By Jesse Cutrell
Just the other day, I was walking through the Canzani center at CCAD and I walked over to a section of the building where I remembered spending part of my New Student Orientation. That time of my life, where I was first introduced to CCAD, doesn't feel that long ago, yet it was an entire two and a half years ago. I remember so clearly the first time I got the tour around campus and scheduled my first semester classes. CCAD has really been a wild ride for me. It's not over yet though, and that's just as exciting to me now as it was then.
I'm currently in my second semester as a Junior Animation major and this sentence is so shocking to me. It does not feel like I am this far along in my CCAD journey. It's weird to think, but I'm closer now to graduation than to when I started.
When I was a Freshman, I did a piece of artwork for my Design class about facing the challenge of CCAD. Back then, CCAD was a single challenge. It was something to be conquered. Now, though, I find it something akin to a community that I am very much a part of. I have made so many friends since I started. When I came here, I had only a few connections. Now I have friends with a lot of students in my year, tons in both their Freshman and Sophomore years, I made friends with Seniors, friends with alumni, and I'm even on first-name basis with a lot of the faculty. I help lead a student organization, I run bake sales, and I write for this blog too.
A ton can happen in just one year, but uncountable amount of changes and new things can occur over two and a half of them. I'm very much looking forward to the other great things I can accomplish in my last three semesters here.
Even though I am so involved at CCAD and I often find myself with no time for anything else, I sometimes visit my old high school to say hi to my old teachers and talk to some art students who are considering CCAD or just art school in general. Now, while I can't speak for every art school, I always give the same answer for the question that I always get; "Is it worth it to go to CCAD?" YES. Yes it is! I would be nowhere without it.
As a kid, making video games is a dream that seems impossible. Here, I've already completed a full level of a video game by myself and have another multi-level collaborative game in the works that I am so excited for, but wouldn't dare spoil any details about (Check back later for information about it when we have a trailer done).
If you are or know an artist who has a portfolio put together who's thinking about applying to an art college, I strongly recommend sending a copy to CCAD to look at. The amount of worthwhile advice and practice given by established instructors from inside the industry is invaluable. Now, I'm not being a sensationalist here. I didn't want to give this away just yet, but I feel like it's a good example for my point. CCAD's very own Tom Richner is a 2D Animation instructor who worked on The Simpsons for a really long time and sometime in he Spring, he's coming in to the Animation Student Collective to show off some of the materials he has left over from working on the show and to talk to us about what it was like to work on it. Growing up, I loved The Simpsons and I still do, and even though I've even been taught by Tom Richner, I still get starstruck when I remember that he was an animator on what is one of my favorite shows.
I don't live on campus here, but I still don't leave campus on the average weekday until after midnight. I want to soak up as much time as I can here and to really leave CCAD having made a significant impact on the school and my own skill set. I don't have nearly as much faith that I could accomplish that at any other school as I have that CCAD will get me where I want to be.
So... Thanks, CCAD. for letting me be a part of you. I'm going to make the best out of my last few semesters here.
Jesse Cutrell is a Junior Animation major at CCAD who enjoys making video games, playing other people's games, and sleeping in.