BA vs Bsc | the stigma of creativity

2017, lifestyle, photography, student


Little bit of a late one tonight – had an assignment due today but I’ve only got one more after this, so hopefully no more late night posts after that!

This is something I’ve wanted to talk about for a while – I do a BA course at university, meaning a Bachelor of Arts course, I know a lot of people who do a Bachelor of Science degree, but there’s also BEng (Engineering), BMed (Medicine, I think?) and other kinds of degrees, but I’m focusing on BA and BSc today.

When I was at school, the focus of most of my teachers and my peers was academic and scientific and very ‘intelligent’ – I vividly remember someone I used to be friends with saying something along the lines of “At least I’m not going to study media” and as someone who went on to study a media-based journalism degree, I took this a little bit personally (she was a dick anyway).

Being a creative student already has a stigma and association of being ‘easy’ or irrelevant or a waste of money and I just want to fight the corner of the BA for a second, but not the academic BA – the creative BA, not the history or English or geography or academic courses but the journalism, TV and film, fashion, photography etc.

Think about how much you like film; think about the people that make the movies – sure, a lot of them probably don’t have a degree in film or post-production or anything but think about how the importance of film and the entertainment industry has changed and what a messy industry would be if no one was trained. I think it’s so naive of people who study something like history (nothing personal, it’s just the first one that sprung to mind) to be like ‘why would you study that? If you’re good enough at XYZ you’d just do it, you wouldn’t need a degree’ when they in particular know exactly what it’s like to hear ‘yeah, but you’ll only ever be a history teacher, won’t you?’

Sure, I know nothing about the kind of jobs that people on academic courses can do, but also I didn’t know about so many jobs that I could do before I came to uni and got a taste of the industry – you probably don’t know anything about what’s available to the people you went to school with on a course you’ve never heard of.

One thing that a lot of people I went to school with made me feel, particularly my maths teacher and my sixth form team (maybe getting a bit personal now) is that I wasn’t clever enough – I struggled a lot with my A Levels and I was made to feel really stupid because I struggled with A Level maths, which is renowned for being ridiculously hard! Just because I can’t do A Level maths, doesn’t mean I’m bad at maths. I was doing maths today to figure out the lowest mark I’d need to get a first in one of my units. At work, I’m the one that’s good at maths because I know that 75% off something is the same as dividing the price of something by 4. I really like algebra.

Conclusion: without sounding really cocky, I am quite clever and I am good at learning things fast – I love learning new things and I bought a book called ‘What is Life: When Chemistry Becomes Biology’ because I like learning! I haven’t read it yet, but that’s beside the point.

I have a big complex about intelligence because in primary school, I was told I was really clever but then my friends got invited to Gifted and Talented courses and I didn’t, in secondary school I didn’t try because I thought I was clever and I fell behind and became averagely intelligent, at A Levels I really struggled and now I realise that my entire school life was corrupt and I’m actually okay.

I quite often put myself down and call myself stupid as a defence because in my head if I don’t say it someone else will probably think it so I might as well say it and recently people have been really taken aback and have told me not to say it and I don’t know what to think any more.

School really didn’t do me any good.

After I finish my multimedia journalism degree, I want to go get a Master of Arts post-grad degree in marketing and social media because I love social media and working on social media as a means of promotion. So many people have said ‘Yeah but is social media really a career?’ and I find it so disheartening that people will use twitter and Facebook and partake in a social media campaign without even thinking about it, but they don’t think about the fact that someone has been paid to come up with this campaign! Your favourite band releases music? They’re a PR and Social Media campaign. New film cast doing a press tour? Yep, that’s PR and Social Media.

I know exactly what I want to do and it’s so disheartening to be told (especially by your friends) ‘yeah but that’s not a real job’, ‘yeah but it’s not hard anyone can do that’ – just because it’s an creative industry that you don’t really have an understanding of or haven’t noticed you’re a part of, doesn’t mean it’s not real.

For the sake of my maths teacher that bullied me and my sixth form administrators – this is what I have learnt about and achieved so far on my creative BA, not academic course in two years:

  • photography (technology and software)
  • videography (technology and software)
  • audio (technology and software)
  • so much editing software, that I’ve taught myself off my own back
  • presenting skills
  • writing in so many different forms for so many different audiences
  • editorial roles in traditional journalism and how they’re applied to new journalism
  • social media and promotions
  • work experience at Channel 4
  • work experience at BBC Three
  • work experience at NASS Festival 2016 and (fingers crossed) a variety of festivals in 2017
  • Marketing Manager and President of Sonar Film, my university cinema society (2017/2018)
  • working with the other Presidents in the Sonar Media Group (TV, Radio and Magazine) to collaborate and cross promote (more social media)
  • I’ve been invited to press showings of new touring musicals in return for a review on my blog

I started this list as a ‘fuck yeah’ to school, but it actually worked as a little self esteem boost. I’ve learnt a lot from my course but I’ve also learnt a lot myself from who I know and what I want to learn regardless of if my course allows me to.

I look up to anyone who is clever enough to do an academic course, but I couldn’t hate it more than when someone naively assumes the world is exactly how our Oxbridge-orientated school told them it was like, because not everything is about academics  – the entertainment industry is huge and important and I couldn’t be happier to be in it.

Thank you for reading (sorry if this post is a bit rambly and makes no sense, it’s 11.47pm but I got it up on the right day!),

Sophie xx



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