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The Rhode Island School of Design

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I have a very mix feeling about RISD.Interior Design
I have a very mix feeling about RISD.
Don't get me wrong, I loved every second of school. Although there were many sleepless nights and grueling critiques that sometimes made me doubt myself...Looking back I wish I enjoyed it more and just not be too scared of being "wrong".

I will start with the positives.
RISD produces Thinkers. RISD trains artist to see differently than others, and if you try to learn- you will learn how to produce what you see and feel outside the box.

RISD is very traditional (at least when I was there- graduated 2012 Interior architecture).
Very old school style of teaching, learn from the basic- have a blank canvas, just like your first time holding that crayon when you are 2years old.

Freshman year you are given projects that you never thought about. It really trains you to see different dimension or art in general. 2D, 3D, and art history.

Here you will find out for a fact what your strenghts or weakness are. You will see and meet other artist and future designers and learn from them as well. That I will never forget. All the inspirations and amazing work you are able to produce- they bring it out from you.

My advice is to - not be afraid, and just do. If you have to do a giant charcoal drawing- go all out! get the biggest paper you can draw on and draw everything you got out. Don't be stuck in numbers and limit yourself. that's the only way you can grow.

Foundation year (freshman year) is the most precious and memorable and often hard tiring times of RISD but I will not exchange it for anything else for that experience.

Now to the "Negatives" or more to the REALITY.
I chose my major - Interior Architecture.
I originally went in thinking I will be in illustration but by going through foundation year, I realized I enjoyed 3D classes and the projects better and wintersession class allowed me to take a glimpse of what that major is so I chose it with a heart beat.

Interior archtiecture is far from interior design. IT is very spacial. Many projects are adaptive reuse projects.

I enjoyed every moment of the studios and classes. I didn't mind staying late, living in studio on the weekends and not having a life, because at that time RISD was my life. They talk about RISD bubble, and it's true it exist. I was sucked into this world of art, concepts, beautiful, thoughtful design that had every form with function.

And then senior year came.
Stress. every senior gets stressed out ofcourse, but not as much as this. I basically had to teach myself alot of programs, because RISD did not teach the most basic programs as a interior architecture/designer should know. CAD, Revit, 3D max etc..

We had a MAC, and learned vector works (firms in u.s rarely use this program) AND Cinema 4D (NOONE knows what this program is- no firm uses this).

I applied to alot of places. close to 60 places in 2 month time. Redoing my portfolio trying to do what the "REAL WORLD" thinks is important.

Only 2 place got back to me and I did not get any jobs.
Thankfully I got a job at a design firm through a friend (CONNECTION IS VERY IMPORTANT IN REAL WORLD), and dipped my artistic brain into corporate office design world.

Not as poetic, Not as conceptual, Not as everything I worked for at School. I wasn't even hired for interior design in the beginning, they liked my graphics and wanted me to work for marketing graphic design team for few months.

I went to grad school for sustainable interior design after 1 year of working. and now I work for top 5 interior design/architecture firm- still corporate office field.

I make decent amount of money compared to other colleges. but I still feel empty.
I still crave that sleepless nights those conceptual, artistic moments I worked for.
And I am planning on in few years to leave the "REAL WORLD" of interior design, and pursue more fine art things like sculpture/painting/making furniture etc.

RISD can give you amazing opportunity to bring your "true artist" inside you. but alot of times I think they just opened up a pandora box that didn't need to be open. I wish sometimes I went to a more practical school and learnt more realistic things- then I would have been more aware of what this field is like. But RISD gave you an impression that Poetic, Conceptual thoughts are what defines design. But in reality almost 96% of design doesn't work with those traits only.

how fast you do it, how much cheaper you can do them are the two most important thing when it comes to designing anything in reality.

I am still grateful that I went to risd. And I wouldn't change that. But I wouldn't let my children go there if they wanted to in the far futrure.

Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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Visit several schools, talkBrightDesign Arts - Industrial Design/Graphic Design/etc
Visit several schools, talk to students. RISD isn't perfect, it's not for everyone, but it can be a great school if it is right for you and you are willing to focus and work hard.
3rd Year Female -- Class 2003
Innovation: A+, Social Life: F
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Rest assured -- RISD is hard, particularly foundationQuite BrightDesign Arts - Industrial Design/Graphic Design/etc
Rest assured -- RISD is hard, particularly foundation year. But it is also a time of self-discovery and sleepless nights driven purely by passion and stamina. You will not believe the things you learn in such a brief time.

For freshmen year, studio classes are intense and take up eight hours three days a week. So yeah, definitely not a typical laid-back college experience. But you are with the same group of people for all three studios, so you're not suffering alone. Also, because of the small class size (around 20 or so) people can get pretty intimate about themselves in crits, particularly because the nature of art is self-expression. You learn as much from your peers as from your professors. Speaking of which, there are some profs that will change your life and some that really shouldn't be teaching at all, but that's the case with every school, so don't count that too much. Either way you will have left term with a ton of new skills and perspectives.

RISD also emphasizes the liberal arts, which as far as I know is pretty unique for an art school. Granted, the liberal arts classes here are pretty underwhelming, but you can always cross-register at Brown for various courses even if you're not a dual-degree student. Here, you don't have to sacrifice a typical university experience to study art.

A previous comment said that there's no community here, and that is simply not true. RISD does everything possible to ensure a community: the section system, the interconnected dorms, the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of majors. But whether you choose to take advantage of these things is up to you. Because of the insane workload, it is easy to isolate yourself from people around you, and many do. But even then, most people manage to make friends. There are various extracurricular student groups, and an increasing number of groups shared with Brown, so if you are proactive you can definitely get involved outside the RISD bubble.

Since the curriculum spans all different genres of art, foundation year helps to temper The Great Artistic Ego. Naturally some kids are arrogant about their work, but they usually don't outlast the beatings from half the professors. Not all the kids are friendly -- and there is definitely the perpetually looming presence of hipsters -- but there's enough diversity among people types to find your own niche, even if most of us are white or Asian.So yeah. It's hard work, but totally worth it if art is what you want to do.

1st Year Female -- Class 2013
Innovation: A+, Scholastic Success: B
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