What It Really Takes to Succeed as a Creative Arts Student

By: Georgia Schumacher

April 28, 2015

Not sure what it will mean to be a creative arts student, day in and day out? Alumni who made it to the other side weigh in on what to expect as a student at The Art Institutes and what it takes to get ahead—namely drive, passion, and a willingness to work hard, makes mistakes, and push beyond your comfort zone for your art.

Here's what 15 of these alumni had to say.

1. “When you make a choice to follow your heart as an artist, it takes a lot of backbone and confidence. Go for it. Don’t stop.”
Tony Thomas, 2006, Bachelor of Science, Interior Design, The Art Institute of California—Los Angeles, a campus of Argosy University

2. “Be clear on what your goals are and run after them like no one’s business—without forgetting about professionalism and respect for others.”
Emma Nemechek, 2012, Associate of Applied Science, Baking & Pastry, The Art Institute of Colorado

3. “The harder you work, the more you will learn and grow as an artist, and the more doors of opportunities will open for you.”
Juan Pablo Sans, 2006, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Computer Animation, Miami International University of Art & Design

4. “You learn more from mistakes than you ever do from successes.”
Jason Korber, 2002, Visual Effects Digital Animation Diploma, The Art Institute of Vancouver

5. “Be on time, prioritize, and have the utmost confidence in yourself and all that you do.”
Alencia M. Smith, 2011, Diploma, Baking & Pastry, The Art Institute of Philadelphia

6. “You need to validate everything. People lose credibility if they don’t validate their sources, provide reasoning, and present facts."
Jonelle Erickson, 2010, Bachelor of Science, Fashion & Retail Management, The Art Institutes International Minnesota

7. “Get experience outside of the school environment before you graduate. Even a few months spent in an internship will really help you out.”
Chris Shen, 2005, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Digital Media Production, The Illinois Institute of Art—Chicago

8. “It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. But when you see your creation and other’s appreciation, it’s all worth it.”
Suman Faulkner, 2013, Fashion Design Diploma, The Art Institute of Vancouver

9. “Don’t wait for opportunity, seek out and seize opportunity.”
Steve Gabry, 2009, Bachelor of Science, Game Art & Design, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh

10. “Back up everything, at least three times in three different places.”
Jonathan Sarmiento, 2013, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Visual Effects & Motion Graphics, The Illinois Institute of Art—Schaumburg

11. “Always strive to make your next piece better than your last.”
Mike Reda, 2013, Associate of Applied Science, Digital Filmmaking & Video Production, The Art Institute of Charlotte, a campus of South University

12. “Take clear notes, pay attention to the teachers’ advice, but also go with your instincts.”
Merissa Hansen, 2013, Associate of Science, Graphic Design, The Art Institute of Salt Lake City

13. “Make professional networking a priority. Who knows what doors a conversation can open.”
Sally Stewart, 2005, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Fashion Design, The Illinois Institute of Art—Chicago

14. “Be different; make your own style that people will notice.”
Jamie Goodsell, 2012 Graduate, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Photographic Imaging, The Art Institute of Tennessee—Nashville, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta

15. “Get outside and do other things that aren't related to the field. [You’ll] come back to your workstation in good spirits and with a clear mind.”
Dave Preciado, 2000 graduate, Associate of Science in Computer Animation, The Art Institute of California — Los Angeles

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By: Georgia Schumacher

April 28, 2015

alumni student life student success tips