What I Learned in My Art History in Paris Class

This is an update of the amazing trip I took to Europe last summer. Slowly but surely I’m posting about every day I spent on that excellent continent. To read earlier updates, click herehereherehereherehereherehere and here. And here. And here and here and here and here and here and here.


I have always been taught that experiences in the real world far surpass lessons in the classroom, educationally speaking. Not that school isn’t important (heaven forbid it’s not important! it took me seven years to finish my first dadgum degree—it’d better be important). Indeed, school is very important. But for a truly well-rounded education life experience is key.

And part of life experience, of course, is travel.

Luckily my art history study trip in Paris taught me just as much about life and my own self as it did about rococo architectural tropes. The main lesson I learned? That changing my major from art history to English was a great idea.

I like art history a lot, but I have discovered it is not my true passion. I used to think it was, but this trip taught me that I was quite wrong. In actuality, I only liked my art history classes more than all the other ones I’d taken to that point. And relative preference is a fine basis for hobbies, but for life paths? I shudder to think.

When I was a senior in high school (grade 12, Canadians) I thought maybe I might could make a good lawyer or politician when I grew up. But in April of 2004 I took an extracurricular trip with a group of fellow seniors to Washington, D.C. to learn more about government and politics, and guess what? I loved the architecture and statues and historical sites, but all the actual political aspects of the course were excruciating for me. It took me less than 24 hours in the place to realize how very fortunate I was to learn it then and not in my last year of law school.

This time around I already decided against getting my degree in art history, but truthfully  a part of me has regretted that decision ever since I made it back in 2009. Since then, I have taken art history classes for every elective possible. When I wasn’t writing papers for English, I was writing them for art history. And when it came right down to it I liked the art classes better.

But in the real world, I prefer the literature aspects of my English degree (reading, writing, editing, and such) far over the real-world aspects of an art history or museum studies degree.

As I learned during my real-world trip to Paris this past week and a half.

Will I always love to travel and see cathedrals and learn places’ histories and soak my pores with culture?

Of course.

Do I want to spend the greater part of my life standing on my feet in crowded museums in front of sculptures trying to make sense of it all?

No freaking way.

And I am eternally grateful for figuring it out before it was too late. Now I can proceed along my journey to become a writer unencumbered with the heavy baggage of What If.

I think it’s going to be an excellent trip.

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at facebook.com/archivesofourlives, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
This entry was posted in change, in all seriousness, introspection, It's All Good, looking back. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to What I Learned in My Art History in Paris Class

  1. James Pawsey says:

    Great post. I agree. I started my degree as Politics and Economics, but dropped the economics bit.

  2. Mariano says:

    I’m glad you found your real vocation!

  3. Pingback: Prenniversary (Some people just say I Love You.) | Archives of Our Lives

  4. Amanda says:

    You know…I really hate that school is so important. Especially here in Educated Land. Everyone here can sign PhD or MD after their name. It’s rather annoying really. I am so happy for you though. You did it! I will (hopefully soon) be joining your rank! I can certainly say I have never taken an art history class, nor do I have an desire to. BUT, I like to oooh and awww at a lot of things so maybe my appreciation just goes as far as LOLcats and FailBlog.

    BTW, I know you love Gossip Girl. Should I watch?

  5. irene says:

    bon voyage, then! :)

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