Sunday, March 20, 2016

10 Things You'll Hear If You Don't Choose Art School

At this time three years ago, I fully intended to be heading off to art school within a few months. Instead, I ended up at the small Christian university which about a third of my extended family went to. So this list is for the young artists out there. Are you thinking about what college to attend? Are you freaking out because art school is all kinds of expensive? Are you afraid you'll lose your skills if you decide to major in something else? Allow me to share a few things which I can pretty much guarantee someone will say to you if you're an artist at a school without a fine art program.

1. "Why didn't you go to art school?"

Maybe because you wanted to major in business, psychology, or pre-med. Or maybe because there was about $40k/year standing in the way. Either way, you made your decision and you should be proud of what you're doing! 

2. "You're really good at drawing! Are you an art major?"

Here's your chance to awkwardly explain that no, your university doesn't have an art major. It's especially awkward if you're asked this by an upperclassman or one of your professors, since they should definitely know better!
girl with Starry Night shirt

3. "Hey Michelangelo, I like your shirt."

 You will actually be wearing a shirt printed with Van Gogh's "Starry Night". No, it's probably not worth pointing out the distinction, but you'll do it anyway and roll your eyes at the education system and the uncultured masses.

4. "Do you plan to teach art?"

At least 85% of the people you meet with ask you this. You'll have to decide which path to take: honestly tell them no, or lie and say you're thinking about it. At this point they'll tell you all about Mrs. Smith, their middle school art teacher, and how great/terrible/weird she was.

5. "You do art, too? Here, let me show you my sketchbook!"

It will probably be... well, let's just hope they're better at sculpting, or textile arts, maybe? But don't scoff or refuse to take a look. You never know, you could have just found a new art buddy!

6. "How's art school going?" 

In your sophomore year, you'll have the fun responsibility of explaining to your mom's friend that you actually went to another college, where you're majoring in English. To answer the question, it's great, thanks. Clearly your parents haven't talked to this person in a while, but you'll handle the awkwardness like a champ.

swirling doodles on notebook paper7. "I wish I could doodle like that!"

You will definitely have the coolest class notes! Just be ready for your math professor to think you're daydreaming, and be sure to look up from your doodling in time to catch her look of shock after you give the right answer.

8. "Will you draw me/my next tattoo/my dog/my favorite quote/etc.?"

Maybe you will, either because you actually want to, they're a good friend, or they're your crush. It can be annoying, but take it as a compliment and a chance to make someone smile.

9. "How do you find time to draw?"

Honestly, this question might make you feel guilty. You'll be going from high school, where you had art classes and maybe your teacher was a really great encouragement and mentor, to a university where you may be lucky just to find a graphic design course. Sometimes it'll be tough to keep at it. You may not be able to fit all your art supplies in the dorm, and you'll be pretty frustrated at times. But it's your passion; how could you not find the time? We all need to work on our time-management skills, especially since Netflix became a thing, but take pride in the fact that your mode of relaxation involves creating something beautiful and meaningful.

worship collage

10. "This is my friend _________, (s)he's a really talented artist!"

My friends, this makes it all worth it. You'll eventually be known for drawing in the student center, painting out on the quad, and sketching in the cafeteria. You may find yourself in some pretty exciting situations, like speaking about creativity in chapel or lyceum, or forming an art club. You may create a special piece for a talent show or cultural appreciation night. You may find your art displayed in the campus coffee shop. You may be asked to design posters for some campus events. And don't worry, you'll quickly befriend the other artists and art appreciators on campus!

So if you're not sure where to go this fall, don't worry that art will suddenly disappear from your life if you don't choose to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts. You may have to be creative with your time, but isn't creativity kind of the point?

No matter what college you choose, your art won't go away.
Your art is a part of you. 

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