MICA main building from the brown center

Lessons Learned

A Lookback on Obtaining My Master’s at MICA

Soyeon Kwon

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One day, when I suddenly looked back at the past two years, I realized that I learned so many things at Maryland Institute College of Art. I put them together to remember my growth and lessons for a long time.

The first thing I learned after entering MICA in 2019 was how to make opportunities for myself. Before MICA, I thought that the only way to create opportunities was to participate in opportunities that were open to everyone. However, as I reached out and interacted with people, I experienced unexpected opportunities arising all over. In socializing with these people, I discovered that the person I am is a synthesis of not only my work and skills, but also my personality, hobbies, and interests.

What I learned while interacting with others was how to accept people. Our classmates, from various nationalities and ethnicities, broadened my perspectives of thinking of the world as home; from Seoul, Korea to Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America. By exchanging cultures with my friends, I learned what it means to be different and the same, and how to accept and respect differences. People at MICA discovered my strengths rather than shortcomings, and I learned to complement and support people rather than criticize.

Then, the pandemic broke out. When I encountered the pandemic, what I felt was absolute isolation, and, in the process, I realized how precious the MICA community is. When we started online schooling, my status as an alien weighed on me so strongly in a way I never felt while on campus. Facing the fear that I would not be able to return after leaving the US, my expanded home narrowed like an uninhabited island. But I found that the island was not uninhabited; there were my MICA friends. I was more reassured and grateful than ever.

This learning led me to think about what kind of designer I will be. After all, design is all about people. People at MICA were always nice to me and that helped me further myself. Now, I also want to use my talent to empower people. It made me think about the responsibility and role of the designer in the community, and about who I want to be after graduation. MICA opened a new chapter in my life and I am proud of myself for making the choice to come and appreciate MICA, and the faculty, peers, and everyone else who I encountered. Your support and belief in me enabled me to grow into a responsible designer. Thank you to all faculty, the GDMFA class of 2021, and the rest of the community at the Maryland Institute College of Art for your endless love and support!

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