Orientation for real life, art degree edition

By: Grace Coughlan, contributing writer
Brendan Felch/ The Towerlight


On April 25, the Division of Academic Affairs hosted its first ever, “Art, Degree, Now What? Under 30 Panel” in the Center for the Arts. The panel consisted of five different artists, under the age of 30, working jobs in various fields pertaining to, and revolving around, art.

After the artists introduced themselves, the panel opened the floor to students with questions. The artists helped navigate every scenario, from what to do when facing constant rejection, to how to pursue a career in painting.

Kelsey Bryner, the donation coordinator for the Baltimore Office of Promotions & the Arts, a 2017 Towson alum, moderated the event.

“I’ve gone to a lot of events, a lot of artists talks, [and had] a lot of conversations where I can’t relate to anything that the people in front of me are saying” said Bryner. “Everything they’re saying has nothing to do with what I am.”

Bryner believes that it is important for students to recognize that coming out of college without your plans being in motion is a norm for new grads. While it might suck, not landing your glamorous, money-making dream job as soon as you graduate, it’s okay.

While the panel was geared towards content creation, there was talk about mental health, and the purpose of pursuing the work that you create.

Multiple panelists spoke freely about their fight with depression after graduating, and struggling with finding jobs or carving a path to their passions and career.

“Where was the orientation for after college?” said Symone Audain, special events coordinator at Baltimore Office of Promotions & the Arts.

Audain offered that the idea of being the best, and happiest version of yourself comes with finding your “why.”

“Why this field? Why this career? What about what you want to do makes you want to keep doing it with a full force of passion?” said Audain.

The consensus on how to figure out your “why,” was to participate in informational interviews, which are conversations with a professional of a company or organization that you are interested in working for. These conversations can give you insight as to what the company’s goals are, as well as what you would be doing within specific job positions.

One student asked what to do when dealing with no responses after sending in job applications. The answer was, don’t take it personally, and keep applying! The panelists discussed how it’s important to reach out to people, establish relationships and break out of your shell. Always look for opportunities to gain new skills whether they bring you to your dream job or not.

They also suggested that a solid cover letter, including the name of the hiring manager, is a critical factor when applying to jobs. Knowing more information will help you stand out.

De’Andre Brown, a senior at Towson, and a graphic design major, found the panel to be an eye-opening experience.

“It was a good way for me to see things in a different perspective, get a different perspective,” said Brown. “Them having this panel was a good way to understand the things that I need to do better to help myself get further in life, and to have my dreams and aspirations that I’ve always wanted.”

The prominent message that rang throughout the event, was always be true to who you are and what you want in your life.

Checking out event calendars, looking into organizations like Baltimore Office of Professions & the Arts as well as Maryland Art Place can help you get a sense of direction.

“Talk to your professors! People don’t realize that professors are artists, and that they have resources, and they can help you,” said Bryner. She left the students by adding, “go to openings, go to talks, get yourself out there and meet people.”

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