Post # 1
So the jist of the story is, I am 20 years old, in college, switching from a school in NYC where I was majoring in Design and Management, which is basically a weird business degree to help one go into the fashion industry. I hated it, my whole like I thought I wanted to work in fashion, then when I did, it was just entirely absurd and I couldn’t do it. I’m switching into either an art history or art education major at my new school (depending on what credits are taken, which I find out this afternoon). My dad and I had a talk about 20 minutes ago, about how it’s nice to have a dream, but I needed a practical dream. my whole my parents wanted me to be an engineer or a lawyer or doctor, but basically I suck at it all, except in the arts and at history. Which, is a parents worst nightmare.
The part that really bothered me about this conversation is that my dad told me at some point I would need to become independent, and go on my own, basically insinuating that at some point I’d have to be cut off, which is cool and all, normal and understandable if we had a normal family situation. My eldest brother though is 28 years old, a drug addict, who was kicked out of high school, is still working on his bachelors degree, been in prison for DUI’s, and is also an alcoholic, and my dad is still supporting him, and as far as I’m aware has not had the same conversation with him. My brother lives in South America now, where my dad is still funneling him money behind my mom and I’s back. I have been the golden child for my parents, I have done nothing but behave, I gradauted with honors from high school, I didn’t even go to a single party until I hit college, I have done nothing wrong, I have lived my life to make life for my parents easier, and what do I get? A cut off date and disapproval. My brother fucks evreything up and what does he get? An endless supply of sympathy and money. (not that money really matters, my parents have given me everything they can and I’m super grateful) This is the first time I’ve ever dissapointed my parents and I basically feel worthless, and like I’m pulling everyone back and forth with my career. I just feel so sad and confused.
I know it’s long, and if you know anything about the art history/art education field, help me out to convince my parents I’m not totally ruining my life. (Because apparently having a drug addiction is better than an art history degree)
Post # 3
Because of his addictions, your brother cannot survive on his own unless your father gives him money. In other words, your brother lives on your father’s charity. Be thankful that your father gave you a cut off date instead. It means that in your father’s eyes, you are not a screwed-up case that constantly sucks his finances dry.
As you mentioned, you are the golden child of your family. You always get good grades and do the right thing. Perhaps that’s why your father was so surprised at the unexpected setbacks you had in college. He probably thought college would be smooth sailing for you.
The talk that your dad gave you is a realistic one. You need to find work to support yourself after you graduate. Because one day he would be too old to support both you and your brother on his own. It shouldn’t be surprising to you that he would want you to be able to stand on your own feet. Because you can. You are supposed to be the sensible and capable one. Your dad is also probably exhausted having to take constant care of his 28 year old son who lives on another continent, you do realize how sad that sounds.
As for art history, well, be prepared to read A LOT and write a lot of papers. I’m not an art history major. But I’m doing a Fine Arts Bachelors degree and art history modules are compulsory for me. As for job prospects, you can work in museums or galleries as a curator. Or you can become a lecturer at universities (not sure, you might need a masters or phd in art history for this? you need to do research). I don’t live in US. But generally that’s what art history and fine arts students do in my country after they graduate. I would recommend that you go see the career guidance counsellor in your college (do you have that in US?) or ask the art history professors or teaching assistants for advice about job prospects.
Another word of advice: Keep your writing and speaking skills sharp. You never know if you might write a book or a column for magazines or blogs… or work in the publishing/editorial/public relations/advertising industry in future. (These are some of the jobs that only require either a general or arts related degree.)
Do your research, ask around…
Post # 4
@Ittybittymonster: …punkin…in this instance, your father’s insinuation of your impending independance is the largest compliment he can give you, your brother is someone that may never figure out life, independance or sobriety…and here you are, you had a dream, you followed it and it took you somewhere else, that’s wonderful….and what your father is really saying, in that messed up way that fathers say things sometimes is:
“I guess you don’t need me anymore…”
It’s not always fair, but its not easy being a parent either and when your children are so vastly separated in their acheivements, its difficult to always ensure that what you’re doing for both of them is:
1. What they need.
2. Balanced in some way or another.
I’m terribly sorry that this has hurt your feelings, and I know that it seems like your brother is getting all of the attention and coddling and sympathy, but I imagine that when your folks head out to dinner with friends, all they can talk about is you, where you are, where you’re going, how proud they are of you…and its screwed up they can’t lavish those good words on you directly, but that’s how it goes sometimes.
Post # 5
- Wedding: November 2014 - Sea Ranch Lodge
Just because your brother mooches off of your parents doesn’t mean that you should expect the same for yourself. Don’t compare yourself to someone who you don’t want to be like.
I personally cut myself off from my family financially when I was younger than you. Not because they needed the money, or because I felt bad taking it, but because I was an adult and felt like I needed to act like one. You seem so focused on being the “golden child” and not doing anything wrong – your relationship with your parents still seems very child-like.
Perhaps you need to stand up for yourself, tell them that you’re the one deciding what is best for you, and that you hope that they support your decision. Aka act like an adult.
Post # 7
@Nona99: I agree with this.
OP, I’m sorry you’re going through this. For starters, you don’t need to convince your parents that you’re not ruining your life. It is your life. You need to convince yourself. As long as you’re happy with your decisions, things will work out. Did your dad actually give you a cut off date? Does that mean he won’t pay tuition either?
You can put yourself through school if necessary. Tons of bees have done this, including me. It’s not necessarily ideal to graduate with student loans, but many people do this and they are fine. Can you look for a part time job that is not too stressful and will work around your classes? Maybe you can start saving money now and gain some work experience before the cut off date. Then you’ll gain some confidence that you can do this! Hard work is just that– hard. But it feels so satisfying when you accomplish something difficult and scary! You’ll do fine.
Also, the good thing is that you’re still young. You have plenty of time to figure out what you want to do with your life and your career. It’s ok to change your mind. How the hell are you supposed to know what you want to do for the rest of your life at 18 anyway? So it’s understandable that you’re changing your mind. It’s better to do it now than a few years from now when you have that degree that you don’t want anyway.
In terms of art history or art education, what sort of careers can one get with a degree in art history? I’m not very familiar with that degree. But obviously with an art education degree, you can go in to teaching. Is that something you see yourself doing? If so, look into any credentialing requirements for art teachers in your area. See what the situation is. Are the requirements different if you want to teach elementary art opposed to middle school art or high school art? etc.
As a side note, I have to disagree with @Jaey:‘s comment: “Because of his addictions, your brother cannot survive on his own unless your father gives him money.” Entirely untrue. If your father wants your brother to stop doing drugs, he needs to stop giving him money. He’s basically paying for his drugs.
Post # 8
Honestly my parents didnt have any money, still don’t, and I’m so proud of the fact that I did it on my own. I worked while going to school and paid for all my own stuff. I learned early on the difference between wants and needs and I’m fantastic with money.
I sometimes feel bad for people who can’t push themselves off the ground because they always have their parents to fall back on.
At 29, my student loans are almost paid off and the wedding budget is mostly me. (Some Fi)
Post # 9
@JenniMichele: I agree. The father is basically spoiling his son. However the father doesn’t stop giving the latter money because he fears that worse things will happen to his son without it. Parents are soft hearted when it comes to their kids.
Post # 10
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@Ittybittymonster: Do whatever makes you happy because you only get one chance in life. Dad has a good point that at some point they will probably cut you off and they want to make sure you are self sufficient. I wouldn’t be making comparisons to your older brother because he could get cut off at any point as well.
The only caveat here is if dad is paying for your degree then you really have two options: 1) major in a practical major like dad wants so he continues to pick up the bill; or 2) major in whatever you want (and be happy) but risk having dad cut you off and having to pay for your degree on your own.
If you have scholarships or are paying for it yourself then major in whatever you want and tell dad that you’ll figure it when the time comes.
Post # 11
Honestly, there is not a lot you can do with an art history degree. That being said, if you go to a good school for it, and do well, and apply for graduate school in art history, you could go far in that particular discipline. In addition, if you go to a good school for it and do well, you will have a decent liberal arts degree under your belt. That’s an asset. It will be hard for anyone to find a job in two years (I assume, given the way things are going), but it won’t be impossible if you’re at the top of your game.
What school are you considering? I know Bryn Mawr has an excellent art history program.
Post # 12
@Ittybittymonster: Look at it this way… your parents know that you’ll be capable of supporting yourself. Your brother will not. Sucks but your position sounds like a better one to be in.
My sister has an art history degree and an art history masters from a VERY prestigious school. She has not been able to be hired in the field. She works doing something completely unrelated. It sucks. You basically need a ton of experience and a phD to get a job in the art world unless you know someone. She’s been applying to places all over the world for 2+ years now. She got perfect grades. Unless you can get some practical experience in the field while doing your degree, I wouldn’t touch it myself. You really have to look at career opportunities.. not just what you’re good at, unfortunately.
Post # 14
Hey guys, I should’ve stated that I have tuition paid off entirely myself on scholarship, all my parents really help me out with cost of living (which is low and I work). Before at my other school I haid almost nearly all of the private school tuition paid off in scholarship as well. My dad doesn’t pay for whatever else is left either, it’s all my mom.
Today my dad asked if I was going to wait tables for a living, one of the biggest reasons I’m transferring schools is for health and because I loathed my old business major (which was half graphic design). Today I found out that I’ll be able to gradute early as an art history major, because I am fluent in Spanish and have a steady portfolio in english as well as the arts. I am attending a state school, but it is in the top 25 for art schools, higher than the previous school I was attending, which was top 40.
I know I need to stop comparing myself to my sibling, but it doesn’t even come down that much to money, mostly just how often I feel like I have dissapointed my parents, in not becoming a lawyer or an engineer (which didn’t help that this week that I tested into calculus for engineers, but I had help from the internet…) I’ve begged my parents to cut my brother off, because all their doing is supporting his drug and alcohol habit. Sigh, story for another day.
But that said, I hope to work in a museum perhaps getting my masters in curatorial studies or in a gallery likewise, or even teach art history at the university or k-12 level. Whatever I can get my hands on, I have connections to curators at MoMA and in the fashion and textile industry, that work alongside the MET, which hopefully is something as well as connections with the Phoenix Art Museum. Hopefully I can get something there. I am keeping hopeful and planning on busting my butt.
Thanks for reading and helping with my crazy long vent bees! 🙂
ETA: I should note, that my parents and I have a pretty good relationship and I think I’m feeling a little terrible because this is my first real moment of disappointment with them.