Well, here we are, already approaching mid-December. I remember in elementary school complaining about how summer vacation went too fast, and my mom saying to me, “Just wait. The older you get, the faster time will seem to go by.” Of course, I rolled my eyes.
But now, finishing my first semester in college, I understand. The past four months at CBU have been wonderful, introducing me to opportunities I’d never considered, people that have impacted my life and influenced my personal convictions, and talents that I’d never appreciated before coming here.
One of the moments that impacted me most this semester was one shared with my design class recently, and I just have to share it with you all!
Throughout the course of the design and digital media major here at CBU, students will learn a great deal about photography and Photoshop, and how to design convincing advertisements. While today’s media is becoming a considerably controversial topic, students learning to be the media are often not exposed to the reality of it. Often, students at any school studying any subject will be given knowledge primarily about the positives of their chosen field. After all, human beings are naturally inclined to add a little sugar in promoting what they love.
But last week, one of my design professors took a good chunk of our class time to discuss with us how, in some unfortunate cases, design is being used to further the degradation and objectification of women. Instead of choosing to keep us in a private school bubble, he openly shared his opinion, invited us to discuss this issue with him, and even showed us some of the unbelievable advertisements that have been made, using women as sexual objects to promote completely unrelated products.
After allowing us time to absorb the shock of what we had seen, he then went on to discuss with us how we should respond to this crisis, as designers, and how we can look to the Bible for reference when making job decisions based on our personal convictions. He emphasized that we are not gifted with the ability to design solely for the purpose of selling something to society, no matter the cost.
One of his main points in this was not to scare us out of the job, but definitely to be sure we understand what the media now expects from its producers. And in knowing this, he wanted to be clear that, as designers, we are more than that… and that we need to be strong in our convictions.
An essay I am writing for another class of mine proposes the discussion of this topic – that we designers have been gifted with the unique ability to dully, very dully, reflect God’s passion for creating. Design is not simply the talent of selling something to society. It’s so much more than that!
This week, I couldn’t wait to share this discussion with you. I just love that I am learning in a place where my professors are willing and able to expose us to and mentor us on these real life issues, instead of shielding us and only ever showing us the positive side of this field. And then that they can take it even farther by sharing their faith-based convictions, even in the classroom setting, teaching us to be strong under today’s pressures.
With one semester down and seven to go, I have no doubt that after leaving here I’ll feel very well prepared.
A very merry Christmas to you and yours this holiday season!