Head or Heart

AllisonMiller_HeadorHeart_Pic

~a guest post by Allison at Allison Miller~

So by now I’m sure most of you have figured out that Chelsea invited a few of us to guest write for her blog. Because I have never been a guest author before, I am both nervous and excited to tell you a story that will hopefully inspire all of you. But first, let me introduce myself:

Hi, my name is Allison, and I am an artist.

When Chelsea first approached me about guest writing, she asked me to write about one or a few of my works. However, I felt like it would be as if I were trying to brag about myself, so with Chelsea’s permission, I decided to go a different route. Sure, if you decide you would like to see my art, I will include the links to my website and facebook page at the bottom of this article. Anyway, enough of the jibber jabber. Let us get to the actual topic of my article…

For those like myself, who thrive on creativity as well as academics, it is hard to find the perfect balance between passion and logic. Sure, there are ways to have the best of both worlds, but often the societal pressures influence our choices, especially when it comes to choosing a future. If you asked any successful adult about the key to career success, almost all of them would emphasize the importance of receiving a college degree; in fact, with each new graduating class, the demand for post-graduate degrees in many industries continues to grow. With that knowledge, many rising freshman choose majors based on the demand of the job market at the time. For the longest time, I was one of those students who convinced herself that creativity should take a backseat to academics.

I have considered myself an artist since before I was even able to speak. Even as a child, the thought of creating with markers or crayons made me about as excited as a kid on the way to the ice cream shop. I believe that what most excited me was the anticipation, the potential of creating something unique out of even the simplest of supplies. Even as I stared at a blank canvas, I could already see the final product I wanted to create. Sure, the final product was almost always nothing like what I had first imagined, but the surprise of my creations developing differently than I originally imagined excited me just as much.

Over the years, I began to improve my skill through taking lessons at school. I even chose my high school based on the knowledge that they had one of the best art programs in the state. For four years I learned from some of the best teachers and artists, and my skill began to grow. Art started to become less of a hobby and more of a lifestyle. However, my parents urged me to consider other interests so I would have an idea of what degree I wanted to pursue in college. They said that choosing a career as an artist would be a gamble, considering many phenomenal artists are not able to survive financially in the rapidly unpredictable economy.

Don’t get me wrong; my parents have always supported my interest in art. But like any good parent, they wanted to give me my best chance at life, and putting all the eggs in one basket just wasn’t the best decision. So I listened to them.

Except instead of being aware of my best options to do something I enjoy, I decided that I would not continue pursuing art after high school. I began to think about my other interests instead: writing, reading, working with children… the list went on and on. By the beginning of my senior year of high school I had practically decided on pursuing education or journalism. Either way, I told myself that art would not be a major part of my future.

But in reality, deciding to leave art once I graduated from high school would be like leaving a part of myself behind. Art was the reason I survived middle school, the reason I found myself in high school, and the reason I was able to grow as a person. As the year drew to a close, I suddenly had all this anxiety built up. I thought the nerves originated from the fear of going to college, but that was not the case. After using my art to avoid thinking about the impending enigma that was college, I realized the problem: how was I going to justify avoiding my emotions once I left art behind?

Okay, I’m just kidding about the whole ignoring-my-emotions-by-burying-myself-into-art. But I am serious about realizing that art wasn’t something I could just leave behind. I thought part of becoming an adult was leaving the minor things behind, but art wasn’t minor… at least not to me. My art is who I am.

After much thought, I decided to pursue a career in art… but with a twist. I have declared a double major in Art Education and Public Relations. That combination did many things for me, (1) I am able to pursue both Education and Journalism (PR is in the college of Journalism at UGA), and (2) I am able to continue my art and pass on my knowledge to students of my own. As you might know, art education jobs aren’t always available. I can hope that 2018 will be lucky for wannabe art educators, but in reality, when schools lose funding, art is the first thing to go. Teaching is what I really want to do, but if I cannot find a job teaching art, I can pursue PR. My favorite thing about public relations is the wide array of options it gives me. There are literally dozens of job titles that are associated with the degree, and a substantial amount of them include design. Win, win situation? I think so.

If you are to leave with anything from this article, it’s this: don’t talk yourself out of pursuing your dream. Often we side with either logic or passion, but it’s the well-balanced combination that is key. The truth is, life isn’t about Head or Heart. It’s about Head and Heart. Choosing a degree that involves your passion should be just as important as choosing a degree that is successful. No one wants to be that person who hates his or her job but stays because the pay is good.

So thankfully I was able to discover how important art is to me before I pursued something that wouldn’t make me happy. In reality, it’s never too late to change your mind. Make the right decision; choose happiness, and I promise you won’t regret it.

My website: www.theallisonmiller.com

My facebook: www.facebook.com/allisonmillerart

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