Recently my husband and I have been talking about the possibility of going back to school to attain different degrees. Many articles have been popping up on-line as if pointing me in the direction I need to go.
When these articles first started popping up, they were titled something like, “top ten reasons not to go back to school” or “useless degrees”. Among the top of the useless pile was my degree; Bachelor of Fine Art. This was a real blow to the ego.
Here lies the problem. When you find the degree you worked so hard for has no future, you start looking for a second chance to go back to school and hope that the one you go back for also doesn’t become useless.
Unfortunately for me, all the degrees I would be great at, are useless. Are they enriching? Yes these are enriching degrees.
At the university I went to we were supposed to complete a certain amount of hours for general education in addition to the degree we recieved. I guess whoever designed this system, figured as a safety net, in case the future of the United States economy corroded, those of us who already had degrees or those of us who were working towards one, would have a good idea of what would make a great secondary career. This would have been great, however they forgot to plan for people like me. At least I choose to believe someone who went through the great depression had the fore site to plan for something like this for the life of the University’s continuing student body.
I know what you are asking dear readers, ” What degrees would you have possibly gone for?” Well let me first tell you what I did try or consider. I tried for Graphic Design but found this path to be too lonely. This involved sitting in front of a computer for hours on end by yourself not being social. Briefly I considered Animation, but then due to my childhood education of sitting for hours in front of the television and admiring the likes of Looney Toons and Animaniacs, it miffed me the professor contradicted one of the very lessons of diabolical cartoon characters; the lead character can come back after a major dismemberment or catastrophe. One semester I tried out the business end of school. This was not a wise decision for someone completely right brained. Even though I met some interesting characters there my grades did not fair well. It became more of a social observance and interaction with people completely diffent than myself, much like Jane Goodall when she decided to observe other primates.
Because my heart and brain could not separate from the desire to draw and paint and because I realized I love working with people, the logical decision was to go into art education. With this degree there was mild success but the door on this path also closed.
There was no other option left but to go back to square one where I originally started; a degree in Fine Art with an Emphasis in Drawing.
My path continued, getting a useless degree while exploring other fascinating subjects, one of which was Anthropology. The first time around with this class, the teacher was from England and a Prima-anthropologist. She discussed how some Chimpanzees were observed grooming leaves, then they would throw them on the forrest floor for no reason. Honestly, I think the chimps knew what type of intense, neurotic person she was and did it just to driver her crazy. I pictured her story being like a Far-side cartoon where she was behind the bushes with a set of binoculars while the Chimps spoke in their own language talking to each other about how they would make something up just to throw the spying human off.
Honestly, in her class I don’t remember the rest of the semester, I only remember certain risqué behaviors of Binobo monkeys and her talking about her and her family’s first experience of eating corn on the cob here in the states which she felt was bizarre and probably ape like.
That semester was a particularly tough one for me personally, so I wound up retaking the class later with a different professor in hopes of a better grade. Not only did I better my grade but it made me more interested in how cultures form, how humans have traveled throughout time to get to where we are, how some cultures started others, how fertile crescents were started and the roots and beginnings of words and where they stemmed from. This class was different, the professor was alive, bubbly, excited and made jokes including the students in on the curriculum. This was a plus for me, this engaged the right side of my brain and it gave me the opportunity to be the smart alec class clown who helped to progress the other students’ learning of the curriculum with the questions I asked along with the other smarty pants in the front row.
That semester I was on fire for classes shaped in this style of curricula. My modern Art History class was similar, we were allowed to ask questions and shout out ideas on what the artists were trying to prove, make or antagonize for and from the viewer. This teacher was from Scotland and was also a sculptor in addition to knowing artists and their modus operandi. In other words, she was cool. Often times in this class my friends would hide behind me as they weren’t awake yet and weren’t confident enough at that hour in the morning without coffee to say what was on their mind. The teacher was onto them. She would call them out and suss out the answer for the rest of the class to hear. No idea was too stupid to contemplate or to think about when it came to art, everything was fair game. Art was open to interpretation for her.
If I had to go back or could go back, these are two areas I would love to strengthen, get better at and educate others about. However, given our current economy, becoming a Prima-anthropologist isn’t something to get myself out of debt, and my efforts probably would not help advance the human race as we know it. In fact, baboons don’t even like me, one mooned me at the St. Louis zoo, scratched his bald behind in my face, turned around, bared his teeth and walked off. This degree is definitely off the list, especially since I stared down the wrong end of a baboon’s derriere.
I still love working with people, however another article online specified Anthropology was next in line after Fine Art as far as useless degrees go. The next one is Art History, my only beef with this is why study what other people have done? Some may argue in order to keep history from repeating itself you have to know what has come before you. However, I have seen it time and time again, when people continually observe work done by others, rather than just drawing inspiration, they are bound to accidentally clone the style they observe and love. Why spend your life studying others when you can concentrate on being you, being original and getting out there changing the world with your art? Oh yeah, the whole reason I started exploring this in the first place, if you teach it, you will make money. To be an artist and be successful you have to die a usually tragic and horrible death or be a womanizer and dead. I’ve got the first part down of being an artist, but I’m not dead and certainly not a womanizer.
Maybe being an Art History professor is the way to go? Then again maybe I should fulfill my destiny of becoming a massage therapist. Who knows, however I think all of this was a fancy way of being able to tell you all I was once mooned by a baboon scratching its posterior.