Foundation Year 101

I am still in denial that I will be returning to Marywood for my junior year soon. It’s hard to believe that two years have passed since I was a freshman taking Foundation Year classes and living in Loughran Hall. My art has grown so much since then, and I’m excited to welcome all the new freshmen this year as they begin their artistic journeys. Does this mean I’m actually qualified to offer advice now, since I’ll finally be an upperclassman? Eh, why not. To any incoming art freshmen, and to potential students who might be coming here in a year or two, here’s my two cents on how to survive the first year:

1. Be a smart shopper

If you haven’t figured it out already, art supplies aren’t cheap, and you need a lot to get your first year started. Take advantage of those weekly AC Moore/Michaels/Hobby Lobby coupons, and take care of your supplies so they can last you as long as possible. If you read the supply list and don’t know what something is, wait to buy it until your classes start and you can ask your instructor to make sure you are getting the right supply. This is especially important for expensive technology supplies, like laptops, Adobe programs, and cameras.

Speaking of laptops and Adobe programs, if you don’t have your own for the first year, it’s okay! I waited until a month ago to buy a better laptop, and I waited until sophomore year to get the Adobe programs. There are plenty of computer labs in the department that have everything you need for your projects.

One more note for Photography majors…check out websites like Cameta Camera and KEH for great used equipment. You don’t have to pay the crazy new sticker price at the store!

2. Be patient!

College art classes are different than high school ones. Give yourself some time to adjust, and if you struggle at first, I promise that it gets better. Everyone comes into Marywood with different skills and weaknesses, and the whole point of the Foundation Year is to sharpen your art skills so you can thrive in your major.

3. Liberal Arts are actually important!

I know, I know…why are we taking philosophy, and statistics, when we could be working in the studio some more? Believe it or not, the arts connect with many other school subjects and are a great complement to the liberal arts. Maybe your US History class will inspire you to create art based on World War II advertising, or your psychology class will inspire your next abstract art piece?

4. Learn to love gouache.

When you…I mean…for your classes….ah forget it. You will find out soon enough.

5. No matter what anyone says, you can and will be successful as an art major.

Are you sick of hearing ‘starving artist’ jokes yet? Me too. Check out this long list of careers in the arts, and remember that if you have enough motivation and passion, you can turn anything into a job that actually pays the bills. Marywood will give you all the tools you need to succeed, and as long as you try hard, make connections, and put yourself out there you will not be a starving artist.

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