Why I Let My Daughter Get a ‘Useless’ College Degree

A new study from the Federal Reserve offers more evidence that my humanities-loving child will graduate with lots of debt and not so many job offers. And I'm O.K. with that.

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My oldest child, Emma, just returned to campus after a long holiday break to finish up her last semester of college.

But even before she has put the final period on her senior thesis, friends and family have begun bombarding me with one question: What is she going to do after graduation?

The job market is, after all, awfully tough. Just this month the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a study showing that “recent graduates are increasingly working in low-wage jobs or working part-time,” if they’re lucky enough to find work at all.

The bright spot, according to the Fed analysis, is for students who majored in STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — areas in which recent graduates “have tended to do relatively well, even in today’s challenging labor market.” But Emma is a student of the much maligned humanities at a small liberal arts school. She’s an American Studies major with a focus on the politics and culture of food.

For quite a while, I tripped all over myself to describe how her field of study is so trendy right now that I’m not the least bit worried she will find a decent job.  “Emma’s concentration and interests could lead her in any number of directions,” I would tell people. “Writing for a food blog. Working at a nonprofit that improves health and nutrition for the urban poor. Managing social media for a food-related startup.”

Clearly, I wasn’t just explaining; I was overexplaining in an attempt to rationalize how Emma’s chosen path will turn into a steady paycheck. It’s as if her employment status were a referendum on the choices that my husband and I have made about her education. In retrospect, I’d hit a common pitfall: equating Emma’s personal success with my own success as a parent.

Yet the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve decided to be honest. “I’m not sure what Emma is going to do,” I now say. “But she’s gotten a great education and has really found her passion — and I know those things will serve her well over the course of her life.”

Don’t get me wrong. We are not immune to the high cost of college. Emma’s father and I have made sacrifices to give her and her brother the kind of education we value. There will be loans to pay when she graduates — and, yes, my husband and I will foot that bill. And of course, we will be thrilled if Emma finds work come May and doesn’t have to move back in with us.

But from the beginning, we never urged her to pick a college or a major with an eye on its expected return on investment, as more and more families are doing.

It has become practically quaint these days to think of institutions of higher learning as places that teach students to think critically and analytically, read widely and write well. More and more, schools are being measured by, among other things, the salaries of their recent graduates. The Obama Administration has only reinforced this bias by proposing to rank colleges based, in part, on how much money graduates earn.

In this climate, encouraging your kid to study the humanities — which face funding challenges, are scrambling for students and are under siege — can seem, at best, unwise or, at worst, reserved for elites unconcerned with earning a living. Only 8% of students now major in the humanities, down from a peak of more than 17% in 1967, according to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

But college is not vocational school. And promoting STEM subjects should not be society’s only answer to helping the next generation thrive in a competitive world.

In a recent article in The New Republic, Brown University’s president, Christina Paxson, made an impassioned argument in support of the humanities. “Our focus should not be only on training students about the skills needed immediately upon graduation,” she said. “The value of those skills will depreciate quickly. Instead, our aim is to invest in the long-term intellectual, creative and social capacity of human beings.”

For a while, I fell into a trap, made to feel as if Emma’s imminent employment (or lack thereof) is of immense importance.  I’ve come to realize that what really matters will be something that we may not be able to measure for quite a long time: Emma’s contribution to the world and how happy and fulfilled she is in it.

360 comments
meganwarner95
meganwarner95

All I'm going to say is that it must be REALLY nice not to have to worry about money in college. I'm majoring in Engineering and working 20-30 hours a week, with an hour commute every day...and it really blows. Would absolutely love to major in Photography or Culinary Arts and live in an apartment or even the dorms but there's no way I can afford to do something like that were there is absolutely no job security or salary security. To pay for just the tuition of 15 credits/semester at my school (Michigan State University) I would need to work 41 hours a week for 51 weeks a year. Forget about books/car/phone/food/housing etc.




Gregtheegg
Gregtheegg

If you want to see why our country is going down the drain, then by all means read below. The fat cats stir up the masses and laugh at the sprawl.

AJ187
AJ187

I read through many of the comments and can only conclude that people are over opinionated a-holes with no good advice than blaming students for the circumstances that inhibit their success.  Whatever makes you feel better though.  No body wants to deal with the more serious problems facing higher education in this country because everyone is making out like bandits except for the college students.  

EileenSaunders
EileenSaunders

My arts degree (major economics) couldn't hold a candle to my husbands business/co-op degree.  One was theory while the other was practicality.  Arts degrees are a minimum eight year investment - Masters minimum to secure a position.  I've told my children consider your talents, how hard you want to work and the aspects of lifestyle you currently enjoy and/or dislike.  Their father is successful but absent a lot - Do you want to spend lots of time with the kids at home - then a strict nine to five is your answer and there's a ceiling to that salary.  I hear everyday about how we need trades people - carpenters, electricians, plumbers.  Its hard physical work that does not lend itself to the lifestyle that we define as successful (big house, big car) but it can pay off in family time and if you manage the money right.  Do you want to live in a city or a rural area?  Well nice neighborhoods in big cities cost money - STEM - is how it should be.  These are the conversations you need to have with your kids and not at sixteen.  While changing the world is a noble ambition it won't pay the mortgage.  Its almost as if we forget our children have to "live" on their own.  Passions are pursued on the weekend and during vacation - its a sad fact of life.  Grow up.  I'm encouraging my son soon to graduate high school to move away from us, stay with family and work a low paying job for a year or two while doing some college credits to keep the studying skills.  I've seen this work before.  A friend flunked out of college - worked as a security guard for a year and returned to college making the dean's list.  We all want to change the world but our kids own their own lives, successes and failures.  (When we ourselves succeed at work or after a lot of hard work in our jobs, with our hobbies or volunteer work - how many of us really think Mom and Dad deserve the credit.  When we fail do we think Mom and Dad are to blame.)  As parents our ownership has to stop at some point.  There are way too many thirty year olds with arts degrees, crappy jobs and over indulgent parents.  I often joke about these kids waiting for Mom and Dad to kick it so they can live on the proceeds - after reading articles like these its less and less funny. 

MarciaJordanGendraw
MarciaJordanGendraw

I am mad as hell right now at a high school daughter who is very smart and intelligent but wants my buy-in to major in a useless area.....drawing and art.  I think she is talented and has wonderful artistic ability. And before you ask, she has the grades and the abilities and the requirements to go into any STEM program.  I love the artistic side of her, but at the same time why not major in one of the STEM areas and incorporate your true love into that? It can be done, right?  You are damn right it can.  I won't spend my hard-earned money on that bull crap artsy-fartsy stuff!  We will probably revisit this subject 20 years from now about how I ruined her life.  And that is okay.  But you can best believe that I won't owe a penny of my money on a wasted piece of paper called a degree in art and design!.   

marisa.k.cherry
marisa.k.cherry

Most of the liberal arts courses that I took were fascinating but there main purpose was to give other liberal arts majors a job.   There is some truth behind the saying "Those who can, do. Those who cant, teach."

marisa.k.cherry
marisa.k.cherry

This is laughable. Of course you can get a useless degree when your parents will pay for it, pay for your loans, you have an educated background with a family who loves and supports you and will continue to financially support you long after you should have been able to do so yourself. For average Americans going $30,000+ (sometimes triple that) into debt had BETTER offer good returns on investment or they will be living on the street. I have varied interest and as I continue my education, I am pursuing more classes in philosophy and sociology BUT I know for a fact my practical degrees are why I can afford to send my kid to college, put food on the table and not live up to my neck in debt. Getting a job is a part of life and despite how we want to romanticize  college and critical thinking and all those wonderful things the main reason to go to college is to train you to be a part of the workforce. Unless you are beyond exceptional,  art, dance, American studies, art history,etc are not going to allow you to support yourself, or even allow you to pay for the education you received. You mention your daughters contribution to the world as being of most importance but how can you contribute to the world if you cannot even feed yourself?

Life would be sad without art and food bloggers and other luxuries but life would be disgusting, unsanitary, unproductive and we'd die a hell of a lot sooner without science, math, engineering and healthcare. 

LizLeyden
LizLeyden

A "practical" degree doesn't guarantee anything. I got a nursing degree in 2008, and it took 10 months, a cancelled job, and a 200-mile move to get my first job.

leamcandrews
leamcandrews

Your daughter has learned *how* to think, not *what* to think - a far better return on investment, in my opinion.

sfdrew83
sfdrew83

I think the humanities are worthwhile to study if they interest you, but let's face facts—they are a luxury! You, Mrs Hoder, are obviously articulate, educated, and a good writer. You and your husband have been successful enough to pay for your children to go to school, and even if you would rather not, continue to support them should they not find work. Most people do not have that luxury; they look at return on investment because that is the only way they can afford college. 


I think we to stop looking at this issue only in terms of monetary value, but we also need to realize that buying an education that doesn't pay for itself is just not practical for everybody. My wife went into the social sciences, and I have gone the STEM route. We are still paying her loans and thankfully mine were picked-up by the government (thank you G.I. Bill). We sit and worry about how to provide for our son, and what options will be available for our careers, and we didn't pick majors that were doomed to financial oblivion. You can appreciate the humanities, and study them, without getting a degree in them.

RunningWriting
RunningWriting

Some of the wealthiest people in the country have philosophy degrees.

kparsels
kparsels

Here is what most students don't do that causes later problems,  They need to diversify their interests.


I have always been an Artist since I first picked up a watercolor pencil, at the age of 8 and with my grandfathers guidance on drawing. but I also was interested in many other things, in 1976 I received a BFA in Painting and graphics, But as a minor I had education and was able to teach, I also used my education and ability to study to become a certified Electrician. later in the 90's  I became a Apple tech.   When I retired. I found that after working for 45 years, retirement wasn't for me, so I am now employed part time with the city in Parks and Recreation, The children are grown and gone, and are doing well because I instilled in them not to focus on one career but to always have an alternate plan.  The only thing I did tell them is if any of them  work for Government or take welfare I would disown the one that did. 


All men are indeed created equal, but what happens after that is up to you.

RaeBobby
RaeBobby

I'm a recent college grad, class of 2013. I graduated with a "useless" college degree--sociology major and English minor from a state university. However, I had a job offer the day after graduation. How? I interned 15 hours/week senior year first at a campaign office and then at a non-profit (while taking a full courseload and working 20 hours/week at a restaurant). I built up experience, padded my resume, and learned how to market myself and my skill set. I spent my time in between studying for finals practicing interview questions. 


The job offer was to work as a case manager at a not-for-profit. I've been there nine months now. I'm not bringing in the big bucks as a social worker, but I have a 9-5 with benefits including health insurance and paid time off. I am making enough to pay rent and pay back my student loans with my liberal arts degree!


Just wanted to share--in my opinion, pursuing your passion and believing in yourself is what's most important. Always keep your eyes open for opportunities like internships and networking. Talk to your professors. Be confident and ambitious.


I doubted myself for a while, but my mother, like the mother in this article was constantly asking: "How are you going to make money?" I did research and formulated a plan. Many college students aren't smart enough to do this. Many college students lack pragmatism and ambition. If I had majored in business or STEM, I would be miserable, I would hate my life. I pursued my passion and everything worked out, even in this tough economy. 


I truly believe in the value of a liberal arts education. Liberal arts teach us how to think critically, analyze, and write well. We view humanity and society through a more complex lens than those who don't study liberal arts. I truly believe that if you learn how to market yourself during an interview and have a liberal arts degree, you can convince an employer to see the value in you and explain exactly why you are capable of doing the job. It's like writing a persuasive essay.


And hey, if not, there's always grad school.



Brinovich
Brinovich

The sad thing is, even if you have a useful degree, times are tough. A useless degree is almost worse than no degree. 4 years spent learning a skill is actually a better idea. Spending 4 years learning things that have little or nothing to do with your job is worse than wasting time. If you want to get paid to think, then you need to go all the way to PhD. I say this as someone with two master's degrees - in fact, they're both in the 'useful' category. But what gets me jobs is my ability to write computer code. I learned all of that on the job. No one cares about my engineering, math, and computer science degrees. They never ask me about what I learned in school. I'm neither a mathematician nor a software engineer.  If I had instead spent time just learning the latest technology, I would be much better off.

jeannine.acevedo
jeannine.acevedo

Nothing tells a girl her highest aspirations are to be a wife that is not valued by society more than this mom's attitude. The girl cannot survive on her own so if she is lucky she can be a good mom and wife. 

Sumong
Sumong

Nobody is saying we should get rid of humanities altogether, we're saying that other fields are more valuable career wise. Your personal interests should be balanced with pragmatism.

And no, folks, not everyone goes to college for self-satisfaction or to pursue some kind of academic hobby. Some of us need to make money.

LovesToRead
LovesToRead

When I first read this article, my disciplined, rigid asian upbringing screamed against the very thought of allowing my son to pursue a "useless" degree.  However, I am an engineer and my wife is a musician.  I took some time to compare our contribution to society and family in my mind using our degrees as some sort of superficial basis, and I came to the inevitable conclusion that whether a person is technically or artistically inclined or educated does not determine how "useful" he or she is.  Neither should a financial motivation be used to push children to pursue learning.  Any form of education is valuable.  


Now, I hear and understand the numerous amounts of negative comments.  I've read the incredibly vitriolic commentary from people complaining about taxes and irresponsibility to society.  However, what would life be like today without writers, musicians, and dancers?  It is illogical and  irresponsible to push children into a such a narrow definition of success as that which is defined only by money.  


Nevertheless, not every child who studies to be a writer or a musician or a dancer will be great.  In fact, the vast majority will probably fall into the deep recesses of mediocrity.  I just believe that if you love your child, you will do all that you can to nurture what drives him or her.  Would any parent want to push his or her child into living a life that is tortuous or completely unsuited towards his or her nature?  That only breeds resentment.    Furthermore, how many people even fully utilize the education they received in college in their chosen career?  How many people even have such a linear path out of college?  My current profession has nothing to do with the engineering I studied, and neither does my wife's.  


Life is not meant to be lived solely in a practical manner.  I firmly believe it is the impractical aspects of life that keep the practical portions tolerable.  That being said, I would encourage my son to pursue any degree.  For if you raise your child right, it is not his or her education that will lead them along the eventful path of life, but the character that you instill that will help them endure such as Determination, Curiosity, Respect, Love, and Hope.  

LandoAdams
LandoAdams

well, if she's smart she can do what my friend did. Get her useless degree then go to law school, so you can actually feed yourself or do some good.

EducatingMama
EducatingMama

All well and good... unless you are one of the people clamoring for the American taxpayers to foot the bill for your fun education that doesn't pay

melhatter1
melhatter1

As someone who graduated 5 years ago with a "useless" degrees (mine is probably even more useless than the author's daughter - Dance), I can honestly say that having a bachelor's degree in ANYTHING is worth a lot more than people think. I happened to get a job as a receptionist at a law firm after college and in three short years became a paralegal. I was hired because I had a bachelor's degree and reading, writing and most importantly, interpersonal skills I learned going to school studying dance. A lot of times, the subject in which you got your degree has absolutely nothing to do with whether you are hired or not - just having the degree can be enough. 

EmilyAsh
EmilyAsh

You go to a university for an education, and not a career. With the job market what it is, a degree in anything is not guaranteed these days. It's a different world, and people who are going to slam people for getting the "wrong degree" are misguided and mean-spirited. 

kmurphyh122287
kmurphyh122287

Of course you are letting your daughter get a worthless degree, she isn't the one having to pay for it! Maybe if your daughter had to go nearly 70 grand in debt, work more than 1 part time job and continue to struggle, constantly live under the fear that her taxes and pay checks might be squandered, and struggle to understand how her WORTHLESS degree costs more than a mortgage and will continue to skyrocket in interest, maybe then you would be a little more concerned about your daughters horrifying education choices. Just another infuriating article filled with economic privilege that, like your precious Emma's degree, has no real value and only serves as a pat on your own back for being such an open minded and progressive parent. I only hope that whomever else reads this article does not take your advice, especially if THEY are paying for THEIR OWN degree, and think that useless knowledge is worthy of decades of complete financial ruin. From a degree holder of American history, I can assure you, it's not.

corbett.colo
corbett.colo

A degree is just a key to open more doors.  Thinking the attainment it is a one way ticket to a great career is a misconception.  Most (if not all) of life's meaningful attainments come through blood, sweat, and tears (just ask a woman who gave birth, hopefully the little F is worth it!).  Yeah it may hopefully get you the job you want someday, but I personally see it as a means becoming a human that is capable of attaining something they want.  I graduated a year ago in a STEM major and was able to get into some internships and work part time jobs and still made under 10K my first year out.  Learned a lot, but I still have to put on my game face keep pushing.  I have been struggling to become independent, but every day of struggle makes you a stronger and more adaptable individual.  Push on!

American_in_Munich
American_in_Munich

When my daughter entered the German high school system, she had to decide whether to take Latin or English as her first foreign language. One of the parents in the auditorium asked "Why do the children have to take Latin at all in the 20th century?" The director of the school simply replied "Because it is part of being an educated person".


Children are still studying Latin, but then... universities are more or less free of charge here.

colfax
colfax

The most interesting thing  about the responses I read is that an assumption has been made that math and science are not part of the humanities. I took a liberal arts degree. It included both science and math requirements.

I have no idea what a politics of food major took for classes. It sounds like it could include the coursework for an Ag degree. Why jump to conclusions that the degree is "worthless" when the underlying content was not disclosed in the article

mcklveen
mcklveen

I love you. And your daughter. There IS hope for humanity.

JoinKoru
JoinKoru

Thank you so much for writing this, Randye. We agree, and we so appreciate your thoughtfulness. It's an issue we've been thinking about for a long time, and we ended up turning our solution into a business. Our company is called Koru, and we work to bridge the gap between college and career by providing recent grads with the skills and experience needed to make the jump into the workforce. As our CEO Kristen Hamilton explains it, many young graduates have never played the game, and yet, employers expect them to do well at the Olympics. We're here to help them. If you know any recent graduates struggling to begin their careers, have them check us out at www.joinkoru.com.

hassy501
hassy501

“The value of those skills will depreciate quickly. Instead, our aim is to invest in the long-term intellectual, creative and social capacity of human beings.”


In other words, continue your education.....colleges want your money...$$$$$$

TheSanityInspector
TheSanityInspector

Fine, let her "follow her passion".  Just don't expect the rest of us to put up with her demanding her "fair share" from everyone else, if she gets to midlife and her dreams haven't come true.

richard40
richard40

If humanities really did still teach things like classic literature, history (real not Marxist), good writing, and logical critical thinking, they might still be worth something, despite the lack of job opportunities.  The humanities classes I took with my comp sci degree actually did teach that.  I didn't enjoy them at the time (except for one history course, which had a real history prof, and was great.  The other one had a leftist and was boring), but now admit they did me some good, since even engineers need to write well, and everybody should know history.  But now days, Humanities seem to be mostly mindless leftist indoctrination, which is not only useless for getting jobs, but useless for anything.  I mean "the politics of food".  Anytime I see a program called "the politics of" anything, it is time to run away quickly.

JjMontague
JjMontague

Any degree can turn out to be worthless. How many teachers get their masters degrees only to discover that the full-time classroom isn't for them after less than 3 years?  That's not even long enough to pay off the loans. I use that example, because I know quite a few, but I'm sure that runs across the spectrum of specialized degrees.

elljazz
elljazz

@MarciaJordanGendraw  I agree with you.  I've read a lot of financial advisers who say parents shouldn't be paying for college anyway because they have their own retirements to think about.  If your daughter is talented and passionate, let her pay for it.  In fact, maybe she can get a degree in something substantial so that she can go back and pay for the arts degree!


AaronScoggin
AaronScoggin

@MarciaJordanGendraw  I feel very sorry for your daughter, and sincerely hope that you do some self-evaluation about why you are inclined to place so much pressure on her to do something that she clearly doesn't want to do. You will live to regret it.

AaronScoggin
AaronScoggin

@marisa.k.cherry  There is absolutely no truth to that statement. It's a statement made by those who have low self-esteem, and feel threatened by the fact that someone who majored in Sociology is just as smart as someone who majored in Mathematics.

JLiu
JLiu

@RaeBobby  Not sure is joking. In the Western world, liberal arts is where critical thinking dies. Try questioning all their lovey-dovey beliefs, and see how your colleagues respond. Paying the rent and being a social worker is quite a lowly status in life, just so you know. 

GuoLiang
GuoLiang

@LovesToRead  "Any form of education is valuable."


No, it really isn't. Some thing are better than others. Society has a much greater demand for engineers than it does musicians or artists. The odds of being financially successful as a musician or artist is small compared to stable fields. Life is not all about pragmatism, but pragmatism by it's very nature must come first.

Gregtheegg
Gregtheegg

@EmilyAsh Uh-oh, an actually intelligent response. Shut up before you make the lemmings mad!

joeaverager
joeaverager

@EmilyAsh I understand your sentiment and support it as long as you can support yourself. I would delay the deeper studies into topics which won't support you until after you complete a degree than can help you getting a job that will support you (and your family if you have one). I have a number of interests that I'd like to take classes for but first and foremost I have to have a job to pay for a place to live, food to eat and transportation. I have to help my wife provide for my family. I am the primary breadwinner. Those classes I'd like to take coincidentally would form the back bone of a good "fallback plan" and could also provide an income if I needed them to.  


I have a close friend with degrees of the "useless"  variety - useless by the measure of the discussion here. I don't declare this one as useless or that one as beneficial. Those "useless" studies were interesting to be sure but have never helped that friend find a good professional job. Luckily for the friend, they are married and the spouse provides the majority of their income. 


Adults need to have enough income to cover their needs PLUS enough to build a savings account for a rainy day. A lifetime of just getting by is stressful. I've been there. Life becomes a juggling act. 

GuoLiang
GuoLiang

@EmilyAsh 

Look at this idiot. Mean spirited? Does that even matter? Some degrees are worth more than others. Some people are better than others. The world is not equal, nor should it be. Grow up. 

sfdrew83
sfdrew83

@colfax  

Really? You took science and math classes? Like what? Did you take Cacl 1-3, proofs, Real Analysis 1&2, Linear Algebra, Physics and Chemistry—with Calculus!? I think not. You probably took Alegra, a logic class, and a couple science classes for laymen with no real math component. 

I'm not trying to insult you or your degree, but please don't pretend you took the same requirements a STEM student does, or even anything close to it. I had to take more than one English class but you don't see me comparing myself to an English major do you?

Jbai24
Jbai24

@JLiu @RaeBobby I commend @RaeBobbyfor her obvious hard work and effort through out college and now the professional world. Who are you @JLiu to tell a complete stranger that they have a "lowly status in life"? Aren't you forgetting what is actually important in life? Of all the people I know, the ones that went for that prestigious high-paying job are now becoming burnt out and making career changes to fields that are more about quality than quantity. You may want to use your own critical thinking skills to comprehend the meaning of "to each their own" and realize that making a difference is much more respectable than mere status.

Jbai24
Jbai24

@JLiu @RaeBobby I commend @RaeBobby for her obvious hard work and effort through out college and now the professional world. Who are you @JLiu to tell a complete stranger that they have a "lowly status in life"? Aren't you forgetting what is actually important in life? Of all the people I know, the ones that went for that prestigious high-paying job are now becoming burnt out and making career changes to fields that are more about quality than quantity. You may want to use your own critical thinking skills to comprehend the meaning of "to each their own" and realize that making a difference is much more respectable than mere status.

fyinfo
fyinfo

@JLiu @RaeBobby  Sad, sad, sad. So it's better to sit at home and wait for that prestigious job that makes you feel noticed and hopefully admired. I chose the one who finds ways to get employed over the slacker who is too good to work while degrading someone with gumption. Your way of thinking is what is destroying "the Western world", don't work until you get a prestegious job and bilk the system while you are waiting. I bet your colleagues are new to "the Western world" and are miserable to be around. Just so you know.

fyinfo
fyinfo

@GuoLiang @LovesToRead  As life goes on, not all engineers raise to the top, many, if not most, die in the pit of bordem and go on to something more meaningful to their lives. Yes, some things are better than others if that's your only goal and you are diciplined enough to stay in a job you hate just to be admired.  I know people in the arts who make everything around them beautiful and meaningful. I know engineers who hope drinking will get them through to the next day.

mischamilne
mischamilne

@GuoLiang @LovesToRead By only measuring the value of education through the monetary rewards, you are missing the point of education. While it is very difficult to find truly great musicians or artists, it is fairly common to find engineers, computer science majors, mathmeticians, etc. So, in fact, the actual value of musicians and artists is priceless. Historically, society has valued great art and music over the millions of now-forgotten, nameless engineers or those who chose "pragmatic" careers. This is not to say that these careers don't have value as well, it just means that they have value in a different way! And yes, the odds of being financially successful are lower as a musician or artist, but the fulfillment found from following your passion in life is arguably worth much more than money.