Studio Stress

Photo by Charlotte Cudd
Junior Alisa Castagna spends four to ten hours to complete a single painting.

Many fine art, design majors struggle to balance courseload with personal life

By Alicia Nierenstein

For junior Alisa Castagna, her workload as a fine arts major consumes most of her time.

“Anything I see can turn into an idea or can be used for something else,” she said. “A single painting can take four to 10 hours to complete.”

Students majoring in art have their work cut out for them when they enter the program, but design instructor Donald Martin says it’s not too much to handle.

Martin says when students become involved with the art program, they are told the requirements for each class. A student in a studio class that meets six hours a week should expect about 12 hours of homework. A student in a design class should expect 15 hours of homework.

Another fine arts major, sophomore Catherine McGlinchy, said, “There is a lot of work, almost too much, but I know that it is a four-credit class. However, out of all of my friends, I am the one who is doing the most homework.”

To help relieve the stress, Martin said, “I would suggest taking fewer hours if needed, but studio classes produce art, and creativity takes time. The purpose of this program is to prepare our students. It is not to weed any one person out.”

Aside from the time spent in class, students are expected to be able to commit enough time outside of class.

“Time management is an important skill to have,” Martin said. “And even with good time management skills, some of our seniors still practically live in the studio.”

Castagna is enrolled in five classes this semester — four art classes — in addition to maintaining a job. She said that she works around her school schedule to be able to work and sets off “blocks of time.”

Freshmen and sophomores are still technically beginners, and although the amount of work they receive is sufficient, Martin admits that juniors and seniors are probably the ones with the heaviest workload. Castagna said that even though it can be overwhelming, it’s worth it.

“I feel like it’s not just about fulfilling assignments,” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to devote this much time to anything else, so it’s not like [all this work] is a drag.”

It all boils down to dedication and time management. Martin said, “If students cannot adapt to the standards we set for them, then this is not the field for them.”

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