Q: So I've already started my online courses for graphic design. One of my friends is going to SCAD and was going to major in graphic design as well but now is majoring in animation because he feels that animation is easier for him to get a career in. I figured Graphic Design n animation is basically the same thing. Is it easier to get a job in animation than in graphic design?..?

Well, maybe animation is right for your friend, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

He may be able to get a job easier in animation because it’s easier for him, but there are not more animation jobs than there are graphic design jobs.

You will make more money as an animator with an average salary of (61K) compared to a graphic designer (44K). But the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 17,400 new graphic design jobs by 2022 and only 4,300 new animation jobs by 2022.

Because the animation jobs pay more, they are usually more competitive. So I would say it’s not necessarily easier to get a job in animation.

If you want my advice about graphic design, digital is where it’s at. I would focus on web and mobile. Those are usually the high paying graphic design jobs. Don’t limit yourself though. Experiment with other areas. Take a couple of your electives in print, animation or whatever else will make your education more well-rounded.

Q: So I want to go into theater as a career but am really scared and I don't know what other jobs could be my backup. I don't even know how I'm going to get all the money for college anyway let alone go out of state into. Liberal arts school or a drama school. I thought about psychology but that's many years of school. I'm just really scared that I have no idea what I'm doing yet all my friends know there top three colleges and somehow know how they're going to pay for it...?
- Anonymous

This question has a couple of parts, so I’m going to break it up:

Your friends:

This is going to sound harsh, but here it is.

I know your friends are rubbing their acceptance letters in your face right now, but I went to high school with people who “had it all figured out” senior year. They got into out-of-state, very expensive schools and bragged about it every day to everyone.

Fast forward 6 years, and many of them either dropped out and went to the community college back home or they are riddled with crippling student loan debt. Not all of them, but many of them are unemployed or unfulfilled with their jobs. So seriously, don’t worry about those guys. Just focus on your goals and making your life better. You have just as good a chance to be successful going to a state university or even a community college.

Here’s a link that will help you pick a college. As far as paying for it, once you’ve applied to a few colleges, you can start applying for scholarships, grants, and loans at those schools.

Your major:

We get the theatre question pretty often. Here’s our standard advice:

Most people associate salary with success, but that just isn’t the case. Success is being happy with your life and what you do every day. If theatre makes you happy, that’s really all that matters.

I know what you’re thinking. How will I pay my bills? That’s a good question.

If you want to go the traditional actor route, the reality is you’re probably not going to have a steady income. You’re going to have to go to auditions to support yourself, but if that’s what you’re passionate about and you work hard, you should be able to make a living. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the average hourly salary for actors was $20.26. It’s not a doctor’s salary, but it’s not minimum wage either.

You should check out this really great article from Backstage, and this wonderful blog.

Q: So, I went to college for one semester and realized what I was going for wasn't what I wanted to do, now I'm taking time off to figure out what I want to do... How do you know what you want to do?..?
- Anonymous

I think most people experience this. I definitely did. Almost all of my friends changed majors at least once. 

Honestly, if you’re waiting for a day when it becomes super obvious, and all your questions are answered, you’re going to be waiting forever.

Here’s what I did:

I made sure I was taking care of my core. (Core classes are most of what you’re going to take freshman and sophomore year.) In between my core classes, I experimented with the areas that I was most interested in. For me it was journalism, design, photography, and art. So I took a class or two in one of those every semester.

After I had taken a couple of classes in all of them, I ended up deciding to get an associate degree in graphic design and my bachelors in journalism and minor in art.

It took me 5 years to graduate, but I found out exactly what I wanted to do, and I’m still pretty happy with my decision two years after graduating.

There’s a million possibilities for what you can do. Try to find a subject that inspires you. Find something you are excited to talk about, and take classes in that area.

And remember college is a big life change. It’s going to feel weird at first. Once you find a subject you like and you get into a routine, it will feel a lot more normal.

Q: Yes, I was heavily distracted. I am and was severely battling depression and anxiety. Do you have any links for studying tips, how to raise grades? Anything please! I appreciate you so much. 😇..?
- Anonymous

Depression isn’t something you should handle alone. It’s a tough battle, and you should get help from your doctor or even a councilor at school. Keep in mind that everything will be so much better once you finish high school. It’s like a different world!

We have a ton of blogs with study tips. Here are my favs:

Q: So I am a tech theatre major and this past year wasn't what it should have been. I got experience but the few upper techs only focused on themselves and keep to their word with me shadowing them. I now have a chance as at job building sets and I'm scared to apply and go to our annual meeting. It honestly is causing me to have anxiety attacks, should i stick with the program? I'm conflicted...?
- Anonymous

If the new job is a good opportunity for you, you should definitely pursue it.

Don’t worry about those other people. All you can do (and should probably do) is talk to them respectfully and explain that you have a great opportunity to advance your skills and your career and you’re going to apply for it.

If you have a reasonable conversation with them, and if they don’t respond with the same maturity, then their opinion isn’t worth your time anyway.

I had to choose between two activities sophomore year, and I was really scared to tell my adviser because she had spent so much time teaching me and working with me. I simply explained that I felt like focusing on the other activity was the right thing for me to do. She was upset at first, but she understood that it was my decision and she respected my honesty.

Just be honest, mature, and respectful, and you will be ok!

Q: I'm about to start my second year at community college and my major is liberal arts so I'm just taking gen eds. As far as career goals, I want to start my own business selling shirts. Maybe that doesn't sound like a good career goal but it's what I want to do and I'm willing to make it work. If I took a bunch of business classes at my community college, I wouldn't have to transfer to a 4-year after that right? Because I don't have interest in going to a 4-year university...?
- Anonymous

Do what you feel is best for you!

While college is an awesome for some, it might not be the best option for everyone. You need to evaluate your goals and your money, because the last thing you want to do is waste money on college if you think there is a possibility of not seeing it through.

That being said, there are a lot of business courses and design courses that could really benefit you in college. You can take some design courses in order to learn the know-how of great t-shirt design. Business and art courses could really provide a strong foundation for your future endeavors. 

And no, you don’t have to transfer to a university after going to a community college.

Q: So I am going to a university this fall as a freshman. I am determined to have an excellent GPA and just work as hard as possible. In Highschool, I worked hard too but my social life was at it's best. How is a social life going to survive in college? Will it be ok? This being said, I will also be living about 30 miles from my campus but, will college be severely keeping my away from a good social life or maybe even a love interest compared to my Highschool career?..?
- Anonymous

College life opens many doors that you did not have access to in high school.

Let me touch on a couple of points here:

Love life: Congratulations, you are about to meet many people from around the world that are embracing an independent lifestyle, and frankly come with a lot less immature dramatic baggage than those you were with in high school. You are going to be around others that have the same goals and a desire for education. You will find potential suitors behind a book (not in the backseat of your carpool clan). 

Social life: You will develop a balance as soon as you get into the groove of things. I promise you will have a social life. The great thing about college is that you make your own schedule. You have time for breaks, and class is not everyday. As long as you create that perfect balance, you will be able to juggle social and school life flawlessly, just keep your eye on the prize. 

Q: I would like to know what college life is like? Do we get something like prom in college?..?

College life is pretty amazing.

You get to establish your own schedule, do things on your time, pick classes that interest you, meet new people from around the world, make friends for life, and grow into a more independent person. 

As far as social activities, many colleges and campus organizations (like sororities) offer dances and student life events. If that sounds interesting to you, I would suggest visiting the Student Life department of your desired school and see what type of activities you can get involved in, the possibilities are endless. 

Q: My chem class this fall had the option of choosing loose-leaf textbook and lab manuals. I chose to do both books unbound, cause it's cheaper, but now i'm wondering if it will just be a hassle? esp. lugging around a huge binder? It's a silly question but do you have any opinion on this?..?
- Anonymous

College is an amazing experience. However, it can definitely be a costly one and when it comes to buying 100 packages of Ramen or buying bound books, opt for the Ramen. 

Develop a personal organization tactic for handling unbound books. I would suggest buying binders, hole-punching your loose-leaf papers, and creating your own makeshift book for each class. 

Enjoy the few extra bucks and cups of Ramen, you’ll be glad that you did! 

Q: I'll be starting college next week and I'm really nervous on note taking. I'm usually good about copying things off the board and power points, but I've always heard professors don't write as much on the boards and I'm really nervous about getting all of the information down. Could you offer any tips/advice/reassurance?..?

No two professors are just alike. Some speak freely and assume that you are retaining the information. Others provide notes on the board or on a projector. Some even provide notes online for students to print.

During your first week of school you will get to know your professor’s style and I think that you will be pleasantly surprised at how quick you will be able to find your best note taking practice.

No matter the professor’s style, a voice recorder will become your best reliable fallback source. You don’t want to depend completely on the recorder though, because you’re not going to want to sit through every lecture twice.

But it is so nice to write down key points of the lecture, while being able to chill out and actually listen to him/her and let your recorder pick up on the finer points. Too many students get too overwhelmed with note taking that they don’t relax and actually retain the information.

Voice recorders are fairly reasonable when it comes to price, you can get one as low as $21 at Walmart and Target.

Q: I'm a Junior at an Early College HS (which means that I get an Associate's Degree when I graduate HS). I'm being forced to choose between an Associate's in either Science or Art, and I'm confused. On one hand, I like science classes, but I've had bad experiences with a math class, and I worry that I'm going to have to take advanced math classes I don't like. On the other hand, I like to self-study psychology, but I'm not sure I want to do it, because it just doesn't fit me. What do I choose?..?
- Anonymous

In my experience, the classes that define AA or AS are not very difficult on either side. It’s not going to be anything advanced. They are usually electives so the teachers aren’t as hardcore. The deciding factor for most people is probably the foreign language. An associate (and bachelors) of art usually requires at least one semester of a foreign language.

You should base the decision on two things:

  1. Which classes interest you the most? Having an art vs science degree isn’t going to be that significant in the long run. Employers aren’t going to care about it, and it isn’t going to negatively or positively affect your collegiate career after high school. So you should study what interests you.
  2. Which classes do you think will compliment your major? Do you think the knowledge you will get from one or the other will give you an edge when it comes to your major and future career?

If you think the knowledge you gain from those classes won’t help your career or your major, and you’re not interested in taking them, you have your answer.

Q: I want to be a pediatrician because I've always loved the idea of helping kids and making sure they're healthy, but I know that it's expensive and takes a long time because there's medical school then residential stuff, so my parents were telling me I should become a nurse first so I could have a job while still go to school and I agree with them. But how does that work? Would I have to go to uni for nursing then go for pediatrics? will it take even longer?..?
- Anonymous

You can major in nursing and go to medical school afterward.

It should not affect the amount of time it would take to graduate for either degree, because you have to get an undergraduate degree anyway before you can go to medical school. Most people choose something like nursing/biology, but you can actually get it in anything – art, history, communications, whatever.

As far as working and going to medical school, I’m not sure how many full-time nurses actually have time for that.

If you are ok with the idea of doing nursing as your undergraduate, I would say you should go ahead and set up your schedule and major and stuff for nursing, and you should let your academic adviser know that you intend to go to medical school.

This will give you four years to talk to nurses, doctors, pediatricians, etc. to see what’s right for you.