Hello everyone, my name is Jennifer Harris. I was born and raised in Chester, CA. I’m twenty-one years of age and it has been almost one year since I graduated from the Art Institute of California in Sacramento. Before college life I spent my time drawing, dancing, playing sports and spending time with my family. When I was seventeen I transferred into charter school so that I could graduate high school early. I completed the last semester of my Junior year and Senior year in six months and three weeks after that I started my college career. I majored in Media arts and Animation. It has been a blessing to learn the things I have about design, digital painting, typography and animation. Currently I work full time as a shift manager for Carl’s Jr. But I am also pursuing freelance jobs as a character designer, storyboard artist and a contract animator for a local gaming company. My fiancé and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
To aspiring students, I’m sure you’ve heard the talks of how college is life changing; that it is a whole new chapter of your life and you get to experience new things and discover who you are. Those speeches and talks are true for the most part, but only if you are ready to accept and learn from what college life has to offer you. Whether you attend community college, vocational school, or university you’ll soon learn things about yourself that you never had a chance to learn before. You’ll make mistakes along the way, but that’s a good thing. Making mistakes is essential to a successful college experience.
To start off, a little bit about myself is that I started my college career just five months after I turned seventeen. I graduated high school a year early in anticipation of starting this new and exciting chapter. From my perspective, since I was so young at the time, I can’t speak for older students and returning students but for those of you just leaving high school and pursing the next step in your education, there are things I learned during my college career that could benefit you in the long run.
One of the lessons college taught me, was that it is best to make mistakes, not excuses. Especially when you are in college. When you are in class, that is the best place to make mistakes and learn from them, that is what going to school is for anyways. It is a conscious decision to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. It is especially hard if you know you are going to fail the first time. But you can’t be afraid. You can’t be afraid to fall. If you are standing at the top of a cliff, and below nothing but fog clouds the abyss below, you can’t be afraid to fall. If you never fall, you will never know that at the bottom of that cliff, there are no jagged rocks which you so feared. But rather, at the base of the canyon is a deep lake, soft and blue and warm. no matter how far you plummet into that lake, you can swim back and when you break the surface you will be raw but with enough determination, you can climb out and find the path up to the next cliff. This one will be taller, but you will carry your head high because you know you can handle it. The next fall won’t be so bad, and again you will pick yourself up and be even stronger than you were before.
In all of my classes, there were students who made excuses for not doing their work. They gave the same excuses; they didn’t have enough time, or they didn’t fully understand the assignment. Whatever the reason, they didn’t walk with me at graduation because they just made excuses. If you need help, find a tutor, find a teacher who has time to spare. Email your whole class, do whatever it takes to understand the assignment and even if you do understand it but feel your skills are inadequate, still just do your best. School is the safest place to make mistakes because everyone there is in the same boat. Together you fall, but you pick each other up each and every day. One of my anatomy teachers once told me for every thousand bad drawings, you will make one great one. I thought he as joking, but really he was just saying you have to make the mistakes in order to learn from them. Go ahead, get them out of you and your skills will come through in the end. All you have to do is make mistakes, not excuses and you will be okay.