Part 5 (go here for part 4)
I made the big move to LA and started attending night classes. There I met my 2 soon-to-be mentors: one taught “Intro to Product and Transportation”, the other taught “Visual Communication 1” (or “viscom”); both long time Art Center instructors. Who knew that a few years later that I would be teaching alongside my mentors at Art Center?
After taking a year’s worth of design classes, I thought I had enough of an Art Center portfolio to apply for the third time. After showing my portfolio to the counselor who first interviewed me, I was told I should now apply.
I received the Art Center rejection for the third time.
I was beyond devastated at this point. I was 0 for 3 now. I consulted the counselor and asked what went wrong. She replied that she didn’t know either and that I should talk to the department chairman myself. I proceeded to the department chairman’s office, but was stopped by the receptionist guarding the door. She asked if I was a day program student. I said that I wasn’t, but hoped to be one. She denied my request to meet the chairman and told me if everyone that that got rejected wanted to meet with the chairman, there would be a line around the block. I told her that the admissions office referred me and that she should call to verify. After a half hour of arguing with the receptionist, I was finally able to meet with the chairman. The chairman reviewed my portfolio again and wanted to make a deal with me. He said if I could show him A, B, C, etc., that he would let me in. Being young and brash at the time, I asked if I would have to pay the application fee again. I had already paid it 3 times prior, and he was nice enough to waive it.
I now had a new mission. Show A, B, C, etc. and I could finally have my wish granted to attend Art Center. I went directly to my new mentors and asked for help. Since I had already taken their classes, I asked if I could get critiques after hours, which they kindly agreed to.
Now, I had heard a rumor around the Art Center campus that if you wanted to apply, that you should always apply on a Wednesday.
Because during that time period they did portfolios reviews on Thursday, and that letters went out on Friday, and you could know one way or the other by Saturday if you lived locally.
I was informed by my mom that this would be my last chance to pursue this dream. If I could not gain acceptance this time that my dream was over and it was time to go home to pursue other options. Fortunately for me, the scenario played out as I had heard. I applied on a Wednesday, Art Center reviewed application portfolios on Thursday, letters were sent out Friday, and I finally received my big shiny electrostatic silver congratulatory envelope on that Saturday! I had finally achieved my goal of attending my dream school. It took over 2 years of trying, but persistence finally paid off!
When I tell this story to my own students, I say I was the “poster-child for rejection”. It took more than 3 attempts to finally gain admittance to Art Center, but through it all I never gave up. If you passionately believe in something, never let anyone tell you can’t achieve it.