Students

Arts degrees and your future career

By Sarah Talty

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Sometimes I feel like the world is divided into two types of people: people who think it’s okay to study Arts and people who don’t. But a lot of the time these people are misinformed or their career route is so straightforward they can’t see past a college degree. If you’re doing something like nursing or teaching, the thoughts of finishing a degree, like a BA in Arts, and not having a set title might terrify you.

But an Arts degree gives you a lot of freedom! I know that seems like just something people say at open days to try and entice you into their course but it’s true. When you graduate with a Nursing degree, you’re going to go to a hospital and be a nurse. And that’s great if you want to be a nurse. But if you don’t really know what you want to do an Arts degree can be a great way to learn some valuable skills while you figure it out. But with the likes of an Arts degree, a lot of the time, it’s what you make it. With a journalism degree you can become a Journalist, Editor, Technical Writer, Public Relations, TV Journalist, Broadcaster.

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That was a big thing for my dad when I was trying to decide what to do. I didn’t really have a head for maths or business or science. I went through the whole prospectus for UL, trying to find the course for me through the process of elimination. Eventually I found myself mostly left with the Arts section. I was looking at doing a BA in Arts, English and New Media, Journalism and New Media or Business. Dad’s question to each of these was: ‘what are you going to be after?’

He wanted me to say I’m doing Law so I’m going to be a lawyer or I’m going to be a primary school teacher. He didn’t get it. I actually went for Journalism in the end so when I graduate technically I’m going to be a journalist. But simply having a degree doesn’t make you a journalist. Having articles regularly published, loving writing and having an interest in what’s happening in the world around you does. Just because you have a degree as a primary school teacher, doesn’t automatically mean you have a steady stable job out of college. There’s a certain amount of work that goes into trying to sculpt a career for yourself after college that everyone has to go through no matter your degree.

Here’s a list of successful (American) people and art degrees they hold:

  • Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO: B.S. in Communications, Northern Michigan University, 1975
  • Andrea Jung, Former Avon CEO: B.A. in English Literature, Princeton University, 1979
  • Michael Eisner, Former Walt Disney Company CEO: B.A. in English Literature and Theater, Denison University, 1964
  • Richard Plepler, HBO CEO : B.A. in Government, Franklin & Marshall College, 1981
  • Carly Fiorina, Former Hewlett-Packard CEO: B.A. in Medieval History and Philosophy, Stanford University, 1976
  • Susan Wojcicki YouTube CEO: B.A. in History and Literature, Harvard University, 1990
  • Conan O’Brien, TV Show Host: Bachelor of Arts in History

All college degrees are hard work, no matter what they are. You could be whizz at an Engineering course but struggle to get through English & New Media, simply because your strengths don’t lie in understanding literature. Everybody is different and if everyone was the same the world would be a boring place.

Find out more about our courses at www.ul.ie/artsoc/future-students.

Details of our new BA can be found at ul.ie/arts.

sarahtalty

Sarah Talty is a 3rd year BA Journalism & New Media student at the University of Limerick. From Clare, Sarah loves books, chocolate, Netflix, napping and writing, not necessarily in that order.

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