This week, Precollege Programs had the opportunity to speak with FIT undergraduate student and Precollege alum, Stephen Weisbrot. Stephen, who hails from Huntington NY, completed his AAS in Communication Design at FIT and is expected to graduate in May 2013 with his BS in Advertising Design.
Stephen is the President-elect for the 2012-2013 year in the Art & Copy Club. Other noted experiences and exhibits include:
- Created a 1.5 minute motion graphic on how social media affects advertising for the exhibit for D2PC (Death to Pie Charts) group exhibit in the Museum at FIT put on by the Media Club at FIT, February 2012
- Freelance Art Direction for Street Attack (Innovative Marketing Agency, NY, NY), Fall 2011 – Present
- Master Tutor, FIT Academic Skills Tutoring Center – Facilitated professors in classroom demonstrations in courses taught in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign, Sep 2010-Dec 2011
- Graphic Design Intern February to April 2011 – promoted to Junior Art Director from April – August 2011 Mysuites New York (Boutique Suites in the West Village & Chelsea)
- Graphic Design Intern from August – December 2010, Versace Corporate Headquarters NY, NY
- Graphic Design Intern from May – Aug 2010, White Box Art Gallery, SoHo, NY
- Gallery Manager from May 2008 – July 2009, Ripe Art Gallery, Greenlawn, NY
Stephen’s Website: http://www.stephenweisbrot.com
Precollege Programs: What is your fondest memory of Precollege Programs?
Stephen: There really are so many fond memories from my Precollege days. Immediately, I recall popping out of bed in my quiet suburb on Long Island whilst it was still dark outside and just feeling so alive and excited for the day to come. I vividly remember my Saturday morning routines. I’d forgo going out on a Friday night so that I could wake up at 6:15 the next morning to catch the 7:03 train to Penn Station. I’d be more awake than you’d expect as I was running on endorphins from the pending day’s excitement. I’d look over all of my sketches and homework on the train ride in making sure that everything was up to my standard. I’d get into Penn around 8:15 and make my way down 7th Avenue where I’d stop at Bagel Maven (yummmmmm!) for a bacon, egg, and cheese. It just became like a ritual. I’d meet my friends from class there and we’d catch up on each others’ weeks. It made me feel a lot cooler walking into class with friends and not alone (I know I know).
Ultimately though, the friends I made in those classes were probably what I’d say was the fondest part. Many of them I still am in touch with today over Facebook and I even run into some on campus for those who decided to attend FIT for their undergrad. It was nice to see other kids my age who were passionate about something. Regular high school classes weren’t cutting it for them either and they shared similar interests with me. Being in that setting gave me a fresh start to be who I wanted to be. After classes, we would often go out for lunch or take the train down to Battery Park to just be those “cool” kids hanging out in the city.
Precollege Programs: At what moment did you decide FIT was your college of choice?
Stephen: I’ll probably regret saying this, but I recall coming into the city in January of 2008, a few weeks before my first Spring Precollege course was to begin. I came to get my official college ID. This was my first time ever at FIT, or a college campus for that matter. The campus was pretty deserted as it was still Winterim, but I just recall this euphoric feeling walking down 27th street and up to the security office to get my ID. I don’t think that the chain with my ID left my neck for the rest of that day. It’s hard to describe, but it was just one of those moments where you feel as if everything fits into place perfectly. I knew that I had to work even harder now that I had a clear vision of what I wanted, as I would settle for nothing less.
Precollege Programs: What advantages did you gain from Precollege courses?
Stephen: I became familiar with the campus, first of all! All the local restaurants (very important for me), respectful attitudes with professors, and familiarity with class structure and course load; with a Precollege Program class all of these things become familiar!
I was able to get first hand pointers from professors about what to expect and how to prepare for the portfolio review for my major. Anyone who’s tried to contact FIT knows that it is not the easiest task in the world. Any week I could have all of my questions answered and all of my concerns addressed. My professor even looked at my portfolio book and gave me a dedicated critique.
You can either go into this in the dark and present a portfolio that you think is good or you can get first hand answers from the people who are going to be reviewing it. The answer seemed pretty simple to me.
Precollege Programs: Are there any specific learned traits from your days as a Precollege student that really hit home with you?
Stephen: This was shortly after my Precollege classes ended, but I had a professor who truly coached me on my portfolio and how to present myself. She was an integral part of my application process to FIT. I wrote her an e-mail thanking her for all of her advice as soon as I got my acceptance letter into the Communication Design Department back in February 2009 and she replied praising me for the work that I had done and reassuring me that she had the utmost confidence in my design abilities as I were to grow and learn at FIT.
She unfortunately passed away in the fall of my freshman year and that correspondence was the last time we had any interaction. Her words still remind me why I work so hard and give up having any form of a social, relaxed life. I have her e-mail printed out posted on my wall as a constant reminder and to help me get through times when the going is tough (especially during finals).
Precollege Programs: How is college different than you previously imagined back when you were in high school?
Stephen: In high school, college seemed like this unachievable thing. It seemed like this place where the work was so hard that I didn’t think that I’d be able to handle it. I thought that it was a place where professors didn’t care or try and learn students’ names. I thought it was just a cold place.
I was wrong. So wrong.
College allowed me to be an individual. On the other side, I realized that I was on my own driving force. No one was going to push me. That was a harsh reality to own up to, but an important one.
FIT is not a cold place though. It’s an incredibly friendly place with some of the most talented people that I’ve ever met. My professors have always learned my name and given me the personalized attention that was necessary to become a better designer.
Precollege Programs: What advice do you have for Precollege students?
Stephen: Take as many classes as you can! You meet amazing people. You’re taught by amazing professors. You get to hang out in New York City. What’s bad about that? Also, take these classes seriously. The biggest change from high school is that your professors don’t always care if you do your work or not. It’s up to you. Professors respect students who stay on top of their work and are passionate about what they do.
FIT is a place for people who are 110% entrenched in their work and their studies. Precollege classes give you a taste of that reality. Take AS MANY classes as you can.