It’s hard being in college and trying to figure out your career path. It becomes even more grueling when the majority of your friends and relatives undermine your field of study. As a fresh graduate with a degree in the Arts, I have had more than my fair share of questions as to what it is that I really do.
Despite answering the same kinds of questions a million times, we are more than happy to repeat our answers if anyone else has similar doubts. However, it gets quite annoying when members of our community make their own thoroughly uninformed statements about the path you’re pursuing.
If you are currently enrolled in an Arts course(like Journalism, media studies, design, etc) or about to join, get ready for the intense questions, condescending tones, and thinly veiled sarcasm. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t worry: we have all been through this. What makes it better is the fact you can write about it, too.
1. “So, your course is like a common Bachelor of Commerce Degree?”
Yup, it is, I just like to act fancy and call it Media and Communication. Oh – also, I’m not good at balancing accounts, but with you I don’t think it even matters, right?
2. “Is it a B.Sc. (Bachelor of Science) or B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)?”
This is a tricky question. If you answer B.Sc., then you pass the “intellectual” meter. Answer with B.A, then it would be swiftly followed by a loaded sigh, signaling their disapproval. Congratulations, you just went below average on their educational standard! The best way to answer if you are a B.A. student is to simply flash a smile and say yes to nothing in particular.
3. “So you’ll be walking around with a microphone and camera?”
This can also be phrased as, “You get a job by only reporting on a story right?” Students, beware. This isn’t a question; it’s actually a statement on how unstable your career is, at least from their perspective. The best possible answer: “No, aunty, it’s a great job. When there isn’t a story, we just sit and write about cats.”
4. “In a way, a Communications degree is great, because there isn’t any stress, right?”
The statement is usually followed by “Isn’t it a really easy course?” If the questioner has a daughter or son who’s studying for some “difficult” courses, then this question becomes a leeway for the aunty.
She’ll then go on to describe the struggles her poor child faces. The question was just a rhetorical one. She just wants to let you know that you are taking the easy way out of college (or she thinks!).
However, if they do wait for an answer, reply with, “Yes aunty, I just go to class and they let me pass. In fact, the GPA that you see, that’s just the number of days I attended classes. The rest of the days I am just lying at home with my aforementioned cat articles.”
5. “Hey take a pic, photographer!” or “Could you fix this site?”
Outings become an assignment of sorts because every aunty wants to see your photography skills. This is because they think you spend the last 3 years only taking pictures. If you love taking photos, then you’re all good. However, if you want to be a writer and are judged based on your photography, well, what can you even say? To those who ask about the site issues, just reply by pressing the ‘off’ button.
There, all better now.
6. “How is your research topic even relevant to the society?”
Every undergraduate student knows the struggle of writing a thesis paper.
When you are a media student, somehow, your research on changing media trends or representation doesn’t count as ‘actual research.’ It becomes a mere piece of ‘creative writing.’ The best way to answer this would be to use a thesaurus on your title and tell them the ‘modified’ title. So your title “Vampire Imaginaries in Media” becomes “Mental Images of Hellion in expressions.”
Now, it almost sounds like a doctoral thesis so they won’t ask any further.
7. “You’re done with college. Now, what will you work as?”
Okay, this question is not all that bad. It depends on the tone of the questioner.
It might be a genuine question as to what path you want to pursue. However, it gets really annoying when the question is dripping with sarcasm. The best possible answer is, “I’m job hunting and but for your satisfaction, I’ll say ‘planning for masters’. Oh and thanks for amplifying my existing insecurities about my talents and career.”
8. “Done with college and just sitting at home? Why don’t you just get married then?”
I can’t even begin to point out how many things are wrong with this statement. You want to add to my existing insecurity and confusion, by meeting a complete stranger?
“I can almost read your mind. Planning a wedding would take up my time so I won’t lazying around. Nice plan, but I prefer planning a trip with my friends. No? Oh, because I’m not old enough. Okay, I guess I’ll just test my communication skills by trying to get away from this conversation.”