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Yes, creativity can pay the bills

“Oh…that’s fun!”—this is often the response I receive after telling people my major, public relations. Possibly they’re just confused as to what public relations professionals do in the real world—we’re everywhere and do just about everything, FYI—but it seems too purposefully opposite of the responses to a future doctor or engineer or businessman.

My twin sister is a nursing major, so I regularly notice the opposing reactions when people hear “public relations” and “nursing.” When most people hear anything involving numbers or science, their eyes get big, their eyebrows slide up, impressed by the student’s decision of study. Meanwhile, the creative majors like graphic design, cinema, TV and theatre beckon the automatic question, ‘And what are you going to do with that?’ As if they need a professional field connection to deem the major choice as legitimate. 

Coincidently, creative majors at ORU are trapped in the tunnels of the LRC, shunned from sunlight and other students. Don’t get me wrong, I know majors falling in the “creative” realm look like loads of fun and goofing off, but maybe, just maybe, there’s a reason for that. 

Yes, everyone is creative in their own way, but not everyone is artistically creative. Those who create beauty with images, film, writing and other artistic avenues are naturally gifted to do so. No one can learn to have a good hand for painting; no one can learn to write powerful literature—it won’t happen. Even if the techniques and structures are learned, no one can learn to have a natural gift. 

I firmly believe that if I applied myself, I could be a nurse, engineer or businesswoman. It is a matter of studying the material and understanding the field. Yet, I do not believe that someone who is not naturally gifted in art can make themselves an artist. Only those with a natural eye, hand and mind can create material that influences others.

Some creative major classes might appear to be all fun and games, but I’d like to see a business major try to make an appealing and informative layout design based on nothing but their imagination—it probably won’t compare to someone who naturally thinks in terms of design. This is nothing personal against business majors; let me be clear, they do a great job.

There is also a difference in passions; just because someone enjoys art does not mean they are determined—or even good—enough to create a career from their passion. Thus, it becomes a personal passion rather than a lifestyle of expression, plus they never professionally develop or learn about the specific area. 

Some people act as though just because they are somewhat decent in an artistic avenue that they have the same ability and skill level as a creative major who has intentionally targeted that gift. The mere enjoyment of a past-time hobby will typically not match the skill of one who commits a lifetime to bettering that same hobby, which to them is a means of both keeping sane and living.  

Creative careers require discipline, development and time. The world of art is always changing while simultaneously including principles and inspiration from the past. This means artistic creatives cannot learn one individual area of art, but rather must learn multiple talents and methods to gain a broad knowledge of their skill. It’s a constant process of improving and learning various skillsets.  

Creative majors also require space and time to activate the right side of the brain, the “creative” side. When my projects or papers are dependent on creativity, as opposed to research, tests, etc., I absolutely cannot do it to the best of my ability if I’m stuck in my left brain. I’ll have to get away from people, chug some coffee, play uppity music and type out all of the thoughts from my left brain until my right brain kicks in. If that doesn’t work, I have to do something completely unrelated to school. There is no “cramming” when it comes to creativity. 

Basing one’s life on the ability to operate creatively adds an immense amount of pressure on that natural gift—creatives are regularly inspired but also intimidated by other creatives. Our future is not determined by test scores, school rankings or promotions; our future is determined by how well we steward our natural gifts of externally presenting what we internally see. 

Everyone, I assume, seeks to do something they’re passionate about, even if that’s finance, education or science. Creative majors, however, get the benefit of transforming their imagination into tangible beauty with that passion. Rather than scoffing at your creative major friends for having a semester-long project of an art display or a full screenplay while you have test after test after test, show some love for their confidence and ability to build an entire life on their passion to create.