Yes, the arts are essential because of the way they affect our minds. While a degree/career/interest in a "sensible" field like accounting/engineering would probably make more money/be more successful, the arts are very important to society as a whole. I'm mainly talking about music and dance and theater, but paintings and drawings are important as well. A musician or painter can affect people in a way that an accountant or engineer never could. The arts are essential to society and they are very important, the girls you dated are wrong or mislead.