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Passion or Practicality?

Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012
Mark must decide whether to pursue his dreams or to please his parents.
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Mark has always loved to draw, creating images from things he’s seen around him and things he conjures up in his own imagination. He is fascinated by the fine arts, and when he pictures his future, he sees himself as a curator of an art museum, or the owner of his own gallery.
There’s just one problem. With the recent economic downturn and two younger siblings to think about, Mark faces many daunting financial obstacles in order to pursue his education. As a college freshman, he’s picked up some federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans, but his school’s endowment is less than stellar so he hasn’t received many grants. In essence, he’s looking at about a 150k debt that he’ll have to pay off when he graduates. He plans on continuously applying for merit-based scholarships, but he knows that he’s still going to have a lot on his shoulders. With all of this to consider, his parents are encouraging to pursue something a bit more… “lucrative.” In their minds, something like business or engineering would have a much bigger return than a fine arts or art history degree. They are so serious about this, in fact, that they have decided they will only pay off Mark’s loans if he pursues something that they consider to be practical. If he chooses to pursue something in the arts, Mark will take on his debt by himself.  
Mark understands the situation he is in, and wants to be realistic… Perhaps he could become a businessman and sketch on the side, or volunteer at a local museum. However, he also feels like he can’t deny the part of himself that wants to completely follow his number one passion. How can Mark deal with this tug-of-war, respecting both his family’s wishes and his own hopes for the future?
Photo by cstmweb available under a Creative Commons license on Google Images.

Comments Comments

Hannah said on Aug 22, 2012
I feel that, given the economy, money IS an issue. However, Mark doesn't need to reject his creative side in order to stabilize himself financially. Should Mark major in business, he could spend his free time working on his artistic talents or double-major in art. That way, he would be able to produce art while possibly understanding how to market himself. OR, he could enter into a J-School and learn graphic design and advertising, using his creative skills to help an organization promote itself and its services/products. If Mark has a vision for his art already, universities have ways to help. My university recently began offering an 'entrepreneurship' minor, which gives students skills to start their own companies and organizations. Students on the 'artistic track' build up a venture that promotes art in the community, or art that they create themselves. The program also gives students internship opportunities in startups and companies dealing with their concentration. The most important thing for him to remember, however, is that his college major doesn't define him. As the USA Today article about your organization stated, not all students plan to devote their lives to their majors. No matter what he focuses on during the day, he can use his free time -- or the rest of his life -- to pursue art on the side. But college is expensive, and unless he has significant financial backing already, it might be hard to balance all of his wants and needs. - Like
Bri said on Aug 26, 2012
I completely understand Marks situation and dilemma. He is not the first that this has happened to and neither will he be the last. I understand that Mark wants to do what he loves which is Art and meanwhile his parents want him to do something that is worthwhile for his future. For instance, they would like him to major in business or engineering that will be able to get him places and make him money. I understand how Mark probably feels due to the fact that he wants to abide by his parents wishes because they are agreeing to pay for his student loans which he needs because he cannot afford to; being a college student. I always say, do what you love, this way when time passes you do not look back with regrets. If Mark loves Art and wants to get a job at a museum or something in that category I say he should. What may be an option for Mark is that he can major in Business or Engineering and then minor in Art. He may also want to think about potentially applying for a job with an art museum or an art studio. This would give him the best of both worlds, this gives him a taste, in case he finds that he doesn't like art as a full time career. This scenario hits close to home for me because I too have a passion for something and know that it is what I want to do, but my father doesn't believe in it. He would like me to do something that will make me a lot of money (which is ok because I know that he cares about my future and wants the best for my life) but I do not want to look back on my life and say wow I could have been pursuing my passion, but instead I was "pushed" into doing this. For example, my dad says that I should not go into the broadcasting/graphics field because of the fact that I will not be able to find a job and that it is not in high demand. In the end though I could actually be missing out on something. Who's to say that I wouldn't be the next TV star or the next Brian Williams? The point is I would never know unless I tried and life is full of disappointments but at least I know I've tried. With trying I also know that I wouldn't be able to say I wish... - Like - 69 people like this.
Ana Quiles said on Aug 30, 2012
I say, "Trust God and go for it!" Love, titi Ana - Like - 4 people like this.
William said on Aug 26, 2012
Mark has a great opportunity here to respect his parents' wishes AND to continue to nurture his passion -- he should pursue a major both in business and in the arts. This will benefit him in several ways. First, he will end up with a business degree, with which he can pursue a more "lucrative" career if need be. But second, and perhaps more importantly, this will allow him to approach his passion for arts with a strong business sense -- this could be invaluable for Mark if he ends up owning his own gallery or being involved in the business affairs of a museum. Of course, this will mean that Mark will be a busy student, but as I have learned studying music at my college, those who succeed in any type of art industry are often those who can handle many commitments and responsibilities at once. Indeed, Mark may be better off he chooses to double major. If he has a strong work ethic (which he probably does, considering all of his scholarships), there is no reason why Mark can't have it all! - Like - 7 people like this.
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Tags: major, student debt