Uncle Euclid: Practicality or passion?

Uncle Euclid, Advisor

Dear Uncle Euclid,

I am currently in trouble. I am extremely upset because I am stuck majoring in engineering but I have a deep passion for visual arts. What should I do? I want to follow my dreams, but financial security comes first. I can use any advice I can get.


Fretting in Fribley

Dear Fretting in Fribley:

So you’re feeling blue about where you are on your career path. Luckily, there is always a solution. Come on in, son, and warm yourself by the fire. It can be hard to express creative passion at Case Western Reserve University without it being shot down immediately because it isn’t “sciency” enough.

Being passionate about the arts and wanting to pursue them professionally is risky. We all want to follow our dreams but at the same time, financial security is necessary in this day and age. Honestly, there are three paths you can take, and each relies on what you feel is more important to you.

The first option is the more “reasonable” of the three: since you have already begun an engineering degree, continuing with it could be extremely beneficial professionally. Engineering is a great degree, with a fantastic job market and many opportunities for success. You could find a way to combine engineering and art, perhaps through a cognitive science approach (there are plenty of engineers in design), or even in advertising (every gadget advertisement you see involves the work of a talented designer as well).

The second option is to focus completely on engineering and lay your dreams of being an artist to rest for the time being. If you are very far along in your engineering degree, and financial security is your priority right now, focus on finding an engineering job and pursuing art as a hobby. Again, this may not be what you want to hear; however, finding that perfect inbetween with art and engineering could give you the salary and stability you desire while fueling your passions.

Lastly, you could do the ultimate sacrificial move: drop everything and pursue your art wholeheartedly. This would require your complete commitment; focus on your passion, present your vision to individuals who will support you and play it fast and loose until you make it. This might be the riskiest and most unstable option, but it would be the most fulfilling.

For now, Uncle Euclid advises you to focus on your degree and engage in the arts in your free time, or find a perfect medium that pays you and entertains you. Find a way to support yourself in case your decision changes, my child.