By Nicole Tomak
In High School, for the longest time I had no idea what I wanted to major in after I graduated. I have always been a creative person and knew I wanted a career someday that I would love doing. I wanted something that would be different every day and that would allow me to use my talents to create something while getting paid to do it. Finally, after visiting Kent State University and talking to advisors about the Visual Communication Design (VCD) program, I decided it was the school and major for me.
My first year in the program was tough, but I realized it was just something I had to get through to get to the fun stuff. The first year is really all about teaching students discipline and the necessary basics to help them grow as a designer. The second year has been a lot more creative and you learn more useful skills. So if you make it through the monotony of the first year, it gets a lot more interesting.
As a VCD student, plan on spending a LOT of money on supplies. In addition to buying a MacBook Pro, and a SLR camera, and the adobe creative suite student version, you have to buy all of the supplies for all your studio classes. Some people take out student loans just to afford all of this, others have part-time jobs.
One way to save money is by buying your supplies in advance online. A great website I have had success with is http://www.dickblick.com/. A lot of professors put their supplies lists up, and you can get coupon codes offline. Hobby Lobby often has great deals, sales, and coupons. As long as you are looking in advance, Hobby Lobby is a great place to shop. And of course, if you wait until last-minute, All Media on Main Street stocks up on all supplies, and you can usually find everything you need there. Sometimes you pay more, but for the convenience, it can really be worth it.
Another helpful tip is if you are having trouble on a project or in a class, most VCD professors are willing to give you extra help. Sometimes professors will even let you email them a .pdf or photos of what you are working on over a weekend so you can get an extra critique. It all depends on the professor and how much time they have, but don’t be afraid to ask. Also, don’t forget about your peers. Although they are not seasoned designers like your professors, sometimes getting a critique from them can give you fresh ideas, or insight into something you may have missed otherwise.
Nicole Tomak is a sophomore visual communication design student and guest blogger for WhyCCIKent.