It’s been a long journey to get to where I am now. Sitting behind my computer screen after submitting my application for ‘International Relations and Organisations’ at Leiden University. Although it is a relief to finally be able to have a solid answer when people ask me “What do you want to do after high school”, I still have doubts. Why not go to art school? In this post I will try to explain to you (and, I guess, also convince myself) why I made this decision.
For as long as I can remember I have been drawing. My grandfather is an artist, my aunt is an illustrator and my mum is creative as well: she gives acting classes to kids and paints as a hobby. On the other side, my father is great at concept-thinking and can come up with original ways to solve problems. So it is not strange that I enjoy all things creative as much as I do. The answer to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up” changed every time someone asked. Artist, actress, fashion designer, having my own magazine, writer etc. Name a job in which you need some kind of creativity and I wanted to do it. In 2011 I decided to pursue my love for creating and I started a blog. That was, and still is, a place for me where I am able to inspire and be inspired. While doing six years of VWO (or for non-ducthies: pre-university education) was not always a piece of cake, I still managed to keep up the blogging because I liked it. I believe that when you like something, you will be able to find time to do it. The same goes for drawing. I have always liked to draw. When I want to relax, I draw, when I want to kill time, I draw, when I can’t describe something in words, I draw. It is an automatism that I somehow just can’t seem to get rid of.
But while this creative side is something I have always had and always will have, there is another part of me that is prominent and present. My interest in actuality and spirituality. Two years ago I joined the European Youth Parliament (EYP) and I really enjoyed discussing and debating challenging current events, such as refugees and exploitation of third-world countries. I think a lot more people should try something like this because it shows you the complexity of problems and it is challenging to find a long-term solution. I also enjoy philosophy; it actually is my best subject in school. Unraveling a text that Aristotle wrote on the purpose of life (happiness) is something I really enjoy doing and I find very interesting.
I think both the creative and the serious side of me are too valuable not to do anything with. But you can only study one of the two. I kept switching between the WdKA in Rotterdam and a university level education in Leiden. After months of doubting I finally choose the latter. Some of the main reasons for making that decision I will quickly sum up. Firstly, art is an automatism and I don’t think it is something that will just go away. As I said, if you like something you will always find the time to do what you want. Secondly, you can teach yourself to be better at creating things but you can not teach yourself about world politics and organisations such as the VN (I mean, I guess you could but that would take a lot of willpower and would mean not having much of a social life). Most of the techniques, ideas, and ways to work while drawing I learned from practising. The more you do it, the better you get at it. I am not saying I wouldn’t learn anything at Art School though. I am certain that people who choose to do art school will be better at execution, have better contacts and will be able to develop their own style a lot better than I can ever do on my own. I just had to make a choice and so I did. And lastly I want to experience ‘the student life’. I want to join a students’ corps, maybe take up rowing and meet a lot of new people. I feel like I will have that more when I go to Leiden than when I would go to Rotterdam. Art School means making long days at the Academy and I want a bit of freedom. I am done sitting in class all day and i want to be able to plan things myself. And Leiden is a vibrant student city that I would love to be a part of.
Let me know your thoughts on this topic, I would be very interested to hear them all! What are your planning on studying/what are you currently studying? Did you maybe have the same problem as me? Or did you find it difficult to choose between two other study domains? Do let me know!