Whoopi Goldberg called the Savannah College of Art and Design ‘the place she dreamed of as a kid.’

Me? I did all the traditional stuff: sports, service, student government.

At home, with a coach for a father, weekends were spent at football games or watching them. By age 16, I could name more thousand-yard rushers than I could contemporary American artists.

I’m not saying that art and sport are mutually exclusive. But I am a little obsessed by this question of what I could have made had I known about a place like this. So I’m going ‘back to school’ to see what these future artists and designers are up to.

See, I was socialized to believe that being successful meant becoming a doctor, lawyer or diplomat. So I earned a degree in political science. Not until I landed in the edit room at ABC News did I discover that I am a visual person and, eventually, that I’m a ‘creative type.’

Relieved that I had stumbled upon a career where creativity should blossom and craft is currency, I still wondered, “What could have happened had I been in touch with my creative abilities early on?”

Observing my 15-year-old sister’s passion for theater convinced me that young people with specialized or “niche” interests often have more focus, more fire for what they’re doing. This can propel them to higher levels of performance sooner.

Then I came to SCAD, where this accelerated path of discovery and delivery is the prevailing ethos.

It took me eight years to build a decent portfolio of TV work. These students do it every quarter. Walking into interviews with work samples that rival those of the professionals who hire them, they benchmark themselves against the experts who teach and mentor them.

That kid who spent more time drawing than rounding the bases? Out of college he’s poised to make up to $80k as a junior game developer. That girl who wouldn’t leave her sewing machine? The Limited is now producing her designs. For every one of these examples there are ten more.

I’ll write about them in this blog. Then I’ll tell my daughter and maybe she’ll ask herself the questions that I didn’t know to explore.

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