Difficulties of being an arts student

Just a little bit of background knowledge - I'm 19 this year, finishing up my second year diploma in Arts Management, NAFA.

What's Arts Management about?

Basically we take similar subjects as compared to Business Management students but we're more specialised in the arts scene.

How long is your course of study in NAFA?

Just like any other poly students, I'll graduate after my third year.

Today, I'd like to share with you how I feel about being an "arts student."

On the surface, I may lead a glorious life as an online personality but in reality, I'm just like many other 19 year old who wakes up before the sun rises and attends school on a daily basis.

The only difference between going to a normal poly/JC in Singapore as compared to an arts school, is that we actually don't receive as much respect or recognition as we rightfully deserve.

I'll give credit where it's due and I'm glad that over the last couple of years, the arts scene has been blooming and young talents are now more publicly acclaimed. 

Sadly, we know that until today, the masses have not gotten rid of their traditional thinking that "IF YOU STUDY ARTS, YOU HAVE NO FUTURE." What's sadder is that it is pretty true.

In all honesty, because of how I was brought up to think that way and because of how it's drilled into our minds that studying the arts would potentially land you jobless, I can't deny that I initially feared choosing this path as well. (But just in case you were wondering, no I've not regretted a day picking this route.)

I must say that I've always looked at life through rose-tinted glasses and although I do get random moments where I'll freak out and worry about the future, I'll tell myself that people will eventually realise the true importance of art.

Everything's art, even the smart phone you're using to read this post now is a combination of arts and sciences.

And it's disheartening because whenever I tell someone that I'm studying in an Arts school, I could tell by their immediate reaction/expression that they feel like I'm dumb and my existence wouldn't even make a change in Singapore's economy in the years to come lol.

It pisses me off when I tell someone that I've exams or assignments and they respond with things like, "Arts school not draw only meh why got exams one?" or "It shouldn't be too difficult to just submit a few drawings." Like, fuck you?!

Even though my course doesn't require us to paint, draw and design as much as the other courses in my school, I'm very much aware of how much effort these people put in. I've many sleepless nights for just one single design, so can you picture how it's like for them to have to come up with more than 100 sketches for a single submission?

Anyway, I just wanna add on that I personally feel that there's absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing the arts. If you're passionate about something, go for it?

Just so you know, many of my schoolmates came from JCs and Polys previously and majority of which scored pretty well during their O's, but they chose to this path because they believe in something they love.

In case you think I'm writing this because NAFA paid me to, no they didn't, I'm just so bothered by how we're being viewed and critically judged by the society in our country's context.

I hope you guys would continue to follow your dreams and not be held back by how the older generation would tell you what's wrong and what's wrong, what's good and what's not.

I'm really glad that my parents are very supportive of the idea because my dad believes that it's better to be street smart than book smart. Which is true, cos what's the point of have a world full of knowledge from the things you read when you've never truly experienced what it is like in the outside world?

Yes, it is a fact that artists tend to graduate with limited places to go and are usually paid a lot lower than the average, but why conform to these norms and beliefs when in actual fact, a true artist would actually have the ability to pave their own paths and create opportunities for themselves?

That being said, I just wanna extend this invitation to those of you who are interested in listening to more on what me and a few of your other favourite online personalities such as, Jian Hao, NOC, Ridhwan, Danial Ron and more have to say! Join us at our motivational talk session which my classmates and I are hosting on the 19th of March, Thursday 2-5pm @ Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. 

More on Instagram page https://instagram.com/wiwnafa/ and don't forget to register via http://bit.ly/1CKr1wD 

Email werkitwithnafa@gmail.com for any queries.