The Daily Gamecock

Column: Majoring in art is a worthwhile pursuit

When I was seven years old, I went to see "The Nutcracker" for the first time. Like many girls my age, I was immediately swept up in the romance and beauty of it. My eyes darted from the extravagant tutus to the dancers’ pointe shoes in an effort to not miss a single second of the magic unfolding before me. To this day, my mother takes every opportunity to recount the moment Clara, the main character of the ballet, stepped on stage. I looked up with wide eyes and said, “I want to be her.” Little did I know that six short years of training later, I would play the lead role of Clara in that exact production for two years in a row and go on to perform in "The Nutcracker" for ten years. 

In the early period of my training, many adults and peers alike were impressed by the amount of dedication I showed and achievement I gained working within the dance art form. Other people in my studio came and went as I grew up, moving on to other things, but I never grew out of my dance "phase." When I began searching for colleges, I knew I wanted to continue pursuing my passion at a collegiate level, a foreign concept to those not heavily involved in the arts. I was bombarded with the all-too-familiar question of, “Well, it’s a great hobby, but what are you really going to do with it?” Over the years, I have come to realize that this question is not one of mere skepticism or lack of faith in me, but comes from a severe ignorance of careers in the arts. 

College is the time to truly dig deep into your passions and the things that exhilarate you. I knew without a doubt that I wanted to double major, with dance being one of my fields of study. I knew I loved to dance, and whether I ended up professionally dancing or not, I wanted to incorporate it into whatever my future career would be. 

This is the case for many arts majors on campus, but it is no easy task. Succeeding in the arts requires immense dedication and a staggering amount of time spent both in and out of the classroom perfecting your technique. The life lessons and skills one learns while studying an art form — time management, grit, the ability to work with various types of personalities and the ability to creatively explore an idea — are characteristics that will benefit a person in any career path. Arts classes are not easier simply because they don’t require the evaluation of integrals. They are challenging in equal but different ways, which is all too easy to forget when the final product seems effortless and beautiful. The arts play an integral role in preserving our humanity and allow us to express ourselves in a meaningful way. They remind the world that we have a voice. Studying our art form in college allows us to grow as artists as well as students. 

For some people, their academic “college experience” entails running gels in the lab or doing research on the history of food development across a culture. For those choosing to major in the arts, this means instead of ordering lab goggles, they order new reeds, pointe shoes, scripts or camera lenses. While the necessary supplies between the fields may differ, the rigor and respect each major deserves is equal. Through my own journey and passion, I hope that I can inspire the next boy or girl to pioneer his or her own path in the arts and give them the courage to discover and pursue their passions.