15 Truths You Should Know About The Circus

You’ve talked to our admissions team, taken a look through all the materials you’ll need for the first day here at the Circus, and Orientation is coming up very soon. As in…tomorrow. Following your formal introduction to the campus, you’ll have nothing left but a few days before the quarter starts.

Before you get your first week’s assignments we dug up some information that you’ll find both interesting and valuable. Will Benham, a student at the Circus that is now happily employed at CP+B, has documented the things he wishes he’d known prior to starting here. Appropriately titled, Things I wish I knew before I enrolled at the Circus, this piece will give those of you starting this fall quarter a little more insight into exactly what it’s like to be a student at the Circus. Hell, this is helpful advice for current students, too.

Take a look at Will’s insights below, and if you have a few of your own you’d like to add to the list, let us know in the comments. Who knows, we might have an unofficial, student-created Creative Circus Handbook on our hands.

 Things I wish I knew before I enrolled at the Circus.

  1. You will not be the funniest person in the room anymore. In fact, you’ll be lucky to stay in the top 5 on a consistent basis.
  2. Your homework is never finished. I don’t care where you went to school, nothing prepares you for this. Even when work is complete, it’s never finished. There is always an image that could be better, a line that could be shorter, or an idea that could be stronger.
  3. There will be people smarter than you. Much smarter than you. Your brain will not be physically capable of keeping up with some of the people in your class. You can overcome this with hard work, but it’s a pretty unsettling realization when it hits you.
  4. Time is the most valuable thing in the world.
  5. You will fail. No one makes it through without at least one epic failure. You just smile, take it like a champ, and pull it off the board. This is a tough lesson to learn for someone like me who hates to fail, especially in public.
  6. Sometimes that throwaway line you write five minutes before class is better than the one you copycrafted for an hour. There is no getting used to this. Also, if you bank on procrastination the last minute lines are never as good.
  7. Other people will out work you. If you come in to school with a pretty good grasp on the basics of advertising and marketing you may start ahead of the rest of your class, but they will catch you. And then they will pass you.
  8. 8 hours of sleep only happens on break.
  9. You will have partners that suck. Sometimes you will get paired with people that are awful. They won’t understand strategies, they’ll kill creative concepts, and they will mangle your presentations in front of class. Keep your mouth shut, work harder and make it the best you can.
  10. You will be the partner that sucks. You will miss the big idea. You will think an idea is too simple. You will poo-poo on a great strategy. It’s not intentional, sometimes you just !*$% things up. This should reinforce why it’s so important to work hard when you think your partner sucks.
  11. You can never have enough Sharpies.
  12. Write down everything. There is nothing worse than saying a great idea out loud and then forgetting it moments later. Always have something to take notes with. You can use your phone, but it’s not very convenient. Get a tiny notebook to keep in your pocket.
  13. Take criticism well. In every class you will receive feedback; both from your instructor and your peers. Don’t be emotionally attached to your work and get offended when it’s criticized. Listen, take their point of view in to account, and move forward. Sometimes they’re right; sometimes they’re wrong.
  14. There is no single right answer. Almost every project will have multiple answers that can work. This goes back to your homework never being finished. There are limitless answers to the problems we’re faced with and many of them are right. Your job is to find one of the better ones and execute. It’s the most frustrating and the most exciting part of this school.
  15. A great presentation can work for you and against you. There will be days you get up in front of the class with a terrible idea that you sell the $!@# out of and they will buy it. You’ll hear how it works well, it’s on target, etc. Then six weeks go by and you’re getting ready for panel and without your presentation your idea sucks. On the flip side a great presentation can buy you time until your idea has come to fruition.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but I’m sure there are more out there.