​Colleague not Competition

I really hate the overall concept of art school being thought of as being a competition. I understand how when students graduate — they are each other's competition, but why does it have to be so? Art schools especially need to facilitate an environment where the stigma of competition is nonexistent, but a culture of fellow colleagues take place. Based on personal experience, in going through the current culture of a competition-like college/university program — it fucking sucks (mind my sailor talk). Yes, competition helps better an individual, but doesn't help one in a group setting I feel (in the designer world at least). If we start housing a collaborative environment where ideas and concepts are "golden nuggets" and we aren't afraid to share them with others; in fear that someone else might "steal" it or use it for themselves. It took me until this year that I legitimately disliked someone because they excelled at what they did — leading towards jealousy. Though, I knew nothing about the person, nor gave them the time of day because they were my competition. Instead, of getting to know their processes, forms of inspiration, and concept generation, I was busy trying to be better than them. One ultimately shoots themselves in the foot when they do so because they're missing the point of a design school — to better themselves, network and build strong relationships with other great designers and design thinkers. 

I've begun to start thinking of my fellow peers as colleagues and I've realized that I have become less cynical and judgmental of a designer. I'm more open to take all other colleagues in my department's consideration on design critiques. No critiques are too harsh, as long as they better a designer. When this culture of "competition" is washed away clean — a sense of a strong culture will arise in the art school pedagogical system. This place will house a hive of ideas that can be built upon and maybe be something even bigger than one could ever imagine.

One shouldn't hold a great idea to themselves, but they should share it with others. When one keeps ideas to themselves, they tend to dwell on that idea and start to become stale designers and thinkers. Whereas, if one gives away their ideas — it forces one to think of new ideas and concepts. If you give away ideas, you can't have an ego, you must also accept others ideas and thoughts for collaboration. People who think they know everything, do not get far in life either. We're in design and collaborative environments for a reason — a fine balance is needed. Working with egotistical people creates a very hostile work environment. DON'T CREATE A HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT! 

I'm sure that I am not the only one whom has gone to art school — thinking of it as a competition. Best yourself and collaborate with others. 

 

Noah Conk