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Ask any senior: the term “post-grad” is enough to spark an existential crisis. I’ve been in that sort of “oh god what am I doing with my life” tizzy for the last, hmm, year or so. I’ve had some amazing internships and professional experiences that taught me so much about the real world and myself, but nothing that was like Yes. This is it.

Being a pretty go-with-the-flow, things-will-totally-work-out kind of person, this didn’t concern me. My parents have been nothing but amazing and supportive and told me that I probably won’t be in my ideal career or whatever right after graduation. I mean, my mom worked at a furrier after graduation before becoming a clinical social worker. She got a dope beaver coat. Win-win.

Still, I did my best to parse out my existential crisis. I thought about what really makes me tick, what parts of my college education have inspired me the most. I reread this blog from this time last year, where I tried to answer some of those questions. It made me kind of sad because I could tell I was trying to squash and stifle the truth.

Then, in a fit of artistic rebellion that hasn’t quite ended, art school and a graphic design career.

It still hasn’t ended. It never has. And I decided that I was really doing myself a disservice by trying to shut up the part of my brain and heart and all that jazz that wanted this for myself.

For the first time in my professional life, this was something that felt right. I still had my doubts, of course. I mean, I have loved my arts education at Hopkins, but going on to graduate art school is uncharted territory for Hopkins students. I wasn’t sure where my abilities fell within the context of the design world. There were so many unknowns. But I decided to be inspired, rather than scared, by them.

After a month of drafting personal statements and putting together a portfolio of 20 pieces and soliciting letters of recommendation, of waiting, of interviewing and touring, of waiting and waiting and waiting… I did it.

So I’m more than overjoyed to announce that next year, I’ll be a MICA student in the graphic design post-baccalaureate. And as incongruous as Hopkins and MICA may seem, I wouldn’t be going to MICA if it weren’t for Hopkins.

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My professors have been so supportive and have become my biggest cheerleaders. Between letters of rec and celebratory emails, it’s reinforced the fact that the professors at Hopkins are amazing. They’ve believed in me from day one, encouraged me at every step, and been genuinely excited for me—all while teaching me everything I know. Despite MICA being a more unconventional post-grad path for a Hopkins student, they did everything they could to make it happen.

Additionally, Hopkins pretty much introduced me to MICA. Being from Baltimore, I’ve always known about MICA (and envied its perch above the JFX next to the Howard St bridge), but it wasn’t until becoming involved in the JHU film program that things really solidified. The film program, which is a co-op with MICA, has given me that introduction to art school. Being able to dip my toes into the world of MICA, to be able to take advantage of its resources and just soak up the creative atmosphere, has been invaluable. In fact, I dedicated a whole paragraph of my personal statement (precious real estate—it was only 500 words) to my experience in the program, and how it caused me to fall in love with MICA.

Finally, my ~fellow students~ at Hopkins were pretty instrumental in me being accepted to MICA. During the month of January, I essentially locked myself in my apartment to work on my portfolio. My friends were a vital part of the creative process, bringing me food and forcing me to do something other than design for five minutes and not judging me when they found me in the same outfit three days later. And on a less silly level, they edited my personal statement (and weren’t afraid to hold back on the criticism when I used 8 commas in one sentence), gave me objective opinions on new pieces, and were an endless source of high fives and hugs. Seriously, I called my mom, and then Emelynn and Megan, when I got the good news. They had equally excited reactions.

While I can’t stop thinking about the future and I’m so excited for MICA, Hopkins was such a necessary and important step in my journey there. And now, I’m itching for people to ask me what I’m doing “post-grad.” It’s my new favorite term.

i like mike-a

i like mike-a