“Well…what now?” is the question students of many disciplines will find themselves asking upon graduation. The Vanguard is here to help. Graduating college and going out into the real world can be a difficult time for a lot of students. New graduates often leave college and with bigger waistline and some student loan bills—they must also contend with fear and trepidation at not being able to find a job.
“Well…what now?” is the question students of many disciplines will find themselves asking upon graduation. The Vanguard is here to help.
Graduating college and going out into the real world can be a difficult time for a lot of students. New graduates often leave college and with bigger waistline and some student loan bills—they must also contend with fear and trepidation at not being able to find a job.
Students across the board—communication majors, English majors, math, science, you name it—are likely to share this sentiment, but some who struggle the most are those emerging from college with degrees in the, shall we say, finer arts.
For our purposes, arts can range from visual arts to theater to writing—essentially, creative endeavors that can fit under a broad umbrella of skills and, unfortunately for graduates, often rank as the lowest paying and least available jobs.
Here are several avenues to pursue to continue being productive with the artistic disciplines you, as a recent arts graduate, have chosen.
As the field is intensely competitive, many writers feel discouraged when they get those first rejection letters. I’ve been there, my friends have been there and it is likely that at one point or another, aspiring writer, you will be there, too. But not to worry!
The Internet has made it possible for writers versed in many different arenas to get their hard work out there in the open. Although the pay may not be great, many blogs and websites of specialized interest are looking for new writers.
If writing is your passion, contributing to a blog or online publication as a supplement to a “day job” can help you maintain your writing chops and get good clips, so that in due time you can transition from a part-time writer to a full-time one.
The majority of people who graduate with degrees in the visual arts wind up working retail as their primary occupation, according to the Guardian.
While the woes of retail are many, do not fret: An occupation in retail allows for plenty of time to work on your craft and make a name for yourself.
In a place like Portland, there are many cafes and local galleries that may be able to host your work. A friend of mine, for example, saved up some loot and was able to rent out a studio that also doubles as a gallery to show not only her own work but also the work of other local artists.
She has a retail job on the side, sure—but she has plenty of free time to focus on what she really loves to do.
While you may not see any money in return, many local organizations hold fundraisers in the form of art auctions to raise money for various causes. The Cascade AIDS Project and
Basic Rights Oregon are just two of the many local organizations that do so.
Getting work on display at events like these not only helps raise money for important causes, but the individuals who bid on and win your work take home a piece of art with your name on it. Word of mouth can be a powerful tool for making a name for yourself.
Believe it or not, many businesses look for people with degrees in the performing arts because it teaches the skills necessary to effectively problem-solve, present material and think abstractly in various situations.
Between auditions, many theater majors find themselves in technical positions because of the skills they have acquired. Writing, presenting, organization, communication—theater majors employ all of these skills.
While a degree in theater may not appear to be fruitful offstage, it can be a great headline on an application for an office position.
First things first: Not everyone who graduates with a degree in music will have the door to the philharmonic opened for them the day after commencement—many musicians may find themselves lost at first.
Many local bands are looking to expand their sonic horizons; you may be able to find one that would welcome you and whatever instrument you play.
Some punk bands here in town use cello players and violinists to set their music apart. While drudging through that monotonous nine-to-five during the day, starting a band in your off time might be just the route to go.
If you pursued a music degree out of passion, getting involved in music is not as hard as you might think. Friends of mine have played shows, booked bands and even started record labels, simply because that is what they love to do.
Like many other arts degrees, getting involved in music on the side while working a lackluster job can be an effective way to make that degree feel worthwhile.
If all else fails, websites like eLance.com are always seeking creative individuals to carry out tasks. Some of this work includes graphic design, writing, editing, jingles, ghostwriting—you name it, someone on eLance probably needs it.
Graduating with a degree in the arts in any form is a notable achievement. Even if that dream job doesn’t pop up right away, hopefully these pieces of advice will be helpful in fostering that creativity that you worked so very hard to refine.