I feel like the decision to go to design school has been an engaging conversation lately. I agree that it is possible to learn all the skills on your own to avoid student loans, but I also believe that going to a university will push you to try new things that you may not have the opportunity to try anyway. It’s a toss up. To help you decide, here are the top 6 things you should know before going to design school.
Top 6 Things You Should Know Before Going to Design School
- Limit your focus
- Time Management
- Sleep is your ally
- You’ll get a degree, but you won’t know it all
- Don’t over stress internships
- Don’t take everything so seriously
Limit Your Focus
Creatives struggle with feeling like they have to accomplish everything themselves. While at school you will be thrown into several different classes, and you will be expected to excel in ALL OF THEM! This concept is actually quite crazy. If you look at the creatives on your Instagram account, you can see that famous artist are ones that specialize in one medium. So, don’t feel like you have to be perfect at everything. The purpose of an undergrad education is to reveal the different avenues you can focus in with a graphic design degree. Your focus is up to you. And sometimes it simply takes longer the four years to figure out.
“I don’t have to be good at everything and shouldn’t be.” -Someone really wise
You will quickly learn time management skills. You will learn how to eat, study, get to class, hand in two papers, and finish a project all within 45 minutes. You cannot avoid the intense schedule. You will be on your toes for most of the week, and you will definitely need a Sabbath come Friday night.
Living to race the clock is exhausting, but if you can learn how to have a routine and work officially while in school, that work ethic will carry over to your career.
Sleep is your Ally
Don’t underestimate the power of a 7-8 hour snooze. I wasn’t the worst night owl, but I would get up early to work out, and I would usually stay up till 11 to get enough done for the day. Looking back, it probably would have been healthier to just sleep for an extra 2 hours. I would have been able to focus better, remember things, and avoid so many emotional breakdowns if I had gotten more sleep. So, yeah. Get your rest.
You’ll Get a Degree, But You Won’t Know It All
Undergrad will give you a foundation… it will not give you all creative abilities that you will ever need. I wish so badly someone had told me that while I was in school. You’ll work endlessly, but four years is not long enough to excel in anything. It’s really up to you where you want to focus your skills, and how to improve them after you graduate.
Don’t Over Stress about an Internship
I think students really freak out over internships. Everyone has to get the best internship EVER! An internship is just a fancy word for experience. You just need experience in the field. And most internships are going to give you those nose-bleed jobs anyway. Just do your best work wherever you are and let your work ethic speak for itself.
Don’t Take Everything So Seriously
This advice is for people who are severely Type A, like me, and I’m not talking about blood type. If you are naturally highly motivated and a real, “Let’s get stuff gone!!!” Then you will need to give yourself permission to chill and socialize. I didn’t, and I really regret it. I was determined to finish in 4 years and graduate with straight As. Though the scholarships are incredibly helpful, I feel like I truly missed out on the whole college experience because I was glued to my chair in the design lab, night after night working away.
If had to do it again, I would take a year off to study aboard, and I would have hung out with people more. College is an excellent time to make great connections with some inspiring people. Building friendships in college is helpful networking too.
And if you are not sure what you want to major in, then don’t go to school to figure it out. Start working somewhere, and you’re calling will find you.
Second, if you are going to design school, no one will give you a raise for being a Cum, Summa, or a Magna Laude. You just need to be good at what you do. So, start practicing the work that you want to get paid for doing.
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