From Kristi Miller 2010 graduate of RMSP
I'm probably forgetting something, but here are a few things to share:
- Rest up before SI starts. : ) You won't want to miss anything for more sleep! Most of you will need the support of caffeine to make it thru...
- Attend the optional bear safety lecture
- If you get cold easily, bring a fleece or sweater (jumper for England) to class even though it is summer - a couple of the rooms tended to be on the cold side for us
- Bring your hiking boots & swimsuit! (Not necessarily to be worn at the same time, but hey, anything goes! I saw an older guy walking around in a kilt all summer which I didn't expect in Missoula.)
- Most of us enjoy being behind the camera, NOT in front of it. I think someone else (Ben?) already mentioned this, but it will make your life easier if you just get over it now because you WILL be photographed, one way or another. It's impossible to escape so many students constantly carrying cameras and, between projects and studio, you'll need each other to model. Embrace it, try to learn from being on the other side of the lens, and once it is over, you'll be glad to have the photos to remember the experiences and people! Plus, if you cooperate, you can get a great, professional head shot for free! : ) I treasure the images from our BBQs, bowling, happy hours, rafting, parties, hiking, camping, birthday dinners, group shoots, dancing, and First Fridays as much as my images from assignments and projects. I thought I took a lot, but now wish I'd taken even more.
- Take a lot of notes - I have a good memory, but there was no way I could retain everything at such a fast pace and with little sleep. If you can, please teach me how.
- Don't get discouraged if you feel behind some of your classmates. Everyone comes in with different amounts of knowledge and experience and learns at a different pace. I'm a recovering perfectionist and one of my assignments was an EPIC failure. Yes, I felt embarrassed, but I realized I learned a lot more from the failure than from some of the successes. Some of the information may not "click" until a few months later and that's okay. Do your best, have fun, don't beat yourself up, try to absorb it all (and take notes), have fun, don't stress too much, and have fun!!!!
- Attend the optional things if you can - don't pass up an opportunity to learn everything possible!
- If you're used to a really hot/humid summer (I'm especially thinking of you, Shreveport), don't forget to bring a few cool weather clothes. We had a few 90F plus/32C plus days, but a lot of days in the 50-75F/10-24C range with low humidity which is a cold summer for me! And I endured a driving sleet storm in in early September! A good windbreaker/waterproof jacket is a real plus too.
- Missoula is really outdoorsy and casual so you won't need a lot of dressy clothes. That said, if you want to dress up, anything does go. You could probably wear a formal gown everyday without a lot of attention (for the girls anyway) or the aforementioned kilt.
- Most students dressed up a little for graduation, such as casual dresses for the girls, but there were no requirements or suggested dress code. I also preferred to look a little more professional than my normal tshirt & shorts or jeans when we had photographers come in for lectures (never know where work/mentoring opportunities might arise and, as the saying goes, you never do get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression!), but that's just me!
- If you have any clothes that are "western-y" and a cowboy hat or boots, bring them if you can. There will be opportunities to attend rodeos (fantastic photo op, you have to go to at least one!) and it is fun to (try) to look the part. Of course, there are places to buy stuff too.
Things I love about Missoula (and hopefully you will too):
- Fleece & cowboy boots go with everything
- You can raft down the Clark Fork River, starting a few miles outside of Missoula and get out by the Holiday Inn downtown (the water is cold, wait until it isn't too high and a HOT day)
- TONS of stuff going on in the summer
- Lack of humidity - YES!
- Plenty of ice cream & pizza options
- Doc's Sandwich Shop (& cookies)
- Very friendly people
- Very bike-friendly - I'd never seen so many things (kayaks, groceries, children, dogs, etc.) being transported behind bikes!
- Very pet-friendly
- Very photography-friendly
- RMSP! Kristi Miller 2010 graduate of RMSP