The Secret To Choosing A Degree From CMT Artist Ashley Wineland

ASU Online student, Ashley Wineland, showing off her Sun Devil spirit.

There's one question that we all just love being asked, whether it be by family members, friends, random strangers in the store or even ourselves the second we decide to be college bound: ​What degree are you pursuing?

This fun question is usually anything but fun to those of us who are trying to select from a long list of degree choices for the first time. Ultimately, this seemingly harmless question asks us to quickly solidify exactly what we want to do as our profession for the rest of our lives, which can be a bit daunting.

However, what if I told you that it didn't have to be so scary? That really you had more options and flexibility than you could have imagined? In hopes of giving you some ideas for a plan of attack or inspiration, let me walk you through my journey of deciding my degree path.

I want to start by saying that I knew I was going to be online bound as soon as I hit my senior year of high school. Usually, this is a pretty restrictive path for degree options as most colleges only have paths dedicated in things like business or art history. As someone who had already started building a career in entertainment as a singer/songwriter, I knew that those options weren't going to make the final cut for me.

My heart and soul lies in music entertainment, but I knew that a degree path with that being the primary focus was not applicable anywhere to me at the time being. So, I had to think outside the box. I asked myself important questions like, "What can you do that is still creative in nature, but can also aid other parts of your career?" These questions were vital because they really made me think of how I could push my boundaries, how I could use the skills that I learned to expand my career path. They finally lead me to ASU, the only online college I found that offered a creative, yet business/media focused degree: Film and Media Studies.

I remember being so ecstatic when I found Film and Media Studies in the degree options. This particular degree has four major areas of emphasis: the film writing portion, which allowed me to use my creative writing skills, and the other three which pertained to the evolution of media, how we use it today and what impacts it has on our society. I knew I was going to be able to use these skills to improve how I communicated with my fan base, produced visual content (which is the future of the entertainment industry) and formed my business plans. It was an all-encompassing degree that was going to aid me in different facets of my career that I wasn't already actively honing in on.

Even though I'm not close to being done with my classes here at ASU, I've already been able to implement techniques and skills from all different classes. I took a Film and Media Productions class which allowed me to grow my skills in Photoshop, Garage Band and my movie editor software. I use the techniques I learned in my vlogs that I produce for my fans on YouTube. I've also been able to hone my writing skills via my English classes to produce better ads on social media, blog posts, such as this one, and correspondences with other professionals in my industry.

Overall, I have found a love for my degree and have been able to begin implementing it's lessons into my work life. It goes to show you that something you may have never considered can help you attain more than you could imagine. When going to choose your degree, be open to possibilities and reflect on how you can creatively use the skill sets a degree path has to offer to pursue your best life.

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