I don’t even know where to start… I might just be scared, but I think if there’s anyone I should go to advice to, it’s you guys. So sorry for the novel.
I’m going to a private fine arts school in a somewhat newly acquired animation program, entering my third year this coming fall. It’s close to the price of Calarts, but about half+ of the time spent on the degree is media studies/GED/foundation. (probably because it couldn’t get accredited without it) There are a series of storyboarding, computer animation and 2D animation classes (about 4 levels total, making up 12 classes for animation plus one character design class and a ‘cafe sketch’ class.)… but they aren’t easy to acquire. They’re the fullest in the first two years since the dates students apply for classes are based on seniority. (the program is filling more than I think it can handle) I have taken an intro course to animation and computer animation, and a storyboarding class (which was a cop out for whoever hired a programming teacher to teach a storyboarding class…) and finally as a Junior, I’m going to take Animation 2. There are hardly any drawing classes in the animation curriculum and the figure drawing classes cater more towards fine artists. (Totally jealous of the illustration students who get really fun sketchbook classes)
The school has general education requirements (as I think all schools ought to), but there is definitely a significantly large amount. That combined with video, photography 1 & 2, and other classes that feel relevant, but are still distractions from the main course, feels like (even in your second year) that you still haven’t gotten into the thick of things with your major. Foundation year I believe was necessary (painting, drawing, figure drawing, design etc.), but like I said, I don’t feel confident I’m going to have the portfolio or education I need to animation to graduate spring of 2014 and pay my loans back.
I feel like most of the improvement I’ve done has all been self-taught, projects outside of my classes. (I struggle to remain emotionally involved in most of my classes) Art is an independent sport, don’t get me wrong, but I expected to pursue at least 75% immediate-animation-related courses in this degree. They have talented faculty, absolutely no doubt, but the curriculum just isn’t what I thought it would be.
I’m going to do my 3rd year or atleast another semester here (mostly because I’ve already signed a lease someplace), but I’m seriously considering applying to Calarts this fall and transferring next year. Academically, it is an incredibly STUPID idea to spend more money on an animation degree at a different school when I could get it in just another year… but I’ve been looking to Calarts since i entered highschool and I get frequent heartaches looking at the curriculum, the talent and opportunities offered to such a prestigious program. That education on a resume warrants glances at portfolios itself. I hate that I regret coming to school here because I’ve made really great friends and have improved in other different ways, but I’m tired of all the obstacles and I’m trying really hard to create a portfolio of my own. My dad has been pressuring me about joining the military.
Somebody tell me I’m being stupid and that my dreams of going to Calarts are silly because it won’t matter in the end, they’re all the same and it’s purely an independent sport. I’ve heard some faculty in the animation department here say things like that, and I can’t help but feel automatic guilt for even considering transferring. I know they don’t mean it that way, but it’s like people here scoff at Calarts as just this pompous animation symbol for high-brow rich kids, when it’s education is the same as everywhere else. But then again, I’m giving these people my money and my expectations aren’t being met and I know Calarts has a purely relevant program. Is it okay for me to have high demands? Is it okay for me to want to go to Calarts? Am I being as stupid as they make some of us kids-who-hold-Calarts-in-high-esteem out to be?
I’m scared of what people would think if I transferred, especially having completed over half my time here. I realize the looks of it: when it comes to the degree, looks like a superbly dumb choice…. but for art colleges, it’s different. I met a guy who had a bachelors in illustration, but was the manager at Wendy’s. Degree or not, it’s the skillset, experience, and most importantly, the portfolio that makes for success… And I’d happily take on the additional loans of Calarts to achieve that. Not many people would understand beside people here on animated buzz… Calarts is my dream! It would be funnest most fulfilling four years of my entire life. I feel starved of the kind of learning I thought I was paying for! The pull of going there never leaves, even after making the decision to go to school someplace else and convincing myself i can do it only my own. If I’m going to be in debt for half my life, I’d rather most of the debt be debt I’m proud of.
I know this a choice only I can make, but I would appreciate any additional feedback to help expand my thinking. It’s been killing me and I’m desperate for opinions. Any Calart students with advice? I want to know that I’m not being incredibly clouded by the reputation of Calarts… Is there anyone else in a situation like me out there? Transfer students, applicants, anyone?
You've answered your own question multiple times during your post: Your heart is telling you that you need to pursue CalArts. You seem head over heels about the school.
The oddest thing about your post doesn't seem to be the obvious things, such as paying tons (and more tons) to pursue CalArts, but that you feel this loyalty towards this school and that you're afraid that people will think less of you for leaving. That is a very odd way of looking at things.
I don't know about the details about applying to schools while you're already in a school, but if you can for sure apply this year (for Fall 2013) and see what happens. Good luck.
Hiya! I'm actually going through exactly the same thing you're experiencing! -- the same thoughts, & fears. I'm planning to transfer to Calarts too! It's nice to know other people go through the same thing, and makes it a bit less daunting.
A lot of people seem to think it's all the same, but I don't really think that's true. It may be the same subject matter, but some schools just aren't a perfect match for everyone. I guess you could think of it as a relationship -- you wouldn't want to stay in it if it wasn't working out at all; it could do more harm than good. I think with school it's hard to give it your all when you feel it's not a right match, or you're not getting what you expected. Sometimes it even drains you. I think that's why there's transfers in the first place!
I've spent awhile worrying and thinking things over as well. I think that maybe from the perspective of others, it may be "stupid", but in the end it's your life. Not everyone will understand how you feel or understand your needs. If it's really in your heart to go to Calarts, you should! I still worry about what other people think sometimes, but I've come to realize that I wouldn't want to go through life constantly wondering "what if".
Remember you're not alone! and good luck!!
Thanks so much for everyones advice, especially Grace! It makes me feel better to know I'm not alone in my fears. I think a big part of me was also questioning if it's true whether or not Calarts really does offer a pristine animation program. Looking at the school and seeing the work, the curriculum, the alumni, I know it does. But part of me was thinking.. "What if?" And this sense of loyalty to my school, the students and faculty, makes me feel guilty for admitting that the animation program I'm currently in is ... half-baked.
The resources are there, but the curriculum is not. And the problem I was encountering was... Is this okay? Is this how it's supposed to be? I feel the school being defensive, comments like, "Individual sport" or "working hard on your own" and "personal responsibility" are good points, but it shouldn't excuse the curriculum. (It is not ALL the student's fault if they don't come out of my college with skill they need) There's the personal responsibilty of the student, and then there's the personal responsibilty of the school to not only provide the resources, but create a program that can FOCUS and teach us how to use them. That's why people go to school. If I had known they'd give me software but long-overdue access to the classes, I wouldn't have gone to college at all and taught myself.
I think what I'm paying for this school is unnacceptable for this specific program and I'm going to try to apply to Calarts for Fall 2013! :D If I don't get in, I plan to make the best of the rest of my time at my school and work on mending our 'relationship.' Thanks so much!!!