Being an artist at Duke is rather difficult. If it is not your main academic path, you have to struggle to make time for it. Heck, even if it is, you still need to work hard to make time for it. Many of the non-ALP courses necessary to graduate can be rather time consuming, taking away time to make art and be an active artist. Likewise, there is not a wide selection of arts courses at this University. Some classes, such as graphic design, are only offered at one level, leaving the rest to the artist after the completion of the course. Likewise, courses that are offered at various levels, such as drawing, are only taught by one professor at one time.
Regardless of the circumstances at hand, I am trying my hardest to be an artist at Duke, especially because my goal is to be some sort of artist outside of Duke. In addition to the two visual arts courses I am enrolled in, I am in multiple extracurricular activities that require some sort of creativity or artistic ability. Presently, I am Historian of Black Student Alliance, a videographer for Duke Football, Co-Head of Content for The Bridge, and Set Designer for The Wiz. Taking positions such as these were done purposefully in order to gain the extra experience I need to prepare myself for a creative career upon graduation.
Although I have learned some things through these positions or had to teach myself some things in order to maintain these positions, I honestly do not feel like it is enough. I am entirely too cognizant of the fact that there are many students graduating from schools dedicated entirely to the arts who have spent all of their undergraduate years mastering their craft. I definitely feel as if I am at a disadvantage. Despite this fear, I am still putting forth the effort to be a successful creative upon graduation. I want to prove to myself, my family, and my peers that art is a legitimate career. It’s been my ultimate dream from a young age that I constantly pushed back out of fear and insecurity.
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