Tag Archives: New Student

Professor Beware

Having a good professor can make or break a class. There are certainly a range here at FIT, as anywhere else. I have found most of my professors as extremely helpful, knowledgeable, and interesting. I will admit to checking sites like ratemyprofessor.com as soon as teachers were announced, and I’m sure you will too.

However, you have to be careful with websites like this. First of all, ratings are not necessarily the best indicator of what a teacher will really be like. Many times people just use rating sites to complain when they did not get along with a professor, or feel like they were not being treated fairly whether it is true or not. Hopefully the teacher will have many reviews and you can judge for yourself if they seem reliable.

I think feedback for the professors and the school is a great tool if said feedback is honest and sincere, and I encourage students to rate their teachers (fairly, of course). I just went back and rated every teacher I had for my bachelors degree. That being said, these comments are not guarantees and I have often found my experience with a teacher to be completely opposite of what most people wrote, for better or worse.

Do you use ratemyprofessor.com or other sites like it? What experiences have you had with them?


Summer Intensives

Summer Intensive programs are classes that anyone can take during the months of June and July. They are ideal for people who want to dip their toes into a new topic of study, but cannot afford (for either monetary or time constraints) to enroll in a full or part-time certificate program. The courses range from 3 to 10 days and touch on a variety of topics we learn here at FIT.

To see what courses are being offered this summer, click here!

The Center for Continuing and Professional Studies offers Certificate and non-credit programs that give additional and more specific training to those already in the industry.


Discovering a Major: Packaging Design

by Claudia Arisso as told to Emily Bennett

Claudia Arisso

Claudia Arisso

I came to FIT really interested in Packaging Design! You do have to begin with the Communication Design AAS, so there were still two years for me to make a sound decision, apply, and get accepted into the BFA program. Communication Design prepared me for Packaging because the 4th semester is all about taking introductory courses to things like advertising, packaging, and exhibition design so that you have a better understanding of which BFA you’d like to continue into. For instance, Packaging is so different from the more commonly known Graphic Design major. Packaging deals extensively with crafting a brand from the ground up. You need to create a story and a reason for the consumers to fall in love with a product. Our classes revolve around brand strategy, creative briefs, and creating brand stories. (It’s all about depth!)

This is a work in progress of a flexible packaging project for an international food brand

This is a work in progress of a flexible packaging project for an international food brand

As specific as Packaging Design sounds, we come out with such a wide skill set because it requires you to wear many different hats, and grads can go into pretty diverse fields. For me, writing, research, and strategy are the aspects of Packaging that I want to take into my future career, whatever that may be.  So far I have done two internships. My first was working on page layouts, logos and identity for a design publication. This was strictly graphic design for print. My internship at the moment is for credit and is a required part of the Packaging Design curriculum. I work in a small packaging design studio that is more focused on brand strategy and how to get instant shelf impact. I have also picked up some freelance work along the way, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend piling that on while you’re still in school.

I had to show a portfolio to be accepted into both my AAS and BFA. To get into Packaging, I just had to show my best work from the AAS program in addition to my GPA.

This was made for the Packplay competition for the University of Quebec and Montreal. The competition is between from schools all over the world (we are the only ones from the US!)

This was made for the Packplay competition for the University of Quebec and Montreal. The competition is between schools from all over the world (we are the only one from the US!)

Last semester, I took a Sustainable Packaging class that taught us how to make sustainability part of our design process, which is so important to anyone involved with making anything in 2015. Outside of Packaging, I’ve taken everything from Crime Scene Chemistry to Bookbinding. Picking a major doesn’t mean you have to pigeonhole yourself! I’m in a pretty specific major, but I learned that you can make it work with whatever talents or interests you have. Your major shouldn’t restrict you – use the aspects you love about it to your advantage and play up your strengths. The different BFA programs are really just different means to an end.

To learn more about the Packaging Design major click here! And to learn about the Communications AAS program click here!


Love Your Library!

The FIT library is more than just a room with bookshelves; it has more resources than most students realize! Of course, the Gladys Marcus Library houses an impressive collection of print books pertaining to fashion, art, architecture, etc., but it also has books on every subject including history, psychology, and literature. There is also a whole section dedicated to DVDs of movies (classic as well as modern) and TV shows. In addition, if there is a book or journal that you cannot find in-house, FIT is part of the Interlibrary Loan system, so you can get anything you need! Before heading up there, here is some information about the various services offered:

See, we have stacks too!

See, we have stacks too!

Even a ton of books about economics

Even a ton of books about economics

Quiet Study Space

Quiet Study Space

Picture FilesPicture Files

The Picture Files are relatively new to the library. You can browse through the extensive collection freely and even check out up to 20 images at once! These can be extremely helpful for Illustration and Fine Arts students who need references. We also have access to the FitDigital Image Library, which is a digital collection of images from the Museum at FIT, the Special Collections, student and staff work, images used in Art History classes and the Designer Files collection.


Vogue spreads from the 2000s vs the 1930s

Vogue spreads from the 2000s vs the 1930s

Magazine Archive

The Gladys Marcus library subscribes and keeps an archive of numerous magazines, mainly focused on design. The periodicals can be checked out for two hours either for reading or doing research. FIT also has a backlog of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar dating back to the very first issues. These are collected in books chronologically and can be looked at in the library at your leisure. We also have access to the Vogue Archives online that can be extra useful when you search within the collection for specific words or phrases. Designer Files can also be checked out. These are tear sheet collections of centered on a specific designer.

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Art Reference Collection

The Art Reference collection has the most inspiring books in the library. It is pretty much all of those beautiful coffee table books that are too expensive to buy yourself. The subjects range into all types of design, not just fashion. These books cannot be taken out of the library, but thanks to the scanners and copiers you can bring the images home.

Special Collections

The Special Collections houses over 500,000 books, periodicals, illustrations and designer scrapbooks. Any student or outside researcher can make an appointment, but you have to request a subject or time period you want to look at, you cannot just browse like in the Art Reference Collection or Picture Files.


In addition to print collections, the library subscribes to online databases that are incredibly helpful for research papers. The databases range across all types of topics from fashion history and forecasting to psychology and international trade. The FIT library’s website collects all of the databases in one place so they are easy to find and use. These databases are trustworthy sources for information and can be accessed at any time through the library website.


StyleCat is the main search engine used in the Gladys Marcus library. It can be accessed anywhere via the library website, but there are also computers stationed around the library with it open. It’s pretty basic: you search one or more terms and a list of all the books in the collection that relate pop-up with the call number and how many copies there are and which are checked out.

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FIT also uses the stairwells of the library as a gallery showcasing student and faculty work

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A main work area in the library

A friendly student librarian

A friendly student librarian

If you have more questions about these services, a librarian is always available to help at the desk or you can call 212-217-4400. If you have a question when the library is closed we have this handy feature called Ask a Librarian where you can call/text/send a message.


You’re Here, Now What?

You’ve made it to New York!! Tall buildings, bright lights, how exciting! …Now what? All your friends and family are back home. Your roommate is kinda cool, but you two don’t exactly “click”. Despite New York’s reputation as one of the loneliest cities there are many ways to meet cool people!

If you are missing being an athlete and bonding with a team, you can look for inter-city sports teams. If venturing off-campus is a little too daunting for you, FIT also has classes anyone can attend including yoga, spin, kickboxing and open gyms for basketball.

A fantastic way to meet people and give back to your new home is by volunteering. Believe it or not, this megalithic city doesn’t just run itself. The City has a program set up to match volunteers with types of organizations they are interested in working with, like the environment, community/neighborhoods, health, education, etc. Volunteer Match is another organization that finds opportunities close to you (but you can also sort based on your interests).

New York is a city full of artists. If you want to expand your creativity or be inspired by others there are ample opportunities to see artists at work. A fun and safe environment to overcome stage fright is The Open Mic Downstairs – a great place to meet other actors, comedians, singers, etc. It is also only $3 if you want to just see talented people letting themselves go. If spoken word (with some comedy) is more your style “Bareburger Unplugged” is a place also meant to be a safe environment for artists to experiment, and they have some of the best organic burgers on the island. Another fun way to meet people is to go to a paint night.  Located all over the city, and almost every day, this is no pressure studio time (the paintings they give as the sample are more like guidelines I say).

It can be kind of awkward to start a conversation with a random person out of the blue, so the easiest way to do it is to have something to talk about right away, like something you have in common. The best way to have this is to attend events that are centered around shared interests. New York Comic Con is one of the biggest and most famous example, although tickets can cost hundreds of dollars and sell out within minutes. Meetup facilitates meetings of people with similar interests, and extend all through New York City, not just Manhattan. These groups are incredibly diverse with runners, a Capella singers, “foodie couples”, and Jewish parents of Astoria (I don’t know if that last one would apply to anyone reading this, but hey, FIT has an incredibly diverse student body!). The coolest “meetup” idea I’ve seen, which I totally want to try ASAP, is meal sharing. Eat With puts up times that chefs in your area are hosting dinner parties or cooking classes. Not only is it a great way to have a fantastic, authentic  meal, but it is an awesome resource for students who cannot get home for the holidays, but still want to have a group meal.

For even more ideas try Time Out NY. Do any of you have suggestions?