Friday, April 20, 2012

My College Story

This may be a boring post to most but it is something that has been in my life for the past three years and I really want to share this experience with you. This past Monday I officially finished my degree in Graphic Design at Conestoga College in Canada. It was a three year program and was one of the most intense and time consuming things I could of done. Through this post I am going to break it down year by year and explain my experiences throughout that year.


I cant tell you I was ready for first year because I wasn't. I went to a high school that truly valued the arts and I am thankful for that, but it did not give me a sense of what was to come. Around grade 11 I found I had a talent for graphic design but it wasn't until grade 12 that I truly realized the potential of my talent. In May of 2009 I entered and won Skills Canada for graphic design for Ontario, the highest you could go in the competition. This truly made me realize that I had to pursue this profession. Sadly I was discouraged by the college after applying and being put on a waiting list. The program was very small, they only let in around 35 people and were raved about for being an excellent school to go to, to study design. I really wanted to get in. Shortly after I won Skills I got a letter in the mail saying I was accepted in Conestoga College's Graphic Design program. I was overjoyed.

So it began, my graphic design journey. The first year in the school was all hand rendered. You did layout by hand, type by hand, EVERYTHING by hand. It was an interesting experience to say the least since I was never very talented at anything hand rendered, my hands tend to shake slightly and it made my life really difficult for a while. I tried my best, but they wanted absolute perfection, if something was off by 1/32 of an inch (this measurement is not on most standard rulers) it was considered incorrect and therefore a failed attempt. Hand type must look as though it was the exact font, all the serif's correct (a serif is the little part of a letter that sticks out so on this font for example is the little arms that hang out underneath this "N") and the x-height (the height of a lower case letter) must be perfect. It was difficult and resulted in many tears and a swift kick in the butt. They wanted you to appreciate design not just for something slapped together but an experience. 

However my experience with first year made me detach myself from a lot of the work that I did, graphics is difficult in the sense it is art but it's not art for yourself its art for the general public. You don't have to like everything you do, but if it works and it gets a message you wanted to achieve across then it is successful. It's all about communication.


Second Year wasn't an overly exciting year and not a whole lot really happened or changed. It was our first year on the computer and the year started out slow, that way they could ease us into technology, I however had worked with the programs before so it was a very slow time for me. I took this opportunity to work more. Through first and second year I work as an assistant manager at McDonalds so that I could pay my way through school, sadly I wasn't able to have any financial help.

With a trip to New York and other exciting experiences our class just continued to grow closer and many said our bond wasn't normal. We all got along and we treated each other like family. I still do and forever will consider them my family and I love them all very much. 


This was it, our final year, and it was quite the roller coaster. The final year's goal is to build a portfolio so that you would have a collection of your work to take to employers. Building a portfolio isn't an easy thing to do either. You have to really know yourself and your style. Build an identity, refine all your work to perfection and learn how to talk design with industry professionals. Through this year I also balanced working at Futureshop to finish up paying through school. Allowing myself to graduate debt free! It's truly a proud feeling.

We continued to be 'us' and help each other through this journey, guiding each other and finding who we were as designers. It is truly a bittersweet end. With in our last week, we had a year end show that showcased who were and the talent we possessed. We were all so happy yet sad that it had came to and end.

Thinking about it lately it has made me realize that I followed my dreams, I pursued what I was good at and stuck it out even in the hard times and it's an amazing accomplishment. I am going to miss it, I can tell, but I am glad to be finished. Plus our crazy bunch is going to have many outings together and the occasional family reunion.

Please feel free to leave your college experience or even any questions you may have about going to college or even graphic design.

Hope you all have a wonderful day

No comments:

Post a Comment