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Feels: Being a Part-Time Artist and a Full-Time Student


By Kayla Meyertons

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Most students agree that college is a full-time job. You go to class 12-15 hours of the week, come home to mounds of homework, and start all over again the next day.

Being a college student AND a part-time artist is a different story. For Studio Art majors, this double life is relatively easy. Go to class, and your work is done. But for non-art majors who are actively pursuing an outside career in art, life starts to become a real pain in the ass.

For one thing, your mind as a college student is constantly elsewhere, thinking about the next big test or project coming your way. Art, however, is a way to escape the stresses of life. Whether it be drawing, design, or dance, art allows us to step into a different world for awhile and let things slip away. Take it from Bob.

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That being said, long school days and a heavy course load can leave us drained and depleted by the time we have the chance to return to the studio. I have found myself sacrificing that extra hour of sleep to finish up painting projects and commissions, and I wake up the next morning faced with the same reality; I am not a full-time artist, as much as I want to be.

College life puts me in quite the predicament then, doesn’t it? I need to pursue a technical degree (in my case, journalism) to order to improve my chances of getting a job, but my heart is in the art world. Do I take more art history classes on the side? Do I drop journalism all together for the sake of studio art?

Starting to sound a little familiar, isn’t this?

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A large majority of college students are in similar situations. Studies show that 75 percent of college students will change their major at least once before they graduate. With this in mind, it’s no wonder it’s so hard to balance art and school.

However, I wonder if college can be a way to fuel, rather than inhibit, our art careers. Perhaps we can find ways to fuse our academic and artistic interests so the school day is more enjoyable. For artists, inspiration can be found practically anywhere. Maybe we’ll find a tidbit in a Greek history class that inspires a new painting or dance. Maybe the shape of a letter in Arabic class inspires a new design.

However it may happen, I do believe juggling college and a part-time art career is possible. It may be agonizing at times, like coming home from school and reallyyy wanting to watch Netflix instead of paint a commission, and you may lose sleep and time and friends (OK, hopefully not that), but these moments of suffering are the reason you are an artist! Because you can say, “Hey, even if today was shitty, I’m still taking the time to sit down and paint because I’m a badass and I’m not giving up.”

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That’s why we, the art and non-art students of this university, are artists to begin with. Because we love the thrill of escaping from the real world, and we love the joy that art brings us.

It doesn’t matter where you are in life, even if it’s your first of four years at this university. Find time for what you love, and the rest will fall into place.

Oh, and don’t worry if you have a few Zac Efron breakdowns from time to time. Just getcha’ head in the game, and you’ll be Gucci.

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