Was going to University a mistake?

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CJAY
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Was going to University a mistake?

Unread postby CJAY » Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:55 am

So...TAP Dwellers, looking for a few opinions over here.

I've been studying Illustration (with a 'touch' of graphic design) at University for the last 3 years with the final year around the corner, prior to applying to University I stumbled across this forum and was drawing both digitally and traditionally everyday for hours on end, I was in no way any 'good' and had a long long way to go but I was having an absolute blast learning and seeing what everyone else was doing here...then things went downhill.

For the first year of University (Foundation Level) I was subject to a very VERY basic level, like I said, I was extremely aware that I had a lot to learn, however this first year was almost a 'taster' for those who had never picked up a pencil before, some of the assignments involved basic things like making water colour washes, using illustrator to make 3D text and shapes, really basic things that could have been learnt via youtube in a matter of minutes followed by practice.

Never the less I had fun and it was a great introduction to the University lifestyle, however I left feeling like I had paid £9K for a good 6 months of drinking, socialising and splashing ink around a page once a week, nothing really new was learnt and it was not in anyway what I had expected it to be.

In the next year (Year 1 essentially) I had alot more fun, figure drawing, animation and acrylic and watercolour painting workshops that actually took time to go over everything where great, I really feel like I learned alot from this and the tutor that taught us was full of insight and knowledge, I literally picked up every book he recommended, however once that year ended things very quickly went back to basic level and the general attitude of alot of the students began to drop.

This year that I have just finished (Year 2) has absolutely ruined my love and drive for illustration and art in general, the first assignment we were given was a commission from a local brewery company aimed at graphic designers, as we didn't have any interesting projects (from what I hear) myself and the illustrators were thrown into a graphic design brief, having only lightly covered it 2 years prior, needless to say that fell apart fast and in a total of 3 weeks I had created maybe 4 sketches and spent the rest of the time learning inDesign and Illustrator again.

The next few assignments covered reportage and protest/political illustration, however I was not physically shown any examples, techniques or really given critiques over the 2-3 months that we had these assignments, in conjunction with that I had an essay assignment due for another lecturer, these essays were based off particular questions, none of which could relate to illustration, in the end I spent 3 weeks locked in a room writing about British Punk Subculture and Social Norms while my sketchbook lay in dust.

Its now the end of this year, and as I said I have one more year remaining of study, I have little to no drive for illustration anymore, today I was thinking back to when I first joined this group and was applying to University, I was aiming towards a mix of concept artist and/or comic artists as a career, however now I feel that I have spent 2 years wasting time and have wandered off far from where I wanted to be, if someone where to ask me "Where do you want to be in 5 years time?" I would have to answer with "Back where I was before University" as I had far more drive, more love for art and a clear plan for what I wanted to do professionally.

Surely this isn't how a soon to be degree-student should feel, studying something I love should not have killed any hopes I had for the future, please let me know your thoughts, and if any of you have or are due to graduate from a university degree in arts then please share your story.

Sorry for the rant, glad to be back. BibleThump
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sampetersonart
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Re: Was going to University a mistake?

Unread postby sampetersonart » Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:43 am

This is always a fairly tough question to answer, but I think it starts from identifying your goals and judging for yourself from there. The questions you have to ask yourself are "Is this helping me get closer to my goals? is this providing value I couldn't get on my own? Is this worth the money? Do I need a degree to get where I want to be?"

Also take a look and what graduating students are producing. Does the school have them graduate with an industry ready portfolio? Are there people getting the kind of jobs you'd want to get after graduating? All these questions really just depend on what you specifically want to do and what jobs you want to get. But you have to take a look at the curriculum and see if the school prepares students to be ready for the industry after they graduate. A lot of schools don't prepare students well for any specific jobs, but just have them produce a general student portfolio of various drawings, paintings and art projects. Not sure if your school has good aid with job placement after graduation, or try to get an internship before you graduate since most places only let you get an internship if you're a student, so take advantage of that if you choose to stay because I know of a lot of people who got their foot in the door that way.

It sounds like you only have a year left so it's up to you to figure out if it's worth the time and money. It might be worth it to just complete it and get a degree (if that's valuable for your field and goals, I know it can help for non US citizens who want to work in the US) or it might not be worth the money when you can focus more on stuff that will help you find work.

Not sure if that's helpful, but I think you really have to have a solid idea of where you're trying to go to know if this current path is taking you there or not.
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Re: Was going to University a mistake?

Unread postby CJAY » Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:40 am

sampetersonart wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:43 am
This is always a fairly tough question to answer, but I think it starts from identifying your goals and judging for yourself from there. The questions you have to ask yourself are "Is this helping me get closer to my goals? is this providing value I couldn't get on my own? Is this worth the money? Do I need a degree to get where I want to be?"

Also take a look and what graduating students are producing. Does the school have them graduate with an industry ready portfolio? Are there people getting the kind of jobs you'd want to get after graduating? All these questions really just depend on what you specifically want to do and what jobs you want to get. But you have to take a look at the curriculum and see if the school prepares students to be ready for the industry after they graduate. A lot of schools don't prepare students well for any specific jobs, but just have them produce a general student portfolio of various drawings, paintings and art projects. Not sure if your school has good aid with job placement after graduation, or try to get an internship before you graduate since most places only let you get an internship if you're a student, so take advantage of that if you choose to stay because I know of a lot of people who got their foot in the door that way.

It sounds like you only have a year left so it's up to you to figure out if it's worth the time and money. It might be worth it to just complete it and get a degree (if that's valuable for your field and goals, I know it can help for non US citizens who want to work in the US) or it might not be worth the money when you can focus more on stuff that will help you find work.

Not sure if that's helpful, but I think you really have to have a solid idea of where you're trying to go to know if this current path is taking you there or not.

Thanks for your thoughts on it Sam, I've arranged to have a meeting with the course leader of the graphic design department (as the illustrations lecturer won't be in for the last week...) and hopefully will get a clearer mindset by the end of it all, I always assumed it would be art block that killed the fun for me, not education.

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