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Thread: The Education Blues
January 29th, 2006 #1
The Education Blues
I'm in a pretty disastrous situation. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.
For most of high school, I wanted to do journalism. I took AP classes, had decent grades, but around the middle of my senior year I had a change of heart. I wanted to go into game design, but I wasn't sure about the specifics. I had taken art classes, and the digital art courses my school offered to their limit. I had enough time to talk to my parents about it (fortunately, they were supportive), and looked up a few schools like the School of Visual Arts. This was in 2003, and many schools were pretty hazy about exactly their 'digital media' programs entailed.
I would've killed to go to the School of Visual Arts, but my parents even still have this irrational paranoia about NYC. In the meantime, they pushed me to go to a community college for Graphic Design first. I went, my art skills flourished, and I met a girl with similar ambitions as mine. Despite my boredom with graphic design in particular, I did well there. When it came to transferring, my friend went to AI Colorado. Now I've heard discouraging things about an AI diploma, and I was on my own to pay for education, so I went to a state college (SUNY) Oneonta that offered a B.A. in Computer Art.
I've been here for almost a year (came in with junior status), and this place is horrible. I'm just now having access to a class in my major this semester, and only because I ranted to the head of the department. The lab is a joke, and outdated computers (G3's) are often missing keyboards, the mouse, and programs that should be there. The computer lab at my community college was superior. The amount of bureaucracy here is ludicrous, and many other students in the major are looking elsewhere as well.
I applied to Champlain (http://www.champlain.edu/majors/egame/). I had a 3.4 GPA here last semester when I applied, and two great letters of recommendations. There is even an article on the site about the head of the department trying to recruit more female students. I really thought my chances were good. I got the rejection letter yesterday.
I don't know what to do now, and it's getting to the point where my family wants me to give up with education altogether. Technically, I can qualify next semester for graduation, but I'll have very little experience with 3D modeling and animation. My mom insists a B.A. will be good enough for anything, but I know in this field portfolios are the most important factor in finding work. My family also lives in the boondocks, so there's very little opportunity around.
I don't want to give up on transferring. Other schools I've looked at include S.V.A., Ringling, AI Colorado, F.I.T. (I'm missing a web design credit that's needed to qualify me for their bachelor's program >_>), S.C.A.D, and R.I.T., and the SF Academy of Art. Many of these places insist I already have a lot of experience in the classes I want them to teach me, and places like R.I.T. want me to start over in their program as a freshman. Nevertheless, they are all expensive, so narrowing it down has been difficult. I'm wary about taking online courses too.
Does anyone have the slightest idea of what I should do? I'm mentally exhausted.
Hide this ad by registering as a memberJanuary 29th, 2006 #2
A lot of people end up rethinking their career choices so you're not alone. When I graduated high school I went to Rutgers and had very little idea on what to do with my life. I ended up taking intro courses to a bunch of different fields and I stayed there for 3 years thinking I would eventually find something and I did. Art and animation. But I knew I had to get out of there if I wanted any education in that. Long story short, I applied to SVA almost 2 years ago, got rejected. Applied to Ringling a year later and got into their Computer Animation program. I'm also starting off as a freshman again.
I guess my point is, it's alright to jump around places if you end up going where you want and doing what you love. Even if it means taking some time off from it all. There's a lot of pressure from others to just jump into college, get a degree and start working. Many people here at Ringling are in their mid 20's and 30's all the way into their 40's. Some even have kids. It's all about what you want to do with your life and in the end, if you're happy, then that whole trek would be worth it. You may end up in huge debt and it might take longer to pay off, but if you can say you're life was fulfilling, does the cost really matter?
You have to have an idea of what you want. What is it that you're looking to do? Game design is a pretty wide area. There's the actual game design, which is figuring out what kind of game it will be and what it involves. There's programming and there's the art side(concept, modeling, texturing, animation). It seems to me that you're interested in the art side of things and not so much in the actual design aspects.
Yeah they're all expensive schools. I got some advice from someone who's in the animation industry a long time ago. He said that if I'm going to spend that kind of money on schooling, it might as well be at the best. I'd recommend Ringling(although I'm biased) for animation. Just looking at the student work will give you a sense of what the people are capable of here. It has a focus on story development here too, so it's not a button-pushing school. The others really don't have a very impressive repetoire. I'd have to say the best animation work I've ever seen comes from Ringling, CalArts(for 2d) and VFS and Sheridan(both in Canada).
If you're looking into online programs, then I recommend Animation Mentor. It's taught by some very talented people working at big studios, like ILM and Pixar. It's *very* new but I've seen some work coming from that program and it's quite good. So, it's definetly worth a good look.
Learn all you can outside of school, practice your art, and if you decide you still want to go for more schooling, go for it. And don't give up, I didn't.
"So now we have modeled something that will get us nowhere in life"
January 29th, 2006 #3
I'm not sure if you said anything about this, but have you looked into Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA its pricy but they have a good illustration department that branches of into entertainment design, entertainment arts, illustration now, motion design, and new painting.
I just started this term. I went to community college for 2 years after hs, so that I could work and save some money for school, and working 30 hours a week and going to school full time really prepared me for Art Center. Plus it allowed me to get the party life out of my system... not that I had a large one in the first place...
January 29th, 2006 #4
Quite the dilemma you have there.
Obviously you've bounced around quite a bit there, but it's far from hopeless. It's just like that old adage of you've got to try on a lot of shoes before you find the right fit. Obviously all of those earlier places weren't your fit; you haven't lost anything from those experiences- you learned what you really need now.
And you've got some darn good things to propel you to where YOU want to go now. It's not like you went into Accounting, three years in after not drawing, you decide to change majors to art. You HAVE practical knowledge. It just means that you have to apply to the places you want now.
Not everyone is "get out of high school, four years, BAM!, you have a BFA". The average age at the college where I teach is 23- hardly high school kids. Just because you decided to change your mind it's not the end of the world. As long as you're still moving forward (and you still are) into you career goals, you're doing okay.
Make a visit to these schools if you can. Make the best choice that you can and go full steam ahead, but make sure you're comfortable with the decision. Don't exactly let their counselors sell you on the place- you've got to feel challenged and intimidated at their school and yet you should still feel as though you can grow there.
You're not the first person to re-think a career or school choice but as long as you're still moving forward with a goal in mind I think you'll be fine.
January 29th, 2006 #5
I can say that I know exactly where you are coming from. Just like Sula (a buddy of mine who just so happens to be THE BEST animator ever!) I went to a four year state school and got a degree in business. Halfway through I knew I wanted out, but didn't know what to do until I had some inspiration and push from my wife to get on with my life and stop dicking around. I decided to give Ringling a go and got into the computer animation department. I love it here and I am getting better everyday. I started at 24 years old and there are lots of people here that have already done some college before. It is never too late to start doing what you want to.
More to the point. Ringling currently has a gaming minor in place as part of the computer animation department. It is becoming very popular among students and more recruiters are coming from game companies to take in the graduates from here because they believe Ringling grads to be some of the best suited people for the job, and we have a proven track record at most companies so they keep coming back for more grads. From all this attention and from our department head working with the biggest gaming companies out there ( they are telling him exactly what they want in a graduate and Ringling plans to deliver...job security anybody?!!) Ringling has decided to create an entire major program out of it. It will be still mostly character animation based, but it will go into all the other aspects that you will need to become an all around game designer. Concept, level design, rules and production, etc.. Since it is branching off from the computer animation department here you can be garunteed that it will be one of (if not the) best game design progams in the world (yes I said world and I mean it).
So if you can't tell already I am going to reccommend you really check out Ringling. We just had a portfolio day here today and there were a lot of really talented students that all know Ringling is a great school. Good Luck.
January 30th, 2006 #6Registered User
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just my two cents, but I agree partially with your mother. Get your BA. Get it on your resume. Don't transfer, because most colleges dont' take studio art courses for transfer credit - you'd have to start too much over.
What you should do is graduate, and then go take continuing ed classes, or audit classes in game design, 3D modelling, etc. Then you can devote all your time to it (besides working) and you don't have to worry about graduating. Just focus on your portfolio, and you're set! Plus, maybe try to design a game, or get some professional experience at a small company. Plus, constantly take figure drawing - helps with character design.
February 7th, 2006 #7
Thank you everybody for your comments.
I've decided rather than jumping back into the whole transfer/application/panic attack/rush again that I just went though, that I'm going to try to relax here and take in as much as I can.
One reason because it's already past some deadlines. Ringling's deadline, for instance, was a way ago and they accept computer animation students in the fall. I'm going to use the time (roughly a year :/) to do side projects and make a worthy portfolio. I think I'll hold off graduating early (from here) because I won't have enough experience and classes in themselves, and since home is in the boondocks, this is the only school I can learn this right now. I think by then, I have a clear idea of exactly what I want to do in the realm of game art and 3D modeling.