Student Perspectives: Joash Berkeley

August 23, 2016

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What’s your name, what year are you, and what are you majoring in?

My name is Joash Berkeley and I’m a rising senior at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) majoring in motion media design.

What made you want to attend SCAD?

SCAD offered a wide variety of comprehensive design courses coupled with a focus on artistic professionalism. One of the major criticisms where I’m from — in the Caribbean — is that art isn’t considered as a professional field in which one can be successful. SCAD demonstrated the surety that there are limitless professional possibilities for careers within art and design. Another pivotal quality SCAD showed was their focused approach towards teaching with small classes and collaborative opportunities. I’ve always wanted to learn more than design in order to become a versatile professional, meaning: design, animation, photography, business management, social sciences — all of which are available for every student at SCAD. [They give] each student a holistic professional foundation for a creative career.

Do you feel supported as a student by your department (or advisor)? Why or why not?

I feel greatly supported by the motion media department. There’s a very evident family-like culture within our department. To speak very frankly, I wouldn’t have been able to learn, perform or excel as much as I have without the students and faculty I’ve met there. Each individual’s concern is to better someone else’s skillset, and the environment thrives on enhancing one another’s knowledge in design to see overall growth in the department. We support and genuinely care for each other — something quite dream-like to imagine.

What challenges do you face as a student at SCAD?

SCAD offers an incomparable wealth of resources and knowledge for all of its students — an experience I personally think you won’t find anywhere else. However, with this comes a weighty price, and so my biggest challenge has been managing expenses throughout my academic journey. I’m confident that it will all be worth it in the end, and this is why I try to maximize my time fully at SCAD.

How do you think SCAD could better serve your needs?

I really do think SCAD does a lot for us; what typically happens is that most students aren’t aware or fully know of the amount of resources that are available. I think one avenue some improvement is always welcomed is our financial aid services or perhaps develop financial aid programs for international students given that we consist of roughly 25% of the school’s demographic.

What are your goals once you graduate?

After I graduate, I’d love to work on personal design and animation work on my own time (i.e., without the demands of deadlines from clients/managers/school). There are a lot of ideas I’d like to explore. I’d love to work at a concept-driven design studio where I can take my learning to a whole other level. I’ve humorously been told by many design school graduates that “the real learning begins after college.” I’d like to work within the entertainment and commercial industries for some time, acquiring the necessary skillset to become a solid creative director one day.

Have you had the opportunity to participate in any internships or gain any design-related work experience since you’ve been in the program? If so, where is/was your internship and what have you learned?

I’m currently finishing up my internship at Apple in Cupertino, California, working as a motion graphics intern. I can’t go into the specifics of what I’m working on, but it’s been a very rewarding experience working at Apple, which has a very specific culture towards design. Besides that, I’ve had freelance experience prior to going to SCAD, and during the school breaks I continue freelancing back home in Trinidad & Tobago.

What has been the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far in your program?

The most valuable thing I’ve learned during my program is that you have to make the deliberate and very conscious decision to be diligent at what you’re doing. SCAD offers you so many opportunities — it’s mind-boggling to think of sometimes — but unless you personally decide to make the best of it, you’ll end up saying “they didn’t do enough for me,” which isn’t true. You are what you make of yourself, not the environment you’re put in, and SCAD’s the best environment to build a solid foundation to being a creative professional.

What advice would you give another student of color considering SCAD for college?

My advice goes to anyone regardless of being a student of color or not: maximize the opportunities that are available to you. It’s important that we all work heartily in our varying responsibilities or passions regardless of the environment we’ve been handed to operate in. Your heart towards what you do and how you interact with everyone with integrity demands the attention and favor of your environment. Build a culture of being diligent, respectful and hard-working so much so that you stand out and so you can assist others when they approach you. Challenge yourself continuously to learn new things, but remember to balance yourself by taking breaks. A lot of this advice relates to personal development, because my relationship with God has greatly influenced my attitude towards work.

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