Rhode Island School of Design Top Questions

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Peter

I would tell myself to change certain habits such as being super lazy and procrastinating. College is where I can meet new people, thus I would tell myself to be more open about myself to others. I believe school is never just about education, a massive part of it is being sociable as well, and college is the first time you're really able to do it on your own terms. You're responsible for your education, for how you spend your time, whether or not you go to parties, and when you go out.

Luiko

Dear Luiko - It gets better. So much better. You are about to experience the time of your life. You wil make mistakes along the way, but with each step, you will walk away stronger. You will search for what makes you shine out of hundreds of other stars, and realize your true potential to hone your craft. You will fall in and out of love, but realize that the most important and rewarding relationship you will ever have is with yourself. You will learn that individual research is just as crucial as communicating with others to achieve a common goal. You will finally understand that you are enough, and are capable of whatever you set your mind on. Don't forget to stop and truly feel every moment, and prepare for the next stage of adulthood in the real world. Congratulations, you made it. Love, Luiko

Tracy

The advice that I would give myself if I could go back in time would be to always look for the light at the end of the tunnel. The reason that I say that is many high schoolers think that there isn't anything else out there and that education isn't important. I don't look at it like that, but most teenagers today think that high school is as far as they will go. There is a bigger and brighter light at the end of the tunnel. I would tell myself that it will all be worth it in the end.

GiYeun

The life where I grew up and the new life that I have started at the Rhode Island School of Design are literally opposites of each other. I had so many questions, but I was never once scared. I knew that it would be okay and my transition would not be much of a problem. I believe that the moment in time I started to put myself at ease about my life at college, I started to put almost every thought about it at the back of my head. Though it is not a bad thing to relax once in a while, it is never a good thing to let oneself be so submerged in it, deaf to the warnings of what is to come. To my past high school self, I would tell her to be alert. I would tell her to always be fervent and curious. I would tell her to be humble, and prepare for competition that would end up surpassing her. But most importantly, I would tell her to keep her hands busy, to keep sketching, keep thinking, and never stop working, even in a moment of relaxation.

Leah

“Dear Leah, when you fly north this fall, I want you to remember that you are going home. There is so much kindness and joy and excitement waiting for you, so don’t think for a second that you won’t fit in or have any friends. The most important thing I want to tell you though, is that you must leave some things behind. Don’t worry about your friends, keeping in touch will be easy enough, but you need to know which Friends to keep in touch with. Stay connected to the people you trust, not the ones you feel obligated to. Take some time to clear out your head and get rid of your baggage. You are not in high school any more so don’t let old things from high school bother or define you. Start out with a clean slate so that your old baggage doesn’t keep you from having new experiences. Things are goign your way and I don’t want you to be slowed down by dead weight. Do some healing. Travel light. Go into the fall with a fresh mind and an open heart, you will be so much more yourself."

yan

Trust your intuition and dont doubt yourself. Stay positive and llow good energy to affect whatever I do.

Eliza

I believe that everyone must react to the world utilizing the capabilities that come naturally to them. Those who have creative sensibilities react artistically, and as someone who needs to express themself visually, I am pursuing an artistic education to ameliorate the quality of that expression. I spent four years after graduating from high school working, traveling, and exploring my possibilities. As a 24 year old junior at Rhode Island School of Design, I am dedicated and focused on my classes because I took the time to discover what I really wanted to do with my life. I would encourage every high school student to take time to explore what they truly want to learn before making the decision to go to college. Because of the time off from school, I feel I am more motivated now to study and succeed in my goal of using art and foreign language skills acquired from traveling to promote understanding and a sense of community in our fractured modern world.

Matthew

I recently spoke with a friend that was still in high school and had asked for my opinion on their desired major and to help curtail their anxiety of applying for and attending college. I told him that college will be challenging, and at times uncomfortable, but that is what college should be. I also told him that as a freshman I was terrified. It took me an entire school year to adjust and to find even ground. However, struggling through and overcoming the many physically and emotionally exhausting challenges during the year secured my happiness at the Rhode Island School of Design for the next four years. The words I expressed to him are the words that I wish I had been able to give myself.

Alessandra

Now knowing about the transitional experience from high school to college, I would advice myself to pursue what she is passionate about. That just because you believe a certain path is the best available, does not make it the best for you. Even though she did not comprehend this idea, she did already practice this by accepting her attendance to RISD and denying a cheaper school. Education had a strong value then and now. Everything that has made me who I am, came from learning through experience. If I told myself the cheat codes to life, then my younger self would not appreciate an outcome that resulted from hard work and self motivation. Naive and unacquainted with independence, she is a person that does not completely understand the concept of hard work. She would have followed my advice and changed who I was to become. Who I am now. I would have met different people and made different choices, that may or may not have bettered my life. Thus, I would fail to recollect any specifics about myself, and prevent any change that could possibly occur.

Matthew

Without hesitation, two years into my art school education, I would tell the stubborn eighteen year-old boy staring back at me with glazed eyes, to take some time off before entering college. The naïve boy would quickly protest with affirmations of future artistic fame and success –and not that I still don’t believe that I will accomplish everything that I’ve always believed- what’s the rush? I would inquire that I had a lot of self-exploration to do, and to better utilize my education at the Rhode Island School of Design, I would need to realize my own artistic expression. In order to achieve this, I would advise myself to firstly get multiple jobs to eventually support myself outside of my parents home and immerse myself within the artistic community of the city, so that I could build connections prior to entering college. Only then would I want myself to finally begin the rigorous artistic education of my school in order to better utilize that resources available. Even without such advice, I have not made a bad decision and am happily halfway through my college experience.

CHARLENE

I HAVEN'T ATTENDED COLLEGE YET BUT I HAVE WANTED TO FOR A LONG TIME. I START THIS SPRING AT WESTERN WYOMING COMMUNITY COLLEGE. MY FATHER GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL BUT MY MOTHER DID NOT. I WILL BE THE FIRST IN MY FAMILY TO ATTEND COLLEGE AND TO ME THAT WILL MEAN MORE TO ME THEN ANYTHING. I FEEL THAT COLLEGE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP OF MY LIFE. I HOPE , BY ME DOING SO, MY CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN WILL DO THE SAME.

Maria

My college experience has been invaluable. Here at RISD I'm encouraged to grow and thrive. Returning to school is no easy task and it takes a great level of courage to get the most out of ones education. By attending this university I will have an abundance of opportunities both academically and professionally. Today's job market place is increasingly competitive and it is up to us as students to take advantage of every opportunity presented to us—education is that chance and that opportunity, to get the best education available to me will allow me the possibility of success in my future. I have access to great experienced minds here on campus and I think the biggest value in education is exposure and access to information. I believe in an individual’s ability to learn and grow on their own but with the aid of capable instructors and worthy academic institution a student can develop even further. I have been exposed to a variety of new and exciting information here at RISD and I am encouraged to think and live with innovation in mind. Knowledge is in an essential nutrient to all people and having access is key.

Elie

One of the best qualities that I have gain at my time at risd is working with others, I had many opportunity’s to learn and observer other people’s creative process I find a great fassination with individuals who view thing differently from my self. Which have provived many window’s of oppertunirty to learn new ways of thinking, I Know for certain from the education that Im reseving at risd that will always be ready to adapted to any environment I have the ability to function well as a member of a team, I find myself continually looking for opportunities to work with people, and to make valuable contributions. one of the great effects that risd has had on me is to search for and Focus on high-priority tasks, and finish what I start. attending risd I will be more than ready to tackle on any obstacles that I may face in the art in design world. The world is changing rapidly. More jobs require education beyond high school. College graduates have more jobs to choose from than those who don't pursue education beyond high school. at risd i feel totally guided and cared for.

Coral

The most valuable experiences while attending Risd has been meeting new people. Even with the school's expansive collection of original paintings and hard-to-get texts of artists from all over the world, teachers and friends have given me broader perspectives on life that has made me reconsider why I would even want to stay in this school. Rather than working day and night on creating portfolios to prepare for an industry that may involve a good chunk of my life, they have made me more aware of myself as a person and my interactions with other people: how much I am doing merely for a comfortable future and a steady income, and how much I could be doing instead by engaging with more people more deeply, and not just with those inside the industry that share the same interests, but even with those with whom our interests may conflict. They have made me aware that my possible career as somebody who works in the mass media will impact an entire society, and that all of us must be aware of what is being fed into us and in turn what we consciously or unconsciously feed others.

Jenarmi

Overall, I think that the college experience is amazing even though it can very hectic at times and you might feel stressed out. However, I do think that it is very valuable and every time you spend of it is worth because it is your education, the basis of the your development, and one of the most important things in life because it is the only thing that no one can take away from you. It is pivotal in life to attend college because it is the only method of getting a well paid job that gives you the opportunity to maintain yourself and help your family.

Esther

I would tell myself that the education that I will get in college is preparing and setting myself up for the future. The most important thing to remember is that you need to attend a college that will not only push you to want to better but to challenge you so that you're able to tackle any obstacle thats comes your way. Another thing to keep in mind is that when entering school as a freshman, don't be afraid to put yourself out there and meet new people. Take advantage of the various people you can meet, and the well known professors that you'll have because networking is a vital part to getting connections in the future. Go somewhere that will push to work, push to become involved and push you to be the best person you can be.

Samantha

It's even better than you think it is going to be. Open up to everyone, see what they have to say and just go from there. Remember that you are here because you don't know everything, and that you will know a lot more even after one studio. And no one here is as good as they think they are, they're only as good as what others think of their work, and how they recact with others. If they think their shit doesn't stink, then they are in for a bumpy ride. Keep all your doors open, don't settle down to create your own style, it will come to you. And with that, have fun, work hard, but be merry!

Mariah

Present Self: Oh Mariah you?re so young and na?ve, you cannot imagine what you will learn in one future year! Past Self: Um this is very strange; can?t you just tell me what I will learn? Or what I should know? Present self: Fine. Hmm, let?s see you will probably figure this out anyway but you should ONLY apply to schools you are seriously going to attend (not your list of 15 schools). You need to choose a major, and it has to be something that?s very creative, and something you LOVE (because you?re going to be doing it for the rest of your life). Oh yea and those general tips are really true: use your time management skills, use the facilities, and take care of yourself (that includes exercising and not eating chocolate all the time!). Let?s see, keep working really hard, search for scholarships, and build up your portfolio. Oh yea, and don't submit applications last minute in a snowstorm as the post office closes (stress-level rises and parents become filled with rage)! Ultimately keep at it, you'll do great!

Megan

To not be so afraid. I spent alot of time and stress worrying about change. But the thing is, change is inevitable. And that change is good. Because I went to a school far from home, and an art school--something very different from what was normal at home, I forced myself to see and experience new things, and I am so grateful i did that because it has enriched my life so much. I just wish that I had known that just because I was going away to school didnt mean I was losing my family and my friends and my comforts. They will always be there for me, encouraging me forward into new things. I wish I hadn't been so catious going into school. Embrace the change!

Kate

If I could speak with my former self as I faced the prospect of leaving high school behind me, I would tell myself not to be so afraid of the unknown. For me, college used to repesent a dark and scary transition into the real world that I wasn't ready for. What I've come to realize is that it isn't as great a leap as I expected. Everyone understands the anxiety of starting in a new place, and I've found myself making friends without even trying, because everyone else is just as eager to belong as I am. Everyday, I am surrounded by teachers and classmates who all care about my growth and guide me along the way. In the end, I went to the Rhode Island School of Design with the purpose of achieving my dream of being an artist. Even though it may have seemed daunting, I surprised myself with how prepared I actually was. If I hadn't taken that chance and trusted that I could transition to college life, I would never have known my potential.

Desmond

Draw everyday. Anything. Let it be a line or a smudge. Draw what you feel and don't hold back. Also, pick up a pair of crocs for the communal showers.

Jessilyn

If I were to go back in time to visit my high school-self, I would tell myself not to worry so much. While grades are important, I think I would remind myself that they are not everything and that sometimes it is wiser to take some time to just have fun and meet more people because you might learn from it. That being said, I would also like to stress the importance of time management. In order to do the best work possible, it is a very good idea to give yourself enough time to do the work, rather than the night before it is due. While this may have worked in high school, there is much more schoolwork in college, and it is important to be somewhat relaxed while doing your assignments, rather than to rush things in an irritated state at the last possible minute. When you are comfortable while working, it makes the assignment more fun and you will be able to come up with better ideas and produce better work overall.

Matthew

A year from now, you?ll be six states away with an entire new group of friends that actually have things in common with you. Right now, the reason your friends are who they are is because there was no one else that shared your interests ? you?re not interested in drinking. Get your priorities straight. Do more scholarships. Drift above your loser friends. I know how focused you are on track, and how competitive you are with grades ? I know this makes you feel like you don?t have the time to think about paying for something so far away. I know these things, track and grades, are what concern you most, and I know being afraid to not have friends compromises this concern. But soon friends, real friends will be there, and you?ll wonder why you ever cared so much about being accepted by a high school crowd that laughed at trying. Without those ?friends? you can have the time to save yourself a lot of grief in the future. Be confident that people will come into your life that care, without sacrificing who you are.

Melody

I would tell myself to consider finances more, to work harder, and to not let the flakiness of faculty deter me or interfere with my goals as a student.

jane

I think I still would have done things the same way as I did. The only difference would be that I would have done things with a lot more confidence, in myself and my decisions. I wasn't sure if I was good enough or had the ability to do what I decided to do. However, following ones instinct is very important. I wish I followed my instinct, instead of testing the water.

Rachel

Do more, and dont be so afraid to try everything. Don't give up on anything, and don't let other's judgements get in your way. If you live by that, your life will fall into place.

Tiffany

Keep on making art

Sara

I would tell myself to be more confident about my abilities. I would also add that I have NO idea what a wonderfully wild ride I am in for. Freshman year ran me through more than I ever thought I could handle, and it made me a more confident artist, an extremely hard worker and it also lit a flame in me to always wonder, and to always question. I came out seeing the world differently. Nothing could have prepared me for that.

Eva

really look into the college and know what it has to offer you. understand how far it can take you in the next four years; understand its limitations. when attending, submerse yourself in the school, the people and your surrounding. though it is difficult, put yourself out there and try to break barriors with other students. if you do, you'll be amazed at how much your life will change for the better!

Emily

During my junior year of high school, I spent a lot of time researching large universities, small liberal arts schools, and small visual arts schools. I discovered that, though my focus would be art, the most important decision to make was what type of school in which I was interested. A large school offers myriad extracurricular opportunities, sports, and a very different feeling than the small, close community of a liberal arts school; each attracts different type of people, and it is important for high school students to know which environment will make them happiest. After I made the decision of a small visual arts school, I visited and applied to each possibility. Visiting each school was an advantage because it gave me a true feeling of how it would be to live on campus and attend classes; it was important for me to visualize myself at each school to fully grasp how I could fit into a school?s environment. To even better learn which school might be best, it is important to revisit all, and, when stepping onto the right campus, a student will know in their gut they have found a home for the next four years.

Sommer

Parents will think they know best about where their child should go to school, sometimes you need to slow down and make sure that the parents and the child are on the same page. Also, wait until you get all your acceptane letters, which ever one's you're more excited about you should probably revisit. You should not choose a college because it is labeled one of the best, you should be choosing it because that is the one that will inspire you and allow you to get to where you want to be in life in the most stimulating and intruging way.

Sojin

To find the right college, the most important thing you must consider is what your passion is (student) and find the college that compliments it. For example, you must remember that you want to challenge yourself. Instead of going to a easy school and getting good grades, its more worthwhile if you attend college where you can challenge yourself and meet other passionate students. To make most of the college exprience, be involved with school activities. Don't be too focused in school work. Even though academic works are important, social connections are as much as important.

Kristen

It's kind of a crapshoot. Pick somewhere where you like the people and the location. College doesn't matter as much as you think it does-- it's more the connections you make that will help you in the long run.

Gianna

Finding the right college is very important since it prepares the student for living life independently. The subjects offered by the school, the size and feel of the campus, and students and teachers are all factors in choosing a college. Also, every person is different and requries a different experience. Some kids might not be suitable for college at all. It's important to really want to go and to be ready to work hard in order to aquire new knowledge and skills.

Andre

What was extremely helpful for me was talking to actuall students and touring the school before making a decision. I looked at and researched top schools for architecture and made a list based on how professionals in the architecture field rated these schools. I applied to a safety school and two reach schools. After being accepted into all of the schools I toured the campus and met students. On paper a certain school might look nicer or get higher ratings, but it's really just about a positive learning environement for me. I found that the majority of a college experience is determined by the outlook and passion of fellow students. The majority of what I learn and where my inspiration comes from are my classmates. However, one thing that I didn't pay much attention too at the time was the financial aid. In hind site I may have gone to a different school because my family's financial picture recently changed and I don't know if I'll be able to continue my studies here at RISD. Just be sure to visit the schools and talk to actual students before making a decision.

Jesse

Whenever you feel like you're not going to be successful and that you're wasting your time, remember. You're 18-22 years old. You don't know shit yet. You're there to learn. To make connections and make mistakes. The most important thing you can learn in college is learn who YOU are. After that, it's all about how to deal with other people. You must always be open to criticism, but willing to defend yourself where appropriate. Worrying too much about what other people think is high school behavior and the sooner you can drop that the better. One last thing: long distance relationships suck. Get out there and meet new people.

Alex

Students should start looking into colleges (especially for art school) sometime during sophomore year. Parental help is essential, as a lot of friends who did not are dissatisfied with or neutral toward the school they now attend. Request catalogues, check out websites, and visit campuses you are that interest you. Attending national portfolio day was a huge help in choosing the right art school as I was able to talk one-on-one with faculty and alumni about my work. It was also necessary to visit many schools and look at their facilities as well as the cities surrounding them. You can't go to school somewhere you don't feel comfortable living. Seek out a school whose mission and belifs feel similar to your own. You don't want to spend four years or more at a college where you don't agree with your professors and don't care about the material. Don't believe everything you hear, examine the school carefully, and fight for what you believe. Do not accept mediocrity in your self or education.

K.H.

STUDENTS: If you're clever, you will do well, wherever you go - college is not the grand formative egg from which one hatches completed that everyone seems to think. In that vein, don't go to school to 'find yourself', or to 'discover' what it is that you really want to study. There's no shame in holding off a year or two to become less of a mooncalf. Know what you want before you select your schools, and don't settle for second-best or more-convenient. Don't be half-hearted about anything, once you're there. Go at it all fiercely and don't malinger or complain. (W.H. Auden: 'Wear your tribulation like a rose.') Give any school a year before you decide to leave it, or, for that matter, to stay. Above all, I say to you what one of my professors said to me: If you make a mistake, and you will make mistakes, it's all right; in the aftermath, you will put your house in order. PARENTS: Let them go.

Liz

Buy your children pepper spray/make sure they take the bus because this school is in the city and can be dangerous at night.

Philip

find what major you want to do, and find good schools in that area. and within those schools, find out where you want to live in, and choose that school. environment is just as important as the school because if you want like where you are living, school life will suffer.

Sae

Close you eyes and if you could visualize yourself succesful and happy and what you will be doing, than that is the field you belong to. Don'try to go to college because everybody else is going. Pick your own choice with your own standard. HIghshool friends never stay long. Good Luck

Diana

Before choosing a specialist school like RISD, make sure that it's absolutely what you want to do. You will get a great education, but very little diversity when it comes to careers and people. It's important to make sure that you are not too different from the people at the school, as it becomes difficult to make friends. Remember that academics are the most important, but there are variations out of the tier of school that you are able to get into. Out of these schools, consider the social life. As for making the most out of the college experience, I know some people who consider making friends and connections to be more important than their classes, and some people who never leave their studios. I know it's cliche advice to tell people to have fun more in college, but both ways are not necessarily wrong. You can be truly goal focused and work your ass off trying to acheive that goal, but remember that you may be missing out on many great experiences.

Arielle

College is a doorway to your child's future. It gives them experiences they might not have forseen, asks them questions they might have never encountered, and pushes them to work for themselves and prove their worth to society. Students, make the best of your college years. They go by pretty quick. It's important to remember to keep a balance between your social life and your education. Don't be the student who parties too much and doesn't get any work done, but also don't be the student who is always in his/her room studying and never leaving. Make sure you engage with others, share ideas, have fun together, make friends, friends who will be with you for life. In essence, college is your last moment, last breathe in time, until you let it out and join the real world.

Kyle

Choose according to location and your personal feeling about the school.

Rebecca

its really expensive. you will learn a lot and never ever ever sleep

Azur

When picking a college make sure to think of your past, present and future. The location of the school is imporant, if your from Arizona and move some where very cold are you going to be happy? look at the culture of the kids you will be in school with. All schools have things one will like and not like make sure to figure out what is truely important to you now. But keep in mind you are going to school for a reason so alway have your furture in the fore frount of your mind which picking schools.

Kristine

Don't worry so much about the money. Yes, it is expensive, and yes loans suck. But sometimes a school that costs more means that you will earn more after you graduate. You need to take that into account (average alumni starting salary) when considering which option is best. So many people pick a crappier school because it's cheaper - and that might not be true in the long run. The saying of "those schools are just as good" is nonsense, because it is a different environment, with different students, resources, professors, and connections. That said, some expensive schools have an low average first year salary for alumni - so check, don't assume.

Huong

finding out who you are and defining your own terms. finding your purpose in life. the different people you'll meet and how they will impact you. lifelong friends. the desire for knowledge. Have Fun

Amelia

Picking a college that fits your personality is hard to do when all the colleges you look at are trying to sell themselves. The best thing to do is decide on specific qualities you want your school to have so that you can look further than the glossy advertisements that all the schools are sending you. Be involved in the process; decide what size, what location, and what activities you are interested in. Once you are accepted in a school, whether or not it is your first choice, find places and people there that make you feel comfortable. Keep thinking positive. It takes time to settle into a new environment, but if you stick with your choice and keep moving forward, you can take control of the situation. Overall, the best thing to do is to stay positive and stay involved.

Elie

Many college students really don?t have a clear reason for being there other than the fact that they don?t know what else to do yet. They inherit goals from family and peers which aren?t truly their own. Once you know why you?re going to college, imagine your ideal outcome. Let it flow outward from the reason you?re there. Whether you?ve already started college or not, stop and simply write down some attributes of your ideal experience. Describe it in as much detail as you can. Get to know your academic adviser. This is the person who will help you with course conflicts, adding or dropping courses, scheduling of classes for future semesters, deciding on major finaly Get Organized. In high school, the teachers tended to lead you through all the homework and due dates. In college, the professors post the assignments -- often for the entire semester -- and expect you to be prepared. Buy an organizer, a PDA, a big wall calendar -- whatever it takes for you to know when assignments are due.

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