I've long been an admirer of the art on the forums, but I was planning on waiting for my first post until I had some solid pieces I wanted critiqued. The events in motion around me have inspired me to go ahead and create my account to ask for your two cents on my current situation and follow this up with becoming a more active member in the CA.org community.
I am currently a student at Georgia Southern University, a small school in...you guessed it....Southern Georgia! I'm incredibly passionate about art (to the degree of an addiction probably) and have been ever since I was little. The most important thing I have learned since attending GSU is that the art I am being taught is definitely not what I desire to learn.
Let me start from the beginning. I attended Georgia Southern for two main reasons:
1) I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, and didn't think art was a "possibility" during high-school.
2) Scholarships/opportunities. I have been very blessed to have received so much support and help from both the University and the faculty from various departments and colleges. Needless to say, I'm not paying a dime.
Now, onto the story that leads to the crux of the problem. About a month into my first semester, I realized that I wanted to do art. I just began my art classes Spring semester, which include drawing II and 2d Design (I exempted Drawing I with AP credit). Things may seem to be great, but I am beginning to realize that I have done most, if not all, of the assignments I am being given, and that my growth is minimal. Note that I am kept very busy by many eclectic activities, including core classes (university system) and extracuricullars. Although I'm seeing great success in all other areas of my college career, my art suffers. I can feel that I'm not learning much, and I want to change that. Nothing against the standards of GSU, but it is just a different style of art (very modernist/abstract). I read the FAQ (and I mean the entire thing) on choosing an art school, and I looked at this from all angles. Both the faculty and student examples of work are simply not what I imagine myself being at in three years.
So, to sum up my long wall of text, I have a few options and would like some advice:
1) I can stay at GSU and finish out my schooling, totally paid for, and get an education that offers me less than what I'm looking for. (this is currently what I'm doing, although I want to combine it with using both CA.org and any resources I can get from SCAD to help improve my growth).
2) I can begin branching out and looking at other schools. SCAD is an immediate answer, but I am worried that my "opportune moment" has passed to really get a good deal going there.
3) Do option 1, and then move on to graduate studying (which I am very interested in) at a very prestigious university on some fellowship. The good thing about GSU is that it is lining me up very well for these scholarships, but I have to make sure they don't distract me from what I need to focus on, my portfolio and experience in art.
So, with that VERY longwinded statement said, what would you do?
Sounds as though you got the socks for Christmas!
Sure, they're nice but it isn't what you really wanted is it?
It's obviously your education so why not choose an educational path where you feel as though you're getting what you want? At what point does your happiness start? Go check out the prospective schools that you want to go to, see what sort of transfer credit they'll take from GSU and make the jump. Sure it might not be equal credit-for-credit but chalk it up to experience and be prepared to follow your heart's desire in art.
Why waste the time at a place where you really don't feel as though you're getting your money's worth (even though you're not paying a dime)? What about the time lost/ spent there? That's worth something as well.
I always ask people who aren't satisfied with their current educational situation about why it is they stick it out and it never fails me that I hear trepidation and fear. But then what's life without some risks? You've got everything to gain by being in a better and much more challenging environment and nothing to be gained by sticking around. Sure you might earn that degree but do you really care about it? And can you really use that degree to open doors into this field? We're all about portfolios in this biz- and it'd serve you well to go out there and craft one heckuva fine book in order to get work beyond college as well.
Thanks for the awesome reply Dave!
Speaking about the transferring credits, I heard that many of the local students at my school were transferring after two years. I can only imagine this is so they can get the core out of the way for cheaper and then move on to a more appropriate university for their taste.
I definitely agree with you about the Christmas socks analogy (fantastic example haha). I have been contemplating how smart it would be to wait for the 4 years just to get that BFA and then move on, but--as you mentioned--time is important too. You only live once! I guess I want that stability that comes with a college degree, but not if it will inhibit my usefulness in the field.
My next step will be to research other institutions that are possibilities for me. It would be great to get the education I want without having a 100,000 bill attached to it. I am willing to move if need be, but staying within driving distance of home is always nice too. Does anyone have any recommendations?
Art schools are generally very expensive. Personally, I believe that one can learn everything he/she needs to learn by him/herself, given enough motivation and dedication. It is quite a bit harder without guidance but it's doable. This forum teaches a lot of great tips and hints in painting techniques that can be applied both to digital medias and traditional medias. If you are eager to learn how to draw, I recommend the book The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study. Follow the schedule closely and you will get good results. If you can squeeze extra time out of your current schedule, follow a public classroom or lurk in a private classroom on the mentoring forum.
With that said, if artschool is affordable to you, you should attend one. A good instructor can save you a lot of banging your head on the wall, teach you useful tips, guide you in the right direction, and offer crucial criticism when you really need it. I believe that it all boils down to: A. save money, spend more time and effort, or B. Pay up, save time and effort. You may get similar results, it's more about how much faster you want to get there.
Oh I totally agree with you Nightblue that an artist can do it solo, but I am seeking a certain community to help foster that growth where, just like on CA.org, we pull each other up, not down. Right now, I am actually working to create a community at my school, but saying it's an uphill battle is an understatement. At my school, I currently attend any and all extra lectures that I can and try implementing my art into my other courses as much as possible, but I feel like I've hit a wall as far as learning goes because of the focus of the course content.
On the topic of art school possibly being affordable, I am going to do my research and see what certain schools might be able to offer me in terms of scholarships. In all reality, I probably won't have any scholarships open up now, but I am going to at least look around. I am a very careful person when it comes to decisions, and I'm not going to jump the gun. If a door opens up though, I will take it.
Great points Nightblue, I appreciate your response!
Transferring from GSU to SCAD would be relatively easy on the credits...I went to Armstrong and all of mine transferred. I also got a large scholarship as a transfer, so I don't see the missing of "opportune moment" on scholarships. (Oh, you do still get Hope and other specialized scholarships on top of that...just less of them due to the school's "private" status.)
I personally had my first two yrs of college paid for (all four if I hadn't transferred) so I did what you are thinking of doing in Option 2. I want to say that in hindsight, getting 4 yrs of college paid for and then going for the masters at a better college would be nice...but the bottom line is that 4 yrs at a uni--which almost always make you feel like you're learning high school art all over again--is torture. Two yrs of way sub-standard art classes was hell.