The attack on art students

Mónica Ferreira | Thu, 30 Jan 2020

Image courtesy of Victoria_Borodinova via Pixabay

My high school teachers were never creative. Surprise, surprise. When I told them I wanted to do creative writing at university they all said the same thing: what a waste. You'd think they would at least use variations of it, but they were very well synchronized. Except for one, who suddenly needed a glass of water when I dropped the a-word. Arts. I have to wash my mouth every time I say it. How lousy of us art students to pursue such useless degrees.

I'm sure I've had plenty of voodoo dolls made on my behalf after telling people I don't usually have exams. Most art students don't. It's not our fault. It might come as a surprise, but we didn't sit down with our course coordinators and decide that we wouldn't be plagued with exams like most other students. However, the verdict comes, and it is this: a degree in arts is not a real degree.

I'm yet to tell my parents. I don't think they’ll be very happy to hear it. Forget I said it, but I am. In fact, I have a very serious love affair with the fact that people say this and then go home and binge-watch Netflix, listen to hours of music on Spotify, fill up their shelves with books and their walls with paintings. I've spent restless nights wondering who they think did all that. I wonder if I should tell them it probably wasn't their pharmacist, but I don't want to scare them. Even if they scare me with their dreadful question: “what are you going to do after you graduate?”

This question comes for all art students, like a demonic tooth fairy. It’s a ridiculous question. Are we really expected to graduate and then do something after? Can we not just disappear into the woods whenever we feel like it? We’re adults, are we not? But I digress. What I mean is, your arts degree is not a very serious one if you don't have at least a 10-year plan for what you'll do with it. And if I say, well, I'm going to write, they somehow hear, I'm going to spit fire! It just doesn’t make sense to them.

Their concern for our future is so grand, at times I think if we don't become something by the age of 21, someone will come out and kill us. I can only hope my voodoo dolls live long and happy lives. Most people know I won't.

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