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Design School: Going Back or Changing Your Career

Design School: Going Back or Changing Your Career

Mike Lenhart

Many people go to the college or university of their choice to get their education in their chosen field. A lot of these folks choose their main career the first time while going through the system of higher education. What about those of us who go back to school, sometimes quite a few years later?

I went back to school about fifteen years after I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and International Business. I wanted to make a career change, some would call a lateral move, and get a degree in graphic communications. I had been doing the marketing and advertising duty for many years and wanted to get on the other side of the creative fence. So, I went back to school.

It was a little intimidating at first, but, at least I had the experience of classes and text books from my previous five years of this. After about a week of so, I got into the groove of attending classes, reading the books (well, skimming), and going to the library to “study”. It’s not a bad thing at all. I was surprised at the range of ages of the other students in my classes and those walking around the campus. There seemed to be a lot of folks out there who wanted to make a change, or get that degree or certificate that couldn’t be obtained before.

Here are some tips for other, slightly older college students going back to design school: 1. Don’t worry – you will not be the oldest person on campus

2. Get your books and supplies before classes start. It’s a way to recapture the excitement of grade school supply shopping

3. Go to class the first day. Many times, students who don’t make it to the first and second scheduled class, get dropped from the roster.

4. Read the syllabus and plan ahead for papers, projects, and tests. If you’re working while going to school, this is really important.

5. Talk to your fellow students. The younger folks are really interesting and full of great ideas for creative projects.

6. Try not to be intimidated by design critiques. This is an important part of the design school process.

7. Turn in your papers and projects on time. If you have experience in writing and meeting deadlines, this will be your chance to shine.

Have an open mind. Remember, it’s not twenty years ago.

Before you know it, you’ll find yourself interested in other, extra-curricular classes and may even take some classes for the fun of it. Believe me, it’s not a big deal to go back to school. It’s fun and exciting. All in all, it’s what we make of it.


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