You have chosen one of the most challenging, professionally and culturally relevant design programs in existence. There are triumphs and challenges ahead, and significant demands on your energy, intellect and attention. I have been teaching at the BAC for fourteen years and I have taught (literally) a thousand students and taken one hundred students abroad.
My passion is for teaching, mentoring, and building community. I actively seek out works of design and processes of design that improve the lives of all involved. In my time here, I have discovered several habits of the successful BAC student, which I offer here as a kind of "to-do list" as you engage the BAC. I hope you find it useful.
You will certainly see me running around campus. I tend to be visible, and around a lot. Do not hesitate to connect with me to share difficulties, successes or your suggestions for a better BAC. Send me an email if you want to set up an appointment. I look forward to meeting you!
Associate Provost and Dean of Students
Boston Architectural College
320 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02115
Richard Griswold’s “To-Do List” for a Successful BAC Semester
Connect with your Academic Advisor: The BAC is a complex and wonderful beast. There are intricate deadlines, processes and requirements that are unique to us and may take time to figure out. BAC Academic Advisors are brilliant, compassionate, resourceful people. They will be able to help you optimize your time, plan ahead, and they can answer your questions.
Meet your colleagues: The most important resources to your professional education are the human beings involved. BAC instructors have an unparalleled range of diverse experiences, but what brings them together on our campus is their desire to enrich the lives of others in the classroom. Get to know their names and their stories. Connecting with your fellow classmates will help you get the assignment sheet you lost, but even in saying a simple friendly "hello," you are beginning to construct a powerful network that will learn and grow along with you. It is astounding the number of BAC graduates who begin design firms (or families!) with their classmates after graduation.
Get involved in Campus Life: Becky Anderson, Coordinator of Student Activities, sends you an all-student email each Wednesday and maintains www.thebacstudentdevelopmentblog.blogspot.com as your virtual guide to events, scholarships, competitions, and new ideas. Reading it can really be worth cash money to you. If you can think of a club or activity that the BAC lacks, Becky can help you figure out how to make things happen.
Manage your time, balance your time: Design is not necessarily the hardest thing you can study, but it may well be the most time-consuming. The right side of your brain is the part that adores imagining new things, and exploring spatial relationships through drawings, models, and computer programs. The left side of your brain keeps you on-schedule. Design is a whole-brain activity, and procrastination is the enemy of the realistic workload. Learning to use your time wisely might be the most valuable skill for a student, just as it is for a design professional who charges by the hour. This includes making time for sleep, family, friends, and fun, in addition to academics and practice.
Make the BAC Campus your intellectual center: The BAC is much more than a collection of rooms in buildings where you go to pay tuition and go to class. Our library is a superior academic resource but also an elegant haven for creative thought and inspiration. A wise student can always find a quiet corner of campus in a studio for a day of work on the weekend. We are always working to extend the hours and the usefulness of campus resources. Make the most of them.
Get to know the names of living designers whose design work you admire: It is important to keep in mind that you are joining a large, diverse and competitive field of study and practice. You must come to understand who the players are and how they convey their ideas in publication and on the web. Following the careers of those who inspire you is a great way to learn new standards of excellence, and if you consider this to be enjoyable then design may well be the right career for you!
Please be careful when you are cutting with an ex-acto knife: Especially if you are tired or stressed, remember, safety first. Use a cork-backed metal ruler to cut against, use a sharp blade (which functions better than a dull one) and watch your fingers. Also, it doesn't actually help to press harder on your knife when you are cutting. Remember, cut steady, and stay alert and organized. Besides, a trip to the emergency room is bad time management.
Luck favors the prepared.
My best to you throughout your design career at the BAC!