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Aaryn Cunningham, a senior theater performance major, preforms a monologue during her addition for a cast role on the Lost Flamingo Company. Studies suggest that students with artistic majors similar to Cunningham have difficulty finding work after graduation. (Daniel Kubus | Staff Photographer)

The Career Canvas

Students with artistic majors are still sacrificing for their art.

Though it’s common for students to worry about their futures, studies such as the National Association of Colleges and Employees stated that students with liberal arts and performance degrees have more to worry about while on the hunt for a job.

A survey conducted by the association reported that 2012 graduates are most likely to receive job offers if they majored in accounting, engineering, computer science, economics, and business administration.

Despite the bleak outlook for art majors, more than 5,000 undergraduate students were studying liberal arts or performance arts — including creative writing, theater, dance and art — at Ohio University in 2011.

Anna Rohm, a senior studying art, said that though she has read reports about art majors having a difficult time finding jobs, she feels that the program at OU will set her apart.

“I feel like (the program’s professors) are preparing me so well,” Rohm said. “I have learned so much more about the technical, professional and artistic benefits of this major. They also have a great grad program if I choose to continue my studies.”

In an attempt to combat the difficulty of finding a job, some students such as Amy Apgar, a senior studying communication and dance, choose to double major in something more “safe” along with their artistic major.

“My parents wanted me to have a backup plan, so that’s why I have the communication major,” she said. “I have a lot of worries regarding finding a job, because there are not a lot of jobs, and they don’t pay a lot of money.”

Apgar is not the only one, as 11.4 percent of students in OU’s College of Arts and Science and 8.6 percent of students in the School of Fine Arts chose to pursue a double major in 2011. The statistics represented two of the highest double-major rates on campus.

Double majoring is not an easy feat because most major programs in the arts require hours of rehearsal, mandatory participation in different ensembles and several hours of practicum a week, but Dennis Delaney, associate professor of theater and directing, said involvement in different areas of arts is what makes a professional marketable.

“It’s so important for a director to understand where an actor is coming from and vice versa, and that’s true for all different artistic roles,” he said. “That’s why we require our students to learn different areas so they may work better in a professional setting.”

Gabby Hanson, a senior studying art and biology, said double majoring is difficult, but it’s worth the sacrifice.

“It gets hard because none of my classes count for both majors,” Hanson said. “When it comes down to it though, I believe that anything is possible if you’re willing to work hard at it, which is exactly what I’m doing.”

Though some might feel pressure about their futures in a certain major, others don’t, such as Kelly Schlabach, a sophomore studying dance, who said she is optimistic about her future because an artistic major does not limit her to working in a performance area.

“There’s actually a lot you can do with dance inside the field as well as outside of it,” she said. “I know people who work for nonprofits or got their degree in non-dance related things, as well as many who are working in dance-related fields.”

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