1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Choosing what to study at university? Art vs. Science

Discussion in 'General Support and Advice' started by Kodo, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. Kodo

    Full Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2015
    Messages:
    1,623
    Likes Received:
    651
    Location:
    Northern California
    Gender:
    Male (trans*)
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    So I just completed my first year at a university and I'm conflicted about what program to study. I entered school with the intent to major in Psychology, to later on get a doctorate in Neuropsychology or Neuroscience. This field really intrigues me and I think I could do well in it. Ever since I was thirteen I was drawn to the study of the brain and mind, and want a job where I can help people.

    On the other hand I love the arts, and soon after entering university decided to change my field of study for a double major in Music and Dance. Music is a huge part of my life and always has been, and I was hoping to put the double major to use as a composer. I love listening to and composing music. But I fear that unless I am truly distinguished as a musician, then I will not have a job after I graduate. The prospect of being in job limbo or stuck in a job that I hate terrifies me.

    I am looking for any advice for what to do here. I've always been split between my love of science and art... And now that it matters which I choose to study, I'm at a loss.
     
  2. Nimmer

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2017
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    UK
    Gender:
    Other
    Gender Pronoun:
    They
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Some people
    Hmmm... I'd say, if you love both equally, if both hold the same importance in your life—I wouldn't advise going for a field you absolutely hate— perhaps look where the money is? I know, that's a cynical and jaded point of view, but unless you want to drag some student loan for ages, a job that doesn't pay much, or worse, not many work opportunities, well, let's say you'll have to be very motivated. I don't know how it is in the music industry. I assume it's like in anything art-related, though, where either you make it big or you're going to struggle all along?

    I can only speak from personal experience here, but I basically 'wasted' 10 years of my life studying things that interested me, sure, like art and history. There weren't many jobs for a History major, though, apart from teaching history; and art turned out to be very disheartening, once I realised that mostly it'd be about doing stuff for customers, and not things I liked. Anyway, it took me almost 20 years to realise I was actually an engineer, not an artist. Now I'm finally having a blast in the first job in my life that's paying more than the basic necessities. I wish I had understood that earlier.

    Also, on a brighter note: for science + music, go and check the A Capella Science videos. These guys look like they managed to unite both, and are having fun with it. There may be ways of having both!

    But... Yeah... Difficult choice to make, I agree.
     
  3. BlueNeon

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2018
    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    United States
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Would music therapy be a viable option? That seems like something that would combine your interest in music with helping people. I don't know if that program is offered near you, but it seems like it might be a good fit.
     
  4. Destin

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2018
    Messages:
    656
    Likes Received:
    240
    Location:
    The United States
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Some people
    I'm a science major. My advice to other students about this topic is, can you easily do one of them as a hobby but not the other one? If the answer is yes don't major in the one that can be a hobby. You can work in neuroscience and still have dance/music as a fun activity to learn about as much as you want for the rest of your life. It would be nearly impossible to study neuroscience in-depth as a hobby on your own so it makes more sense to study that in college if you like it.

    As you mentioned, practicality is also very important. As any kind of science major you will always have options (if you have a good GPA at least). Research, medical professions, teaching, working in industry as a chemist, even patent law which is an extremely high paying field most attorneys can't get into because it requires an undergraduate degree in science not just a law degree.

    My university has a fantastic music program, the best one in the state, and still people who graduate from here with a fine arts degree like music/dance/theater never end up working in that field because they can't get jobs. It was a crazy small number, like only 5% of graduates were working in their field after graduation and the rest got non-fine arts jobs anyway.
     
  5. Bernice

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2017
    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    Gloucestershire
    Gender:
    Other
    Gender Pronoun:
    Other
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Not out at all
    Ok first off I'm from the UK so how things work over there might be different. Anyway I started Uni studying Psychology twinned with Religion and Philosophy. However within a few weeks I realised that the Psychology course wasn't for me and nearly quit but I was enjoying R & P so switched to that full time. I loved it and got my degree but it hasn't helped in getting any jobs since then.
    I'd echo Destin and see if one is something you can study at a lower level. I was given similar advice when choosing between doing Philosophy or Creative Writing and it was pointed out to me that I could always do a creative writing course of sometime outside Uni. One other thing I'll mention is that I was in my thirties when I went to uni. Maybe you could study that one most likely to lead to a job and money and then go back to study the other later in life?
     
  6. Aspen

    Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2014
    Messages:
    1,022
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Michigan
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Neuropsych is a growing field, but one you have to be committed to graduate level schooling if you want a solid position. I have a bachelor's in psychology and I didn't make it into graduate school. Part of this was my area (clinical psychology) and part of it was I just didn't make the cut. You have to be prepared to gain research experience, maintain a solid GPA, and rock the GRE and that's all before you apply. I will say that I went to a neuroscience conference as a presenter and I could see the disappointment when I told the schools in attendance there that I wanted to pursue a clinical degree instead of neuroscience.

    How much is a degree going to help you with your arts goals? Can you get a job without one? Are internships or building a portfolio more important for the kind of position you want?
     
  7. quebec

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2014
    Messages:
    1,236
    Likes Received:
    518
    Location:
    Idaho
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Some people
    Kodo.....I started college with a Chemistry major and a math minor. I retired four years ago having been a high school band director for 41 years! I got tired of endless labs in college and really enjoyed music, so I switched majors. The thing about Arts Majors is having a backup way to earn a living as pure Arts jobs are few. Quite a few of my friends in the Music Department in college planned to be performers, but got an Ed. degree just in case. At the end of my college days I had the chance to be in an Opera Company in a medium size city but finally opted for education..I'm glad I did! Oh yea....not to confuse anybody, I did graduate with a voice major even though I had played instruments since I was 11 years old. I taught both vocal and instrumental music for my first eight years then stuck with just instrumental after that. I always joined local adult choirs on the side just for enjoyment. So, like @Destin said can music be a hobby?...because I don't think neuroscience is usually considered a hobby!! :old_smile:
    .....David :gay_pride_flag:
     
    Destin likes this.