Female, freshman, from NYC, came from small progressive school in Manhattan (not an arts high school), also considered some LAC's.
I'm taking 1/2 of the required foundation courses this semester, Elements of Visual Thinking pt. 1 of 2, Drawing 1 of 2, Sculptural Forms (3-d design), Critical Inquiry (Liberal arts req 1 of 2), and Electronic Media and Culture. Next semester I can look forward to my elective (Photo II) and Painting I as well as Art Matters (Art history liberal arts foundation req) and the 2nd part of the other year long classes.
My classes are challenging, to say the least. I find my drawing homework requires at LEAST 10 hours to get a positive critique from my drawing teacher. (He's not "mean", just very, very, very good about sniffing out BS)
Sculpture is another class that takes about 10-12 hours for the homework. Other classes depend on the week, and can be anywhere from 3 hours to more than 15 (For example, my last elements project had to do with a creative interpretation of "Grey scale" and needed 11 distinguishable parts. That took about 2 weeks to complete.) I'm not taking it this semester, but I hear painting is the hardest class.
Generally, the biggest challenge is being the most "creative" in classes. You need to come up with the best idea and execute it well... in under one week. It sounds like a no brainer, but well crafted pieces with rock solid concepts are what get the best crits. You're REALLY expected to speak for your work.
We're in the middle of getting ready for our midterm reviews (next week and the week after) where all of the projects that we've done so far have to have been documented, edited if needed, and presented as a mini-portfolio. So, right now, I really shouldn't be online. I also have a paper due tomorrow that I have about half finished. I'm taking a break from my studio, but I'll probably grab some lunch before i get back into stuff.
The food is actually pretty good. I heard some bad things last year and was a little worried, but i think they're trying harder this year because the upperclassmen seem really pleased. Lots of vegan options. The school isn't that big so they can spend a little more attention to quality than i think larger schools can.
I live in the commons and have a single, and i'm not going to lie, it was worth the extra $300 bucks. You spend SO much time in the dorms doing homework that if they weren't this nice, you'd go insane. You get to see your friends during "Homework parties" where people basically congregate in one persons apartment and settle down and do their work.
Baltimore gets HOT, so it's such a comfort to have air conditioning and heating units that we get to control. We have a full kitchen that gets a lot of use... other people do things like Spaghetti Saturdays or bake pies, vegan cupcakes, etc. Lots of dinner/homework parties.
Orientation was AWESOME. I'm not going to spoil it for anyone who might go to MICA because it's sooo much better if you don't know about the last night.
I love Baltimore. It's a very inexpensive city to live in, and coming from new york that's so nice. MICA is close to clubs like Ottobar and close enough to Sonar, Ramshead, etc. Concert tickets are like, 10 to 20 TOPS. Concerts are copious. (Seeing Gogol Bordello tonight, saw Man Man not too long ago, Of Montreal came through sunday night) There are always shows at the Charm City Art Space and Dan Deacon, OCDJ, Videohippos etc perform regularly. The upperclassmen are nice and will give you lots of tips and tell you where to go.
Food is so cheap. XS is a mica fave, so is Papermoon (even though it's closer to JHU) Basically if you walk down N. Charles you can find SOMETHING that suits you. You can get chinese, japanese, indian, pizza, etc delivered to the commons.
Baltimore is tag-sale crazy: you can't walk around on a weekend without running into one. There are atleast two always within immediate distance of MICA. There's also a free book warehouse up in Charles Village (JHUville) that's open on the weekends that people hit up if they need thing for collages or just want to read something for free.
the more culture-savvy JHU kids are more than willing to make the trek to MICA and do, a lot.. I have a good friend who goes there and we've been having JHU/MICA mixers that usually start with us cooking food and end with them doing the dishes. (Good deal!)
I should probably stop procrastinating and attack the huge mound of homework I have.
So.. yeah! If anyone has any questions I'll gladly answer them :)