By Angela Korynoski, 2014 Graduate, Associate of Science, Graphic Design
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division
"The plan was written"
If you saw me walking down the hallway, you would have no idea of the journey I have taken to accomplish something many others have not been able to do.
You see my journey began in 11th grade. I begged my parents to travel 2 hours out of their way to visit an art school. After wearing out the words, “Please, please, please,” they gave in to my whining.
I convinced them that the ride wasn’t as long as it seemed, and we arrived at the building safely. With amazement, I walked the halls of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, smiling and gazing and touching all the wonderful artwork that I saw. I hung on every word of the tour guide. My stepdad laughed at my silly drooling face. But that was it! I was sold. The plan was written and The Art Institute was in my future.
"I always knew there was a creative side"
But the plan was cut very short. Because, at the start of my senior year—October 18, 1992 to be exact—my life was changed forever as I knew it. I was in a serious car accident. Many tell me that I had a guardian angel with me that night. You see, I broke my neck and my nose, dislocated my shoulder, cut up my face, got hypothermia from landing in the ice water, and temporarily lost the use of my upper body. Yep, that’s right…my hands were gone, and, with them, my dream of art school, or at least so I thought.
After a year of rehab, I was mostly back to normal, but I wasn’t able to venture away to school like I wanted, and I settled for a Personal Computer Specialist Degree from a local tech school. This was not a bad career choice, but I always knew there was a creative side that needed to surface in me. I felt stifled.
10 years, 3 children, and a divorce later, I thought to myself, “I really want to go to college.” I thought maybe I could just take a class or two so I could say that I attended The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. I made a phone call and to my surprise they said they had a Delayed Start Date listed for me. I was flabbergasted and knew I was meant to be there. I made arrangements for the kids to stay with their dad and my family during the week, and I would drive back and forth in between my classes and on weekends. But after a year of burning the candle at both ends with double classes, a part-time job, and mommy duty, I fell apart and gave up. I was internally destroyed and disappointed in myself.
"I am saying this to you with the largest smile on my face"
However, 2 years ago, I said to myself, “I MUST TRY AGAIN!” There was no way I would be able to attend the campus in my original program of Industrial Design but I figured I could adapt. The staff at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division was incredibly helpful with transferring my classes that pertained to a Graphics Design degree program so that I could finish my college dream online, in the comforts of my northern home beside my family.
Balancing schoolwork and life was no doubt an issue that I often struggled with and there were many moments in which I thought there was no way I could get through it. I had moments of exhaustion, tears, and plain old loss of focus, but the people at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division and my family were amazing in picking me up and putting me back on track.
So I am saying this to you with the largest smile on my face and a small tear in my eye, “I completed all of my courses for my Associate of Science Degree in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division as of October 25, 2014!”—21 years later, but nonetheless, I DID IT!
I end this story of my journey with a few words of advice: listen to your heart, go after your dreams. and have faith!