Realizing I picked the wrong education
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Thread: Realizing I picked the wrong education

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    Realizing I picked the wrong education

    As the title says, I think I might have picked the wrong education. I have been studying biology for full-time 6 years now but the last 3 years I haven't been able to think of anything else then art, so much that it have engulfed all my free time. If I had known when I was 18 that just studying art will make you better and that it wasn't something you were born with and if I didn't listen to everyone around me who said you couldn't make any money or a career in art - then I would have instantly gone to an art school.

    But after I now graduate (doing final graduation project now) I will be 25, and if I work for a year in biology and then go to an art-school to further myself in art (and get art-discipline which I lack) which is what I really want to do, then if I take a 3 year education or so then I will end up being almost 30 when graduating from that. I am just wondering if it will be worth it, going back to school, again.

    There is also the possibility to at my spare time by the side of my biology-job to study art, but I fear I will be too tired and never really be able to give it my all, and progress will be immensely slower then what would happen at an art school. And to be honest my art-discipline is quite horrible.

    I am not sure what I should do, and if what I want to do is worth it in the end. All I really want is to work with art, biology is a big interest of mine but compared to art it fades to nothingness. I can honestly no longer see myself doing anything else then art in the future. I should also mention that because of this I have been in a depression for quite some time, which I am struggling to get out of.

    I would like to know if anyone been in a similar situation and might have any advice. I would very much like to listen. Any thought are welcome.

    Last edited by LORD M; August 22nd, 2012 at 09:40 PM.
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    I am in that situation. I had the same beliefs as you regarding art and talent and rather than risk being a starving artist, I decided to get my bachelors in Psychology. I actually changed my area of study from Psychology, to 3D animation, to Psychology, to Drawing and Painting and finally back to Psychology. I love art, but at the time, it was just too frustrating with no immediate reward in the foreseeable future....again, this was all before learning that I just needed to stick with it for some years before I would see any progress.

    Now, I'm 20,000 dollars in debt with financial aid, and working at a job (that's related to my area of study) that I hate. It is good in a way, because I get plenty of free time to draw while working and I'm not starving, but I can only imagine where I would be if I knew what I know right now...but such is life and hindsight is 20/20.

    If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to stick with art (hell, I don't even know if I would listen then) if you love it....so, that is my advice to you. You're at a great age and if you work hard enough, as well as make good decisions, you could be a professional before you're 30.

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    LORD M is offline That guy from the cheer me up thread Level 13 Gladiator: Retiarius
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    Seems like that belief is quite common, sadly. I am glad to hear it is good in a way you describe it.

    If I could go back in time, I would have done the exact same thing as you, man. Life is funny.

    I have to mention that I have no debt that binds me to starting working instantly after I graduate. Thanks to my parents strategic thinking before I was born, I have lived very close to my university and thereby never needed to take any kinds of loans. Something my friends tell me I should take advantage of and get a house and start family and such - but that also means I have nothing that binds me to not do an art-education.

    I wish you all luck in psychology, and big thanks for the reply bish0p2004. Made me think a lot.

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    I'm not a professional artist, but I made a major school/career course correction that took longer than you're proposing, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. In fact, you're better off than I am, because I squandered my opportunities when I was younger and spent a long time clawing back lost ground. I wouldn't let age concern you (unless you want to be a model or Olympic gymnast).

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    You can finish biology and have your degree. You can work on art and become what you want to and not need a degree - just find the right education.

    Well I guess you don't have to finish biology and not get a degree, but I kinda figure even if it's not gonna be your passion or love of career, you could finish it if you're not that far off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LORD M View Post
    * * *

    I would like to know if anyone been in a similar situation and might have any advice. I would very much like to listen. Any thought are welcome.
    CA poster ccsears is an engineer in his 30s who made the jump to art professional.

    You might find his SB to be very inspirational at this point!

    [last I checked, he'd never gone full-time to art school-- but he had taken courses from many pros down in So. Cal. and he's got a mentor friend in another pro and CA poster-- Mike Butkis.]

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    There's no way to know if it will be "worth it"...whatever that means anyway. You have to follow what you feel - you have to be smart about it of course, depending on circumstances or others who may be relying on you. Otherwise try not to set up too many "what ifs" and "should Is"...just move forward down the path that feels right and makes sense. Your journey will wander, take unexpected turns, travel up hill and down...don't worry about it just enjoy it.

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    Last edited by Velocity Kendall; August 22nd, 2012 at 11:41 PM.
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    I know how you feel as I'm in a very similar situation. I studied filmmaking at art school (our university had a film degree) and never once considered pursuing art, partly because I was never really exposed to until that point. I stil plan to make films and write books at some point but art has become the dominant factor in recent months and will most likely stay that way.

    Decide what it is you want to do and figure out the best way to achieve that goal. A little risk goes a long way sometimes. The important thing is that your happy and your doing what you love.

    Like what Cider said, age shouldn't be a concern. Ridley Scott didn't make Alien until he was 41 and Monty Python and the Holy Grail didn't come out until Terry Gilliam was 34.

    So cheer up. The days are young and the future is bright

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    You're not alone in this. I've always wanted to be a bookcover artist like Keith Parkinson, but having been convinced that a degree in art didn't matter I went the biology route, as a back up. I did well and even got an internship at Harvard Medical in a cell apoptosis lab and later I worked as a labtech for a couple of years. My science degree and work expreance turned out to be useless after the economy fell apart (overqualified), and I ended up going back into construction.

    I'm still trying to make the transition to being a full-time artist.

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    Last edited by Black Spot; August 23rd, 2012 at 01:48 PM.
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    As many who are in the "I'm glad or wish I changed my major to art earlier" wagon. There are just as many on the opposite wagon as well. Can't say how many people I've met with fine arts degrees working at a Michaels or Barns and Nobles. There is no certainty. As Jeff said go with your feeling and do it in smart way based on your situation.


    I'm still a youngun' compared to many people on these forums. But if I would have jumped into art school years ago right out of high school, taking out loans when I had the chance I would have been up to my ass in debt. Family problems galore, nothing and no one to fall back on and utterly screwed. Instead I'm just drawing in my free time clawing my way up with every scribble and doodle. Then if I feel I'm at that point in life where I can safely say "Hey, I want to give this professional artist thing a shot." I'll at least have the years of practice under my belt even if it was for 'fun'.


    Welp my 2 cents.

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    Go on lots and lots and lots of field studies. Paint specimens and environments that you encounter while you're out there. Make better monsters. Become a naturalist painter. Whatever you like. Art is an interesting problem but in the end you have to have material to work with or else you're just masturbating with paint, regurgitating someone else's experiences.

    You can turn anything into an opportunity if you aren't constantly other-side-of-the-fence-ing it.

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    Yeah I had a similar Story.
    Always had a passion for art
    However early on I was told that art doesn't sell and doesn't have a future unless you are one in a million so choosing it as a career seemed futile.
    Aside from Art I like computers so I went to study Electronics and Computers in highschool and even though I love programming I am not a math head so I didn't have the grades to pursue it and ended up going for Electronics. I ended up working for the army for 3 years and afterwards at a repair lab which was as far off from what I consider fulfilling or interesting, sure it payed well but I found I had no time to do the stuff I actually wanted to do.
    About that time I was starting to wake up to the fact that there is a school of jobs called Game-design and Illustration, even animation and they all get money while improving the skills related to what they love to do.
    I had a choice : Either go further against my nature and work to retake exams and get my high-school scores up to try for a BSc I was not at all sure ill get (bad math) Or try for the road not taken and exploit my talent in art.
    I decided to take the latter but have not entirely regretted my past misadventures : I learned some useful skills by walking the techy path. Skills and understanding that some others do not possess.

    Now my only semi-regret is going for formal college animation studies because I feel like the majority of the content that actually taught me stuff and helped to improve came for free from the internet and I had to teach myself rather than wait for my teachers to finish explaining all the basics to others, And sure it wasn't all bad because I gained some contacts and also got to do film-making and a taste of screenwriting which I probably wouldn't have learned otherwise.
    Still all the going for a college with a shorter course because I was afraid ill end up too old was really stupid, Now I'm 29 and guess what, I still have to catch up with the latest tech and constantly keep learning (which is just the way I like it).

    For me the greatest and most important lesson appears to be the lesson of how to develop and maximize the discipline to sit down and do stuff productively without some guiding or forcing work environment which is tough and not for everyone but I feel that when I have that totally nailed down I would be able to live up to my fullest potential.(id be lying if I said that I'm totally there)
    That lesson doesn't come easy and I don't think that there is a school that can truly teach that, However aside from raw talent that is most probably the major difference between good artists and meh artists.

    So my concluding advice to the OP: If you decide to go to School of some kind, don't worry about the time or the lifespan, some people don't have their shit together also at 30+, especially in this day and era.
    Instead make sure the school you go to does some hardcore spoonfeeding in the field that you want + some hardcore demanding and quality assurance from its students.
    Always remember that unless its a Design degree you do not study for the grades or the diploma(I sure as hell didn't but I know some who did) you are there to make new contacts and broaden your horizons.

    Last edited by LightandDark; August 23rd, 2012 at 01:03 AM.
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    Your post could have been mine almost word by word. One more year to go and I'll have finished my master's degree in biology, while trying to dedicate every free minute to art on the side, which never is enough time of course. I also thought art is all about talent, and I just didn't have enough. (*slaps herself*)

    One option I can think of, after finishing your biology degree, is working just so much that you won't starve (living alone with low standards makes this possible), and invest all the rest of the time in self education. This depends on the availability of a biology related job which allows you to work parttime, of course. Or take your route, work for a while, and then go to an art school... I can't tell you if it will be "worth it", but the thing is: If we don't even give it a try out of fear of being too late/old, we might regret it for the following 40+ years! Maybe it will not work out anyways, but at least this way we honestly tried.
    This said, I don't really know how I'll go on after finishing my degree in biology, but thinking of options all the time...

    I wish you all the best, hope you'll find a way that makes you happy.

    Edit: Oh, and what vineris said. Try to get the best out of your biology knowledge. It's not easy for me to be inspired to paint awesome paintings by all the bacteria stuff, but a solid foundation in science definitely isn't a bad thing to have I guess.

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    Become a scientific illustrator?

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    LORD M, I'm in a really similar situation--just a different field of study! I've wanted to become an illustrator since I was 12 years old, despite having no talent, but when I graduated high school I realized there was no way I could afford to go to art school (no parents/financial savings, in my case). I decided to follow another interest of mine, even when I knew my heart wasn't in it and art was what I really cared about. I graduated from a regular university with a non-art-related degree. Once I graduated, I knew immediately that I had F'ed up and that I should've found a way to work for a few years straight out of high school to save some money, build up my portfolio, and reapply to art schools hoping for bigger scholarships. But hindsight's 20/20, as they say, and it was too late.

    I've spent the past 2.5 years after graduating working at a job that I despise that's killing me slowly. But I went in with a plan to work for 3 years saving as much money as I could, no matter how bad it gets, to go back to school for art afterward. I don't know if I will have enough money saved up to study somewhere full-time for a couple of years, and I wake up every day worrying about how I can save enough money or make things work out. But I know that art is what I want to be doing, and I hope that sheer determination and persistence will somehow get my life back on track.

    I'm 24 now, same as you, and I'm looking at being 25 when I go back to school. I feel bitter and disheartened when I think about my age compared to those who were lucky enough to be born into better financial circumstances than me, allowing them to get a head start. But if nothing else, I'll be much more mature and determined than all of the students fresh out of high school who've never had to work hard for anything for themselves. And it'll mean a hell of a lot more to me than to them, which makes me that much more determined to be successful and do whatever I have to.

    For me, I know what I want to be doing and where I want to be, so even if I'm late to the party, I can't let that stop me. And even if nobody besides me believes in me or thinks I have any chance, I'm going to keep struggling to get an art education and become a professional some day. I think that if you know art's what you want to be doing, you should go for it, regardless of your age or your background. It's not too late to change gears!

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    There are so many people who have their own story. My closest friend dropped out of the biology program in his senior year and finished up in art. Went on to graduate school and now makes are and teaches.

    What you really need to understand is that 25 is still so young. Everyone has to plan around something. For me it was having a large family while young. You make decisions then carry them through and live with the consequences. I can't imagine having gone through the last 30 years trudging away at a "job" I hate. I live art now and only have one regret. I should have started Rogaine 30 years ago too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bcarman View Post
    There are so many people who have their own story.
    It's called "your own private Idaho".

    And I think the use of Rogaine 30 years ago would have precluded having a large family.

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    I don't think it's appropriate to say your education is wrong. You are a more mature person now than when you started biology. You have worked hard and know yourself better. You know art is going to be harder still. Many kids go into art thinking it's easy and they just have to do whatever and get a diploma and Tada! they are artists.

    Whether you decide to get a formal art education or to teach yourself, what you know now will make you a better artist when you are done. I would finish the degree btw You are so close.

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    And I think the use of Rogaine 30 years ago would have precluded having a large family.
    Exactly my point Jeff.

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    From my peculiar perspective, I can't see it as such a problem. These days a science degree is probably at least as much use as brain-training for a practicing artist as most university arts degrees. In fact I've noticed that some guys without any science find it very hard to get the science-based aspects of being an artist, like lighting, colour theory and anatomical construction. You may well want to spend a couple of years at a practical art school, but then I think most people would still need this after their formal Arts degree. Your sketchbook shows that you are way ahead of a lot of arts graduates already. Pick up some solid art history somewhere (all of it, not just your favourite bits!) and you should be fine.

    If Leonardo was around today I'm sure he'd pick a biology degree too!

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    Quote Originally Posted by briggsy@ashtons View Post
    If Leonardo was around today I'm sure he'd pick a biology degree too!
    Thanks for that. It's a nice way to put things into perspective!

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    I have a M.Sc in Zoology, but I never did work in that field. I don't regret doing it though.

    "Art is born of the observation and investigation of nature"
    Cicero.

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    Quote Originally Posted by briggsy@ashtons View Post
    If Leonardo was around today I'm sure he'd pick a biology degree too!
    PHYSICIST

    sehertu mannu narāṭu ina pānāt šagapīru ningishzidda
    abrahadabra
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    Quote Originally Posted by briggsy@ashtons View Post
    If Leonardo was around today I'm sure he'd pick a biology degree too!
    Engineering.

    Have you seen his resume?

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    Biology is the most sophisticated engineering there is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by briggsy@ashtons View Post
    In fact I've noticed that some guys without any science find it very hard to get the science-based aspects of being an artist, like lighting, colour theory and anatomical construction.
    Yeah, if only Sargent understood light better.

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  55. #29
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    Hmmh, I think it is very difficult to imagine how important art would be for you, if biology wasn't in your life as it is right now. You say it is a big interest of yours, and well, if you didn't hate it enough to not have quit in the last 3 years, I'd take a guess and say, you are doing just good.

    I went to my local art college to do some lifedrawing for a few months, and I was just looking at the students running around there, what they were doing.. just insane. 17 year olds, most of them wasting their time and 'expressing themselves creatively'. Yeah, that was the reality that I didn't want to live in.

    Why can't you embrace both as important parts of your life? Depending on the job market, location and your flexibility you can get jobs ranging from 30 to 60 hours a week, just see what lifestyle fits you best. In fact, I see it as an enrichment to have two (or more) passions. Many art people around here and politics students back at my uni have this narrow-mindedness about themselves, because they choose their bubble to live in. That's fine for them, but would it work for you? Would you still pick up the Biological Quarterly if you did Art? Wonder about research projects that you know of, stuff you could find? Would you really want to drop it all?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Izi View Post
    PHYSICIST
    Mechanical Engineer/Industrial designer..

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