Upperclassmen at Roski give advice to incoming freshmen

The Roski School of Art and Design. which offers three undergraduate degrees, allows undergraduate students to construct and display their own exhibits throughout the year. (Daily Trojan file photo)

Roski School of Art and Design is embedded in Los Angeles and boasts a symbiotic relationship with the city. L.A. holds the largest art museum in the western United States, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gagosian Gallery and the Getty Museum all within a few miles of one another — and from USC. 

For incoming and current Roski students, that proximity offers the thrilling possibility for new experiences and opportunities. However, as a first-time college student, navigating a new university and a new metropolis may be overwhelming. 

“L.A. is a haven for creatives,” said Lily Krausz, a junior majoring in art. “There is inspiration everywhere — museums, activities, people. Roski encourages you to get involved with the broader arts community in L.A. as well, with lots of field trips and assignments that show you what the arts scene has to offer. We are right next to downtown L.A. which has an awesome arts district, which is a great source to draw inspiration from.”

Talia Malchin, a junior at Roski majoring in design, notes the importance of art in all L.A. communities. 

“Whether it be within Roski, which has its own endless variety of styles and passions for art or around campus across all majors, students that are drawn to L.A. seem to be generally into their different forms of art like music, fashion or photography,” Malchin said. “L.A. also has infinite opportunities to experience high quality art from so many different cultures, so there’s no shortage of inspiration.”

At Roski, students do not major in a specific medium but rather have the freedom to choose a more personalized path. From digital media to printmaking classes, Roski students are given the freedom to tailor their education to fit individual passions. 

“Spend time getting to know your Roski cohort,” Krausz said. “That’s where your professional developments will be made and it’s important to make connections there. Join a club outside of Roski to avoid feeling pigeonholed.”  

Outside of her classes, Krausz has consulted on student magazines and has enjoyed being a part of a creative team. She also mentioned that if students join Greek life, members can design apparel or merchandise — another way Roski students can embed their talents and values in other spheres. Malchin plays club soccer and enjoys finding friends that she might not have crossed paths with otherwise.

“Get close to faculty,” Krausz recommended. “They are your resource, don’t go through the motions — small class sizes and studio courses means professors are your best source for creative direction.”

Malchin also advises newcomers to maintain connections with faculty. 

“I had a lot of repeat professors and it’s great to have that relationship going into a new class,” Malchin said. “Ask questions and don’t be afraid to be honest about your opinion.”

One of Malchin’s favorite experiences was working on her final for her drawing class freshman year. 

“I was super ambitious with the project and ended up ordering way too few materials and had to improvise, but it ended up even better than I had intended,” she said. “It was a great learning experience for both planning and executing future products.”