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Thu Jul 9, 2015, 5:10 AM
  • Listening to: Dan Gibson
  • Reading: Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Watching: Deadly Women
  • Playing: Flight Rising
So this isn't a totally foreign subject for me to talk about. With all the recent high school graduates, I've gotten a lot of questions about Ringling, art schools in general, being an artist and freelancer and how to even decide what you want to do with your life. I have good news and bad news, but before I get to that, let me address the people who HAVE NOT graduated yet.

I'm sure you all can relate to these gifs, yes?

Large by Ahkward   and  tumblr nm7wd1ddkZ1t1kj5bo1 540 by Ahkward

Well I want to let you know that there are SO MANY people who relate to you. Online, offline, your classmates, people who graduated before you and after you. Everyone relates, even me. XD School can seem useless, but I promise you it isn't. But who am I to tell you these things?

I graduated High School in 2009, got my first college degree in June 2012 and my second in May 2015.

I been there, aha, I sure been there. I'm 24 now and while I have yet to experience certain things, I've seen a lot too. My high school experience is odd but not really. I was bullied, called whale and cow, had stuff shoved out of my hands and always picked last for team things in gym class. Then before my senior year started I was suddenly sent to the opposite side of the country. I wasn't happy.

Lilo by Ahkward

Being in a new place I was forced to look at things differently, I was 17 years old at the time and a lot of life to go, though I didn't realize it. High school seems forever, but I'll tell you the 6 years I have had outside of high school seem longer, MUCH LONGER than the 12 I spent in grade school. When you go through high school... I know it's hard. You want acceptance, you want to be popular and have friends. Your friends mean everything to you, however the sad truth is some people will fade. I still speak to some people from High school, not all, but some. This is a simple part of becoming an adult. It's not that people don't like you, you just... move on and focus on something totally new. When it comes to being IN school, DO CARE. It does matter. You will never get these classes back. Sure algebra seems useless, so does geometry, and physics and chemistry and writing papers and learning to write formally and learning about the history of other culture who lived thousands of years ago that don't exist anymore. However it DOES matter.

Especially as artists. Think about it, those people did art too. They had cultures, they had experiences, those people are your history, even if they are the other side of the world. Creating worlds, comics, concept art, etc all deals with those things. Cooking has a lot of chemistry in it, you wanna be a cook, pay attention in chemistry. You wanna be an animator, pay attention in english class, physics and algebra. You'll need all. #HasAnimationDegree Understanding Architecture and engineering involves a lot of geometry, math, physics, and HISTORY, as well as interior design and art history. If you are building buildings for other cultures or in other countries,and you might do that someday, these classes can help you in your future. So please pay attention. Nothing is ever wasted.

So, don't think it's worthless to study these things, though idk how helpful that calculus class will be. XD

Chapter by Ahkward

^^ This gif sums it up pretty well. ^^

You WILL graduate and you WILL make it to the next step. Love yourself and love
how special you are. You are in school, and have your whole life ahead of you. :D
High school is but one chapter in your life. If it's hard on you, remember there are
many more waiting for you. Never give up.

Don't know who or what you are? Don't know what to do with your life?

First, congrats on finishing high school / primary school!

tumblr ngwu5raqdG1qc4uvwo1 500 by Ahkward

Now What by Ahkward

Now you get to take the next step.

For some people it's college or a sort of inbetween school like they have in Europe. Some people take a sort of "gap year". For some people they stay home and help the family. Some people keep the jobs they had in high school, move out and start their own lives right away. There are so many options. How to choose? Not all of us know what we want to do with our lives. In the US at least, there seems to be this culture that believes that if you don't know by the time you finish high school, you are a failure and waste of space. This is utter crap. I didn't know what I wanted to do! I had a general idea, and that was more than a lot of my friends.

Tumblr N5ohlabea31qft49to1 500 by Ahkward

If you know, GREAT! I'm so happy for you, go out and do what you wanna do and never hold back! Remember that it takes time to learn how to be an adult. Managing, bills, a checkbook, an apartment, taxes, loans, car stuff, moving, it's a ton to manage. x-x Trust me, I know.

If you don't know, here are some suggestions for you and things to remember.

1. YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE if you don't know your life purpose yet.
2. NEVER believe you will never find it. Simply keep looking, pressing on and have an open mind to every new experience. You might find that something new opens up a whole world you never knew existed and suddenly you know your purpose now! :'D
3. Be patient. Humans live 60-100 years, most of us. You just graduated, you are most likely UNDER 20 years old. You got tons of time left to figure yourself out.

I Do Care by Ahkward 

It's ok to care, but don't let it stop you. Don't let your fear or the opinion of others slow you down.

Not many people know this, but I practice Tarot, celtic cross/13 card style. The second to last card represents both hopes and fears. Why both at the same time? Your hopes and fears are directly connected. Your hopes are what you aspire to, what you want in life, however fear of not accomplishing your hopes can paralyze you and poison the soul. It can stop you by putting too much effort into caring about your failure, or the fact that failure is possible. This will blind you to the possibilities and opportunities to accomplish your goal in life or goals.

Failure is always possible, but rarely is it an ending. If you fall, get back up and try again. You didn't ride a bike perfectly the first time? You didn't walk the first time. I don't see no babies running in the Olympics, do you? Maybe college is too expensive? Afraid of loans? Not gonna lie, my two degrees cost me about $90-100k (if you include the interest). That's like buying a house!

But I ain't gonna let loans stand in my way! Come at me bro!
Nothing will stand in your way or my way to our dreams!

In Your Soul by Ahkward

In this world, we assume that if you aren't self sufficient IMMEDIATELY after graduation, you failed. WOW what a loser. You can't even pay your bills? you can't get a job? life over. PFT AS IF. I didn't move out until I was 21. I graduated in May 2009, and I moved out in 2012. During those three years, I was working on my first college degree, which I got in June 2012, my Associates in Animation, a two year degree.

It took me 3 years to get a two year degree. Is that bad?
No. I simply moved slower than most.

After I graduated from my first college, I transferred to Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL, USA. I jumped right into Sophomore year, and was WAY over my head. x-x Man, I wasn't prepared. Did I sit and cry when I realized this?
Hell yes.
Did it stop me, nope. No way. I went to those classes and I worked my ass off. I stayed up late and I pushed through. I worked and slaved. I stayed after classes and talked to other students, other teachers. During my Junior year (third year student) I took a mentorship under Gary Barker, one of my professors, about figure drawing. I was a JUNIOR in ART school and struggled STILL with figure drawing. I lost sleep over it thinking my failures and how I'd NEVER draw people correctly, and my teachers pushed me forward. They pushed me hard and I had a hard time keeping up. ;n;

However, I knew that drawing was what I wanted. I didn't always know that though.

Fun fact: MY first year of college, ever, was studying to be a Radiology Technician. I'd take x-rays... not the same as animation or illustration. During my first year, I got a positive TB test, followed by a negative one, and later another positive. So as a "latent TB" carrier, that job and all my Top five careers were out the window! :dummy: What did i do? I took a bunch of general eds, including an art class. I didn't really draw that much before then, nor did i take art seriously. But I liked art... sorta. e__e It was WAY hard. Here is some old art from that time.

Sesshoumaru with a flute by Ahkward Blahhhh Toboe by Ahkward Rocker chick by Ahkward Phyre byrd by Ahkward Ostrich? by Ahkward Demonic ostrich by Ahkward I had a thing for birds I guess.

That's about how serious I was. Within one year, I really changed, but it took a lot of effort. A lot of pain and crying and doubt and hating my life and my decision to go into art. I seriously thought I made a bad choice. However, switching into animation and art really brought out something in me. I was.... happy to work. I WANTED to work. The secret to finding your purpose, is to find what makes you get out of bed each day. What will make you want to never sleep again it is so fun? :'D That's a hard thing to answer. However for me, drawing worked, and it was enjoyable to work every single day, all day. You may not pick the right career at first, but each one you try brings you closer to a new one, and eventually the right one. :la: So again, here is my art a year later in 2010.

  InuYasha - Nise Suijin Final 1 by Ahkward   Poised by Ahkward  Listen to the Rain by Ahkward Never Think by Ahkward  The Thunder Rolls by Ahkward 

Ok, so we are at a point. You know now that you want to do something. But what? I dunno, you dunno.... well. I think we all know if you don't know an answer you gotta go find it. Sadly, Google isn't important enough to give you the answer to that question. In order to find out, you have to do some old elbow grease research. According to science, when you don't know and answer to a quesrion, you EXPERIMENT. Right? Yes, of course I'm right. You need to get out there and try some things. You'll never learn anything by sitting there doing nothing.

Also, feel free guys to note me about things. I'm ALWAYS open to giving advice, especially about art and art school and art careers. IF I can't answer your question, I'm happy to give you a link and contacts to someone who I know CAN help you. Stay thirsty my friends.

Now go.... go be free.

Enjoy by Ahkward


Choppa by Ahkward


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PupSpace Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2016  Student General Artist
I needed this, even though I've been hecka slow getting through all my notifications. Helped me feel better since I'm about to enter a hellish semester. :D
M-Lee08 Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
I just love this its speaks volumes. 
Hawkpath-tail Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I totally support all the things that you said here.
Let me put some stories from my experience, here for whoever would like to read them. Sorry its a long comment.
My oldest brother knew for a long time he wanted to be a game developer/artist. After he graduated, my parents gave him six months to find something, but they werent gonna kick him out if he didnt. He went to the Art Institute of Salt Lake City in January the next year. When he graduated that, the job people in the Salt Lake area gave him everything he needed to go find a job and he currently works at Ikea, and also had a job designing water parks which he quit on his own a couple weeks ago because he was actually able to. He's got a good life being the "dorm mom" in his huge apartment with three good friends as roommates each paying for their own share, and he even owns a dog he kinda spoils and a pretty neat car and has enough money to buy the things he likes, which is usually lootcrate and limited edition games.
But keep in mind that every single person is different. And that brother knew what he wanted to do, did it, and then even got help after college. I mean, the people in salt lake city dont even let you be homeless.
My second brother, he's got a neurological disorder called narcolepsy. He had F's in most of his classes, aside from Woodshop and CADD. He spent an extra half year in highschool trying to get the credits he needed but ended up spending time in a High school diploma equivalence thing(NOT a GED) and graduated that spring. He still isnt sure what he is able to do, with his disorder ruining things for him. He writes great and creative stories, but thats only if he can manage to get them on paper before he drifts off. He wants to dmake games, but he knows college would put a lot of stress on our family, moneywise, since theres also me. He's been working for his money to buy games, which are basically the only thing that keep him active because theyre mentally stimulating, but he cant do that job forever (because the boss is a cheap slave diver and because construction uses up all the battery his pills give him), so he needs some sort of job like a cashier or bartender. He cant even live alone, either, because he gets hallucinations and dreams that make him not sure which life he sees and which sounds he hears are real. I've had to be his person to talk and vent to, to wake him up at a normal time, and to try and make sure he writes. He's 21 and we havent kicked him out because he's not ready to sustain himself and i dont get why any sort of family would kick their kid out at 18 because its socially unacceptable in the united states.
Now take me, also as a very different person.
Im going to be a senior, and I've had to grow up and be a sort of mom to my brother (because my dad is away working for extra money to pay bills, and my mom's very busy as a custodian) and my younger cousin (because her dad's a sort of alcoholic and also busy with work, her mom's busy working as a maid, and she's going all sorts of teenage crazy with her brothers not around to smack sense into her). I'm good at art and writing, love both, and also want to be a veterinarian. What trips me up, though, is that I dont know what job will make me happy. I like too many things, but not enough. I realized too late in high school that I should have spent these years trying all the new things to see if I liked any. I could have helped build a house or done Welding class, or Theatre, but I stayed in my comfort zone with art and literature classes. At least I volunteered at the library for a few years and now I actually have a paying job, there, in addition to all the art work I've been getting paid for around town. I really am not comfortable with using college time to experiment, because it costs money we dont have, and im deathly afraid of that part. Ive just settled on veterinary medicine with maybe an art or writing minor.
So yeah, college and life are huge things, but dont waste all the time you have in school to take advantage of, if you can. And dont give up because how else will you find the things that make you happy in life? There are always things and people out there that can help you, if you look hard enough. Dont be afraid to experiment with the things you like, though.  if you're a freshman in high school, or younger, even, take advantage of the time you have. If you're beyond hs, you can still try lots of new things, like im gonna have to. Every person is different, so you may need and like different things, but thats okay. There are plenty of people, like ahk, who have been through difficult times and can help you out.
kaseylsnow Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
As someone who has been out of college for 5 years now and trying to change careers to pursue art, I find this incredible inspiring. Wise words ahk!
DeviBrigard Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015
Calculus is helpful for optimisation, e.g. you want to make multiple things and have limited materials, you can figure out how many of each thing you can make with the materials you have.
But then, you can do it much easier and quicker with matrices, especially if you have a graphics calculator :shrug:

I started with a Bachelor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (which I didn't finish), then I went and got myself a Diploma of Website Development, and now I am half way through a Bachelor of Information Technology.
cianid255 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015
Interesting, shame i had to drop out of my ElectroEngineering course/college cuz of monetary issues, but life goes on as always.... Now im preparing to go to Denmark and continue my life, no use crying over spilled milk. It happened and i moved from it and will continue moving until i find my place in this world. 

A lesson to all, one bad thing does not define your life, you can only decide where and how your life will end up, some have it easier some not but we all struggle to find our place in the world!
mysteriouswhitewolf Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I don't know why but it makes me excited that you did Inuyasha fanart. <3 :iconinuhappyplz:
Ahkward Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
i have considered drawing more of it. 
LupusDream Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
well starters thank you for the pick me up because i sure needed that. kinda getting tired of being let down by mt step dad.

lastly i have to help my parents out even more. its getting harder to put food on the table. i would love to go to a school for art weather it be a college or just a regular school to help define my art and maybe help me out getting my portfolio started.

Also i clap for you foe graduating college its a big step and one many do not take. i wish you the best of luck with everything and i do hope you will find a job that will make you happy

 Epic clap 
AzumaOkami Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
This was a long read but I enjoyed every moment of it. As a recent graduate from high school and heading into collage next month this helped me quite a bit. Normally, I don't let other people's opinions bother me but those occasional weak moments can make them really get to you but after it passes you feel like you're invincible x3 
I appreciate that you made this journal, I don't know about other people but this helped me a lot.
Nukeshi Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015
Wow. Kudos to you my friend. This was extremely great. (I was happy to see Austin Carlile in that gif haha) 

I start highschool at an art school in September and I've been nothing but anxious. I'm a "goth" kinda person so I'm always worrying about how I'll fit in. This journal made me extremely less anxious- thank you so much for making it. I say that about a lot of things but this really helped me. You are a great person ahk. I love your words. <3
Ahkward Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
MH, other people's opinions about you as a person are really irrelevant. The only time it matters is when you look for that job. XD You gotta look legit. Highschool always scares people, I know I was on my first day. It really is what you make it. The main goal is to get that diploma, not be the coolest person. Also, there will always be haters. I got haters too. ROFL

Just do what you do, how you do it and you'll be fine. I was the fat, overweight, chubby, senstive girl who liked math and writing and playing piccolo. So I was a whole host of begging for bullying. XD Plus I was in my anime kawaii desu phase too, lawd.

I'm glad this could help you out and feel free to note me whenever. XD
EstherLR Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Clap Epic clap Joker Clap clap 

All the claps for you, my friend. This was thoroughly inspiring. Just graduated college and it still applies. 
Ahkward Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Aha thank you! I just graduated college also. XD What's your major?
EstherLR Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
My major was English Literature. I'm going into Masters in a little while so...buckle up kiddos! Relax

I've too many interests, I swear if someone would fund me, I would live my life out with as many degrees as is humanly possible to achieve.
Ahkward Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Wow, Literature was never my strong point. I like writing and making stories, I just would rather draw them then describe them via words.

I feel that way too! I have so many things I want to study in school. Student for life. XD
EstherLR Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Exactly! And finally my Master's course application went through and I'm kinda eager to get on with it :meow:
Ahkward Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Very awesome! I'm gonna wait a few years before I take on my masters. lol I have quite a bit of debt already and I want to get some of it paid off first. x-x

Best of luck with yours though!
EstherLR Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh my then best of luck to you too! With your art, your education, your life AND that commission you've put up! Hope it all works out :D
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Submitted on
July 9, 2015


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