Some of the cast members of Tisch New Theatre’s production of “Legally Blonde.”

Often the hardest part about pursuing an artistic degree is feeling the need to justify it to others. Simultaneously bracing for and internalizing every dreaded question such as “Are you sure?” and “What’s your backup plan?” can weaken your resolve. My immediate family has always been supportive of my pursuit of the performing arts. However, there are people close to me who are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with my life decision. Whenever I face  insecurities about my choice to pursue the arts, I have a number of productive ways of thinking about the artistic field to ground myself, which, in turn, helps ground others.

Know Why You’re Doing It

Deciding to dedicate your youth to pursuing an artistic field is not an easy decision to make. Nevertheless, the specific drive and passion necessary to succeed is not singular to the arts. It is indispensable fuel to sustain success in any career. Education is the first step in giving yourself the best possible chance at developing these skills. You are in college to learn. No one is expecting you to be the best. Furthermore, if you change your mind, it’s no problem! At least you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that you did everything in your power to give it your best shot. In addition, as a comprehensive and academically flexible institution, NYU has a number of resources that aid our internal transfers and dual degree seekers.

Do Your Research

For those of us with a muscular left brain, sometimes the only way to tame our anxiety is to get more information. Therefore, it helps to do positive research and find references that validate your dreams instead of dismiss them. Be proactive by taking advantage of the resources at NYU and in New York City to pursue your profession in an artistic field. The opportunities are endless—you just have to look for them. Once you feel like you have validated your decision FOR YOURSELF, you can explain your reasoning to those close to you. Speak to them frankly and confidently about your goals and decision-making process. But remember, no matter the outcome of that conversation, justifying your decision for yourself is what matters most.

Final Thoughts
Profile of the author, Beth Million.

As someone who is about to hold my very own artistic degree in my abnormally small hands this May, I am sure of one thing: precollege me would be very proud of the person I am today. I will leave NYU with more pride and less uncertainty than I had coming in. No matter where life takes me, I will look back on these four years fondly, with no regrets at all. The best-case scenario is just as much of a possibility as the worst.

What in the world...

The recent pandemic is consuming a lot of our peace of mind lately. It is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our futures seem unclear. Industries of all kinds are adapting and transforming. Graduating with an artistic degree in this climate is disorienting but has put a lot of things into perspective for me. Motivation is scarce, but I have found that the fuel that got me to pursue the arts in the first place is what I depend on through these strange circumstances. It has become something valuable for me to fight for. Though I’m unsure what this change will look like, professionally, I am so thankful to have the education to help navigate me through it. Who knows, we might be the ones pioneering it.

“Work as hard as you can at what you love and it will give you the clarity and assurance that you need.”