My son is in wrong College Program

Page 1 of 1 [ 12 posts ] 

OttawaMan
Emu Egg
Emu Egg

User avatar

Joined: 26 Jan 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 2

27 Jan 2011, 2:04 pm

My son has Aspergers. You know the routine. He is obsessed with Anime, comics, and cartoons and therefore has chosen to go to college to study Animation. Problem is, he has no natural artistic talent but as parents, you want to support your children in their dreams and endeavors. Anyway, I was hoping that this first year of college would show him that he is way out of his league artistically. Has nothing to do with Aspergers. But he doesn't see a problem with his drawings.

The problem as I see it is that career-wise, animation jobs are extremely few and far between...and to be mediocre at best reduces your chances of finding employment even that much more.

How can I tell him, that he's made a bad choice without crushing him? His grades were good. We tried to suggest he would make a great civil engineer but he wanted to read comics all day and draw. Well I want to pet ponies....but I can't make a career out of it. I hate to sound so harsh and heartless but I feel it's my responsibility to direct him to a path that will produce results.

Am I wrong? How do I balance letting him make his own mistakes that comes with becoming a young adult, versus taking control and directing someone who can't see the big picture yet?



Janissy
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 5 May 2009
Age: 53
Gender: Female
Posts: 6,508
Location: x

27 Jan 2011, 2:37 pm

Welcome to WP :D

If he really is out of his league artistically, he will start to do poorly in the program and will be open to switching majors. Maybe his drawings are better than you think. Or maybe he will step up his game to match the challenges of the program. Or maybe he will switch majors (but why assume he has more aptitide for civil engineering? You can't be mediocre in that either).

Or maybe he will find that even if his drawing skills aren't that good, he has an aptitude for a different aspect of the profession. Sometimes there are aspects of a profession that you don't even know about until you get into a program. The world of animation needs more than simply people who can draw. As animation becomes more technical than it has ever been before- now that so many movies, shows and commercials use CGI- there is a whole world of jobs that require computer skills rather than drawing skills. It may turn out that even if he has no aptitude for drawing, he has an aptitude for creating CGI effects using a computer. That field is expanding. Or he may discover something else that is tangenital that he learns about through this program.

Somebody who gets a degree in something that their parents thought was a good idea but that they don't care about will be trounced in the job market by graduates who have a passion in it. If he has a passion for animation, it's better to let him free to find that particular aspect of the field where his talents can be marketable, that doesn't have to be actual drawing.

Or he might just change majors. But if he does, it should be towards something that he chooses so that he will have the motivation to do well. Otherwise he'll just get trounced by the passionate people who wanted to be engineers because it's the only thing that ever felt right to them.

If you really wanted to pet ponies that much, you could have made a career out of it. People do get paid to groom horses.



DandelionFireworks
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 16 May 2010
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,011

27 Jan 2011, 3:09 pm

Don't worry. They need people to use Wite-Out between the panels, too.


_________________
I'm using a non-verbal right now. I wish you could see it. --dyingofpoetry

NOT A DOCTOR


annotated_alice
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Mar 2008
Age: 44
Gender: Female
Posts: 770
Location: Canada

27 Jan 2011, 3:29 pm

Janissy wrote:

Or maybe he will find that even if his drawing skills aren't that good, he has an aptitude for a different aspect of the profession. Sometimes there are aspects of a profession that you don't even know about until you get into a program. The world of animation needs more than simply people who can draw. As animation becomes more technical than it has ever been before- now that so many movies, shows and commercials use CGI- there is a whole world of jobs that require computer skills rather than drawing skills. It may turn out that even if he has no aptitude for drawing, he has an aptitude for creating CGI effects using a computer. That field is expanding. Or he may discover something else that is tangenital that he learns about through this program.



This^^ There is more than just drawing involved in animation and cartooning.

If you are very concerned about his ability to find a job with a certain degree, maybe you can find a career counselor of some sort that he can talk to, or someone already in the business who can mentor him. And if his drawing skills really aren't up to snuff, there are so many things he can do to improve them over the next several years. Drawing and making art is a learned skill, not something you are either born with or not end of story.



OttawaMan
Emu Egg
Emu Egg

User avatar

Joined: 26 Jan 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 2

27 Jan 2011, 3:35 pm

"Drawing and making art is a learned skill, not something you are either born with or not end of story."

End of story? Really? DaVinci learned to do what he did? None of that was natural talent? I think you're over-simplifying. But thanks for your input.



annotated_alice
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Mar 2008
Age: 44
Gender: Female
Posts: 770
Location: Canada

27 Jan 2011, 3:45 pm

OttawaMan wrote:
"Drawing and making art is a learned skill, not something you are either born with or not end of story."

End of story? Really? DaVinci learned to do what he did? None of that was natural talent? I think you're over-simplifying. But thanks for your input.


I never said that there is no such thing as natural talent. There are geniuses and prodigies in any field, but that doesn't mean the rest of us poor slobs can't work at becoming competent or even learn to excel. Therefore whether you have an innate talent or not is not the end of the story when it comes to artistic pursuits, as many people seem to mistakenly believe.

Also you never said your son wants to become a fine artist. You said he wants to work in animation, therefore he does not have to be the next Da Vinci in order to carve out a successful career.

And you are very, very welcome for my input.



Stinkypuppy
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 2 Oct 2006
Age: 41
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,553

27 Jan 2011, 5:40 pm

OttawaMan wrote:
Am I wrong? How do I balance letting him make his own mistakes that comes with becoming a young adult, versus taking control and directing someone who can't see the big picture yet?

I agree with Janissy and annotated_alice.

You'll have to be very careful about taking control and directing someone who you believe can't see the big picture. Your son may think that you're simply trying to control him, totally disbelieving that what you're trying to reveal as the "big picture" is actually that. If he thinks this and you continue to try to direct and control him, it will only breed resentment, and your efforts will totally backfire. At that point it becomes counterproductive to control the person, and he will have to see the big picture through the school of hard knocks. This is common regardless of neurology. It's simply a part of growing up. You won't be around forever, so he needs to learn to make his own decisions, and to take responsibility for the consequences of his own decisions so that he can take care of himself.

At any rate, having no natural artistic talent in a particular subject should not be an insurmountable hurdle against developing that talent. Your son is testing his limits and seeing what he can do with his own motivations and resolve. He, like all other young adults, need to go through this process in order to grow up and become an independent, self-supporting adult. While as his parent it is reasonable for you to want the best for your child, it isn't your job to ensure that your son has a cushy, well-paying career. Instead, it's your job to provide your son with the tools necessary to deal with problems and pitfalls as they come. After all, what's the point of having a well-paying career if you don't know how to take care of yourself? Besides, stability in one particular career path is not an inevitability, but problems and pitfalls are. The tools that deal with those problems include but are not limited to resourcefulness, confidence, initiative, and diligence. With these tools, your son will become a responsible, independent adult who can then pass down these same tools to his own children in due time.


_________________
Won't you help a poor little puppy?


momsparky
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Jul 2010
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,831

28 Jan 2011, 3:28 pm

OttawaMan wrote:
"Drawing and making art is a learned skill, not something you are either born with or not end of story."

End of story? Really? DaVinci learned to do what he did? None of that was natural talent? I think you're over-simplifying. But thanks for your input.


I have to agree with Alice, here - I didn't really have any natural talent in the field I eventually worked in, but I was motivated and so worked very, very hard and was moderately successful. What got me out of it was not a lack of talent but a frustration with the lifestyle changes I'd need to make to keep going in this field. I'm now doing something completely different that has nothing to do with my area of study, but I'm doing pretty well at it and have been for some time.

My husband, who is possibly HFA, flunked out of college because he chose a major that he thought he "should" be doing, instead of following what he loved to do. He wasted quite a few years figuring himself out, finally graduated college as an adult, changed his mind again and is now following his passion and loving it. Though neither of us have a formal diagnosis, I think the non-linear paths we took to get to adulthood are probably not unusual either on or off the spectrum.

There are plenty of people who pushed through a lack of natural talent to become leaders in their field - my Dad always brought up Pete Rose (so sad that he's now known for other reasons, but he was a record-setting ball player) as an example of hard work trumping talent.

The question is: is your son expecting you to bail him out if things don't work out? I think that is an entirely different issue, and one that you should address right away. You should be clear about exactly how much education you plan to fund, and that you expect him to find a job and support himself at some point. I'd make sure he knows exactly when and how he's expected to do that. A few years supporting myself on low-paying retail didn't kill me, but it made me really stop and think before I made major changes to my life.



bobert
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 18 May 2007
Gender: Male
Posts: 333

28 Jan 2011, 10:31 pm

Ottawaman, I urge you to support your son in whatever legal endeavor he choses to pursue. It is better to fail at fulfilling your passon than it is "succeed" at something you don't love. I've always had people try to limit me with low expectations, only to prove them wrong over time. Give him your support, and eventually he will find a way to work in his desired field, even if it isn't in the artistic end of the business.



Chronos
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 22 Apr 2010
Age: 39
Gender: Female
Posts: 8,698

31 Jan 2011, 3:36 am

OttawaMan wrote:
My son has Aspergers. You know the routine. He is obsessed with Anime, comics, and cartoons and therefore has chosen to go to college to study Animation. Problem is, he has no natural artistic talent but as parents, you want to support your children in their dreams and endeavors. Anyway, I was hoping that this first year of college would show him that he is way out of his league artistically. Has nothing to do with Aspergers. But he doesn't see a problem with his drawings.

The problem as I see it is that career-wise, animation jobs are extremely few and far between...and to be mediocre at best reduces your chances of finding employment even that much more.

How can I tell him, that he's made a bad choice without crushing him? His grades were good. We tried to suggest he would make a great civil engineer but he wanted to read comics all day and draw. Well I want to pet ponies....but I can't make a career out of it. I hate to sound so harsh and heartless but I feel it's my responsibility to direct him to a path that will produce results.

Am I wrong? How do I balance letting him make his own mistakes that comes with becoming a young adult, versus taking control and directing someone who can't see the big picture yet?


If you "direct" aka "force" a person down a path they hate, you are directing them down a path of failure, and they will resent you for it.

Let me tell you a secret about becoming successful in an artistic field. It's not a toss up. It's about knowing how to network and promote one's self. Now days, even if one doesn't know how to network very well, if one knows Adobe Flash and has a youtube account, one can still become fairly well known and may be able to translate that to success.

So maybe instead of discouraging him, you should jump in the boat with him and help him learn how to steer it to where he wants to go.

Encourage him to put his work online. Encourage him to go to animation related seminars and introduce himself to people. Encourage him to exhibit his work and so on.

Would you believe some of the creators of some of these cheesy little animated internet games make over $100,000 in just a few months? My sister's husband knows someone who just made $600,000 on one.



claudia
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 12 Oct 2010
Age: 44
Gender: Female
Posts: 336
Location: Rome Italy

31 Jan 2011, 4:14 am

Career can't be predicted. Change in technical professions are too fast to know what will happen in the next five years.
Many computer related professions can't be teached because there are no teachers able to do it. They are new and you only can teach yourself.
My job is related to computers but I graduated in accounting. I found out this interest whe I was 23. My parents thought I was a loser and still they think it, even if I earn twice as much an average italian. And there's no silicon valley here.
I need it to pay therapy for my son, but it's another story. At least, I'm still dignified.



pat2rome
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 29 Jun 2009
Age: 29
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,819
Location: Georgia

31 Jan 2011, 6:53 pm

He is in the right path, believe me. As slim as the chances of getting an animation job are, they are better than his chances of getting an engineering job if you tried to force him down that path.

I know it's kind of hard to see, as I'm sure you would be willing to suffer through a job you don't enjoy to better support your family. But your son is going to be more self-oriented (not calling him selfish or self-absorbed, it's just an effect of the empathy troubles autism brings), so he would be utterly miserable in that situation and chances are his grades would plummet to the level of his interest (very very low).

My freshman year of college, I thought I wanted to go the research route. I majored in biomedical engineering, and it was an absolute disaster. Not because I couldn't handle it, not at all. It was because I had zero motivation to do things even though I knew they were vital. I failed the one-hour intro course for my major simply because I had no interest in doing the menial assignments. I failed the lab portion of my chemistry class (got an A in the lecture portion, which the exact opposite of what usually happens) because I absolutely hated it and couldn't motivate myself to do over half of the lab reports.

Then, I switched to Management (which is being changed to Business Administration to better reflect the scope of the program) with a concentration in Information Systems. I have been so much happier and so much more successful since then. I have a 4.0 in my IT classes, and I am one semester away from repairing the damage I did to my GPA that first year.

Luckily, this is still a path with good job prospects. But if it wasn't, it would still be so much better than engineering for me. If I had been forced to stay with engineering, I would have failed out of college. I would have no degree in anything. The same would happen to your son, not because he couldn't handle the coursework, but because he would absolutely loathe it.


_________________
I'm never gonna dance again, Aspie feet have got no rhythm.