Hello. I’m currently in my final year at a university I don’t like, and I am thinking of dropping out and starting to take art classes. I want to try for an Arts University, which is my dream. The problem is that everybody tries to put me down. They say that I won’t be able to find a decent job after graduating, so I’ll end up starving and a looser. Moreover, they keep telling me that I can’t afford to study Arts, and that men are inherently better than women at drawing/painting, because they are more visually oriented and perform much better in mentally rotating objects and other spatial awareness tasks (which I looked up on the internet and found out that there are a lot of studies that support this view).
It really doesn’t help that I also suffer from depression, and it is getting worse by the day. I truly want to pursue what I love, but it’s difficult to feel motivated for anything in my life anymore. I am also very confused.
Is there any way to get out of this situation and find the answers that I need? (From Romania)
Do both. The fact that you are nearing the end of your studies and this pressing desire is coming up is an important element. If you were just starting out on a path and trying to make a decision my answer would be different. I would encourage you to change directions and to go for your dream flat out.
But what you’re telling me now is that you’ve invested a lot of time and money and have this idea that doing art would be better. While that might be true, it’s also likely to be frustrating, difficult, and have its own unique difficulties. The more important thing now is to prove to yourself you can finish something you’ve started. To drop out your last semester, regardless of if you go into that field or into art, is not likely to make you feel good beyond the immediate relief. There are many studies showing that when perseverance can be cultivated it—in and of itself, can be a factor in future success in anything you do—including art.
Except in very rare cases, I am not in favor of leaving one thing altogether and jumping into something that seems like a terrific solution. I think giving up is always valuable, and there are times when it is absolutely necessary for your well-being as this blog explains.
Before you give up on your current goal I’d encourage you to give yourself the proper opportunity to sample the art field more broadly. Talk to people in the field, talk to professors at the Art University, and get more information. Poking around on the Internet it’s a good start. But interviewing real people about what it’s like to be in a profession, students engage in their work at the school, and seeing what opportunities and enjoyment are possible will give you real experiences you can use to test out what you are feeling about the profession.
The reason I am focusing so much on not leaving is that when somebody puts in a lot of effort into one thing and then considers jumping ship the real question is: is this self sabotage?
Self sabotageKeeps someone from achieving or accomplishing their goals by undermining them the closer they get to accomplishing them. You can learn more about this here. The university you are at is very familiar with these issues and they are likely to have counselors there who can help.
If you can, let us know what you decide.