I think something I've seen myself and a lot of other post-SCAD grads struggle with is the lull that comes after the high of finishing their senior thesis and graduation. There is this elation of finishing, and with that the hopes of a job, security, and the excitement around the idea of being paid to do what you love. It's an exciting time. But it is one that fades quickly. Suddenly there is the actual process of applying to jobs, seeing the harsh reality that there are a great deal fewer entry-level jobs than one might have presupposed, or dared to hope for, there are loans to be paid, rent owed, and a slew of other obligations that come with adulthood. And suddenly, reality comes down with a thunderous crash, and the idealistic views of post-grad life and the "perfect job" quickly fade. For some, weeks pass, then months, perhaps even longer, and the dream of the amazing creative career you sacrificed so much in preparation for is nowhere to be found. Things are more complicated than expected, and the excitement and high expectations begin to feel like a memory somewhere in the distant past. The reality is not easy - far from it. It is frustrating. It is disheartening. It is one of uncertainty and disillusion. And for many, that reality can dwindle previous confidence in one's art into a shaky, volatile, and fragile shell.
The way SCAD's quarter system is structured, set's up a very intense work pace that is meant to help prepare students for rigorous and competitive industries. Which is great... in theory. It does help equip students for tight deadlines, hard work, long hours, and pushing the limits so that they might creatively stand out. However, I feel that the quarter system in itself is quite flawed. It is a system comprised of ten weeks; ten short weeks that set a framework for a frenetic work pace (one that only intensifies as the years pass), and then a substantial lull/lapse of completely unstructured time in-between before the chaos of the next quarter resumes.
In the long run, this sets students up for an almost manic-depressive work cycle that is not a realistic representation of the real world's work pace. Being an artist or designer is choosing to be in one of the most competitive industries in the world. I suppose, one could compare it to the equivalent of trying to become a famous actor, or a sports star in terms of the competitive nature of the field and overall chances for any notable success. It is a world based mainly in subjectivity. One has to fight to stand out; and there are few objective measures to gauge talent. Unlike a traditional profession, such as that of a doctor or a lawyer where there are set standards of how things should be done to gauge a professional's skills, there is no standard to define creative talent. One person may love your work, while another may think it is complete garbage.
I have found myself, along with other recent graduates struggling to find work due to the lack of entry-level jobs; and this is a cross-disciplinary issue across the board. The lack of jobs for recent post-grad creative's is significantly large, with reputable entry-level job openings being few and far between. Countless job boards tend to only show bigger companies, however, regardless of company size, there is a huge gap in types of jobs for hire. There are either senior level positions that usually require somewhere between a 5-10 year minimum industry experience, unpaid internships, and little else.
I have found myself personally extremely frustrated with the sizable lack of entry-level job opportunities, and I know I'm not alone. I have found myself and other SCAD grads still struggling to find career jobs months post graduation. As a result, many become disheartened, dispirited, and disillusioned during the post-graduation/pre-career period. Because of SCAD's quarter system mentality, I believe many find themselves stuck in a rut - with lack of structure, concrete direction, and forward momentum.
I can personally say that I thrive with structure, and having an almost frenetic/constant work pace. As the old adage goes I suppose, "Idle hands are the devil's playground." Though cliché, the saying does seem to hold some truth - at least that is something I have found to be true for myself. Without structure and consistent work demands, I think many creative's feel adrift - stuck - unable to attain a job that would allow them to do what they love - not quite sure what the next move should be. Personally, it feels like I'm on some never-ending break; like the winter holiday that I once had off between school quarters. Except this time there isn't a rigorous work load/college to come back to. This time I feel like I am in some bad episode of The Twilight Zone, waiting for a job with no indication as to when that will materialize - stuck in some horrendous interim.
So to me, this then begs the question of, "So what now?" How does one fill the time between graduation and finding a career job that is both productive yet fulfilling? I have yet to find an adequate answer myself...