Grad Feature: Pursue Creative Arts in University or Not

Graduate Feature 2020

When young people begin forging a career path, it’s not unusual to have to choose between their creative passions and something that is more academic. This week, we take a look at the thought processes of three DCB students and how they are choosing their university majors.

Marjorie Y

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  • Name: Marjorie Y
  • University: NYU Tisch School of the Arts
  • Major: Interactive Media Arts 
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Q: When did you discover your love for the creative arts? What were some of the initiatives you have participated in at DCB involving art?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always loved to create; it’s a way for me to reflect, understand and appreciate the things around me. Dulwich has undoubtedly been a great influence in cultivating my personal development with art. From my junior school days of partaking in origami and scrapbooking ECAs to taking on leadership roles in IB – graphic designer for the FRC Helion Robotics Club, student editor of the Media and Publications Club, and designer for the canteen mural project – I was able to explore the diverse ways in which art can be utilised. 

 

Q: What factors came into consideration for you when choosing a major between the creative arts and something more academic? 

Naturally, when I mentioned that I wanted to pursue fine art as a university focus, my parents were sceptical about how financially stable I would be. They thought that I could alternatively pursue finance, business or STEM, which I was interested in but a part of me felt intransigent towards. I thought to myself: finding what I feel passionate about at my age is difficult, so if I already found it, why wouldn’t I pursue it? I found the course “Interactive Media Arts” in NYU (which essentially combines art with STEM), and I was ecstatic to see that my parents were happy with this. 

 

Q: How have the teachers and/or university counsellors influenced or supported you in the past few years at DCB?

Looking back, I feel immense gratitude for all the art teachers in Dulwich who pushed me to develop my skills. I think that everyone is somewhat insecure about their work, so the teachers’ encouragement kept me motivated to challenge myself and push harder. I can’t thank Mr Stewart enough for convincing me to take HL Art instead of HL Physics for IB. Not only would I have had to face the gruelling nature of the physics course, but I would also have missed out on an amazing opportunity to explore my love for art. Moreover, my university counsellor, Mr Harmon, was very supportive with my decision to pursue a creative art in university and provided me with plenty of information to guide me through the application process.

 

Q: What factors did you consider when choosing your best-fit university destination?

Even before I decided on what major I wanted to apply for, I was set on going to NYU. I was enticed by their rich inclusion of the arts, their particularly large number of international students and the abundance of work opportunities provided by the city. Although these factors were incredibly important to me during my research process, there was an undeniable connection I felt with the university when I visited two years ago. 

 

Q: What are your long-term plans or ambitions?

I think that in today’s consumer-centric economy, it’s easy for contemporary artists to lose their artistic identities. Keeping this in mind, my goal is to stay true to my own values and ideas. Regarding my educational and professional plans, I would like to study in graduate school, and from then on, see what career options are available.

 

Eric Y

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  • Name: Eric Y
  • University: Emerson College
  • Major: Film
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Q: When did you discover your love for the creative arts? How were you involved in film at DCB?

I initially found my love for the creative arts when I was 12, where I was first introduced to animations and TV shows by my cousin. Later, I pursued art and design during IGCSE since there was no dedicated film programme, then swapped immediately to Film Studies in IB when it was first offered at DCB. I have participated in the House Short Film Competition, which allowed me to not only improve my abilities in filmmaking but also gave me a chance to work under time pressure. It was an excellent experience to work with people from different year groups across the school.

 

Q: What factors came into consideration for you when choosing a major between the creative arts and something more academic?

My main decision was choosing between economics and film. Straightforwardly, it was a choice of whether I would like to pursue what I love even though it might be risky or live a stable life with no worries about budget problems. And in the end, I still decided to go for what I wanted to do in the first place, which was film studies. 

 

Q: How have the teachers and university counsellors influenced or supported you in the past few years at DCB?

My film teacher was extremely patient and supported me through the hardest time during film studies, which didn’t only boost me academically but also mentally. My counsellor also gave me fulltime support answering any questions I had during the application period, making the application experience a lot easier than it seemed.  

 

Q: What factors did you consider when choosing your best-fit university destination?

The main factor I considered was if I have been to the country or not and whether it would be a great place for both living and studying. 

 

Q: What are your long-term plans or ambitions?

My long-term plan is to pursue filmmaking, allowing myself to be qualified in animation, TV show and film industries in the future. 

 

Jenny W

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  • Name: Jenny W
  • University: Brown University
  • Major: Deciding between Art History, Biology, and Psychology
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Q: What were some of the initiatives you have participated in at DCB involving art and design? How have the arts enriched your education at DCB?

I was a DCB Art Prefect, a co-organiser of Little Galaxy, an intern at the Song Art Museum, and the art coordinator of Firefly Charity. All these activities were extremely useful to me as an IB Art student. For example, the process of designing merchandise and art exhibition booklets for the Voyagers Art Exhibition held in the 798 Art District gave me hands-on experience of artists beyond the canvas. The internship at the Song Art Museum showed me how professional visual artists set up their exhibitions. Additionally, it deepened my understanding of how to appreciate and analyse artworks, which proved immediately useful in my IB Art Process Portfolio. My role as an Art Prefect gave me various art-oriented leadership opportunities, showing me and future student leaders that the power of art to influence is more than just painting an aesthetic visual.

 

Q: What factors came into consideration for you when choosing a major between the creative arts and something more academic?

One of the reasons I didn’t apply for any art schools is that I hope that art can be a means to enhance my university education but not be solely taken up by it. At Brown, I will have more time to explore my current prospective majors in Art History, Biology and Psychology. 

 

Q: How have the teachers and/or university counsellors influenced or supported you in the past few years at DCB?

Mr Stewart was like a mentor to me. His encouragement and technical advice advanced my creative pursuits. The opportunities the Art Department offers to the students, such as clothing design for our school production, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, reach beyond the standard curriculum as they show us what it is really like to pursue a career in visual arts. My university counsellor, Mr Harmon, gave me the confidence in having a focus in art for my university application, a decision that I might have not made myself.

 

Q: What factors did you consider when choosing your best-fit university destination?

Brown University was my dream university since Year 10. The unique Open Curriculum it offers combined with my interdisciplinary interests makes it a perfect fit for my study. The location in Rhode Island is also ideal because it provides a tight-knit community, something that bigger schools often have trouble achieving.

 

Q: What role do you think the creative arts will play in your life during university and beyond?

Although the intensity might decrease from my IB journey, it will always be a part of my life, whether professional or personal. I believe that art is present everywhere, and my study of art in university will just be a start.