View Full Version : School work/study vs. professional work

08 August 2005, 04:08 AM
I'd like to get some insight from professionals on this. I'll finish the coursework for my B.F.A. in a few months, and so far I've not been very happy with any of the work I've done in school. It's not that I'm unhappy with my work in general, just the projects I've done for classes. I think it's a product of always having several assignments at a time, on top of two part-time jobs and some semblance of a social life. The pressure really gets to me, and I think it affects my work.

On the other hand, I've done a few professional jobs, and things went much more smoothly. I was never stressed-out or nervous. Of course I always see room for improvement in everything I do, but I was much more satisfied with it than I normally am with my school work.

Did anyone else experience this in going from student to professional? Is it something to do with working toward a real purpose instead of just a grade that won't matter anyway? Something about school work just takes most of the joy out of it for me, but doing it as a job (or just for fun) always ends with pleasing results.

08 August 2005, 05:14 AM
I feel the same way... currently in school. I'm doing an internship, and i'm ten times more happy to do that than I am to do any school work. I'm actually not happy with the school at all, but that's besides the point. I think doing work that you know is real world experience or something more than some "dumb school project" feels a lot better. Now of course you can take a school project and make it out to be a real world project just as easily (mentaly) (depending on the project of course) but the thing I keep telling myself is that i need to think of it as work, because you never know what kind of job will come your way, and money is money... so if you get a lame freelance job, thats as dumb as one of your school projects, you should still put your best into it (and you'll probably still take it), and treat as if it were a big deal... turn into something completely different. And yes... i know about the pressure/time thing. I have to work full time and go to school full time and it blows ass... but you gotta do what you can with the time you have.

And of course you're not nervous about a pro job... they're paying you. You're not paying them for you to produce something!

08 August 2005, 06:16 PM
I can totally agree with the both of you. I'm at Purdue University, studying computer graphics. Personally, I feel the "design" aspects of the course work I've had for my classes thus far are laughable. This is something I came to terms with the beginning of my junior year. Now I am a senior, and during this past summer I was lucky enough to get an internship related to web design, which involved a little bit of coding (which I despise). What my undergrad education has boiled down to is me feeling like I don't have enough experience design wise. Pretty much every project I've done for class has just been "for that grade" to get by. I'm really not satisfied with anything I've done. What I have been satisfied with for portfolio work is what I've done on my own free time and when I'm bored. Another reason why I took it upon myself to start a minor in the art & design dept (probably where I should have started freshman year instead!). Now I am thinking of continuing that minor and making it another major, or perhaps going to a school like in Savannah or Rhode Island for a possible MFA in graphic design. I'd love to hear suggestions if anyone has any.

08 August 2005, 12:04 AM
I go to the Savannah College of Art and Design, and I've enjoyed my experience here so far. The facilities are more than adequate, and the professors all have professional experience and are very knowledgeable about their fields. The biggest letdown is the quality of the student work. There are students who do good work here, but they're not nearly as common as spoiled rich kids who thought art school would be fun, so they spend most of their time partying because their parents are paying for their education. The sequential art majors are the worst; I've seen so many horribly drawn manga characters that even good manga kind of makes me sick to my stomach now. (I made the mistake of majoring in sequential art myself, even though I really don't like comics and would rather be in illustration. By the time I had decided that, though, it was too late I couldn't afford the extra year it would take to change my major and finish the program.)

I think SCAD's a better choice than RISD if you plan on going into commercial art. That's what most of the courses are geared toward. Just be prepared to choke back your share of nasty comments when it comes time for a class critique.

08 August 2005, 09:31 PM
I've really only had one teacher that has pushed me. Or, at the very least, felt the need to go above and beyond the call with. A lot of it does have to do with time. But, my work as a sophmore was at a much higher level than that of this past semester. I liked the teacher a lot and he is also considered the toughest one in the program at my school because he isn't afraid to fail students because the competition in this field is so fierce. I managed to pull straight a's with him, which then motivated me even more. I've had other teachers who were just as good as him, but the felling that you could just do enough to get the grade was there with them.

As for freelance work, if and when I do pick something up here or there it's usually something I'm really motivated to do and in that case I do as much as I can.

Heythatreallyhurts, I know how you feel about the quality of work. A lot of students freshman year come in thinking computer animation's going to be loads of fun. But then, they see how much work and how time consuming it can be and classes went from full, to about half the size. I'm not at an art school, I'm not a city person so I passed on a lot of them. I've noticed though, that many of them have no background in art so I feel the fact that I have one, has given me a bit of an edge over other students in my classes. It becomes and issue of who's there for the education and who's there for the diploma.

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