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What RISD is like so far.

LinzoyLinzoy Registered User Posts: 166 Junior Member
This is like the SCAD thread... but about RISD.

I like it a lot, but I'm going to talk about the downsides first.

RISD students work really hard. Everyone says freshman year here is equal to freshman year at MIT. I've had to stay up to 4 am more than once. I'm behind in most of my classes and struggling to make up the work. Many artists, including me, procrastinate a lot and overwork everything to "perfection." The reason they give us so much work is because we have to unlearn those habits.

Many people don't like the fact that you can't minor in anything at RISD. However, the schedule is more flexible than it seems to outsiders. They will make exceptions for people who really want to take a certain class, and they will reduce the workload for people who simply can't handle doing that much work. You can take 4 classes instead of 5 and make up the 5th class during the summer in a 2 week program. That costs a few thousand dollars. You can even have such a reduced workload that you graduate in 5 years instead of 4. I was almost forced to have a reduced workload because my 3d teacher was angry about the quality of my homework. I have no experience with 3d. But I begged her to let me remain in the class. I did this because I don't want to make things easier for myself. If I learn to work harder I will make more money, progress more quickly, and produce better quality work.

Again, I'm a freshman, and freshman year is considered the most difficult year at RISD. A lot of people transfer to RISD sophomore year on purpose, just to avoid the work.

The teachers here are very smart and very understanding. They really care about their students. Even my cranky old 3d teacher was a pretty understanding person, she let me back in the class and has tried to help me succeed. Many people dislike drawing teachers because they are very critical. My drawing teacher criticizes most people's work but he likes my drawings a lot. Drawing teachers just want people to improve.

The kids here are mostly very friendly. Some people say RISD students are "pretentious" but I think those are the same people who think harvard is "pretentious." They're probably jealous. I've visted many art schools and I think RISD is the friendliest. Some art schools have a lot of stereotypical antisocial art students, like SAIC (no offense...) but there aren't many people like that here. The atmosphere in general is very collaborative. They stick freshman in groups of about 20 that take all of the same classes together and encourage them to get along. This is similar to the way brown works. Some company's hire a lot of people from brown and risd for this reason, like pixar.

A lot of interesting people come to speak here. The illustrator and writer of the dinotopia books is coming soon, that's going to be cool. The first person I saw speak was this alumni who builds toy robots for a living. He was absolutely convinced that robots will be just as smart was humans by the year 2030, and that, since the military funds most of the research on robots, robots will become a danger to humans. So he's devoted his life to building friendly robots. A lot of people raised their hands and asked if he should stop building robots because they will take jobs away from humans when they become smart enough. It was pretty funny.

Providence isn't much different from boston, which is the area I grew up in. To some people providence and rhode island in general seems depressingly small at first, but it really isn't. There's a lot of beaches here, and RISD owns a beach that is called "the farm" even though it's not a farm. Strangely, RISD also has a place called "the beach" which is really a small boring patch of grass where people like to hang out for some unexplainable reason.

Anyway... providence had a lot of really good restaurants, and a new good restaurant opens every month. The north end is the most famous restaurant area, but it's too crowded and touristy. Thayer street, which is only a couple blocks from RISD, has a lot of really good and cheap places to eat. It's not nessicary to go there though, because the food at RISD is actually really good. There are several places to eat on campus and each of them has great food. The providence mall is pretty close, but I rarely go there. All the grocerys I need can be bought on campus, and if I want to go to whole foods or something there's a free shuttle there. All RISD students can take the RIPTA bus for free to anywhere in rhode island. There are also shuttles that you can call late at night from anywhere and they will pick you up and drive you anywhere for free. You get what you pay for here... RISD is expensive but we have all this stuff.

Most people here don't care about sports. I like sports, but I am very out of shape so I'm glad there's so little interest in sports. I'm on the basketball team, we mostly play against pratt and cooper union. I tried to join soccer, but they always meet at midnight (?!). RISD has a skiing team, I can't wait for that to start.

I think I got a bit carried away writing this... but there's still more I want to say. I guess I should talk about the reputation of the school. A lot of people consider RISD the best in the nation, but it's not the best at everything. It has a reputation for being the best at graphic design and illustration. Calarts is the best for animation, MICA is the best for painting, parsons is the best for fashion, and the yale school of art is supposed to be the best art school in the world, period. The yale school of art is only a graduate school though, not undergrad. And they have like a 3% acceptance rate.
Post edited by Linzoy on

Replies to: What RISD is like so far.

  • RyanMacRyanMac Registered User Posts: 193 Junior Member
    Good post Linzoy. I did RISD pre-college for the last 2 summers, have a lot of student friends (freshman, maybe you know them o_0) and faculty friends too, and have to say everything that I've heard from students and experienced myself pretty much matches up with your description. I'll definitely reiterate that I too heard freshman year was a ridiculous amount of work, but an unbelievable experience artistically and in general.
  • patoispatois Registered User Posts: 186 Junior Member
    i'll put one up for mica soon. it's similar to this (in terms of workload) but a few differences.

    glad to hear your having a pretty good time even if your 3DD teacher is a bit crabby...
  • MoominmamaMoominmama Registered User Posts: 827 Member
    Thanks for this, Linzoy! It's great to hear from current students about their experiences at all these schools. Keep us posted on your adventures!
  • azharcazharc Registered User Posts: 87 Junior Member
    Thanks for the info =)
    I'm currently struggling with the RISD bike. My photo portfolio is fine and dandy and award winning. But I can't friggin draw.
  • RainingAgainRainingAgain Registered User Posts: 699 Member
    //Many people dislike drawing teachers because they are very critical.//

    This is from the blog of the author who wrote A Whack on the Side of the Head - about criticism. He quotes Hericlitus alot.

    Like all of Heraclitus' epigrams, this one can be interpreted in a variety of ways. I believe the creative strategy Heraclitus is advocating here is: "Embrace failure."

    Like other walking animals, sometimes we need a good "whack on the side of the head" to get us focused on our purpose. One thing that "whacks" our thinking is failure — it jolts us out of our routines and forces us to look for fresh approaches.

    Think about it: our error rate in any activity is a function of our familiarity with that activity. If we are doing things that are routine for us, then we will probably make very few errors. But if we are doing things that have no precedence in our experience or are trying different approaches, then we will be making our share of mistakes. Innovators may not bat a thousand — far from it — but they do get new ideas.

    Errors serve a useful purpose: they tell us when to change direction. When things go smoothly, we generally don’t think about them. To a great extent, this is because we function according to the principle of negative feedback. Often it is only when things or people fail to do their job that they get our attention. For example, you are probably not thinking about your kneecaps right now. That’s because everything is fine with them. The same goes for your elbows: they are also performing their function — no problem at all. But if you were to break a leg, you would immediately notice all the things you could no longer do, but which you used to take for granted.

    Negative feedback means that the current approach isn’t working, and it’s up to you to find a new one. We learn by trial and error, not by trial and rightness. If we did things correctly every time, we would never have to change course, and we’d end up with more of the same.

    Indeed, most people don’t change when they “see the light.” They change when they “feel the heat.” A friend of mine who had been fired from a job told me: “Yeah, getting fired was really traumatic, but it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. It forced me to come to grips with who I was as a person. I had to look at my strengths and weaknesses with no delusions at all. It forced me to get out of my box and scramble. Six months later, I was in a much better situation.”
  • MoominmamaMoominmama Registered User Posts: 827 Member
    That reminds me of many years ago when my kids were little and taking gymnastics. During their lesson, I watched a group of older kids, 10-12ish. One girl stood out -- she was working on the balance beam, trying some sort of flip -- and kept falling off. Other girls in her group were doing less challanging maneauvers and staying on. So she was pushing her envelope beyond its limit, and they weren't.
  • silverpetalsilverpetal Registered User Posts: 171 Junior Member
    Thanks a lot Linzoy. I'd be quite interested to hear how your progressing throughout the year!
  • lericachunglericachung Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    @Linzoy: Thanks for the thorough post. I know it was 3 years ago so this is a late response but I hope you can answer. I'm going to be a freshmen at RISD this fall and I'm wondering if you have any insight into cross-registering at Brown and/or the amount of integrated clubs/activities with Brown students. Thanks!
  • bears and dogsbears and dogs - Posts: 3,076 Senior Member
    what happen to her ??? (I think it is a girl)
    can't believe how naive she was when just starting out, it made me choke up a bit.
    I don't know-know her but read posts past these couple years and there was something in the line of, if I don't pick school by reputation, don't know how else to pick, or something like that, it troubled me and made start look into real RISD behind the RISD-ing.
    For those who are fortunate enough to go there, don't fool yourself if it is not what you thought it would be, it is OK to feel disappointed if you are disappointed because nothing is perfect, no matter how hard you worked, working, how much it costs, how much you wanted it, what you and your family sacrificed so you can be there.
    But don't give up too soon either. Hang in there.
    And moms, dads, far as I know every parents of the kids who survive their foundation year become most proud artschool advocate even though never really gotten art before in their lives. Which in turn helps future generation of art school wannabees ( siblings, relatives, neighbors, coworker, friends' kids grandkids, etc would have someone behind their back) and the artist in your house and out. We really need more people like you, alot. Are you there, worried_mom?
  • LinzoyLinzoy Registered User Posts: 166 Junior Member
    Hi everyone! I am indeed a girl, and I was indeed VERY, VERY NAIVE when I was a RISD student. I want to go back in time and kick myself, HARD. I would never go to RISD if I could do it all over again.

    I was 19 when I wrote this. I'm an entirely different person now. I'm 25. If you want to see the sort of art I'm doing these days, check it out here: LINDSAY GRAVINA PORTFOLIO

    Bears and dogs, are you still around? I recall you being a good poster. Thanks for wondering what's going on in my life. I have a lot I can say about art schools and such... but for now I'll just give you a brief summary of what I have been up to. I never returned to RISD after my first semester there, for a variety of reasons I will get into later when I'm not so tired. To sum it up briefly: At RISD, I didn't learn anything, I spent a lot of money, and I suffered a lot of emotional trauma. After leaving, I took community college classes and went to an atelier called The Academy of Realist Art Boston. This school suited my needs much better than RISD did. Now I am planning to go into Art Center's entertainment design program.

    I have not come back to this forum for years because I was embarrassed... but I figured I ought to look into my past before I go to Art Center, so I don't repeat the same mistakes I made when I went to RISD.
  • redbug119redbug119 Registered User Posts: 880 Member
    Do not be embarrassed, many students change schools for one reason or another. I knew a student who thought she was going to love her liberal arts college, and ended up feeling like she never really quite fit in. I give you credit to face up to the fact that you weren't happy and had the guts to leave what so many people consider the top art school in the universe. My D did not want to go there simply because she didn't think she'd like what she thought might be an atmosphere of pretentiousness.

    Bears is alive and kicking and would be happy to hear she helped someone along the line.
This discussion has been closed.