I loved art school. I love the person it made me and I cherish the memories of my 4 years at RMCAD. It was such a unique time in my life and it was honestly so special to know that all my peers were that 'weird' 'artsy' kid in their high schools just like me. When I started at RMCAD, it was the first time in my life that I felt like I belonged somewhere, that I was home. And I know that sounds mega corny and lame but it's the truth! So, I thought I'd take a minute to compile a list of lessons I learned, tips I picked up, and generally things that I would tell prospective art students. So whether you're thinking about applying to art school or have just been accepted, or just love a good list, enjoy! 1. Don't compare yourself to others! Don't compare your work to that of your peers. Don't compare your grades, don't compare your style, don't compare your 'image.' This is number one for a reason- comparison is the death of creativity and will only bring you heartache. 2. Take critique well. No one likes the kid who can't handle a tough crit. You can explain why you made your decisions, but I think the best strategy is to go in with confidence that your piece is completed to the best of your ability and just stay quiet while your classmates and instructors critique. Take notes, say thank you. Listen. Remember that criticism of your work is not a criticism on your person. Each piece is a stepping stone and crit is helping you get to the next step. *thumbs up* 3. Work your butt off. Talent only gets you so far- it got everyone in your school this far. Your success will be directly proportional to the amount you practice and devote yourself to your craft. 4. Take free shit whenever it's available. Especially food. And especially art supplies. Being an artist is expensive so hoard everything you can get your paws on for future 'projects.' This is second nature to most artists, and will bite you in the ass when you have to leave your apartment or move out of your studio. 5. Experiment with different styles and media. This is the time to try everything! Just because you've always worked in one style doesn't mean you're stuck with it indefinitely. You have instructors and classmates who can probably help you with just about anything you might like to try- take advantage of that! 6. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and intimidate you. This will motivate you to get better and work harder. 7. Keep handouts and notesfrom your non-studio classes. Especially art history but also poetry, science, and anything else that may inform your work. 8. Start a list of artists whose work you admire. There will come a time when your well of creativity runs dry, and having a list like this (whether a notebook, aPinterest board, a collage, or just a note in your phone) will come in so handy. Plus, few things will get your more art street cred than referencing a sweet Caravaggio or badass Rembrandt. 9. Get real comfortable with nudity. From the models, from peers, in paintings you see. Art and the nude form have gone hand and hand for centuries- it's a thing. All bodies are awesome and learning to paint and draw a variety of them will make your work more interesting and ultimately better. 10. Have other interests. It's intense being in an all-art-all-the-time setting. Pursuing other hobbies will not only help you keep your sanity, but will also ensure that art stays fun for you. I knew artists in school who hiked, went bouldering, played video games, ran, did floral arrangements, and even did Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Find something totally separate from your art life and keep them separate. 11. Know that the people who are better than you, work harder than you. I'm not saying natural talent doesn't play a roll, but I promise that they are also working their butts off in every spare moment. 12. Make being a beast your goal. You have to want to be a great artist and devote yourself to that goal for years and years and years to get there. I believe it's Bobby Chiu who said that you need to spend 10,000 hours on a craft in order to master it. We are all working towards that goal and until we log the hours, we just have to try and stay in beast mode. Art school is hard work and anyone who says otherwise is lying. But, the ups outnumber the downs and there's no better feeling than hanging your work on a gallery wall when it's all over. xx Meghan PS- the sick photos of me working throughout this post were taken by my good friend and classmate, the wildly talented Carly Carpenter- check out her website to see her gorgeous portfolio.