Joined: Oct. 2005
|Quote (Ftk @ June 21 2012,16:31)|
|Career choice is another matter. He’s very gifted in the field of art, winning several awards in school and community (school of 1700 students), being requested by the school to design shirts and other things that come up. He has a lot of engineers and artists on his Dad’s side...teachers on my side. He’s working for a bronze sculptor this summer doing odds and ends around his studio, but has access to learning from his as well.|
His LOVE is 3D animation/imaging. He is obsessed with it, and already spends hours and hours and hours learning various graphics computer applications and designing things on his own. He’d like a career in designing for computer games/programs/animation, etc. BUT, he’s also aware that those jobs are extremely hard to come by, and he’s watched many people over the last few years not able to find jobs in the fields they went to college for due to the poor economy. He’s also aware that art is the first field to suffer when the economy is poor.
Also, he’d really like to do this in a financially feasible way. He’s been told by *many* people to attend a junior college near us that supposedly is very good at transferring to all major universities. He could stay at home to save even more money that first year or two. He’s worried he’ll miss out on something he wants to take early on, but as I’ve assured him, he can always take anything he wants or needs for his major when he moves on to a 4 year college to finish his degree.
I'm late to the game, but I'll add my $0.02 if Ftk is still listening.
As you and your son have realized, there are no guarantees regarding career choices and success. Every career option is potentially under downward pressure due to the ability of employers to outsource work to third-world countries or to get it done via ever-more amazing computer programs. Nonetheless, there's plenty of opportunities, and the best recipe for success remains the same as always:
- First, find something you love or can find pride in, so that work never seems like work and so that you are always motivated to put in more work than the next guy.
- Second, find something that you have a knack for. (Whatever you want to do, there's a gazillion other people out there with more experience, more qualifications, and better talent than you, so the higher up you start, the better off you will be. Even if you are one in a million, that means there are about 8000 people better than that.)
- Third, look for some way to be unusual. Develop an unusual combination of skills, for instance.
- Fourth, work hard.
- Fifth, develop connections.
- Sixth, sell yourself - when your son gets his degree, he shouldn't just mail out resumes, but should go pound on doors, not take 'no' for an answer, push to see people as high up the food chain as possible, present an impressive portfolio, point out why he is qualified and what he could do for them, demonstrate that he's someone who won't give up easily, and point out how valuable that degree of irrational persistence is in an employee (especially as opposed to having him work for a competitor).
Your kid sounds motivated (obsession is great!), talented, and a hard worker, so right there he's ahead of a lot of his competition, which are all good indicators that it is worth the risks to enter a competitive field.
I'm not sure of the value of a back-up plan per se (that's sort of like planning a mission to Mars, but planning simultaneously for the alternative of researching the deep ocean if the take-off doesn't go well). However, my alternative recommendation in practice amounts to much the same thing. A) Nothing in life goes as planned, so a background of learning how to think, how to learn, and how to be flexible will be invaluable, and B) having an unusual combination of skills is often valuable, as long as you find a useful way to combine them. (Very generically, art and science, art and business, science and business, science and law often don't go together in one person, but can be valuable in combination: medicine and marching band would exemplify a less obviously valuable combination, but watch someone prove me wrong.)
With respect to college choice, this is important, but less critical than you think. You are right about the 2-year college route, and picking up anything missed later. However, the sooner he plans where he will transfer to, the sooner he can review the program requirements at the second institution, and design a nicely targeted and efficient course of study at the first place. Transferring could easily cost an extra semester at the second place, due to missing a course and then not being able to fit it into his schedule immediately when he gets there, or because it is only taught every other semester, or the professor retired, or some such. The very best option is likely to be small liberal arts colleges, though they are expensive and limited in terms of professorial expertise relative to larger universities: they give students small classes and personal attention, and they focus on undergraduate education. At large universities, undergrads can lose out to grad students, research demands on professors, and so on. Elite places inherently offer great connections, but the moment you get your first job the eliteness of your background fades nearly to irrelevance next to your actual job performance. The most important thing, far outweighing everything else, is that what students get from a university is what they take from it, and most students don't take nearly as much as they could. So, work hard; take the opportunity to prune bad habits and thought patterns and gain better ones; learn how to learn, how to express yourself, and how to push yourself; and push all the time to take maximum advantage of everything that the university has to offer, and you'll get more than your money's worth wherever you are. If you are at a large university, push to get personal attention; if you are at a small place, push to broaden your experiences and options. Basically, behave like you're hungry and have half an hour at an all-you-can-eat buffet, with multiple different tables, each surrounded by dozens of people: figure out what you want, and push in and grab.