My name is Ryan, I'm 22 years old, and I recently graduated college with a music major and biology minor. I completed the premed prereqs, but realized in the last year that I don't love medicine, and that I'd rather get a Master's degree in Classical Piano Performance so that I can potentially teach music at universities, K-12, perform around the city/churches, and start a home piano studio to take in students for lessons. Music has been my passion since before I was a teenager, and as a teacher currently, I absolutely love all the kids that I teach and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything else.
I have one dilemma: Since I quit premed, my dad has been ok with my decision, but my mom has been begging me to at least become a nurse as a backup degree... basically, she wants me to spend all this money, time, and energy to obtain a degree that I won't even use (unless I somehow quit music or if need the money). I get she wants me to have a stable backup plan since running a studio is basically running my own private business, which she isn't comfortable about as she thinks I'll be "crawling for money". In my view, yes you gotta hustle and persist to make money, but I'm fully aware of this and accepted that it's a life I want to live.
A career in music may mean that I have to pay for my own health insurance if I don't work at a school, and my income isn't salary based if I don't land a school job; however, I feel I can make it work like the many other successful music teachers/performers in my city who cobble a career together with multiple music-related jobs, and I feel as if going to nursing school would just be wasting my time and money that I could be using to obtain my Master's degree in music and start my business with zero debt. I feel like if I get a nursing degree, I'd be age 25 or so by then, and then I'd have to pay off that debt working in a job I don't enjoy, and then get my Master's in music, then find jobs and gigs while starting my studio.
Best case scenario: There's a teacher in my city who charges $65 per hour lesson, and she has 45 private students and a couple of other employees in her studio. She also accompanies musicians on the side for school. This is quite a lot of money, in my opinion. This is something I want to do one day.
Lastly, I don't care about being rich... as long as I make somewhere around 50-70k I think I'd be pretty satisfied, especially since I'm in my dream career.
I'm simply here to ask what other nurses or nursing students think about this situation. Is it worth it to go through the schooling just to have a fallback degree? Should I just go all in for music and go to nursing school if music isn't paying the bills (which I feel won't be the case since I'm so driven)?
Feel free to ask me any questions you have, especially about music since I'm sure that field isn't a common topic to many of you.
This is stupid. You're 22, you can make your own decisions. Do what you want, not what you're parents want. The end of the day your young enough to take risk and follow your passions. This is the only time your your life you'll have that sort of freedom from a lot of responsibilities. If things don't work out with music, you've got time to do other things when/if you need to.
Nursing is too much stress, blood, sweat and tears to study, if you don't want to be a nurse. So don't! Nothing wrong with the arts!
Not to mention, if you don't get a job right out of school, going back later as a grad nurse is next to impossible; it isn't a fall back type of job, you have to keep your skills up.
Last edit by JBudd on Aug 14
Don't do it. While nursing is not necessarily a calling only, it's not something you can casually dust off in 10 years and just jump back into.
IN fact, most careers would be like that. An IT degree, or marketing degree, or whatever from 5 or 10 years ago, with no followup experience, would be a useless piece of paper to most employers.
Were it me, I would do the piano degree, but work my tail off to incur as little debt as possible along the way. That way if it doesn't work out, you can afford to take debt on in order to go in a different direction.
You are an adult do what YOU want, and not what your parents want you to do! Often times i find parents and friends interpret what they cannot do as what you cannot do either and try and persuade you to do what they think they can do and not what you want to do.
Tell them to bug off (in a nice way of course) and let you be to live your dreams however you choose, and if you realize that you cannot live off of the money then you will find a back up plan that you will enjoy doing. If she thinks finding a nursing job a s a new grad is a piece of cake she should think again, and then if there is a large space between you graduating and when you decide to actually work as a nurse it will be even tougher, if not impossible! Medicine is not your passion, thus nursing would probably be pretty miserable for you!
My mother (father wasn't in the picture) told me not to pursue being an EMT, which is what I wanted to do out of high school, and I even took the EMT class as a senior. She said I could never make a living off of that and I needed to go to college blah blah blah... Fast forward 22 years and I am making more than enough as a medic (so I did end up going to a two year college, but when I was ready to do that) and now I make more than enough to live off of (with a little OT )! I did do nursing because I knew eventually my body wasn't going to want to lift people down stairs and through a foot of snow at 3 am. Fast forward to two years ago when I decided it was time to sell my little condo and buy a house, because she couldn't do it or affordd it she figured I couldn't do it or I would have a hard time paying the mortgage (despite me being a financially responsible adult and more then aware of what I can and cannot afford), so she tried to convince me to just buy a bigger condo (which would have cost the same as the house I bought because of the 250 a month condo fee!). I ignored her and bought the house and I couldn't be happier, I actually find the yard work to be stress relieving and mostly enjoy it! I love doing little projects to make it more mine then the person who used to live there etc.
The point is people often add emotion into the scenario when they try and give a family member or good friend advice, and this means their perception of what they are capable of is what they project onto that advice. Do what you want, make mistakes (because you will), and learn from them, but don't ever let someone convince you that "you can't (because they can't)...
Moms worry. That's what they do. Right now I wouldn't do anything that would take significant time from your plan A, if you really want to give music all you got, and nursing school is a time suck. If it doesn't work out, then consider plan B. As a pp said, you're young enough to do it.
I'll play devil's advocate here. When I was 22 I was similarly obsessed with music. It was all I wanted to do and I pursued it voraciously. Over the years I've won awards, traveled the world and played on some of the world's best stages with some of the biggest bands and artists of the last few decades. But while I've been very successful in terms of artistic satisfaction and had some incredible experiences, I've never been able to make a living at it. Even when sharing a stage with legends, I've never made a dime. I luckily pursued nursing simultaneously, and now I have a career for life and a 6 figure income, something I could never have had with music. I've pretty much hung up my musician's hat now...I'm too old and too tired to be chasing a dream and dealing with the huge amount of physical work it takes to put on a show for absolutely no financial benefit. Over the last few years my passion for medicine has outstripped my passion for music.
The music world is fickle, and tastes and opportunities change. I don't mean to rain on your parade but I would seriously consider having a backup career that will provide you with a lifetime of security and secure paychecks, All the musicians I've played with for the last few decades are struggling. They're older and find themselves out of step with the new music world. They're delegated to playing in bars for a few dollars a night. It's a sad spectacle when I remember what lightening rods they were as younger artists. We set the world on fire but the flames have been reduced to a damp squib. Only a handful of very talented and lucky people get a chance to shine in music, and you can battle your way through an entire career and be left with nothing. Don't give up on your dream. but have a plan B...always.
Well, you are an adult making your own decisions. That being said, do you live with your parents? If so, are you paying rent or contributing to their utilities/food bills at all? If you are still at home, maybe offer to pay something while you pursue and get established in your music career to show that you can be financially successful while doing it. I know I'd be worried if my son decided to go after something with very little guarantees like that, but if he could show some stability in order to reach for that dream then it'd help. I'm not trying to dampen your dreams, just looking at it as a mom. Parents want you to succeed and be happy and not struggle. That's all.
If you don't want to go into healthcare as your "backup" then find something else that you could do as plan B. Good luck in whichever path you choose!
It's a lot of work for something you don't want to do. That's if you finish the program and then pass the boards. That's not a given. I wish people (not you) would stop throwing around "getting your RN" (is that like "getting your groove on"?) as if it's a cake walk...
You're 22 and presumably self-supporting. What does it matter what your mother wants you to do?
You would be denying a seat in a nursing program to someone who actually WANTS to be a nurse.
Here's another important point. If you were to get a nursing degree and then not practice nursing for a while as you pursue a music career, your nursing skills/knowledge would become stale. It is VERY difficult to get a good job in nursing if you have been out of the field for a while. The way to succeed in a nursing career is to get a good job immediately after graduation and seriously invest in that nursing career for a few years to build a strong foundation. You wouldn't be doing that even if you did follow your mother's plan for you.
I think you should invest your time and energy into a music career for now to give it a good shot. But be honest with yourself if things don't take off in a couple of years. You may need a Plan B. Give yourself a set time to focus on music -- and then at that set time, re-assess where your music career is headed. If necessary, make a Plan B at that time.
I can understand your mother wanting you to have a Plan B, but her advice just shows how little she understands about being a nurse. It's really not a good Plan B. It's difficult enough for many people when it's Plan A and it's what you really want. No, it's not a "calling" but it does help if your heart is in it. And like previous posters have said, a nursing career doesn't sit well on a shelf waiting to be dusted off from time to time.
New grads struggle to find jobs and then struggle to succeed in them. People who have been away from it awhile (to have babies, recover from injury or deal with some other life event) find difficulty re-entering. Many states require expensive refresher courses after a time of inactivity; some states require recent practice hours to maintain a nursing license; other states require a certain number of continuing education credits per year.
So, I reiterate, nursing is not a good "backup" career. I really don't know what would be, probably something you are at least interested in and would enjoy keeping your hand in while you're getting your music career off the ground. However, any profession with a certain education requirement will probably require an ongoing commitment to maintaining it.
At this point, you're just going to have to trust yourself to know what you want, and trust yourself to handle your life if it doesn't go as planned. That's what being a grownup is. And your mother is going to have to put her anxiety aside, and trust that she did a good enough job of raising you. I wish you success in whatever you decide to do.