Head vs. Heart

<p>What are your thoughts on this?</p>

<p>I am really interested/involved in theatre and am also assumed to be going into acting in college. My HEART is really into acting. My heart also said teaching high schoolers (that's kind of like performing/being in the "spotlight" and I like tests, etc.), </p>

<p>but I have decided to follow my HEAD because I am also interested in engineering/math/science and it pays a lot more and is "easier" to get into. I just hope I'll be happy. </p>

<p>I AM going to pursue engineering in college while also participating in theatre. Also, I will probably be going somewhere with full tuition payed so I don't waste a lot of money if later in life, I realize "Crap! I made a huge mistake." I just don't know...</p>

<p>Sounds like a good plan. At some schools you could probably even major in both (but most likely the theater program from such a school will not lead to a career in show business...)</p>

<p>Ha yes, I wanted to go somewhere that I could minor in it...but the school I got a full scholarship from (Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago) doesn't have any kind of theatre major or minor. All schools seem to have a theatre group of some sort though.</p>


<p>I know someone, a very fine musician, who went into engineering. His avocation is music. He feels he had more freedom in his musical pursuits because he didn't have financial concerns than he would have had he majored in music. He didn't have to worry about teaching enough lessons to make sure he could pay the rent, for example; he got to make about as much music as he wanted, and when he wanted, too.</p>

<p>I know someone else, another very fine and very gifted musician, who went off to law school because he didn't know what else to do after getting a master's in conducting. He realized two-three weeks into law school that law school was a mistake for him; he withdraw, took a year off, and then went off and got a doctorate in music. He's now conducting several regional orchestras. He was very talented in a lot of areas, a polymath, but just couldn't see himself doing anything else. </p>

<p>My husband is a composer. He supported himself for over 25 years working a "regular" job, music related, but not music, but what he really wanted to be doing was composing and playing. And he did get to compose and play. Also teach, write music reviews, and serve as music director, sometimes for money, sometimes not. He got to do a lot of different things because he had a steady income. (He still does, but now, it's mine. :-D ) His brother never wanted to do anything but perform; his brother's a pianist and composer. And perform he does, in nursing homes, in restaurants, at parties. His financial situation is often precarious, but he has never wanted to do anything else, and so doesn't.</p>

<p>I am not nearly talented enough, nor hard-working enough, to go into music, but yet, I got into an excellent chorus and sang with it for many years, getting to sing performances that many musicians, including the one snoring away on the other sofa, would never get an opportunity to do. (These were with major orchestras/conductors/soloists in venues such as Lincoln Center, Carnegie, Royal Albert, Dresden SemperOper, Tchaikovsky Hall...) I didn't make any money at this, but then again, I didn't need to; I had a "regular" job.</p>

<p>One more: a bunch of guys at a university that will not be named, guys majoring in things like engineering, physics, accounting, other stuff -- not a music major among 'em -- started an a cappella singing group in college. When a couple of the founding members graduated, they went on singing with a couple of other guys, all of them working around their "regular" jobs. And then they all quit their regular jobs to keep on singing. Did that for about a decade, then went back to regular jobs instead of touring, but still sing together for some gigs, and still make and sell CDs.</p>

<p>Life is long. So is engineering (see "pyramids" for example). And so is art (see "Tutankhamun exhibit" for example). </p>

<p>The point of all this? You'll find a way to make it work. Having engineering in your pocket is a great idea; you can gain a lot of performing experience in university and community theater as you engineer.</p>

<p>(Another "in the spotlight"/performing profession: minister. My husband and BIL got their hambones from their minister dad! :-) )</p>

<p>Sounds like a good start. You can always change your major later, or add teaching requirements to your original plan. Don't worry- you start college with a plan, then modify it as you gain more knowledge.</p>

<p>It can go either way...in our family, one kid is a music performance major and couldn't see it any other way. The other kid (also a talented musician) is an engineering major who plays her instrument and takes lessons at her university. They're both happy, and DH and I have great faith that they will both "land on their feet" as adults.</p>

<p>Perhaps you could use your engineering degree to do something in theater. </p>

<p>I have friend with a physics degree from Grinnell who's set constructor for an opera department at a university.</p>

<p>I imagine that there are various ways that your engineering degree could lead to jobs in theater. You'd also have the contacts to be able to continue with acting, including possibly at a semi professional level.</p>

<p>Another option would be to take a gap year to support yourself while pursuing your theater interests. You'd see whether you have the talent and real interest to make it in that field.</p>

<p>"Also, I will probably be going somewhere with full tuition payed so I don't waste a lot of money if later in life, I realize "Crap! I made a huge mistake." I just don't know..."</p>

<p>Good decision, but even if you didn't have a full ride, I think you'd regret passing up the opportunity to do what you loved even more. Even if acting never became a source of income for you, I don't think you'd ever look back on your years of participating in theater as "wasted time/money."</p>

<p>Engineering, in your case, is called "tentmaking." Good luck.</p>

<p>Kevin, I consider theatre to be one of the most valuable undergraduate majors or activities that anyone could pursue. Technical skills - as critical as they are - change and evolve constantly. But the ability to communicate in front of other people, connect with your audience, and slide comforably in and out of different roles and cultures is a lifelong skill that will impact your quality of life and your career success. Technical skills get graduates into professions; liberal arts skills such as theatre help prepare them to rise to positions of leadership and influence.</p>

<p>Maslow's hierarchy of needs said that the first struggle is to survive. And once survival has been secured, people strive to individuate and find a greater and higher personal meaning in one they do. We are often told to "follow our heart" and "live the dream." And then we are given powerful examples of people who did so and went all the way. There are many, many powerful examples of people who tried and failed, though, and we tend not to hear about those as much through the media at least. These people tend to end up doing whatever it is they can do. They live only in survival mode.</p>

<p>Your plan sounds great. You've got survival and individuation covered.</p>

<p>kevin the beauty of theatre is that you can get invloved on a variety of levels throughout your lifetime!
Here in our tiny little podunktown there are several production a year by a local group, several more through the JC in the next county and our HS drama teacher is always looking for help with the two productions she puts on every year. </p>

<p>I think your plan is good. But I urge you to nurture your heart along the way by working on productions.</p>

<p>Oddly enough, my mom went into college for chemical engineering, came out with a theatre major (my papa called it "winter camp"), and now teaches high school math. So have no fear: if you want to teach, your undergrad degree doesn't really matter, so long as you take enough math/science courses to understand what's going on in grad school.</p>

<p>All these observations reflect that while your head will lead you toward making a living, your heart will lead you toward making a life. The former is necessary for security; the latter for happiness. You're going to want both.</p>

<p>gadad's statement is worth repeating.
"All these observations reflect that while your head will lead you toward making a living, your heart will lead you toward making a life. The former is necessary for security; the latter for happiness. You're going to want both."</p>

<p>gadad...thank you for you statement, my D is a theatre major and although I encouraged her, my practical side has worried that graduation will come next year and then what? But you are right, I am an adminstrator and 2 of my enployees are theatre majors and have the best people skills and leardership qualities! Thank you for the reminder:)</p>

<p>Am wondering if you can research engineering applications for the performing arts, such as Musical Acoustics, so that you work near the creative people. From them, you can be in touch with many volunteer activities in Community Theater. Can you imagine being an engineer on a team to design acoustics for newly constructed concert halls or theaters? Amazing possibilities. </p>

<p>It is fun to be on stage, but there is a lot of theater that involves production, where a good math head and ability to solve problems helps. Renting a theater, planning a marketing strategy and much more are part of helping a new theater group develop. </p>

<p>Most theater people need a day job. If you have training that lets you work but doesn't drain you of all your energy, you can always participate in creative arts activity, just not professionally. A lot of things in theater are sub-professional.</p>

<p>Are there community-based groups near the campus you'd attend with opportunities for volunteer work on weekends and weeknights? Most regional community theater is filled with employed people who make this their spare-time passion. </p>

<p>If you want acting classes, you can pursue these in the summertime throughout your college years. NYC is full of these group sessions. Chicago also has a theater community. Google it; check it on Craigslist. If, during college, you can make time on weeknights and weekends, you're an adult, free to explore community-based theater auditions or backstage work. </p>

<p>Finally, you might morph your skill set within theater into production, whether it's set design, lighting, AND some on-stage work. Lots of theater people do a variety of tasks. It's an ensemble, team effort, not limited to acting.</p>

<p>Thanks for all the help guys! Everything that has said has been so true and I realized I'll be happy as long as I continue theatre in some way, even if it's not my career!</p>