I'm Done! I'm... Done?

By Colleen Clark

Me and some of my best friends at the Illustration Student Collective's last meeting this year.

Me and some of my best friends at the Illustration Student Collective's last meeting this year!

I don't know what to do with myself. Last Wednesday, I turned in my last homework assignment... ever. I wrote my last research paper on Tuesday, and I had my last presentation on Thursday, as well as my very last class. Unless I go to grad school, which is a slight possibility waaaay in the future, I am done with homework. Forever.

All of the end-of-the-year events are flying by, and now that I've had time to breathe, I've gotten a chance to truly reflect on my experience.

On April 26th, Admissions held an Accepted Students Day event, where a few leaders of the Illustration Student Collective, including myself, set up a table and got to show off our group to prospective students. Dozens and dozens of bright-eyed high-schoolers came to our table, each SO EXCITED to start their college career. I met people who wanted to join our group that very moment, who had researched us and heard about the ISC because they cared that much about being involved already. I even met a young student who told me he read and loves my blogs! Hi!

I got to see the other side of the spectrum: students just starting their college career as mine is ending. I couldn't have asked for a better way to finish up my leadership duties in the ISC. I was reminded why I helped found a group: to connect to the most excited students and discuss our passions together. I felt proud and full of faith that my group will survive and succeed in the hands of the new leaders for next year.

My award and the Collective's award!

My award and the Collective's award!

To top it all off, last Friday was the 2014 Leadership Banquet Awards, where the student body votes on their favorite groups and events. The Illustration Student Collective won Student Group of the Year (for the second year in a row!) and I completely unexpectedly won Student Leader of the Year. This means people actually cared enough to leave their houses and write me into the ballot, which is incredibly flattering because I know how hard it can be to get up and do anything that either isn't mandatory or doesn't involve pizza. I really, truly couldn't believe it, and I couldn't have asked for a better way to feel close to my school. CCAD is a community, and the fact that I was recognized for my efforts made me believe for the first time that I am an important part of it.

This is why art school is so special.

During my four years here, I was encouraged to explore and express all the weirdest, most embarrassing, most passionate parts of myself, because those are the things that made me unique. I got to cultivate the same skills that started my love for art and use them to get a job I have been dreaming of ever since I started making web graphics for my Neopets account in 7th grade (Don't worry, I'm probably more talented at Photoshop and Illustrator now).

I learned that the artistic process is a long, long process, and you will never stop learning.

I learned that anyone can be talented and skilled if they are passionate about it. I have watched students that I dismissed as untalented in the past skyrocket to be some of the most skilled students in school, because they worked so hard.

I learned that there is always room for anyone who wants to be involved. You want to change the school? Your voice will be heard. You want to start a club? Find a few more students who like what you like, and it's a done deal.

I learned that the creative world is always expanding, and if you want it enough, your dream job IS OUT THERE.

I learned that your dream job might not be the same dream job you had when you first got into art.

All the ISC leaders!

ISC Leaders: Lauren Engle (Class of 2015), Kevin Deasey (Class of 2015), Ashley Tatman (Class of 2015), me, Emmett Shearer (Class of 2015), Tyler Dunbar (Class of 2015), Thomas Kirkeberg (Class of 2014).

I learned that you should be nice to everyone you meet. Even if you hate someone's guts, keep it to yourself. Columbus is a small town disguised as a big city, and you don't want to risk getting a bad recommendation.

I learned that time management when you're working—going to school full-time, leading a group, and trying to do freelance on the side—is impossible. Some things won't get done and that is okay. Just communicate about it. Everyone here understands.

It's odd not having a to-do list as tall as me, and I keep waking up in the morning thinking I forgot to do something, because I don't know what it's like to not spend an evening doing homework or (more likely) worrying about my homework. But CCAD has prepared me for whatever will come, and I look back on every moment with happiness.

My last blog will be next week, after graduation! Until then, I'll try to figure out what to do with all my new, strange free time.

Colleen Clark is a CCAD senior majoring in Illustration who wishes Star Trek was real. She loves comics, puppies, anything involving Tina Fey, and sharing her art and thoughts through her online blog.