ASU voices: why students switch majors to the arts

Students are switching majors to the arts in a STEM-focused education system, despite low job prospects

In a culture where many students are pushed by both the school system and their parents to pursue majors in science, technology, engineering and math, some ASU students have decided to follow their passions into the arts instead. 

ASU performance sophomore Jake Krejsta changed his major from computer science in order to pursue his passion in music. 

"I always knew I wanted to go into music," Krejsta said. "Because I was scared, I decided to go into something that I found interesting but wasn't necessarily passionate about, so I went into computer science."

He said the field was interesting and secure, but that by the end of his first semester, Krejsta realized his heart wasn't in it. He said this revelation became apparent when he realized that he did not want to waste another moment in life doing something that was unfulfilling. 

"At this point, I was already contemplating the major switch, and it was then that I realized I have so little time on earth, comparatively, that I cannot imagine spending so much time on something that I didn't care about," he said. 

Krejsta encouraged students coming out of high school to pursue the arts. He also said the job prospects of STEM may not be as plentiful as most make it out to be. 

Through an email correspondence, ASU senior and history major Harvey Donner gave personal reasons as to why he switched from an economics major to the liberal arts. Donner said that despite an economics degree being more marketable, he didn't think he would be inspired to work to his highest potential. 

"An econ degree would've gotten me jobs I'd have hated and never wanted to do," Donner said. "As long as I can find something to pay the bills, I'd rather spend my education and academic career studying something I'm passionate about."  

Some students who change their majors usually report that the emotional investment is more important than they previously thought, while also realizing that the financial investment should not be the only consideration when choosing their college major.

This was the case for ASU senior and film major Caden Depietro, who said he pursued film because he always loved movies and making videos.

"I didn't want to go to school with the sole purpose of getting a degree that would just make me money," Depietro said. "I could have been an engineer or something along those lines, but I wanted to spend the rest of my life being happy, and I knew math was not going to make me happy."

Depietro said he is well aware about the difficulties of breaking into the job market when it comes to film. 

"I absolutely care about how hard it is to get into the film industry. It's one of the hardest industries to get into, but that doesn't discourage me at all. I just know I have to work that much harder than everyone else to make it where I want to make it," he said. 

Depietro also encouraged every student to be the best at what they want to pursue, adding that the key to success lies in the person and not the degree.

"I think it's important to understand that a degree doesn't guarantee a job in your field. It might help, but unfortunately, it's not a golden ticket," Depietro said. "The ticket to success in any field is yourself and what you are willing to do and sacrifice in order to be the best you can be." 

A short film Depietro made.

Both Krejsta and Depietro cited the famous Robin Williams line from the movie "Dead Poets Society" as a way to encapsulate their feelings of the importance of arts education in today's society: "Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for." 

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