Why I chose Greenville College
I played in a band all through high school and had lofty dreams of "rock stardom" as I began looking towards choosing a college. Among the prospective schools, Greenville College boasted a CCM major, digital media and studio recording classes, its own "Blackroom Records" label, AgapeFest, and even lab band courses in which students had the opportunity to earn school credit for playing in a band. If I was serious about giving this band thing a shot I needed to meet the right guys to play music with and Greenville sure looked like a great place to do that.
How I chose to major in Digital Media
Playing guitar on Scott field (like all over-eager freshmen do), enrolling in music theory classes, and meeting other musicians on campus opened the doors to some great little start-up bands and collaborative projects. Of course, with each new venture I dove into promoting our little shindig with a new website. I enjoyed designing websites and even started building them for the other music groups on campus. After playing in multiple bands and getting to know a majority of the musicians around, I became the go-to-guy for band websites, charging a few hundred dollars a pop. Seeing as the music theory and piano classes didn't seem to make me any money I naturally saw the opportunity to study a vocation that promised to teach me a more financially viable trade. I caught the Digital Media bug and completely switched majors.
My favorite part of DM
Digital Media was (and is) exploding! It seemed like the speed at which new and exciting trends arose onto the scene kept the ever changing landscape of social media and web development in an absolutely intoxicating state! At the time, I was hooked on Flash Animation and its programming language called ActionScript. I was the kid who pestered the IT department to update the computer labs to the latest version of the Flash plugin so that my cool new projects would work right on public, school computers. Flash was becoming especially popular for bands so the demand for flash websites, ecard promos, banner ads, and slick album release intros was overwhelming. As a budding digital media geek I was learning more about ActionScript coding at four in the morning than I was any other scholastic subject. My favorite part of the DM major? The wee hours of the morning between 2:00am and the moment of realization that I needed to stop working and head out the door to make it to the following morning's class that was starting in eight minutes.
The most valuable thing about being a DM major at GC
Greenville College cultivates musicians, artists, photographers, web developers, studio engineers, and music business majors in a way that encourages collaboration in a fantastically balanced little greenhouse. Promo pictures from budding photographers are taken of a band and are then used by the web developer for the new website. An album art concept is dreamed up by an art history major as the music marketing promoter plans the band's release date. The video guys are proposing elaborate music video concepts while the studio engineer is looking for another guinea pig to record now that he has done an album for the lab band. Meanwhile, he tries his hand at running live sound and lights at the event as the rest of the music majors attain concert credit for attending a lab band's performance. I loved playing my part as a web developer, graphic designer, and musician within the musically charged community at GC.
Unique opportunities at GC
Greenville is a small enough school that developing a genuine friendship with a favorite professor is not uncommon. The "big fish in a small pond" principle applies to the point where greater opportunity is not out of the realm of possibility simply because of the competition. This smaller school gave me access, an individual platform, and unique opportunities that I am incredibly grateful for to this day. As an eager Flash developer I was asked to teach a portion of the Advanced Digital Media class during the fall semester of my junior year for internship credit. As a musician my band climbed its way through the "battle of the bands" competition to main stage at Agape Festival. As a senior, only three credits short of a required physics class to graduate, I was able to wave my little red flag hard enough to find two other students in need of the same class and a professor willing to teach it so that I could walk on graduation day. It was those little opportunities that shaped my college career and still make me smile on my days at Greenville College.
What I do now
Since graduating from Greenville College in 2007, I've continued to develop my freelance web design business into a small creative media company called Collective Front. Working from home allows me the flexibility to travel and play music with Photoside Cafe; the group of guys I have played with since our lab band days at GC. I live in Chicago now with my beautiful wife and Greenville College sweetheart, Hadessa.
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What you should know about Digital Media and Greenville College
With the ever flattening world due to technology it's the right brained creative minds that will shape our future. In my experience, college is no longer about correct answers, grades, or the path to a safe and secure job but rather a four year cultivation period in which responsibility is minimal, time and freedom are excessive, and the opportunity to creatively flourish is optimal. The four years of college and the path that it starts you on is a roller coaster of discovery in which Greenville College and the Digital Media major is a fantastic launching pad.