Student and alumni advice highlights PCA&D’s Spring Preview sessions

If you want to learn more about how to pace school assignments, how to figure out your creative path, and how to take advantage of what’s coming up next in your art and design school career, it makes sense to turn to the experts:

Your fellow students themselves, and alumni of your college.

This semester’s Spring Preview Workshops — a first for PCA&D  — were organized by the Center for Teaching & Learning. These online sessions provided targeted information for each of the school’s four cohorts: Foundation, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. And each group had a special guest: a student from the class ahead of them, or a PCA&D graduate, who’s been where they are, and who could be a resource for questions and advice.

“We were asked to talk about what we wished someone had told us,” says senior Illustration major Hannah Miller, “and any advice we would like to pass on.” And that didn’t mean just advice related to academics but, just as importantly, discussions about the whole art school experience, from building your own path to self-care and building personal and professional connections.

“The Foundation students had a few questions for me more or so based on how I managed time and small little self-care tips,” says sophomore Fine Art major Jasmyn Stokes.

“It was an awesome experience,” says Miller. “I knew more juniors than I thought I did, which was pretty cool, and I hope that those who listened to me got something out of it, even if it was something small.”

Even online, says junior Fine Art major Kylie Hileman, “it was nice seeing sophomores again, since I didn’t get to see them much during last semester.”

ADVICE FOR FOUNDATION STUDENTS

Jasmyn Stokes ’23, Fine Art:

  • Make sure you make time for yourself and your mental health. It can be overwhelming when you have a ton of work and just want to throw yourself into it with no breaks. We’re not robots; we are human, and having good self-care and taking care of yourself helps through the process.
  • If your professor teaches you something and you think to yourself, “Oh, I already know this, I don’t need to listen,” please do listen. We may know things but we are artists expanding our skills and knowing more is always good because, in the long run, the advice and teachings you get you’ll always need.
  • Time management is always key! Even out the work process. Don’t overwork yourself or overload yourself with work the night before or that day.

ADVICE FOR SOPHOMORES

Kylie Hileman ’22, Fine Art:

  • Use this time to hone your technical skill.
  • Be open to critique.
  • Figure out what motivates you to make art.

ADVICE FOR JUNIORS

Hannah Miller ’21, Illustration:

  • Be intentional: Probe for deeper meanings within your work, and find ways to connect it to who you are. Research! Work on time management — estimate and block out your time realistically, and add extra in case you end up needing it.
  • Ask questions: What stories do you want — and not want — to tell? What kind of artist do you want to be? Happy and hopeful? Or sad and melancholic? Both are vital to showing us different sides of humanity.
  • Don’t be afraid to get uncomfortable; that’s how you find answers to tough questions you’re asking yourself. And do something outside your discipline/major. It’s good not only for your creativity, but also for learning more about yourself.
  • Cultivate friendships. These are the people you’re going to be working alongside in the industry, so be friendly.

ADVICE FOR SENIORS

Seth Crider ’18, Fine Art, data analytics and visualization specialist for the U.S. Department of the Navy:

Use your interests to seek new directions and research potential areas of professional growth like exhibitions, teaching opportunities, consulting work, and career pathways, Crider advises students in their final semester of art and design school. And, he adds:

  • Stay disciplined in getting yourself out there! Dedicate some time every week to look forward and ask “what’s next?”
  • Admit that you may be missing knowledge, and make a plan to address those gaps. Continuing education, workshops, seminars, online courses, and YouTube series are all great sources, and most are free or by donation.
  • Visualize what a successful environment looks like for you. Will this give you stability and time to chase new creative ideas? Actualize this plan by reaching out and getting involved with others who have similar visions. Become an active participant in communities and projects; this builds connections and networks with potential access to larger resources.