Internista: Brutally Honest - 10 Tough Lessons I Have Learned in Art School

Posted: August 18, 2015

Topics: Culture

Art school is a misunderstood place. Many people think it is a breeze to be a design student; you walk in, draw a few pictures, paint a little bit, and get a degree. Those people could not be more mistaken. Art school is full of long hours, endless projects, and constant critiques. During my journey as an advertising design major, I have learned so many useful lessons that I carry into my professional career and they are ones worth sharing with other design students

  1. Back up your back up

Technology is beautiful thing, but it fails us occasionally. It is crucial to back up all of your work. Put it on flash drives, hard drives, and in the cloud. You never know what may happen and you don’t want to lose all the work you have created.

  1. Don’t burn bridges

The design community is small, especially the advertising community. It is important to be respectful to all designers you meet because you never know who will be interviewing you one day.

  1. Get involved

Join the AD club, get involved in student government, and have a voice in your department. Getting involved is a great way to network and build your contact list.

  1. It’s never finished

Even after a project deadline, it is important to keep improving that design. No project is ever finished and there is always room to try something new. Take a few weeks away from it, then come back and fix it up.

  1. Practice presenting

I cannot tell you how many bad presentations I have sat through during school. You can tell when people haven’t practiced their presentation; it is boring, disorganized, and repetitive. Make sure you practice a few times in front of a mirror to get comfortable before presentation day.

  1. Put your ego aside

There may be people that you don’t love working with, but it is important to keep your attitude in check. Don’t be mean or aggressive, and don’t bring your ego to the party. No one wants to deal with it, not your creative partner or your boss.

  1. Do you research

Get informed about different companies and keep up on industry trends. Being in the know and being able to talk the talk will set you apart from the competition.

  1. If you’re not early, you’re late

Class, presentations, interviews, and jobs; be early for everything.

  1. No whining

This is pretty self-explanatory, just don’t whine, no one likes a whiner.

  1. Remember to eat

Late nights and tons of projects can distract you from necessary tasks, such as eating. During finals, be sure to drink plenty of water and don’t skip meals. You don’t want to pass out during a presentation so keep some emergency granola bars in your backpack.

Art school is an amazing place. The people are all unique and everyone is incredibly talented. Getting through it should be a great and rewarding experience, not miserable. You will be challenged and you will learn an enormous amount, but to make it a little easier, follow these tips and art school will be more fulfilling.