Why I Dropped Out…

June 1, 2009

It’s hard to explain why I dropped out, but of course I’m asked often. I think it’s time for me to attempt to explain why I decided to leave, and why I don’t regret either going or leaving even the least bit.

Ever since I was about fourteen I’ve been telling people I was going to be a photographer. It’s always been a huge part of my life. I was thrilled to finally be getting to go to a real college to study it. I got there and fell in love with everything. I even picked up a minor in modern Greek language within my first few weeks at Drexel. It wasn’t easy though. The first term you’re not even allowed to take photography classes, you start with 2-D black and white design. Your thoughts and ideas find themselves made of acrylic on illustration board, constantly being critiqued and revised. I would spend entire days working on projects, only to have to throw them out and start again. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. I signed the forms for Drexel because I knew they’d kick my butt. I love challenge, especially after spending years at community college being bored out of my mind.

It wasn’t until the winter term when I started re-thinking things. On top of my regular classes and Design 2: Color Theory (which proved to be crazier and worse than the first design) I had my first photography class that was a black and white dark-room class. Then there’s the simple fact that it was winter. I don’t just not like winter and the cold – I despise it. Part of the reason I have such an opposition to it is that I’ve always had problems with depression and the winter is always the hardest time of the year for me.

I’ll skip ahead to the end of the term. I went into the final critique of both my Design and Photography classes pinning up work that I had spent hours on and absolutely hated. It wasn’t my work, it was what I thought might get me an good grade. I was exhausted and realized I no longer enjoyed photography how I used to, and I didn’t want to commit the next three years and my career to something I no longer liked or enjoyed. Then there were financial problems, and thats when me and my parents knew it was time to go.

There’s not an easy answer to why exactly I left, it was many reasons, but in the end it worked out. Just because I’m not in college doesn’t mean I’m not going anywhere, or that I’ve given up or anything. College or not, I’m the same perfectionist who makes “grand plans.” I didn’t want to stay in college just cause it’s the american dream to go to a good school, get good grades and get a good job. There’s so much more to life, and I know that God can get me amazing places, with or without being at college.

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3 Responses to “Why I Dropped Out…”

  1. Chuck Says:

    I hope those idiots didn’t ruin photography for you. Doesn’t sound like they have a clue on how to teach people to become photographers in the real working world. I had so much fun with it over at GCC that I teach there now. You have an amazing artistic eye for composing really creative shots. I hope you give that another chance…. :-)

  2. lavienouveau Says:

    No, they didn’t ruin it for me. They really just made me realize that I may not want to do it as a career. I’ll always photograph and probably always take jobs here and there doing photography but they showed me that I don’t want to be forced to do it, I want to do it because I feel like doing it. It really is a good program if you are going to be a photographer, it really weeds out the kids of who can really put up to the pressure of becoming a great photographer and who really just wants to be a mediocre photographer.

    thats so cool that you teach now though! I’ve always wanted to teach! do you love it?

  3. Mary-Beth Says:

    i agree. it’s so hard to not be in school when that’s what everyone else is doing. i find myself always questioning my decision to study things like photography on my own. Then i’m encouraged by other people like you who have made similar decisions, and know they still have an amazing life ahead! SO many wonderful photographers have been self taught, and that makes me know, and believe it’s possible!


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