Terribly confused and frustrated.
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  1. #1
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    Terribly confused and frustrated.

    I'm currently a graphic design student, which used to be one of my passions, but I'm not very satisfied with the program. The way they teach is more like trial and error--do an assignment (no education on the principles of the assignment), it either works or doesn't work, do it again. Maybe this works for some people, but it's not for me. I'm finding it difficult to apply what is "correct" and create good designs. I'm thinking, maybe this just isn't the major for me.

    Part of me wants to stick it out for the next two yrs to see if I can actually learn anything, but it's a financial drain and I'd hate to go through all four years and still feel like I wasted all my money.


    I thought about transferring to an online school (Full Sail Uni Online, anything I should know about it? I've done a lot of research but let me know if you know anything about it) to save on living costs and tuition costs. My family is currently in a really rough situation and I need to help them out. Even though online schools/degrees tend to have a bad rep (tho I hope Jason can fix this once he gets the TAD school up and running ), I believe that I might get more for my money and be able to save a few thousand while I'm at it.


    I was considering either computer animation, or game development. Both are passions of mine as well. Though I've read that a graphic design degree can help with other careers.


    My ultimate goal is to start my own multimedia studio, or work in the game industry as either and artist, developer, or director.


    Do you think it's worth it to stick to the current program and school I'm in, despite feeling like I'm not getting anywhere (I am learning more by pursuing workshops and classes outside of school. So I really feel like it's a waste to spend thousands to be in a class where I learn nothing)...? Should I change my major?


    I guess I'm just trying to save as much money as I can and have a degree that will actually equip me with skills I will need to build a career on. (I am well aware that success doesn't come from a degree though, it comes from within yourself).

    I know Jason hopes to get his art school up and running by summer, but I can't depend or plan around that (even though I would love to attend).


    Opinions, ideas? I'm young and I don't want to make a hasty stupid decision, and I know I might not be aware of certain consequences and such.



    Thanks for reading this angsty frustrating rant!
    -Larissa

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  2. #2
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    I've always gotten the impression that Full Sail is a pricey facility with 24-hour labs and good equipment. I can't say I've ever heard anything either way about whether the quality of the education matches the amount of access you have to industry tools, though, and I lived in Orlando for a couple of years.

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  4. #3
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    As a person that has a graphic design degree here and does illustration for a living, I would highly encourage you not to discount what you've learned so far in graphic design. Yes, those skills do come in handy (designing your own website, your logo, your letterhead, business card, etc.).

    But I'm also a huge proponent on someone following through on their passions. If you go down one path and lose the drive for it, be brave in switching over to something you feel more passionate about. Sometimes that switchover might not be easy- to yourself or to the parents who are paying for your education. It's always going to be your decision to choose your path and it's not always as linear as we'd all like. If it isn't graphic design, then jump to what floats your boat. What you're doing now is setting the foundation for a career- a lifelong career hopefully. And the reason I call it a career is because it should never seem like a job. The people who do this successfully do it with a sense of passion, drive and ambition- it's not about money, promotions or titles. We do this almost like it was a religious calling.

    Also realize that it's not a degree that gets you a job. It's a portfolio- so find a school that can help you get a solid relevant portfolio and a place that can help you with getting contacts into the business. While in school, always have an eye for what lies beyond. Look to the industry and see what changes are going on and adapt & evolve to those things. Upon leaving school you'll need to hit the ground running if you really want to step into the business. Make your portfolio relevant and not full of imaginary exercises; be one with the industry before you get out of school if you can.

    Simply put- change majors because your heart is telling you to do so. As far as saving the money, it's understandable. I don't think there are too many people that are in school that don't grimace a little from spending so much- but realize that it is an investment in your future. Be responsible when it comes to incurring the debt needed. If you have to take out loans, realize that it should be for something you consider worthwhile and valued. And also don't worry if it takes you more than the usual four years to graduate either; many people don't get out on time so there shouldn't be that hideous pressure on you to do so.

    Good luck!

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  6. #4
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    Aren't there other schools in your area? Let us know where you live and perhaps w can make suggestions. If you have a good portfolio, you might be able to apply for scholarship assistance, but I gather you need to live at home so it will need to be a school that's in commuting distance.

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  8. #5
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    Ninjerk: Thanks for the heads up

    StoryboardDave: Thanks! I'm not discrediting the use of graphic design. My concern is that I haven't learned ANY of those things you have mentioned. And my parents aren't paying, I am which is why I'm freaking out because I feel like i'm investing right now in a school that is not teaching me anything. Thank you for the advice though. I will keep it in mind and maybe I will continue to pursue graphic design, but at another school. Where did you get your degree and how was it taught? are all GD programs taught via crit-only classes? Any info would be great

    Maxine: good point sorry about not mentioning it earlier:


    I'm from NJ and when I originally applied to college, I got in to all of the NJ ones I applied to but they didn't offer me as big of a scholarship as where I am now (Tyler school of art in philly). Tyler produces some excellent alumni in graphic design, but so far I've had nothing but headaches dealing with them and so I'm starting to think maybe I'm just not in the right place. I know many people that transfer out and have been much happier.

    NJ schools tend to be costly, or their art programs are not very strong. And though I know I need to invest in my future, I need to be practical with the cost as well because my parents are not helping me so these loans are all on me.

    for the record, the schools in NJ I applied to and got in, but was not offered scholarships:

    TCNJ
    Rutgers (Mason Gross)
    and I also got into SUNY Purchase in NY.


    I am looking more for online programs because they tend to be cheaper, and because I don't have the financial means for a car to commute (and the trains in NJ don't really go to many places nor have flexible times. The train station nearest to me only arrives every 2 -4 hours. I've applied for jobs but no one is hiring, I was only able to get a temporary job in the summer.) however I'm open to reading any suggestions, they are all helpful in some way.


    thanks

    "Be either full-assed or no-assed. There is no half assed."

    SSG SKETCHPOT/FLYING RADISHES/ OR JUST PLAIN AWESOME.
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  9. #6
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    I don't know about a full GD program, but in my third year I took a Graphic Design course, and the teacher would teach us about balance, typography, etc, and then give us an assignment, and then we'd submit roughs over a bunch of weeks where the teacher would show us where we were going wrong and fix stuff with us, then we'd give a final and do a class critique on it (Where the teacher would again tell us where we went wrong). AFAIK that's how it is at the GD progam at my school, too.

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  11. #7
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    that makes sense to me. maybe i just have a bad teacher. he gives us the assignment without teaching us about anything prior to giving out the assignment. i've been talking to some upper classmen and they say the teacher has a reputation for doing that.

    thanks for the insight!

    "Be either full-assed or no-assed. There is no half assed."

    SSG SKETCHPOT/FLYING RADISHES/ OR JUST PLAIN AWESOME.
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  12. #8
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    I'm assuming that there is some sort of syllabus attached to this class, and a book as well. Are there assignments that you are missing, perhaps? At AI, we don't HAVE to read a book to pass a class...But, it does make it a heck of a lot easier to do so.

    If you do have a book, I would see if I could figure out what the teacher is talking about in the lectures and such. See if, maybe, that can help you figure out what you should be designing.

    We always have a purpose to our designs, at AIPOD. So, if the teacher truly isn't giving you anything....I would think about dropping the class and trying a different teacher. If that isn't possible...I'd do the best I can, with the understanding that teacher is worthless, and that is just a grade you will have to work hard to overcome, whatever it ends up being.

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  14. #9
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    It is very possible to land a game job without having a degree at all. The situation may be slightly changing with several game dev schools that are actually worth their salt producing graduates, but all in all the skills you need can be learned on online forums. If you want to do game art, it never hurts to learn 3D - 3D opens up an array of jobs and make you more hirable, especially at smaller studios that seem to have a higher tendency to hire people into the industry rather than asking everybody to have 5+ years of experience. These studios would always appreciate people who can fill in the need and be flexible. Polycount is an excellent forum for 3D learning from what I've heard.

    With that said, you might need to be at school to get your loans - not everybody can afford to live in the basement for 2 years, not to mention it sounding like a lonely and difficult route where you have to keep your own motivation up. It would be great if you can take some drawing/painting/illustration classes. I would recommend an art school but they are all pretty expensive. I suppose some state colleges' art departments are ok, but most of what I've heard (and took classes from) tend to do exactly what the graphic design dpt did to you - here's a pencil and now draw. I didn't find that very helpful either.

    Unless driven by the needs of getting a loan, I honestly don't see the point of taking expensive online classes. There are free resources online everywhere where people can help you learn. You can find mentors everywhere if you ask nicely and show desire and work ethic. Online schools just seem to be lacking much of the benefits of a traditional school, where you meet and work with people physically, developing long-term bounds and networks, and the instructors can communicate with you face to face, one-on-one, which is an essential form of communication. There are fewer things more helpful than watching your instructor looking over your work - they may try to write down everything afterwards, but there is a lot of information you can gain by watching their body language and tone and asking questions. If you are going to shell out the bucks and get a loan, go for the actual schools where you get a more personal education.

    Sorry for the rambly post it's morning and my logic array is warming up still. Best of luck to you!

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  16. #10
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    darkwolf: wow no we have a syllabus that he told us we won't use, and no books were suggested or assigned. he just says to go to the library,which i have always done but he gives us no direction at all.i dont' mind going to the library, but hell i'm paying him to teach me,not to self teach via library. i'm not missing any assignments. it's week 5 and he's still having us do the first project over and over again. thanks for the insight, it is really helpful to know what the class should be like!

    night: thanks man for the knowledge about 3d, i didn't know it was so versatile in terms of finding work. Well,I have been looking more at art programs thru regular uni's. Mostly so that I can have my academics as well. A degree is important to me because I am the first in my family to be able to go to college and further my education. and most of the online programs are still cheaper than what i'm paying now, tho i do firmly believe and agree that a degree is not needed. it's from yourself and your portfolio. a degree at least opens up some basic backup jobs (whether it's in my minor/certificate program in business, or just enough credits to get a substitute teaching job ).

    good point body language too, I didn't think about that.



    thanks to everyone so far for responding, it is helpful

    "Be either full-assed or no-assed. There is no half assed."

    SSG SKETCHPOT/FLYING RADISHES/ OR JUST PLAIN AWESOME.
    KT | Reutte | Darkmoon |Asatira | AnthonyV

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