My Future

So You’ve Finished Your Arts Degree! Now What?

*insert joke about unemployed arts grad here*

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Being in an arts degree is hard work. Sure, it’s also a load of fun — you get to study what you like and explore your interests — but you also have to do some really hard work (group work hungover, anyone?).

It also means you put up with a lot of questions about your future. Questions you’ve probably had a little bit of trouble answering. Here are some tips to steer you in the right direction.

#1 Masters

While it might feel daunting to enter into another couple of years of study, a masters degree could be the best way to hone any skills you already have. You’ll find yourself engaging with ideas you never had before, and networking with industry professionals who are bound to stop by and survey your classes from time to time.

For information on what degree is right for you, look into the universities in your area, and shop around. You don’t need to stay at the same institution for your postgrad. Explore which university has classes that suit you, your schedule, and your interests.

#2 Interning

We’re gonna be real. Unpaid internships are unappealing. All that hard work for no money? No thanks. Not to mention the fact that they can often be pretty problematic. But they’re also one of the best ways to gain the experience you need to start making that sweet, sweet dosh.

Festivals have great internships or volunteering positions that are short and uncomplicated – think Sydney Writers Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Vivid Ideas, etc.

#3 Freelancing

Most industries have freelancing options, and while they can be competitive, they are also a way to get your name out there. Freelancing will also ensure you don’t lose the skills you learned throughout your degree — you’ll stay in practice while also creating a portfolio.

For freelancing opportunities, network with those who finished the same degree as you — you never know who might end up being a valuable connection.

#4 Just Working In Anything

Arts is a freeform degree, so not knowing what path to take is perfectly natural. There is no shame in finding a casual, or even full-time, job in something that doesn’t necessarily utilise your degree. Sometimes, you just need the money, and other times, you will find yourself loving this new direction. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to cushion your bank account and keep your resume active.

To find your best fit, think about what kind of casual or full-time work you would like, and narrow down your search so you don’t get stuck in something you hate.

#5 Travel

We’ve all heard that annoying friend spouting the proverbial “I just found myself travelling” and rolled our eyes, but you know what? It’s probably true! Travelling bodes well for anyone seeking life experience, so strap on your backpack and load up some podcasts. The world awaits.

This is more on the expensive side, but many hostels out there offer options where you get to live and “work” in a hostel for free, so consider that a win/win/win – work experience, and travel, and free accommodation!

(Lead image: Girls/HBO)