By Colleen Clark
My first exposure to the college experience was at Maryland Institute College of Art, where I completed a month-long pre-college program where I lived in the dorms. I had tons of fun, and I still had the comfort of having my family close by, which made me start prioritizing staying close to home for school.
CCAD was not my first choice. In fact, it was kind of my last, out of the three schools I applied to. Finding out that CCAD would be the best option for me and my family was bittersweet. Now, I look back on my experience and cannot imagine having gone anywhere else—it turned out to be the best fit too.
My neighbor, CCAD alumnus Michael Auger, had told me all about CCAD. He had a great experience and thought I would be a good fit. I had never heard of CCAD, and I never imagined myself in far away, unglamorous Ohio. Still, he convinced me to visit Ohio for the first time, with my dad, to tour the school. I was surprised—for a city I never heard anything about, there were tall buildings, tons of restaurants, and rainbow flags flying from shops in the Short North! Growing up near a huge city, I could walk down the street and hear twelve different languages at once—I was afraid to give that up, so it was a relief to find out that Columbus is more diverse than most parts of Ohio. I started realizing it wasn’t CCAD’s fault that it was so far from home.
When it came to decision time, I realized that if I didn’t go to CCAD, I would be in tons of debt. I quickly found out that there are not many schools that are generous financially, and almost all of CCAD’s students are here on some kind of scholarship. So I drove away to Ohio…
On my very first day here, I cried when my parents left, took an angry nap…and then went out dancing with my new roommates. I should’ve known then that it would be okay.
My life is incredibly different today than it was when I was watching my parents drive away from my dorm window. I have made connections that will follow me throughout the rest of my life—connections that have already given me exposure in illustration. I now know the things I am passionate about and the things I want to say in my illustrations. I know teachers who have changed the way I see the world, and myself, and I know fellow students who urged me to lead and be a part of something awesome.
I’m now a part of the CCAD community; Columbus is my second home, and I wouldn’t change anything if I had the chance to.
Colleen Clark, CCAD senior illustration major, enjoys looking at photos of dogs online, following NBC comedy series (specifically anything involving Tina Fey), and sharing her art and thoughts through her online blog.
The Life at CCAD blog brings prospective students and their families into ongoing conversation with CCAD students, admissions counselors, and financial aid staff—including occasional visits from other members of the CCAD family.