At some point in our lives we've all thought 'if only I knew then what I know now...'. With any luck this is because we've gained experience over the years and developed as people. For College of Art and Design at RIT professor Mitch Goldstein (opens in new tab), looking back on life as a design student revealed shortcomings in work ethics and how to network. (opens in new tab)
Now, we're not knocking design schools for a second. However we're aware that they're not necessarily suited to everyone. And even if you thrive in structured education, this doesn't mean you're on the fast lane to success as a graduate.
So, to help up and coming designers get the most out of art college, Goldstein took to Twitter to hear from his followers who have already come out the other side. For more advice, see our guide to gap years.
Hey, former students, let's start a thread: what is something that you wish you did differently when you were a design student?June 26, 2018
To get the ball rolling, Goldstein chips in with a common problem among undergraduates: not knowing when to stop talking.
My answer: I would have used my mouth less and my eyes & ears more.June 27, 2018
Goldstein's followers, which number in the tens of thousands, didn't disappoint when it came to sharing their thoughts. Touching on everything from self-esteem to portfolio advice, there was no shortage of advice to learn from.
So, if you're about to head into design school, or perhaps you're already there and finding it a bit overwhelming, we've rounded up some of the top responses. Check them out below, and if you've got any wisdom of your own that you think could help undergraduates, be sure to head over to Goldstein's thread (opens in new tab) and post a reply.
Took more chances, reached out to ask for help more, put my work out there, forced myself to try new styles, allowed myself to take breaksJune 28, 2018
Made more mistakesTaken more risksEntertained more ridiculous ideasAll these have very real business implications in real life. The worst scenario in school is a shit grade and a great story.I'm talking about projects specifically but I think it applies generally as wellJune 27, 2018
I wish I would have been less afraid of failure. Experimented more. Tried more new mediums and processes.June 27, 2018
1. Slept more. Back-to-back studio all nighters only led to panic attacks + Xacto wounds2. Worried less3. Brushed off the pressure to make perfect things and just experimented + played more4. Laughed when profs told me I had to go to NYC if I wanted to be a successful designerJune 27, 2018
I wish I read more. Less internet, more books. I wouldn't take such offence at any sort of criticism. I'd also apply myself more. Spend more time perfecting my design skills. If you work diligently in the week during the day, you don't have to pull all nighters every weekend!!June 27, 2018
Managed my time better to make room for exploration and personal work. /aka more continued practice outside of class assignments.June 26, 2018
Signed up for a screen printing class, learned more about paper and printing in general, taken a product photography class, already mentioned but paying more attention to Design History, focused on myself more than others...June 27, 2018
I wish I put less pressure on finding a job after graduating and focused more on figuring out what I liked doing. Everything takes time.June 27, 2018
1. Start finding local design events and communities to be part of (good for networking and education)2. Put a process in place to ad pieces to portfolios when a project is finishedJune 26, 2018
• take a gap year to get work experience • care a little less about what people thought of me and more about what I thought of me• think about my passions in creativity and follow them wholeheartedly • collaborate more with others • blog more• accept more criticismJune 26, 2018
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