Creative degree courses get a lot of bad press. Dealing with the remnants of the recession and worried about their future job = prospects, it's easy to see why even the most artistically inclined student might choose an option perceived as offering a more linear career path as either a back-up plan or a way of financing creative projects.
Yet whilst it is entirely possible to work in a creative field after studying something completely different, I would argue that for those dead set on crafting a career from their creativity, there are some distinct benefits to taking a leap of faith and studying what you love.
Practice your craft
It might sound glaringly obvious, but the best way to learn anything creative is to initially abandon the idea of perfection, and just get the work done. Improvement and development only come through continuous practice. Universities with creatively-oriented degree options offer students free access to the kind of spaces and materials which cost a tremendous amount of money post-graduation. Use them!
”The time you spend studying your subject of choice can be a period of tremendous self-growth.”
Rent out a studio and practice your photography. Book out a camera and make a short film. To make the most of any creative course of study, you have to commit to it, and take any and every opportunity to get better and better at what you truly love to do.
If seen through the right lens, the time you spend studying your subject of choice can be a period of tremendous self-growth, in which you dedicate yourself to creative development full-time, within an accepting and encouraging environment. All of this will be helpful in not only building a portfolio to show to prospective employers, but in building both your practical competence and confidence in your own abilities.
Improve your employability
Contrary to popular belief, the best creative courses will encourage you to consider yourself as an employable entity, and to develop skills which support you in the working world. Aside from building subject-specific skills, group work in an area you are truly passionate about will help to make you an amazing team player, capable of assessing a situation from differing perspectives, mediating group discussions, and navigating conflicting personalities with relative ease.
"The best creative courses will encourage you to consider yourself as an employable entity.”
Any arts student who has ever had to arrange a last-minute interview, edit a project through the night, or recover days of lost footage with a deadline looming, also knows a thing or two about truly inventive problem-solving, which can only be of benefit in the workplace.
Network and collaborate
Lastly, whilst every industry encourages networking, it is arguably nowhere so crucial as within the creative industries, where reputation often plays a large part in employability. Studying a subject you love, you'll be surrounded, perhaps for the first time, by people who are on exactly the same wavelength. They are the people you'll collaborate with and learn something new from. They are the people you may one day go into business with.
"When creative people get together and decide to make things happen, the possibilities really are pretty much limitless."
I don't think there are many who would argue that pursuing a career in a creative field is always simple, straightforward or in any way linear, but when creative people get together and decide to make things happen, the possibilities really are pretty much limitless.
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