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

Transitioning into a Different Academic System

by Kexin ‘Coco’ Wang, Visual Communications Design MFA student

It’s final weeks now here at RIT, and it’s also my first time dealing with multiple final exams and project under a semester system. You are probably wondering why, and I am here to tell you. It’s because my undergraduate uses a block plan, which means the school only runs one block at a time for three and half weeks, and we were only responsible for one final exam or project every month. As a matter of fact, I was trained to really focus on one subject during a certain period of time and got my work done efficiently.

Whereas now I am studying under the semester system, which is the most common type of academic schedule, I feel like I am learning a lot to train my brain to multitask effectively while I am working on multiple subjects throughout one semester. Although I admit that it did take me some time to make this transition go as go as smoothly as possible, I do enjoy the way that my brain gets to switch to different modes during different tasks between different academic schedules and systems.

There’s a bunch of studies and experiments on how to multitask or what multitasking does to our brains and such, but since we are hitting the final days of school here, I still want to share some small tips for better multitasking that have been really helpful to me, especially when you are preparing for your final exams.

1. Establish clear goals and keep your schedules and to-do lists visible.
2. Create priorities and do the most important tasks first.
3. Know when you work the best and manage your schedule to use your best time free for the prioritized works.
4. Try work on related tasks together to improve quality and increase efficiency
5. It’s okay to be slow sometimes. You should allow your brain to reboot and then work up to the performance level you desire.

So I hope these would really help some of you, who are also facing final exams and good luck to you all (myself included)!

The Animation Show of Shows Night

by Kexin ‘Coco’ Wang, Visual Communications Design MFA student

On November 9th, I went to a special screening called Animation Show of Shows in Carlson Auditorium. The show is an annual traveling selection of award-winning animated shorts that are from all over the world. As a visual communication designer who has majored in film and media in college, I am a huge fan of this kind of event. You are exposed to so many new ideas and eye-opening art pieces, which really make you think.

The show has been going on since 1988. The curator of the show, Ron Diamond, who is also the founder at Acme Filmworks, is so passionate about watching and picking fine animated short films. I was so impressed by his story of spending a whole 7 years on restoring a 1963 animated film Hangman in high resolution format, just because he saw the film when he was young and deeply loved it. Now with funding they raised on Kickstarter, the team is able to share fantastic films with the world.

Some of the shorts presented were from some amazing studios and artists such as Inside Out director Pete Docter, Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant along with John Williams. Here are some links of the animated films or their trailers that I really enjoyed from the show:

TINY BIG by Lia Bertels (Belgium)

DEAR BASKETBALL by Glen Keane (U.S.)

ISLAND by Robert Löbel & Max Mörtl (Germany)

UNSATISFYING by Parallel Studio (France)

THE BURDEN by Niki Lindroth von Bahr (Sweden)

OUR WONDERFUL NATURE – THE COMMON CHAMELEON by Tomer Eshed (Germany)

If you didn’t attend the event this year, I highly recommend attending next year! It’s just so fun to sit with friends and family at a show that would take your love of animation to another level! If you enjoy and want to help The Animation Show of Shows, please show extra support for the event!

And their official website is: https://www.animationshowofshows.com/