Do you have a knack for art? Thinking about going to art school? If you’re truly passionate about it, we think you should do it! But, don’t be surprised when you arrive and it’s not like “what college was like in the movies.” There are crazy differences between art schools and non-art schools. Here we’ve outlined a few that will probably be the most prominent in your experience.
1. The Big Game
You heard correctly. No sports, no hunky football players, no peppy cheerleaders. While we aren’t playing into the art school stereotype that everyone wears all black and smoke cigarettes, it’s not too far off either. Unless you count a sad looking basketball team of malnourished 18 year olds who usually spend their practices scrimmaging against each other, the athletics are quite minimal. This being said, it probably won’t bother you. That’s why you are going to art school anyways, right? No P.E.? You will only start to notice how much of an alien with no school spirit you have become during your occasional browse on Facebook. In which case, you will be greeted with dozens of pictures of girls with face paint and hair ribbons. Oh goody.
2. Drinking Games
Well, this might not apply to every single art school, or art school students who play drinking games ironically, but the style in which alcoholic beverages are consumed obviously differ. While the typical college student will attempt to make drinking (mostly beer) more fun with games like “Flip Cup”, “Beer Pong”, or “King’s Cup” on the weekends (which start on Wednesday by the way), art students prefer their hard liquor and wine however, whenever. When in their natural habitat, sights you might typically see include: taking shots before beginning a “piece” – what every student will refer to their homework assignment as – or maybe swigging wine from the bottle. As you can see, no drinking games are typically involved here. Artists (and designers) take their drinking very seriously, obviously.
3. Greek Life
Pretty straightforward, there aren’t any fraternities or sororities to join. No cool “invite only” exclusive parties to attend. Your life will not be like those crazy college movies. You are a lone wolf in the art world.
We honestly did not know what “croakies” were until just recently while on vacation. There was a huge group of southern boys hanging out by the pool area all wearing them, like they were the coolest, hottest, new menswear fashion statement out there. Naturally, we had no idea what those sunglass straps were for or why they were necessary. After some investigation we found out that they were totally normal for many state school kids! Yep, you will definitely not be seeing these babies on any art school campuses. Moreover, what people wear in general is probably very different too, but we can conjecture that it varies region to region.
5. A Reasonable Haul
Haha! Backpacks! That’s a nice thought. Get prepared to carry your toolkit, storage case, presentation case, portfolio, etc. etc. etc. everywhere you go. This will be thanks to a general lack of lockers and your professor’s insistence that you bring your supplies to each class. This of course will be “just in case” and the one day you forget your supplies is the day you will need them. Then your professor will nag you about how you can’t show up unprepared in the “real world” and in the “real world” you would be fired. You and your shoulders will forever be traumatized.
6. Math Class
Hey, there is a silver lining to every cloud. You will not be sentenced to any more days in math hell (no offense to the math geeks out there). You might have to do a couple of classes when you start out but we can assure you it will be something at a 9th grade level. Maybe fractions, usually described as “statistics”. Oh yeah, ok we’ll do those.
7. Student Government
This is another “there is but there isn’t” scenario. Technically there is a student government. The thing is, no one knows who they are or what they do. However, this can work in your favor. If you run for this so-called “office”, there will be a great chance no one will run against you, in which case you will be automatically elected. True life, this did happen to someone we know and we have to say, it looks mighty nice on their resume.
On second thought, it’s probably safe to assume that college kids in general don’t get much sleep. That being said, art school students are notorious for pulling back to back all nighters, not because they are out having fun, but because they are working on their projects and assignments. Let us tell you, critique classes are no joke. Putting your work on a wall for the whole class and your professor to nitpick and rip to shreds will result in many a sleepless night. When you finally do get the chance to rest, probably directly after your critique, you will find that any flat surface will do. There is even a whole tumblr dedicated to students and the weird places they are found sleeping around the Parsons the New School for Design campus in NYC.
We sincerely hope we have not turned you off art school. It’s a great experience if you are passionate about it and you can rest assured you will hardly notice these differences while attending school. It’s only when you are forced to socialize with others that you notice how bizarre it truly is.