the taxi driver was at a loss for words that an English and French student neither wanted to teach nor marry a French man. What else could I possibly do?

So to round off, what have I actually done with my arts degree? I didn’t drop out and I was never charged a library fee. I have read heaps of books. Multiple beautiful non-digital printed knowledge containers. I have travelled and worked abroad twice already. Most surprisingly, I have happily even been employed in a job which relates to my degree. With a desk and swivel chair, none the less! And somehow, I still have no desire to marry a French man.

Do you have something you’d like to Sound Off about? Email 300 words to magazine@irishtimes.com with “Sound Off” in the subject line

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