LC should expand art students’ job prospects

I would first like to say that  I am majoring in English and loving every minute of it. Second, I hope to find a career after college that pays a livable income. Third, and perhaps my most radical goal, I would like to find a career where I can actually use the skills I have learned from my major (blasphemous, I know).

Last academic year I attended a meet-and-greet put on by the Career Center, which was advertised for students interested in design, communication and writing. Hoping to form connections with local newspapers and publishing companies, I decided to check it out. Instead, I was met with various brands looking for people to perform outreach online, run their social media page and design advertisements. 

I left with a sense of dread, wondering if this was the reality that awaited me after graduation. Would I be stuck in some meaningless public relations position trying to pay the bills? Will all that I have worked for go towards writing Facebook posts for some brand I do not care about? 

After a brief moment of panic, I realized that this was not the case. There is a wide array of attainable careers out there where I can use my creative talents in a meaningful way. Unfortunately, Lewis & Clark did not help me connect with these sorts of opportunities. 

I believe I can speak for many students pursuing “impractical” majors when I say that we all have anxieties surrounding finding a well-paying career that aligns with our creative passions. And, it certainly does not help to have family members who feel the need to lecture you on how useless your major is and how you will never find a job (I am looking at you, grandpa). 

As a liberal arts institution encouraging students to follow their passions, LC has the responsibility to help students pursuing creative fields of study to connect with other people and companies that align with their talents and dreams. As I have identified this gap, here are my suggestions for how to fill it: Connect aspiring writers with publishing companies, newspapers and publications. Connect aspiring artists with galleries and other artists in the area. Connect aspiring musicians to record labels, music stores looking to hire instructors and local bands looking for talent. You get the picture.

As graduation creeps closer and closer, these fears of not finding a meaningful job are becoming all the more palpable. Therefore, LC, please help provide guidance to students like me who want to have careers that will foster the passions college has helped them discover. Life after college is terrifying as is, and anything to soften the harsh, unforgiving blow of adulthood is greatly appreciated. 

Riley has been a writer and photographer for the Pioneer Log since Fall 2018, and held the position of News Editor both Spring and Fall 2019. This semester she is serving as an Arts Editor for the first time. She loves to write reviews of poetry, film and other artistic events, articles surrounding sustainability and environmental issues both locally and more broadly, and stories that amplify lesser heard voices in the Lewis & Clark and Portland communities. Her primary goals as an Arts Editor are to create a poetry section that showcases the creative writing of LC students and to continue to diversify content in the Arts section.

Riley is an English Major and Environmental Studies Minor. Outside of her studies and work on the paper, she holds another job at a vegan and gluten free eatery in Northeast Portland. She is also a proud mother to two adorable kitties, Cosmo and Cupid. In her free time, Riley enjoys reading literature, writing poetry, cooking, painting, and giving her fur babies lots of love.

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