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When A Creative Path Is Your Thing

by Tyler Drake | March 25, 2022

Florida-based Paolo Fulgenzi is a multi-faceted creative on the brink of completing his third degree level program at Sessions College. Like many students, he pursued many education options before he found Sessions College, where the combination of flexibility and a creative, skills-based education has enabled him to thrive and develop areas of strength in design, illustration, and digital media. Our Senior Director of Student Services Tyler Drake recently interviewed Paolo about his Sessions experience.

What brought you to Sessions to study design?

I’ve been no stranger to instability and adversity. When it came to schooling, throughout my teens, as well as the beginning and middle of my 20s, I’ve attended around 25 different schools from different cities and states. A passing in late 2015 lead me to Florida where I began to consider schooling almost 2 years later.

There weren’t a lot of options and I didn’t have a car to get me to the few schools available which were a distance away. I began considering online college. I was looking for a college that was more lenient with math prerequisites which brought me to Sessions College for Professional Design.

Lenient with math, huh? 🙂 How did enrolling in the program enhance your experience and marketability?

Before attending Sessions, I really didn’t have much of a resume when it came to marketable skills. It’s sincerely been a tough road trying to gain skills and a solid idea of what I wanted to do career-wise due to my GAD, Non-Verbal Communication/Learning Disorder, and Aboulomania. I’ve taken a number of classes and prereqs, while changing my major a number of times. I hadn’t attained a degree, other than a bar-tending certificate, until I came to Sessions.

In mid 2017, I began my first undergraduate degree, and by mid 2022 I will have successfully earned three degrees in total. These degrees now provide the scholastic documentation necessary to be presented for potential employment opportunities. I have gained a great number concepts that are now able to be listed as marketable skills on a resume.

Which course(s) have been most challenging, fun, or rewarding, and why?

It’s been a little over 4 years at Sessions, and I’ve completed an Undergraduate Certificate in Web Design, an Associate of Occupational Studies in Illustration, and an Undergraduate Certificate in Digital Media.

There have been some fun and rewarding courses such as HTML/CSS, Illustrator 1 and 2, Watercolor, Color Theory, Technical Illustration and Infographics, Design and Composition, and Web Design I. These, and I’m sure a few others not listed, allowed me to really enjoy the creative process while enjoying the lessons on top of it. I created many different projects that when finished, I frequently went back to look at and I felt proud. They were something that I accomplished with my own two hands.

There were also courses that certainly tested my time, patience, and endurance. A good majority of these courses were ones where I relied on freehand drawing. These courses, however, brought out the potential I never knew I had, and I was delighted about this.

Drawing is still rather difficult for me but the skills garnered from the digital courses have been a great asset that helps me with illustration. Some of the more technical courses such as JavaScript, Bootstrap/Dreamweaver I, and even Photography and Digital Video Production were rather difficult as well. I’m still hoping that these will become better familiar as time goes on.

How has the flexibility of online study helped you pursue your education and fit into your life?

It may be easy to imagine how the flexibility of an online study could be a great advantage to someone like myself. The convenience of time saved from getting ready and traveling to a physical school, utilizing that time saved from towards my time schedule and working at my individualized pace, and most of all… a lower stress environment.

Each of the programs I have taken have provided an array of skills that have enabled a different level of versatility that is harder to gain with just one degree.

How have all the skillsets you’ve acquired overlapped in your personal creative practice?

Before I began the Undergraduate Certificate in Digital Media, I had created a play-website for my sis that centered around one of the households rabbits. He was the proprietor of this “restaurant” and the website displayed Welcome, About, Menu, Gallery, and Contact pages that were accessible through the NavBar. This project allowed me to use my skills in image manipulation, creative writing, design and composition, and more while adding them with my skills in web design.

Granting that I’ve never been an avidly social kind of guy, I was also intrigued about the possibility of creating video on platforms like YouTube. (Until recently, I didn’t have any idea of how to edit and work with video.)

After completing my Undergraduate Certificate in Web Design and my Associate Degree in Illustration, I looked into enrolling in the Undergraduate Certificate in Digital Media. This degree now adds to my skill set the abilities to animate cartoons, adverts, and more, while editing video and audio, and procuring my own audio and video. This new skill set may very well be what I focus on next after graduation.

What advice would you give to future students thinking about enrolling in a creative program?

In this ever-shifting world, what once was may not always be. The same is especially observed in the world of professional vocations. In the past, a college degree was worth a lot and was what was required to gain satisfactory employment, but contemporary professions now expects around 1-2 years minimum experience on top of it. So with that in mind, find ways within your time to gain some experience to add to your degree. Make fun projects on the side that represent your strong work skills. Seek out companies that you know that you would want to work for and create solid portfolios of posters, advertisements, and other designs that you could present to them.

Also, the platitude, “Everyone’s journey is different” stands particularly true when it comes to these types of things. Not everyone wakes up one day knowing full well what they want to do. It’s about winging it as you go. You make the best with what you’ve got in the moments you have. Society places stringent and overly self-sacrificing expectations on each other far too often. This is your thing.

Visit Sessions.edu for more information on design, illustration, and digital media majors at Sessions College including our Associate Degree in Illustration and Undergraduate Certificate in Digital Media programs.

Tyler Drake is the Senior Director of Student Services at Sessions College. Tyler earned a Masters Degree in Sports Leadership at Concordia University Chicago. He is passionate about sports, movies, music, family, and the benefits of a quality education.