For most students, college is now coming to an end, and the next chapter is beginning. Adulthood is on the horizon, and we couldn't feel more conflicted about leaving everything we know behind.
Students are graduating from medical schools, law schools or liberal arts colleges. However, I like to feel like the lucky one because I am graduating from an art school. My art school experience wasn't like the one from "Fame," where people are singing and jumping on cars. It also wasn't like the clichéd depiction of art school, where moody students are eating croissants and drinking coffee.
I'm graduating from a stress-filled, mood-board-designing, late-night-sketching life. I learned incredible lessons not every student is fortunate enough to experience.
So, here are five ways art school taught me to be an adult:
1. Nothing in life is free.
Sure, you have FAFSA and scholarships to help you out, but who's paying for your projects? Who is supplying your last-minute mood board fabric swatches and supplies to make it pop? Color printing for 53 images is not cheap.
No matter how sweet, beautiful or likable you are, you cannot get a discount on overpriced art supplies. This taught me that this is what life is. When you need something for your job or just to survive, you have to figure out how to get it in order to succeed.
2. Let go of your ego.
We are going to be critiqued every day of our lives, and we have to get used to it. When you go into a work environment or freelance gig, you need to let your ego go.
Not everything you do will be praised and accepted. You have to learn to be understanding and open to critique. This will allow you to be successful and see different perspectives, which will ultimately better you.
3. Networking is key.
When we had different projects that involved skills we didn't excel in, we would find someone to help us out. We would make friends outside our major in order to help us pass assignments. If I didn't know how Photoshop worked for a project, I would find someone. If someone needed help on styling for a photo shoot, I would volunteer.
Networking is essential to build a career in today's world. You never know who you're going to meet or what someone can offer you. So, get out of your comfort, and say hello to your next open door.
4. Life is a competition.
It sounds pretty clichéd, but this is the truth. When we would have class assignments and have to come up with new ideas for a mock PR piece, it would get pretty competitive. Even if it was just for a grade, we wanted to be the best and get praise from our teacher.
If one student shared an idea, another student would snowball off it and make it better. Think of this for your next job. Remember your best ideas should never be shared unless it is with your boss or the executives. It will allow you to avoid the backstabbers and anxiety early on.
5. Always believe in yourself.
Sometimes, we are unable to see our full potential. Sometimes, our peers will have to push us to these limits in order for us to reach the success we were meant to achieve. We need to go outside of our everyday boxes and think a little differently.
This allows us to be more open to change, to come up with fresh ideas and to weed out the bad ones. If you can't see yourself the way your peers see you, then you wont have a chance at success. Believing in yourself can be hard, but it is worth it when you finally do achieve all of your goals.
Art school has been the roughest and most memorable four years of my life, and it was so much more than your typical college experience. I was surrounded by amazingly talented people, and all of them wanted to fulfill their life dreams.
Some days were rough, while others were tedious. But whenever I had the chance to excel, I always gave it my all. This is exactly what it's going to be like in the "real world," and I couldn't be more prepared than I am now.