Senior Katherine Brown wakes up in a fit, grabs a paintbrush, pen, or lump of clay, and sits down to start her latest piece. The inspiration came to her in a dream, as they often do, and her mind won’t let her rest until she transfers it onto a canvas. For Brown, this is normal, expected even, and she will be continuing this ritual for the next five years at art school.
“I’m extremely passionate about what I’m doing, and everything related to art. I like science as well, a lot actually, but I couldn’t do it for the rest of my life. Art is really the only option,” Brown said.
Other than just Brown, senior Darbi Broadhead is searching for a creative outlet in college.
“I’m majoring in theater design and production, with a focus on stage management, because I love technical theater, and stage management is the best in the theater tech spectrum,” Broadhead said.
An offbeat major could be chosen for several reasons: ranging from the desire of a more adventurous lifestyle to simply avoiding the daily grind of a 9 to 5. The majority of students plan to play it safe with a normal, consistent major. For the rest, a major is an opportunity to express themselves and what they hope to accomplish.
“With a ‘normal’ job, I would feel trapped, or stuck. My greatest fear is to be stuck in a job I don’t enjoy,” Broadhead said.
“I really couldn’t see myself with an office job. Sooner or later I would go crazy,” Brown said.
Senior Bryana Varga also is using her impending college experience as a way to show off some skills she has acquired during her high school career.
“I’m majoring in special effects makeup because I love it, and it’s something I can actually see on the stage in person. It’s not something that I come up with, but is transferred through this endless trail of other people. It’s mine,” Varga said.
Even those who are confident on the direction they want to take their future still have some hesitation when it comes to final decisions.
“I’m majoring in either industrial design, which is kind of like if engineering was an art degree, sculpture or illustration,” Brown said.
“I mean, I love special effects makeup, but I also love making people look and feel beautiful both inside and out. So if I had to do something else, I would possibly be a wedding stylist because that’s the most special day of a woman’s life,” Varga said.
Brown is confident in the stability of her future, despite common ridicule.
“It’s an art degree, and people usually think that won’t get a lot of job offers, but it’s also industrial design. In which, there is a huge market. Plus, at all of the schools I’ve applied to: Rhode Island School of Design, Savannah College of Art and Design and Boston University, there’s a major program where you go for four years and get your degree in a medium, like a normal major. In my case, my medium would be industrial design. Then, for the fifth year, you go and get your masters in education so you can teach at college. So, even if the whole art thing doesn’t work out, I can still teach at a college level,” Brown said.
Broadhead also isn’t letting the current views of society slow down her future. She knows there is a promising future ahead of her.
“There’s a lot I can do with this degree. I could be a production manager on television, I could work for a traveling show on Broadway, or do permanent stuff for a play that remains on Broadway. Plus, being a production manager is a guaranteed job. There’s nothing there to worry about,” Broadhead said.
Most students are hesitant to chase after diverse majors due to a fear of falling short of their parent’s support. Although for Brown, this is not the case.
“They are supportive, my parents. My sister is a theater major at Boston University, and industrial design is way better as far as getting a job after graduation is concerned. So, they’re pretty happy about that. Overall we’re a very artistic family,” Brown said.
“My mother was always supportive, but in the beginning my dad was skeptical. It wasn’t until after I explained that this isn’t some crazy dream, and that its practical that he supported me,” Broadhead said.
Some, even with parent support, are unsure about the future.
“I’m worried all the time. Both that something external, or myself, is going to mess this up, or get in my way,” Varga said. “My parents are always ‘on my back’ about what I need to do. They always tell me that if I don’t do this, or that, I won’t get where I want to get in life. Sometimes I get tired of it, but I need it. So I listen,” Varga said.
Even without her parents there to guide her, Brown wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Without my parents there to support me, I would probably focus more on the teaching side of the degree. I’m already doing the masters program, so the foundation would be in place. Also, I would definitely have to choose a different school because the tuition at these schools is so expensive. Even with all of that, there is honestly no way I can see myself doing anything else,” Brown said.
This major is more than just a degree after graduation. For both Varga and Broadhead, this is the rest of their lives. It’s their dream, and they don’t need parental validation to reach them.
“I would find a way. I can’t even imagine my parents not being supportive, they always have been, but if they weren’t, I would find a way,” Broadhead said.
“There would have to be a way to make it work. This is my passion,” Varga said.