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As a young child, before the Hannah Montana era, I can distinctly remember planning to be a pop star teacher when I grew up. I thought, teacher by day, popstar by night; my young mind invited the double life of the cliche, popstar scenario. Because you probably have no idea who I am, I`m guessing you`ve figured out by now that I pursued other options.

iNow, I`m a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English, and am pursuing portfolio school for copywriting. The journey I`ve taken to get to this point has been overwhelmed with others` voices questioning: “So, you want to be a teacher?” “But what CAN you do with that?” “Okay, but what do you actually want to do?” Their questions were not their own inquiries, but rather, they were an echo of what the American culture has put significance on. Constantly being questioned about the path I had chosen, left me wondering if I was making a choice that perpetually trapped me in a state of unsuccessful limbo, even though I felt like a degree in English refined my creative skills.

As I approached graduation, I struggled with the perception of my degree. I was surrounded by a society that equated success with STEM related degrees, but couldn`t understand how people could not see the importance of also producing strong creative thinkers in society; creativity produces lateral thinkers who can unconventionally unravel problems. Do not get me wrong, I believe that pursuing STEM degrees are just as important to establish a versatile, functioning society, but the perception around the arts had to be altered if creatives were going to continue to pursue these careers. I decided that my route to success might not be conventional or easy, but that didn`t mean that the skills I developed were not valuable. I was determined to make employers desire graduates who had degrees that meet the needs of a creative field.

Over the past six months, I dealt with a lot of rejection from employers. Many companies showed interest in me, but when it came down to who they were going to hire, they always picked an individual whose degree`s merit correlated with cultural acceptance. While the rejection was hard to deal with, it allowed me the opportunity to meet an array of individuals that have become both networking opportunities as well as mentors, as I navigate my way to the future I have envisioned for myself. In particular, establishing these mentorships has provided me with valuable resources in overcoming challenges our culture has pinned onto academics that are not seen as meritorious. Their mentorship allowed me to voice and sort through my conflictions over what avenue to move towards, as well as use their personal career and educational choices as a loose model for my own decisions.

As an individual that hold a Bachelor of Arts in English, I had to overcome the negative stigma that has been unwarrantedly attached to my field. By chasing after an undergraduate degree that I knew best complemented my natural abilities, I had to accept that many employers would lack the insight of my capabilities, but I also was able to welcome the challenge of proving the strengths of my talents and how they can rival others`.

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