I have received a lot of emails from creatives inquiring about how important a degree in their particular field is in order to start their own business. And my answer … well, it’s complicated. But since it’s such a hot topic nowadays, I figured I would open it up for discussion here on the Be Free, Lance column. I will of course give my own thoughts and opinions, but encourage you all to voice yours in the comments below as well. The more the merrier! After all, there truly are a lot of options here.
After much reflection, I can confidently say that I would NOT be where I am today without my time in design school. Throughout my four years in school, not only did we endlessly learn the basics – but our program was tailored to be very innovative as well. We were always encouraged to think outside of the box and make everything feel as “real world like” as possible. Plus, critiques came about so often that we became accustomed to giving + receiving constructive feedback on the daily. And finally, in order to receive my degree, I had to present my entire final portfolio to three chair members of the program, three times over. Without all of this, I’m honestly not sure I would have felt as confident going out on my own path like I did. Design school, in my opinion, is invaluable. But here’s the thing – my story doesn’t have to be your story.
Thanks to technology and countless other resources, creatives can now head down so many unique routes in order to learn their craft. With different lifestyles and busy schedules, it’s important to figure out what is best for YOU. In my case, I had always known that I wanted to go to college directly after highschool, so that’s exactly what happened. Other options include part-time college ( while balancing other things like jobs + family ), night classes, and online courses. And hey, maybe it’s a combo of those things.
The main thing I wanted to make sure I expressed today was the undeniable value of learning. We aren’t born masters of our chosen field. And if we don’t absorb information and learn from others, there isn’t as much room to grow and continually get better. Choose your path and decide how you believe you’ll best benefit from learning. Whether it’s through a four year program or not, the dedication you put into it is the most important part of all. Dig in.