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What's It Like to Study in Benilde - School of Design and Arts.

Angelo is a Multimedia Arts graduate of De La Salle-College of St. Benilde - School of Design and Arts, member of batch 114.

From May 2014 up to March 2019, I went to study at De La Salle-College of St. Benilde to take up Multimedia Arts. My campus is known as the School of Design and Arts (SDA) building. And yes, it is the uniquely-shaped school in Manila.

Yes, it is an Art School. Probably the most famous Art School in the country, as well for me.

Now we start:

When I first entered the campus as a student, I thought it was like any other college, with bookworms, nerds, varsity people, and typical students hanging around.

But no, this is different. It feels like a different world when you’re inside.

There are nerds, dancers, musicians, artists, Instagrammers, cosplayers, theatre people, and “weirdos” around the school. It’s not what you see everyday, but here it is normal.

SDA's walls are painted white (Photo by the author)

SDA's walls are painted white (Photo by the author)

Almost every part of the building is painted white and is filled with glass panels as windows and partitions, even the classrooms and offices.


Every part of the building can be used for exhibits, like in this case which is a fashion design exhibit. (Photo by the author)

Every part of the building can be used for exhibits, like in this case which is a fashion design exhibit. (Photo by the author)

Almost every corner, every hallway, literally every part of the building, can be used for exhibits and performances. How cool is that?

Not only that, the ceilings seemed like higher than that of floors from other buildings. It makes the rooms and hallways look much bigger and spacious.

Students can hang out at the corridors, walls, by the glass windows, stairs, literally everywhere, while still waiting for their classes to start.

The white walls and glass windows overlooking the cityscape looked so boring to many, but to us these help with our creativity and strengthen our imagination.

This really helps when we are doing “plates” and art projects especially in our laboratory classes, foundation subjects, and major subjects.

A “Plate” is what you call to your project that is required by the professor/instructor to make sure you have learned something from his/her lecture and that you applied these learnings to your outputs. These projects include sculptures, drawings, paintings, illustrations, graphic design projects, photographs, 3-dimensional models, and so on.


So basically a “plate” is an art project but it is necessary.


Now on with my personal experience.

Upon entering the campus as an official college student, I was overwhelmed by how diverse the culture in college is. It seemed like a jungle at first because I didn’t know how to make friends with anyone as it seemed like an entire new world for me.

But eventually, I got used to it and started to make friends that may or may not be with me along the way.

During my first year AKA my Freshman year of college, we have more focus on General Education subjects it which could hone us or help us along our journey.

We also have Foundation Studies which were crucial to our understanding what our degree program was all about.

Foundation Studies subjects include basic drawing, sculpture, figure drawing, painting, art history, and art theories. These are what I’ve taken, but there are more on other degree programs.

Yes, we used actual materials to make our plates in most our Foundation Studies, like wood blocks, metal wires, Plaster of Paris, different types of paper to draw and paint on, different types of paint, metal plates, and old newspapers.

Tables used for for some of the laboratory classes like Drawing, Painting, Sculpting (Photo by the author)

Tables used for for some of the laboratory classes like Drawing, Painting, Sculpting (Photo by the author)

At first, I didn’t think it was necessary to learn freehand drawing and sculpting with different materials whether it was clay, wood, or mixed media known as installation art. But later on, I realized that these were important to our growth as artists and creatives, and these could help us in our skills in our major subjects later in our journey.

Then came our majors, little by little and starting from the second semester, they started to introduce us to what our course is all about.

Since our course is Multimedia Arts, we had a diverse set of subjects especially in our majors, which is very confusing and complicated as well.

Our major subjects include Photography, Video and Audio Editing, Graphic Design, Web Development, Game Development, Marketing, 2D and 3D Animation, Project Management, and others related to multimedia.

Can you guys imagine how confusing and stressful these were?

These actually were, since we’re mostly digital. Meaning we’re working in front of computers for most of our majors and laboratory classes. We also use different software, mainly Adobe software.

Benilde follows a Trimester system, meaning it has three academic terms in one academic year. One Trimester lasts 13 weeks, with the 7th week as the Midterm Week. So Yes, time flies so quickly, so it is really difficult to keep up with the lessons especially in our course.

In our majors and laboratory subjects, our professors are hands-on whether we have concerns regarding how to do it, or the procedure of how to make stuff work and presentable to our clients.

Despite this, our professors and instructors only teach a handful of terms and the procedure of the lectures on our plates, as they leave the creativity to us if we want to up the plates and make them more impressive.

In addition to this, they also require us to self-study for the lessons either through books or the internet. Which I never did, and I deeply regret it. Or I did self-study? I can’t recall.

Students in action while drawing in class. (Photo credit: Abe Orobia / Artelier)

Students in action while drawing in class. (Photo credit: Abe Orobia / Artelier)

A class in majors, laboratory subjects and Foundation subjects lasts 3 hours with approximately the first hour or the first hour and a half reserved for lectures, and the rest of the period is reserved for finishing our plates, and free time as well.

During this time of the period, we can eat, drink, buy food, go to the toilet, and even play music, while working on our plates. We can even ask our professors some questions on how to do our plates.

We can also participate in a bunch of extracurricular activities especially those art-related such as theatre, and the resident multimedia arts organization known as “Media Max”.


Overall Student Life

Outside our classrooms, we can still complete our plates if we have the software installed in our laptops, merely all students have them. If not, we can go to a vacant classroom with no class scheduled at the hour, and use the computers to finish the plates there.

At vacant spaces such as hallways, tables, and stairs, literally everywhere outside the classrooms and offices, students can be found practicing their drawing and painting skills. Yes, they're everywhere inside the campus.

Freshman Art Students after a painting session outside the SDA building. (Photo credit: Marley Alconera)

Freshman Art Students after a painting session outside the SDA building. (Photo credit: Marley Alconera)

During our free times, which depends on the student whether he/she has no scheduled class at the moment, can practice our skills in photography and filming which is done on the hallways and several areas which are not places for classes such as stairways.

Almost every hallway can be used for photoshoots, either with a model or just to capture the beauty and atmosphere of the place. I did that many times, as I wanted to have the different places as the feature in my photos.

The glass panels serve as windows to the cityscape (Photo by the author)

The glass panels serve as windows to the cityscape (Photo by the author)

While relaxing, we can stare at the glass panels which serve as windows to the cityscape, and admire the views of the urban culture. It is much like we can see the entire city from where we’re standing.

Being inside the building is like being enclosed in a glass dome, separated from the outside world. At almost every corner, we can see the city around us, it is like a 360-degree view of the City of Manila, Pasay, Makati, and neighboring places.

At first, SDA is like a whole other world to us, but eventually it became our home. Where our creativity and talents are lighted up, taking our imagination to a whole new level.




For more information, please check the school website: http://vibe.benilde.edu.ph/school-of-design-and-arts/new-media-cluster/

https://www.benilde.edu.ph/academics/sda.html

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