You’re applying for university, and you don’t know what degree you should major in. Your Dad wants you to be a doctor, and your Mom thinks you should go for business so that you can run the family business once you graduate. You, however, want to be a writer. You want to be an artist, a photographer, or a singer, but unfortunately that’s not a stable career so you can’t really rely on that.

Whether you decide to go for a major that suits your dream job or not, when you graduate, you’ll also find that there is a lack of jobs in the work industry that serve to your interests and simultaneously pay well. Almost impossible, especially in Cairo.

However, there are still ways you can get around that struggle and make the best of it, so here’s a list for all my fellow strugglers out there.

1. Apply for residencies abroad

Yep, there’s actually such a thing. You apply for these residencies that host artists, photographers, or writers, and you go and stay with them for a period of time upon acceptance. Sometimes you have to pay a fee, but you can also find ones that are already funded. These experiences help not only in letting the inspiration juices flow, but you also get to meet many others who share the same passions you do from different countries around the world. And you get to travel.


2. Whore yourself out on Social Media

There’s nothing to be shy about. You like drawing, and people like to internet. Give these people another reason to stay an extra minute or two on Facebook and see your talents. Social media is a blessing in disguise. You get to advertise yourself and show off your talent, and your audience are your friends or acquaintances. There’s bound to be an interested crowd in there somewhere, and possibly even connections to help take you to the next step.


3. Work on a long-term project

If you write, work on a book. If you draw, work on an exhibition. If you sing, take vocal lessons. All these things will eventually lead up to something, whether small or big, which in turn could lead to something even bigger. Working on a long-term project doesn’t mean consuming and dedicating your entire 24 hours to your hobbies and talents. El 3aks, it can take up to 60 minutes, and even a focused 20 minutes will help add something to that project.


4. Work on the little things too

Do you have a certain idea for a poem that you haven’t quite figured out yet and have left unwritten for almost three weeks now? Write it, even if you feel like it’s going to be a dead end. Working on the small things helps you develop and enhance your skill, even if the result is shit. There’s always time to work on them and improve them later.


5. Keep your eyes open

I once read a piece of useful advice for writers which said that you can find at least five things in every week of your life to write a story about. Whether it was a kid wearing an oversized jacket on the back of his father’s motorbike, or the lost facial expression of a random stranger you saw while running some errands. Everything around you has a story to it, and to each person, you’ll find a million stories that you can make out of assumption or out of imagination. This is applicable to any form of art, since art in itself is a form of story telling.