Yesterday my (twin) sister got accepted in to two top Universities in NYC, to do photography. I was really really excited for her. Because she will get to do what she loves everyday. She will have time to develop her art.
Schools and universities often get accused of being restrictive and institutionalised, which is a massive debate in itself, for another time. But my point, and reason for getting excited at my sister being accepted into a school is this, yes you can make it on your own as an artist, its not about the qualifications you have as an artist its what you can do thats important, all of which is quite true.
But, going to school for your chosen art is a massive privilege and should not be wasted, or forgotten. It is highly unlikely that after you graduate you will ever be able to dedicate such quantities of time to simply learning about your art. It is a time where you can create and learn for no other reason than that. There is no worry of satisfying commissioners or getting grants approved before you can create work. You are not bowing to the mercy of councils or theaters or anyone. For 3 years you get to work purely for yourself.
I think thats pretty special. In my recent blog 'and it goes on...' I wrote that what is satisfying about doing a dance degree is that you can feel the developments in yourself pretty quickly because of the intensity of the course. I have no doubt that my sister will also have this unique experience, and speaking from experience I know she is going to have so much fun.