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The Rhode Island School of Design

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Sep 15 2014Fine Arts - Painting/Sculpture/Photography/etc
Major Salary, Salary Trend, Satisfaction, Unemployment
Illustration major here, RISD's most popular and "famous" major. I am an introvert, kind of submissive, quiet, anxious, and very indecisive with huge decisions. I am unstructured, and go with the flow. However I am quick to cling to the rules, and a perfectionist.

I did not really know what specific career I wanted, like most new freshmen.
It's been a year since I graduated with a 4 yr BFA, and I can say it was pretty easy to go on the wrong path due to peer pressure.

Between all the nonstop fatigue and illust+foundation work, I had NO time to think about "who I truly am". But this is the most important part of art college.

It is more important than following rules, or even playing it safe for your future's sake.
But risd's notorious for being extra structured and extra stiff with the intellectual side of art. I knew I was already like that--but turns out, it was my flaw, not my strength.

I deeply love animation, but nervously went into illustration, because that major's claim to fame is that it's "flexible" and "broad". So I thought I could "make it my own" and do tons of animation stuff by myself by picking a variety of essential electives, while staying in illust.

Don't trust that opinion.
For animation specifically, that doesn't work very well, if you're unsure and indecisive like me. Interdisciplinary study was very hard between illust and animation, so you must pick a concrete path and pick it ASAP in your RISD career. Preferably before sophomore year.

Also, true for all majors: Everyone agrees they had to "Bullshit a project idea they didn't want or hated, as long as it could be quickly executed and satisfy the teacher" more often then they wished. This left no freedom to really explore who you are, without fear. Fear of judgement ruled students, especially in Illustration. This adds to the fact that my decision was swayed too easily.

Now, back to animation:
Animation is packed and barely any classes are available for people who "aren't sure what they want to focus on yet." It was a very exclusive major, and the spots for course registration run out very fast. If you go in the major, you'll get what you need, in terms of computer program training and basic principles.

But! The animation facilities are not that great. Other schools specialize much better in animation and are more well equipped.

RISD animation is very, very experimental. They don't force this, but again it is an unsaid "peer pressure". All students tend to make their work on the grandiose, abstract, and deep side. This does not exclude the animation dept. I felt RISD animation looked down upon commercial style (what you see in disney/pixar, cartoon network, and nickelodeon). I can say I personally would have hated it even if I chose animation, because I prefer to make art that is meant for entertainment--unpretentious, accessible, humorous, and fun, yet still meaningful as well.

I was not able to learn this about myself...until I left the fine-artsy, clique-ish, and highly critical atmosphere of RISD (this is not necessarily bad for everyone, but it does create an inescapable mindset and kind of heightens one's nervousness).

Bottom line:
Not the right college for someone who doesn't know EXACTLY what they want for their future right away. Even in freshman foundation, some teachers expected us to confidently state where we wanted to work.

Not good for people with anxiety. Not very forgiving towards nervous or worrisome types.
Remember, perfectionism is different from anxiety. If being perfect makes you feel happy or adventurous, it'll suit you. If it leaves you feeling more nervous than adventurous, seek more freedom in your education.

And if you're hoping and dreaming of a college to improve your self esteem and social skills, this is NOT the one.

Another thing worth noting:
It's hard to travel to buy basic amenities in providence. It rains all the time, windy, clammy, the town is often creepily empty looking, and grocery/dorm essential/appliance shopping is often more than 20-30 mins away on foot. Add in the steep hilly landscape and you'll wish there were just a simple hardware and grocery store were right near you.

This is seriously important, as art projects require you to buy weird supplies youd never imagine.
DO NOT LET THE SCHOOL'S FAME SWAY YOUR DECISION!

4th Year Female -- Class 2013
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Innovation: A, Extracurricular Activities: F
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Jul 12 2011Fine Arts - Painting/Sculpture/Photography/etc
Major Salary, Salary Trend, Satisfaction, Unemployment
If you are completely sure that art is your path in life, RISD is the place to go. You will be pushed to your limit and grow substantially as an artist. RISD has a great reputation in the art world and many job connections for its graduates. Unfortunately, for those who are interested in art as well as academics, RISD lacks in the liberal arts division. Many art history classes are a waste of time and money. Personally, I feel like I have sacrificed a good academic education for a good art eduction. As an institution, RISD has its problems. Tuition is extremely high and financial aid is sparse. RISD is not very organized throughout the departments and always manages to bill the students for mysterious costs and charges.
1st Year Female -- Class 2014
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Useful Schoolwork: A, Social Life: F
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Mar 09 2010Art & Design Department
Major Salary, Salary Trend, Satisfaction, Unemployment
Everybody is so effing wierd.
i thought it wouldn't matter since i sort of went to a highschool like risd.
however, i feel too "normal" to really fit in with people here.plus there are no blacks. the only minority represented is asian....
Male -- Class 2000
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