By now, you’re probably eagerly awaiting your offers or even prepping for interviews. While some of you could not be more excited to start uni, a lot of you might also feel a tiny bit unsure about your subject choice. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Sometimes, I still feel that way. In this post, I want to talk about my journey overcoming the stigma connected with doing a creative degree.
The holiday season is fast approaching and for a lot of us, that means spending time with family. However, it also means relatives you only see twice a year asking all kinds of intrusive questions about you, your love life and most importantly, your future. I’ve always found these conversations exhausting and most of all, disheartening. Don’t get me wrong, people generally react with genuine interest when I tell them I study Film and TV Production. But then, there’s always the few that confirm all the doubts I secretly already struggle with. These reactions range from straight up laughing at me or a superior eyebrow raise to a concerned: “And what will you be able to do with that later in life?”
There is this notion that creative professions are impossible to pursue because there are no job opportunities. So, everyone studying a creative subject must be doomed to a life of unemployment, right? No. It’s true that it won’t be easy, but it’s certainly not impossible. In my case, I am working towards entering a huge, ever-evolving industry which generates new job openings all the time. I know I will need to put effort in to build my CV, gain relevant work experience and network with people in the field to jumpstart my career. At the end of the day, every job in every field requires you to do just that. The current job market is incredibly competitive and no matter what field you’re going into, if you’re not willing to work hard for it, you’ll have a hard time getting hired.
Additionally, a common prejudice against people in creative fields are that they don’t contribute anything to society. While I always stood up against this sentiment, a small part of me believed it as well: Film or TV provides entertainment, sure, but it doesn’t improve the world in any way. However, take Planet Earth for example. The series, and especially the second season which just aired on BBC1, raises awareness of climate change and the impact our society has on the planet. Film and Television is an important platform for discussing and reflecting on social issues, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to study it in the first place! I truly believe that someone who is passionate about what they do, regardless of their occupation, can make a positive impact.
I noticed that a lot of negative reactions to my field of study actually came from other students, who, as I realised later on, were dealing with the same fears. So when I arrived at uni last September, I was quite insecure. Fresher’s week involves introducing yourself to so many different people and one of the easiest conversation starters is “What are you studying?” Confronted with this question, I found myself hesitating before answering, as if I was ashamed of my degree choice. The excitement I had felt leading up to this moment made way for anxiety and doubt. Would I have been better off choosing a ‘safer’ degree? I went into my first week of university with an overwhelming sense of dissapointment in myself. At the time, I thought I was the only one dealing with these insecurities. Talking to my friends on other courses really helped me overcome these feelings of self-doubt. Everyone, regardless of what degree they study, deals with this at some point in their university career.
Now, over a year later, when people ask me what I study, I answer confidently. When they raise an eyebrow, I tell them what I do on my course, and why I love it. I found that it takes two factors to gain that confidence – passion and patience – and they go hand in hand. If you are passionate about your degree, you will be willing to work hard to achieve your goals. If you are patient enough to develop that passion, you will be able to overcome your doubts with time. For me, this is an ongoing process. Sometimes, I still doubt myself and my choices, but I persevere. I’ll get through it, and so will you!