Do I really need a degree?
I can't help but feel like a degree is right for me. It's expensive, to say the least, and I've noticed that in almost any program the one thing they don't teach is how to express unique ideas to arrogant, closed minded people. A life as an author, screenwriter, and actor is what I want, but I can't seem to break from the pressure of my parents to lead the life of the typical, scared American. How do I build up the courage to tell my parents that I'm ready to do something different... Something, out of the ordinary? Advice?
Do you think that you need a degree? If not, then you don't. It's really that simple.
Society lays expectations on the people within in, and those who go against the grain are sometimes frowned upon by those who believe that society holds the best of intentions. However, if you feel as though a degree is not conducive for the future that you want- whether society approves or not- then perhaps you should listen to yourself on this one.
You can always tell your parents that for right now, a degree is not something that you want to pursue. Perhaps you can go wander for a bit and explore the world of art and literature and keep the idea of earning a degree on your proverbial back burner. Just don't discredit your parents- they simply want the best for you and feel that a degree will help you get it.
It's difficult, but ultimately it comes down to whether or not you'll be happy doing what your parents want to you do. Life is much too short to spend it living up to other people's expectations. Determine what you want and set a clear path to achieving it. And if there comes a time in the future when you change your mind, tell your parents that they were right and allow them to enjoy their "we told you so" moment.
Agree wholeheartely with parents "simply want the best for you." I misunderstood Mcbel's question, but nevertheless, I have to disagree with the degree part. It's extremely important in the film industry for reasons that I can't begin to list here.
There is so much I want to say, Mcbel, that I have to write a hub on this topic.
There are several things I would advise with the understanding, of course, that I come from my own biased perspective, but that perspective is based a bit on observation through many years and having a daughter "in the industry" and from my husband's son being a sound engineer in Hollywood. Given that, I would suggest the following:
1. My belief is that you are exactly right in your view that a college degree opens your mind to the world and to ideas and ways of thought. Nothing is as valuable as being presented with ideas from Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy. It changes everything.
2. For your personal growth, try to eliminate the concept of "arrogant, closed-minded people" and open up your heart and mind to the fact that we're all just here on this journey together and come to our beliefs from our backgrounds, fears, and attempt to make sense of it all.
3. Understand that your parents ultimate dream for you is to see you happy and fulfilled. Period. Your happiness brings them happiness. They have their own perceptions, based on their life, that bring them to conclusions about what will make you happy, but ultimately trust that their intentions are pure. Presenting your case from a basis of substantiated facts will serve you well. That will take work on your part.
4. If you took the Strong, Campbell, or other Interest Inventories in high school, dig them up and re-read what they indicated. If not, run over today to your nearest community college career center and ask how much it would cost for a battery of Interest Tests. The Myers Briggs might be good for you as well. You can do that online, but pay for the total analysis of the results. I understand that you know your interest is in screenwriting, etc. but give yourself the gift of a complete picture. Why? Read 5.
5. My daughter has a degree from NYU Tisch School for the Performing Arts and was on tour with the Broadway Production of Mamma Mia.She does stand-up as well and writes screen plays. My husband's son graduated from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston and had to start as as "a runner" in a music studio in LA because that's just how the music industry rolls. My daughter still struggles financially. Steve owes about $100,000! Therefore, if anything on those interest tests allows you to "walk and chew gum" (earn money on the side in this crazy industry) find out. So much more to say...
Billie and jjackson have made some very good points. However, I'm looking at it from a different angle. Do you really need a degree? No. Should you pursue your own course in life? Yes.
Now think for a few minutes. Let's say you move to where you can pursue your dream and find out you can't get your big break. Will you then decide to go to college or will you keep putting it off because you think if you spend just a few more months chasing the dream, you'll get discovered? Or would it possibly be better to put off chasing your dream just long enough to get your degree? Or, for another option, go to school at least part time while you're looking for your dream job. Those choices are up to you.
But now I'm going to ask the hard question. Are you equipped to be a full-time writer, screen-writer, or actor? I have a college degree in environmental science and have never used it. I'm a self-published author and never went to school for writing, yet I've been told I have the talent. You may have the talent and be equipped, yet a college education wouldn't hurt. Would you enjoy studying creative writing, television production, computer imaging, and so forth. Many colleges have those types of degrees. With that in hand, it might be easier to break into the business even if it's not doing what you plan as your ultimate goal but it would get you in door.
I'm only suggesting you give some thought to ALL of the options. I wish you the best and hope you have every dream come true.
Sheila, great points. Re: college writing classes - I've never written as well as when I had my college writing classes w/ Bill Meisner (Hitting Into the Wind) and graduate work at a summer workshop. I think you're right about studying ALL options
I think your generation is going to question college more then the previous ones. Why, because you probably see your parents and their friends in boring jobs behind a desk and not always very happy. Why did these previous generations go to college? Because their parents worked in difficult "manual labor" type jobs and came home with back pain, bad joints, etc. They wanted their kids to have a "better" life. We have an easier life but is it better? Yes, this is a bit of an over-simplification but we also know that many of the tech-heads and entrepreneurs that created tons of jobs starting in the 90s didn't always go to college. Being prepared for life is the key - you will be around for a while and want to be a productive member of society (in whatever capacity you choose) - you might get there with college or maybe some other path would work just as well.
Having a degree with enhance your employment prospects, you'll have an advantage over those candidates that don't have a degree. Having a degree proves you can work on your own, and find out things for yourself. It will give you confidence on yourself.
S, I agree. My parents DIDN'T want me to go to college, but I got myself there; it opened up my mind to a world outside of the one into which I was born. Instead of chaining a person, it frees a person. "..proves you can work on ur own" DEFINITELY!
All of these answers were extremely eye opening. Thank you all for your answers. I've felt constrained more so by my parents than by the thought of getting a degree. There are hundreds of majors and I know the one for me is in the film industry: what bothered me was I felt pressured to put that SECOND; to have what I really wanted to do be my back-up plan.
With this in mind, I'm a person who succeeds when I hit the ground running: to take what I know and apply it willingly, without anyone else's pressure but my own. I have no problem learning and obtaining a degree through rigorous hard work, as long as it doesn't mean putting off what is really important to me.
So now I plan on doing it for the first time; to get out into the world (and out of New England where unique ideas and irregular aspirations are scoffed at) and prevent myself from reaching a plateau in the business world where radical creativity and innovation are scarce.
M, ur a thoughtful young man n thoughtful is always good! If u "friend" my daughter on FB (not that she posts a lot), u can connect w/ lots of kind/creative LA / NY people.(bethany therese) .If u lean to comedy, Andrew Norelli, Flip Schultz r great
Thank you! I hope to visit LA soon. I'll remember to seek her out and catch her show!
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