Be advised at your own risk

Brad WhiteI started studying at LCCC in 2014, and I want to throw my story in with all the other students who were lost in the tornado of campus life.

Though it has gotten a lot better, during my first few semesters here I had no sense of direction on this campus. The Advising Center at that time was going through a lot of staffing changes, and these affected me directly. I can’t say how many advisors I sat with during that time, but before my current advisor, I don’t think I met with the same one twice.

One of the biggest choices I’ve made in my life happened in the office of a temporary advisor I had never met before and never saw again.

I studied for two semesters as a biology major, but I couldn’t see a future in it. I have a passion for cartoons and animation, and I wanted to try my hand at it before I locked myself in a lab with a bunch of dead animals. After I finished my second semester, my GPA bearing the scars of lost interest, I set up an appointment in the advising office to discuss registration for the next semester and a possible change in major.

I was told that my advisor was no longer an advisor and that I had to speak with someone else, so I did. I met with an advisor that was open, and as I said before, I had never met her, and I haven’t seen her since. She had no experience with me, no idea who I was, and we were discussing a tremendous life choice. In hindsight, I recognize this is mostly, if not all, my fault. I should have taken the time to do more research before declaring a new major and registering.

Because of my interest in animating digitally rather than by hand, and the program I had the most interest in was Adobe Flash (now called Animate), this advisor told me that my best bet would be the multimedia program. She reasoned that since the multimedia program focused on Adobe products, I would learn how to use the programs and have enough experience to start using Animate.

She wasn’t necessarily wrong. I later learned that J. O’Brien, a former mass media and multimedia instructor, used to teach a course on Adobe Flash and that the coursework involved creating animations. I have also found that the program is a little easier to learn with my knowledge of other Adobe programs.

But learning an animation program is far different from actually learning how to animate, and a multimedia program hits few to none of the prerequisites larger art universities require for their 4-year animation programs. Had I known that then, I would have opted for a general art major. But with all this confusion and the lack of information I was receiving, I decided to take that advisor’s advice and do a multimedia program.

Based on the advisor’s description and what I could read about it, I expected the multimedia program to be focused on design. What I got was a few credits focusing on design – and a lot more of them focused on journalism?

What does journalism, or perhaps just ranting on an editorial page in my current case, have to do with animation? As far as I can see, again in perfect hindsight, nothing.

My first two semesters as a multimedia major gave me hope. I was even given the opportunity to create an animation for a class project on designing web advertisements, and I think it turned out pretty good given my lack of experience. Aside from that one project however, I was designing pamphlets and newspaper pages and interfaces for websites, all great skills to have and things I certainly enjoy doing, but they’re not animation.

I decided to take a drawing class here in my final semester, mostly just for fun, and I met someone interested in animation, just like me. What he wants is almost exactly what I want, but he hasn’t wasted 2 years and thousands of dollars in the wrong major just trying to obtain it.

I am not one to blame other people for my issues. I don’t blame that advisor, and I accept that what I’m dealing with is my fault for my lack of research. I can’t help but feel that I have been dealt a bad hand though.

I’ve had the same advisor for some time now, the first one I’ve met with more than once. He has helped me figure a lot out, and now I find myself at a kind of fork. I’m weeks away from receiving my associate’s degree in multimedia, and then I have a choice. Do I continue with everything I’ve built in the multimedia world or do I move on and basically start at the beginning with animation at an art school?

I also hate big choices, and that’s probably why I followed the advisor’s advice so quickly.

Multimedia is fun. I can say I’ve developed a passion for it. I’ve also always kind of wanted to be a teacher, so maybe there’s possibility in combining the two. I don’t want to throw it away, but I don’t want to give up on animation either. It’s such a tough decision I almost feel just like leaving it up to a coin toss and forgetting about it.

Whatever I choose and whatever happens, I’ll just have to go with the flow. That’s how I got here, after all. Just wish me luck.

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