News from our Visual Art Alumni: Micaela Wong

<What year did you graduate?

I graduated in 2009.

What was your major?

Visual Art.

How many years were you at LFAS?

I attended from 2004 – 2009, so Grades 8 through 12.

What have you done since graduating from LFAS?

The fall after graduation, I immediately went to the University of Victoria and absolutely hated it. So I dropped out and took a year off to work full time and reassess my direction in terms of academic goals and what I wanted to do with my life. I decided I wanted to pursue my passion despite the influence of my peers and teachers, and go into Animation. Currently I have just finished my first year of Commercial Animation training at Capilano University and I’m returning in the fall for my second year. I’m enjoying it immensely, and I’m unbelievably happy to have finally found my direction.

What is your favorite memory of LFAS?

My favourite memory… well, to be entirely honest, I’ve graduated and hardly looked back. But I remember having awesome teachers and making some fantastic lifelong friends, and, being an “artsy-fartsy” kid, relishing in finally finding a place where I could fit in.

Looking back at your experience at LFAS, would you have done anything differently?

Yeah, I definitely should have worked harder. I’ve had a lifelong struggle with procrastination, and I’m sad to say that this particular aspect of my life still haunts me to this day. I somehow managed to wrangle some scholarships post-grad, but I probably could have done much better if I had been more motivated. (Not that this is an excuse in any way/shape or form, but it would have helped if I had even an inkling of an idea of what I wanted to do in post-secondary. I find having something to shoot for makes motivating yourself much, much easier.)

What surprised you the most about life after graduating from LFAS?

I’m not going to lie. LFAS is undoubtedly one of the most sheltered high schools in the world. Coming from a sheltered high school and going immediately into post secondary was a right kick in the teeth for me. People in post secondary can be downright nasty! Additionally, I was surprised at the general maturity level of any given university populace. It’s really not all that different from high school.

What has been your proudest moment since graduating from LFAS?

Once I had the revelation that I should just pursue my ambitions, and nuts to the naysayers, I had little time to prepare a portfolio of any sort for Animation in post secondary institutions. A good friend of mine had introduced me to a little-known university in North Vancouver that apparently had a fantastic animation program. Unfortunately, this university only accepts 24 new students into the animation program per year, and there are applicants from all over the world… the odds you’d be accepted in your first application were apparently slim.

So, bearing this in mind, and while working full time, I spent a month working hard on artwork, attending life drawing sessions, designing characters and preparing various pieces for a portfolio. It was a lot of work! Thankfully, my work paid off and I was accepted into the Class of 2013, which was definitely a proud moment for me. I’d finally found my direction, and being accepted into university that could accommodate this for me was extremely encouraging.

What advice do you have for current students of LFAS?

My advice would be not to worry too much about what you want to do after graduation. Your direction will find you. Interests and goals are malleable and ever-changing. After graduating from LFAS I still had no idea what I wanted to do in terms of post secondary, but my parents were very adamant about me returning to school in the fall, so I made a rush decision and ended up making a bad one. If you aren’t sure what you want to be doing, don’t sweat taking a leap year. Some parents think that it discourages kids from ever returning to school. Let me tell you, going to university immediately and making the wrong program choices had the opposite effect for me (it was discouraging, disillusioning, and I ended up wasting my scholarship money).

Taking a year off gave me time to really hunker down and contemplate my goals, and working full time in dead-end customer service jobs definitely encouraged me to get back to school and find the perfect career for myself. Even if you have a fairly solid idea of what you want to be doing for a career post-grad, I’ve found life has this way of changing. One of my close friends was extremely focused in high school, graduated top of our class, and knew exactly what he wanted to do in university. After being in university a few years, his goals changed eventually, too.

So, don’t kill yourself now trying to figure everything out. Once you graduate, you’ll realize that the world is so much bigger beyond high school – there’s so much to do, so much to learn, so many things to experience. And these life experiences, in addition to your past experiences, will ultimately help define you and your direction.

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