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5 Lesser-Known Benefits of Attending Design School
Whether you’re a designer or an artist, you’ve probably entertained the idea of going to college or university to beef up your skillset and pursue your passion with a vengeance. With the huge costs in time, energy and finances; it’s a serious decision to make. In this article I’ll break down 5 hidden benefits of the art school experience. Although this post references ‘design school’, these principles are universal for higher education in general!
5. Unknown Talents
Courses are structured to contain a varied range of modules – related to the core subject you are studying.
Some of these classes may awaken hidden talents, interests or aptitudes you may not have discovered outside of the art school experience. During my time at university, I discovered I had a ferocious interest in theory. While this may be a testament to the lecturer’s enthusiasm for the subject – this area of study sure did change my perspective on a lot of different things.
For others, it may be a newfound love for typography, web design or print-making – whatever the passion, it could lead on to a dramatic change of direction in your professional pursuits.
4. Say Goodbye to the Comfort Zone
As you’ll be taking classes in a range of modules, you’ll also find certain areas to be excruciatingly challenging, making you question the wisdom of undertaking the degree in the first place!!
For me, it was web design. Whilst I understood the basics and managed to get to grips with most tasks, things became progressively more difficult, and I really started to struggle. When things go wrong, you learn at a phenomenal rate. With a submission deadline looming, I tore through articles and guides – fervently trying to solve the problems of my erratic code.
It was tough, it was intense, I earned a few grey hairs from the experience!! Although my principle field is Digital Art, it was the web design tuition that became my most valuable asset post-university. I’m not a natural, and it didn’t come easy – but boy am I glad that I fought the good fight in that module!!
This one is pretty big. A large part of the college / university experience is being surrounded by positive people that share your drive and interests.
Whilst studying you can engage in healthy competition, bounce off ideas and generally celebrate all that is awesome in the creative industries. This is incredibly fulfilling. The real power of networking however, kicks in after your course is finished.
You’ll have at your disposal a solid list of contacts, in a wide range of disciplines that you can leverage post-university. Through my course, I have motion graphics professionals, UI designers, illustrators, web designers and videographers that I can commission or ask for expert advice at any time. I’d be happy to help any one of my uni buds if they need my help too, it’s a two-way street.
As you have seen your peers in action, you’ll also know their strengths / weaknesses and ability to complete projects. This is phenomenal.
Now with this point, I’m not referring to hallucinogenic drugs or unorthodox sexual practices – although if you choose these pursuits, I won’t judge!!
As mentioned in the ‘Unknown Talents’ point, you’ll get the opportunity to try out a wide range of different disciplines. As you go through life, you’ll notice loads of little side projects or areas of art / design that you’d love to try out – but never have the time to give them a ‘proper go’.
During your time at university, you’ll get the opportunity to really get stuck in. I’ve always wanted to make short films, and in my course I had the opportunity to make some shorts. I’m not pursuing a career in film, but I’m damn glad I had the opportunity to do some video projects. Same thing with animation.. one of those areas I’ve always wanted to try, but ‘life’ always seemed to get in the way.
1. Getting Sh*t Finished
This point has the hallowed spot of number one on this lineup, and for good reason.
University conditions you to get sh*t finished, and this is the greatest benefit you will receive from the overall experience. Due to the format of study, you’ll have to complete set tasks within a given time-frame. Some tasks will be a walk in the park, some will be excruciatingly difficult (goddamn you web!!). Nothing prepares you more for professional practice than the reward / punishment nature of completing projects on time – nothing.
It’s truly Darwinian, sink or swim. The higher education process is a LOT less lenient than school, and lame excuses just don’t wash. This is how it works in the real world, and is an immensely valuable life lesson. If you flake in business, you won’t get paid. It’s as simple as that.
University is great for building discipline and instilling the hardy grit you need to survive in this exciting industry.
The university experience was right for me, but I fully understand that it’s the not the right path for everyone.. If you’d like to get all the techie know-how for creative Photoshop techiques, and work at your own pace – then our FULL Photomanipulation Course could be the right choice for you.
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