It was March of my senior year of high school and I still had no idea where I was going to school the following fall. Needless to say, I was a little on edge. As an art student, I knew I would hear back later than everyone else because it takes time to go through everyone's portfolio but at this point, I was done waiting.
SCAD, Pratt, Tyler, Bard, MICA… I had heard from everywhere except RISD and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse. At this point, I was pretty dead set on traditional art school… an entire freshman year of foundation studies, strictly studios, theory, and art history, a wardrobe of paint and charcoal stained clothes.
I had completely ruled football games, sororities, and club sports out of the picture. Until I got my rejection letter from RISD. Not, you're on the waitlist or deferred a year… thanks but no thanks. I was devastated. Sure, I could see myself at all of those other options but I had been in love with RISD since the moment I got out of the car for the tour.
It made me step back and reconsider the vision I had for my college education. When my mom asked to see the letter from RISD, I pulled my email up on my computer to find a simple blessing… my acceptance letter to Syracuse.
I'm getting ready to wrap up my freshman year here at Syracuse and I can confidently say my decision to come here was the best decision of my life. Heading into my sophomore I have already gotten such an incredible art education and have had all, if not more, of the resources and opportunities any given art school would have given me.
I am a strong advocate for art students studying in a more traditional university setting. Especially today, it's super important to have a more diverse, well-rounded education in order to make work that contributes to the different conversations going on and Syracuse has provided me with just that.
Being on a big campus with such a wide range of academic disciplines, students have the ability to flourish in their own majors but also interact with other subjects. At a school like RISD or Pratt, you can't decide halfway through the year that you want to add a major in physics or minor in psychology.
I haven't even started my sophomore year yet and i've already declared a second major outside of VPA and have a minor in the works… like I said, the sky's the limit.
I think it's worth it to also talk about life outside of school. Yes, I'm an art major but I'm also a college student. This year I joined the Syracuse Equestrian Team, went through formal sorority recruitment and found a whole house of sisters that I adore, had many late nights in the library and out with my friends, went to tailgates and cheered on my team at football and basketball games… all the things I was ready to give up solely so that I could go to art school.
I'm getting an insane education, being exposed to a whole world of people and cultures, making work that is important to me and to the world that I am choosing to engage in, and I'm having experiences that I wouldn't trade for the world. While I have mad respect for the incredible institutions around the world that generate some of the most intelligent and innovative artists, not going to art school was the right choice for me.