Today I had a very good conversation with my academic advisor. I love academia, I want to pursue my academic interests and make contributions in my field. I also happen to be a creative rather than practical person. I’m learning that it takes both types to make the world go round but that often, practical people are better understood than creative people.
I see memes on Facebook saying how college is useless and that trade school is where it’s at, which is false. Trades are very important, trade school is very important, but not all of us were made to excel in trades. The same goes for college. College is important because we need academics as well. Trades are physical labor and academics are emotional labor.
When I finished my M.A in English and Creative Writing, I wasn’t sure what to do next, and although I wanted and still want a Ph.D. so bad, now is not the right time to pursue that. So I went into a M.A in Communications, because I wanted to learn how to market my work. People were telling me how good they thought my work was and how the themes and ideas I explored were very important, and yet like many other writers I’m having difficulty getting published. I figured maybe I needed better branding and marketing, so I thought that communications might be the right fit.
It turns out that I was wrong. The entire culture is different in communications, and it’s far more business focused than it was when I took communications electives in my undergrad. I found that in my communications classes, none of the other students would talk to me, even in discussions, but they all talk regularly with each other. Maybe they knew right away that I did not fit in. The odd thing is that I have gotten excellent grades but the culture isn’t working for me and I need to be able to be excited about my ideas and talk about my ideas with others which is impossible if they won’t talk to me.
In the conversation with my advisor, I shared with her how I didn’t like the culture and I didn’t fit in, but that the communications classes I had taken made me aware of where my passions were. I have literary contributions I want to make as well as working on my writing. My advisor said she wasn’t really surprised because creative people like me often did not do well in more business focused programs and careers even if, like me, they get good grades. She said that those kinds of things often aren’t right for creatives and sometimes they are even stifling.
She went on to tell me that creatives are as important to academia as the practical people, and that we all make important contributions. For me, academics are important for some because of the need to keep learning, keep making connections, etc. This was so affirming to me to realize. I’m not a lesser person because I want to pursue academics, it’s part of who I am, who God created me to be. I have this need to continue learning new things, to continue to think deeply and make connections that other people might not make. It is my passion, it makes me come alive.
God is the one who instilled this passion in me. God wants me to pursue my passion. God wants me to be the person God created me to be.
(And for the curious, I’m going into English Literature).