Okay, yesterday I spoke with a rep from the Art Institutes Online, and today I spoke with someone from DeVry University Online, both in regards to going back to school for a degree that would hopefully lead to me getting into the game industry. Both conversations went similarly; the advisors asked about my interests and what not, but the difference is the DeVry guy was more straightforward and direct with his inquiries, and made me realize that there are actual requirements to entering their school, as opposed to the Art Institute guy, who just seemed very eager to get me in.
Still, it's more of a crapshoot than anything else. DeVry is a little faster and a little cheaper than the Art Institute, and the guy told me the school is closely affiliated with companies like EA. But Ai seems more artistically oriented, which suits me better.
Of course, the same issues apply. Should I do this? Will I be able to get a job in the field, degree or not? Would I have to leave Philadelphia to get a career in this field? Am I really able to abandon or at least put aside my storytelling and artistic personal desires in favor of bettering my life this way?
They both made it very hard to say no. I know these advisor guys' jobs revolve around convincing people to enroll in the school. That's how they make their money. But it's not like doing it would not benefit me just as much. I'd be able to defer my student loans and study in a field that I am passionate about. Both schools have long standing reputations and, according to their stats, have churned out graduates with strong-paying careers at high percentages. So aside from having to put aside my artistic pursuits (like WCL), I have little to lose.
The only hard part, honestly, is picking which school to go to. My biggest concern is gathering the skills. It's one thing to decide to start pixeling or digital painting on a whim, but this is almost a complete 180 from what I've been doing the last few years.
But maybe that's what's needed. I mean, what are the real prospects for my comics, novels, novellas or webcomics? At best, a lot of work for a little profit, at worst, a lot of work for nothing.
I want to say no. A strong part of me wishes I never made the calls. Is it because I'm afraid to get out of my comfort zone, or because it's not a good idea? I'm afraid I'd have to give up drawing and writing. I'm afraid of losing my skills.
Or is it...that I'm just afraid of hard work?
...I gave it some thought. I thought about the fact that I developed my most popular concept, the Nia Black character, way back in 1998 when I was wastnig my time studying programming in Computer Learning Center. I made up WCL when I was in the midst of my Art Institute studies back in 2003 or so. It's 2009 now. I could have completed school at least twice over in that time frame and I could have been in the middle of development of a Nia or WCL game right now instead of scraping together sketches and writings trying to make a product out of it.
So I asked myself am I going to spend the next 3-5 years trying to do something with my art and writing, getting a little better, getting commissions here and there but really not doing much of anything...or am I just going to make a move and stick to it?
I'm going to make a move. The only decision that remains is whether I'm going to go to the Art Institute or DeVry...but I'm going somewhere.