This week, Precollege Programs had the opportunity to speak with FIT undergraduate student and Precollege alum, Margaret Sullivan! Margaret appeared on the cover of one of our Precollege summer postcards. She was born in Rockland County, NY and grew up in Yorktown Heights in Westchester County since she was a year old. Margaret is currently studying Jewelry Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology and will be receiving her Associates Degree this coming May. She is planning on obtaining a Bachelors Degree in Accessories Design.
From Middle School and High School I received many honors for my hard work and dedication to school as well as for volunteer work and from my art club in high school.
As for experience, I have gotten a lot from FIT. Last year, my very first semester, I entered a competition with Carolee Jewelers. We had four winners: three of which would receive internships for winning the specific categories they had set, and one winner was a people’s choice. This was where the chosen finalists would go on Facebook and it allowed all of their friends to vote for them. Each of the four winners would then have their pieces made and sold through Carolee and also get a set to keep for themselves! It was an amazing experience to work with a real jewelry design company and be interviewed. The feedback was also a tremendous help, and the team at Carolee was so kind. I feel I learned a lot from them.
Course taken in Precollege Programs:Margaret: My fondest memory of the Precollege program was learning new techniques. I have taken jewelry classes before through my high school. I have also done a lot of beadwork and an “introduction”, you could say, in metal work: making small bangle bracelets and simple rings. However, when I went to FIT for the Precollege program, I got a whole new experience on metal work and types of metal, their thickness, proper heating temps, how to solder, etc. It was like a whole new world! I ended up leaving the program excited, full of knowledge and with a new understanding of jewelry designing/making. After my first class at FIT, a friend of mine, my high school jewelry teacher and I started a jewelry club where we could teach other students about jewelry and how to create it.
Precollege Programs: Any other memories about you Precollege program experience that you’d like to share?
Margaret: I left that program with many new friends; some in fact are in the college program with me now. It was nice to know that I had already known some of the people in my classes. Going from Precollege into the college courses, I found myself more comfortable than just going into it blind because I got a taste of what it would be like and what we would be doing.
Precollege Programs: At what moment did you decide that FIT was your college of choice (if you attend/have attended FIT for college)?
Margaret: After my first Precollege course ended, I knew FIT was the perfect school for me. I had learned so much and it felt so natural being there that I knew there was no turning back. FIT was where I belonged.
Precollege Programs: What advantages did you gain from Precollege courses?
Margaret: From the Precollege course, I gained a new knowledge of what jewelry was all about. I learned the terminology and materials used as well as how to use them. I walked in on my first day of college classes and had already known some of the steps the professors were teaching us. I felt ease already knowing I had learned something and now could only continue to improve from what I had already learned. Nothing was a major surprise. I felt in control.
Precollege Programs: How is college different than you previously imagined back when you were in high school?
Margaret: They tell you in high school that college is not going to be any easier. That is very true. I cannot say I learned this the easy way. Coming to FIT, the shock of reality sank in quickly. We were no longer kids in high school. We are now adults and will be treated as such. I also imagined a lot of work when I came here. But nothing truly prepares you. FIT is not easy. It’s rough, but in a good way. You may have an all nighter or two, but in the end, it’s for doing something that you love. FIT is teaching me more about the real world than I could have dreamed. This school teaches you what the industry is all about, and I thank FIT for it because now I know I can make it when I graduate.
Precollege Programs: Are there any specific learned traits from your days as a Precollege student that really “hit home” with you? For example, was something said by an instructor that remains with you today?
Margaret: Every professor I have had tells us “This is the Industry”. This has stuck with me every day since my first day here because sometimes, when I feel I am tired, or stressed I just think to myself: This is what I am here for. To learn the industry and become a part of it.
Precollege Programs: What advice do you have for Precollege students?
Margaret: Do what you love and don’t let anyone hold you back! Some of you may be like me, someone who loves to make jewelry but was scared to make a career out if it because I was not sure if I could do it or not. Once I went into the Precollege programs and learned more about jewelry and designing, I knew this was the job for me. Also, take as many classes as you can. Use the Precollege programs as a tool for learning. If you know you want a career in art but not sure what field, take a few different classes. See what you like what you don’t like. You can even see that sometimes these classes can be a great stress reliever!
Precollege Programs: Do you have any work from Precollege?
Margaret: Yes! I have everything I have ever made from my Precollege classes. They are reminders to me of how I was before I came to FIT, how I have improved since then and all I have learned since.
Precollege Programs: Do you have any current work that you’d like to share with us?
Margaret: Absolutely, I love to share my work and see people’s reactions! It’s the reason I wanted to come into this business in the first place: to make others smile with my art.