Most of you don’t know this about me, but I am a senior in high school. This August I will be moving across the country to go to my top choice school, and along with this move comes the necessity of choosing a major.
This has been an even harder decision for me than it was actually choosing which university I want to go to. I don’t know what I want to do with my life in terms of a career, and I am simply interested in too much to narrow it down to one thing. It is for this reason that I decided that I wanted to be a double-major, and I will most likely also have a minor, so that I can do as much as possible without feeling like I settled for something easy or something that was going to be the most useful later in life.
I have hated many of the classes that I took in high school because I just wasn’t interested in the subjects. I was never interested in math or science, but instead fell in love with literature, and a class I took during my sophomore year – AP World History. Books have always been a huge part of my life, so it was no surprise that I loved every single Literature and English class I took throughout my high school career. History came as a bit more of a surprise. I was enraptured by the cultures of other countries, learning about history that took place before my country (the US) was even discovered by civilizations that had existed for thousands of years on other continents.
With this new love of history came a fascination with languages. I am currently in my fourth year of taking French, and love it. The language is so interesting and fluid in comparison to English, though the grammar rules are far more complicated and difficult to understand. I would really love to continue learning French as well as other languages throughout my life, because language is also a big part of culture in many countries.
These different passions have led me to create a list of possible majors and minors that my school offers:
Publishing and Editing
Applied Language Studies
European Studies (International Studies)
I will most likely pick 2 from this list for majors, and one for a minor, but I’m not entirely sure yet how I am going to make this decision, which brings me to my next topic. There is one thing on this list that doesn’t quite fit with the others, but it is there nonetheless – Film Studies. This is available at my school only as a minor, and it seemed like it would be a relatively fun and easy minor that would be a new and interesting experience.
I shared this list with my parents over dinner, and immediately this minor was singled out from the rest as the first one to go. Both of my parents immediately expressed their opinion that a minor in Film Studies would be a waste of my time, since I am not planning on making films in the future.
I disagreed with this, expressing the idea that learning about a film can teach you a lot about what was going on in the world at the time of its release, and that this minor could be a fun way to develop writing skills such as reviewing and analyzing. I love writing, but studying and writing about film would be a new and interesting way to develop my writing skills, and I could also learn a little bit of history as well.
My father in particular was opposed to this idea. His biggest complaint seemed to be that by taking this minor, I would be throwing away thousands of his dollars on classes that would be completely useless in the future, despite my arguments to the contrary. He also said, “You do not go to college to do something you want to do, or something you’d like to do. You go to college to prepare yourself for life and a career.”
This was what most confused me. Why can these things not be one and the same? Isn’t that the point of college? To find something you are passionate about that you will be happy doing for the rest of your life? College is meant to help you develop this skills to function in a market or an industry where you can do something you enjoy and make a life out of it, too. Following his advice, I may as well just be an accounting major, since that would prepare me for a “career,” despite the fact that I hate math, and I have absolutely no interest in that type of career.
I found it funny that the biggest backlash was immediately sparked from the “film” major, as it’s probably the artsiest thing on my interest list. Why does the world have such a stigma against the art/creative industry? Why is it that art is not considered practical or useful? I never said I wanted to be an actress, I never said I was going to run away and join the circus. I said I might be interested in a film studies minor. We have such a big stigma against doing something in the arts. It’s a waste of time, and a waste of our lives to become an artist. We will end up on the streets with no money because how could anyone possibly make a living on an artist’s salary?
And yet they do. More and more people are doing less traditional things with their careers. If everyone became doctors and lawyers, we wouldn’t have music or movies or laptops with YouTube. We need art in our lives just as much as we need functional things like cars and houses and food. Art is culture. It defines who we are as a nation, as a group. Without it what are we? Without it what makes life worth living?
I never said I wanted to make films, or go into the film industry. I said I was interested in minoring in Film Studies. I never asked to do the impossible, or to waste my time. I asked to do something that I might be interested in because college is a brand new experience where I can try new things that I didn’t have the opportunity to do in high school.
What did you major in, if you went to college? Were your parents supportive in your decision?