Student Perspectives: Jeanette Bolden

September 26, 2016
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What’s your name, what year are you, and what are you majoring in?

My name is Jeanette Bolden. I’m in my second year of the Art Option transfer program at Prince George’s Community College, and I have one semester left. The Art Option program prepares students to transfer into a bachelor’s degree program in digital and graphic arts at a four-year college or university.

How did you decide that you wanted to study graphic design?

I thought about getting into fine arts, but packaging design and posters was more appealing to me. Deciding to get into graphic design was a process of career tests, research, and continuous self examination. I see myself as more of a craftsperson than a visual artist. Graphic design combines the two.

What made you want to attend Prince George’s Community College?

Prince George’s Community College was cheaper [than other schools in the area].

What differences do you see, if any, between design programs at community colleges and four-year colleges and universities?

The fine art classes in the transfer program are generally offered to any student in the school regardless of major, but at other schools it seems that everyone has a common goal to become a better artist or designer.

Do you feel supported as a student by your department (or advisor)?

Not really. It feels as if there isn’t a separation between those who are taking basic art classes to get a general education credit and those who want to do it professionally. The department and advisors are available to help, but in terms of reaching out, events for career building are not available.

What challenges do you face as a student at your school?

Finding time to go to the computer room for open lab to use the Adobe programs is challenging. The fine arts and the graphics design/visual communication work area and class rooms are in a different part of the campus. My class schedule would conflict with the computer room schedule. I would miss opportunities to work in that space because I have to go to class or can’t stay on campus late at night.

How do you think your school could better serve your needs?

The school could better serve our needs by offering more outreach and career-building events. It would be great to have them regularly, instead of just once or twice every few months. I wish the school was more open and aggressive about raising awareness of different programs like mentorship or job shadowing.

What are your goals once you graduate?

I am planning to transfer to a [four-year] university and try to find a mentorship or an internship to get hands-on experience in graphic design.

What four-year schools are you considering?

University of Maryland Baltimore County and University of Maryland College Park are my top two schools of choice. However, I do want to keep my options open, so I’m still looking.

Have you had the opportunity to participate in any internships or gain any design-related work experience since you’ve been in the program?

Sadly, no.

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

I learned the importance of typography and art history. I also learned that having a community is valuable.

What advice would you give another student of color considering Prince George’s Community College?

Have a plan and go to the advising office with questions in hand. Also, be proactive in understanding which direction you want to go. Talk to your teachers and do research outside of class.

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