1. Unhappy with current expected graduation date.
My old advisor quit. When I went to meet with my new advisor for the first time, we started out by making a graduation plan together so that we could be on the same page. Unfortunately, the timeline that she made for me had me graduating at the end of 2014. This is not the impression I’d gotten from my old advisor. I had been expecting late 2012 or early 2013 prior to the meeting.
I’ve been in touch with my new advisor, and we’ve been able to wrangle it down to late 2013. I’d have a heavier load, but it would be achievable. Graduating in 2013 is a lot better, but still, the can of worms has been opened.
2. More specialization.
I was originally a Digital Arts & Communications major, which was great. When it was announced that my major was being merged with the much larger Computer Arts department to create Web Design & New Media, I was disappointed because it seemed like a lot of the stuff that I wanted to avoid (3D animation, video editing, audio design, etc) was now being shoehorned into my college experience.
The new director personally assured me that Web Design & New Media would still allow me to specialize in what I wanted later on in the degree. Maybe that’s still to come, but I’m now midway through my third year of college and I think that I could get more of the specialization I want at another school.
3. Live in different cities before I settle down.
Before I went to college, I actually had a plan of doing my first half at AAU here in San Francisco and my second half at SVA over in New York City. The idea was that since I loved both cities, I wanted to “try them both on” before I graduate from college so that I could better know where I wanted to live. Since then, the plan changed because it turned out that SVA didn’t have an undergraduate program I wanted after all (ironically, what they’ve got sounds similar to what I’ve ended up in here at AAU), but if I did transfer somewhere, then my old hope of experiencing new places would be revived.
4. More social possibility.
AAU doesn’t have a lot of clubs, doesn’t have any athletic programs of interest to me, and doesn’t really have a lot of events designed to help students meet each other. In the years I’ve been here, I haven’t really made a lot of new friends in my classes either, at least not compared to other people, or more importantly, compared to how many I’d like to have. For this aspect of the college experience, it’s great that others have done well here at AAU, but maybe I need to go elsewhere to thrive.
5. Moving time.
There’s a very good chance that I’ll be moving out of this apartment soon anyway, so the timing is good. Pretty simple.
1. New graduation date is acceptable, and San Francisco is great.
When I was able to get my expected graduation date back down to 2013 here at AAU, that was very, very good. I love living in San Francisco, and yet only recently felt like I’ve got an idea of how much fun I can have here. It makes sense that it takes a while before you know your city well enough to get the most out of it, and I’m just getting there now!
2. My academic performance has been outstanding here at AAU.
I’ve been doing very well here at AAU. I have a GPA of 3.75 (all A’s except for two B’s so far, woo!), I’m on the President’s List, and there are a lot of great teachers here who remember me and will definitely write glowing letters of recommendation when/if I try to get into grad program later on. Would I academically kick ass at those liberal arts schools the same way I have here? I’m used to having giant projects all the time, and that’s hard stuff, but I know that the type of work I’d get would be different if I was at a liberal arts school instead of an art school. Different and unknown is scary.
3. I’d miss my biological family.
They were a factor in my deciding to come here, and I want to see more of them. We’ve gotten really close, but my father has spent the majority of my time here unable to do stuff because he was switching jobs and is now looking at new homes. It would be really sad for me if I left just when he was ready to start regularly spending time together again. Also, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my Aunt Toby, and she’s a ton of fun, so it would also be really sad to not get to see her often. Uggh. Just thinking about them makes me want to come up with more rationalizations for staying.
4. Moving is daunting.
When I moved out of the dorms, I got to experience how big of an operation that really can be. As smooth as it was, it was still very unpleasant. And then when I moved into this apartment, my roommate wasn’t around to help for the first few weeks, so I also have the memory of what it’s like to move in to a new place pretty fresh in my mind. If I’m going to be leaving this apartment regardless of transfer though, then I suppose it’s not terribly relevant, but moving within the same city and moving across the country to a brand new place are pretty different.
I want to be a user experience designer, which is a pretty specialized focus. Here are links to the programs around the country I’m most interested in:
Carnegie Mellon University
There are other schools on my list to check out, but right now, those are my favorites. Of these, I’m leaning most toward the Interaction Design at UW and Communication Design at CMU. UCLA gets some special points though because my mother specifically asked me to look at them, and also I remembered that I have a close friend from back home who is thinking of moving to Los Angeles in the near future.
So in closure, let’s say that I’m 60% leaning toward transferring to a new school. It could go either way, but it’s a very real possibility.