Changing majors in your mid 30’s #myRITstory

By Maria Grazia Guerrero

First year Grad Student ID MFA

It has been a while since I went to school. My undergrad is on Graphic Design Management and for the past 10 years I had been working for a prestigious Advertising Agency as an Art Director in my country (Ecuador). I gained experience, international awards, and it was a fun working environment to be in. But since college, when I took a Packaging Design class, I have been especially curious about Industrial Design as a profession.

I remember that at the time I thought, “Oh I wish I knew about this career before, oh well too late.” Go figure! 13 years later here I am finally switching careers to the one I feel is my true calling. I spent several years trying to study English on my own on my spare time, but it wasn’t enough when you work in advertising. So, I end up quitting and started to support myself with freelance jobs to have enough time to study for my English test, prepare my portfolio and be able to apply to grad school.

I don’t have a husband, neither kids. Nevertheless, when you are already settled in your career, as it was my case, changing majors is a difficult decision to make. You are risking your professional stability to take a big risk that you only can pray will turn out positively. Also, my family, friends, my culture… everything I knew was in my hometown city. It took me a long time but finally I got the English score I needed to be able to apply to grad school.

At plaster room with faculty member, Stan Rickel, teaching Function and Form I

So far, no regrets at all, everything I went through it was worth it. This has been a fulfilling experience. I am just starting the second semester from the first of two years that the Industrial Design MFA program at RIT lasts. Looking back, it’s amazing how much I learned in a short amount of time, faculty is really committed with this program and their students. There are events happening throughout the year with interesting talks and workshops that you can take advantage of as well. Also, you can find incredible opportunities to display and apply your work outside the classroom and join multidisciplinary teams that will only help you grow in your career.

Storyboard sketches for 2D Ideation and Visualization class

If you are in a situation like mine, I just can give you this advice: Time goes fast quickly, so don’t wait too long and don’t let your fears take you away from your dreams. I know, it sounds like a self-motivating speech but that doesn’t make it less true. I hope if you want to go to this or any other graduate program you find the way and take the courage to do so, you won’t regret it!

Thought at work 2019 organizers, this event is organized by students where interesting workshops and lectures happen every year.

If you want more information about the ID MFA program go to https://www.rit.edu/emcs/ptgrad/programs-of-study/programdetail/1195

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