This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

The difference between attrition and persistence

When I started teaching at The Art Institute of Phoenix, I brought along my prejudices about success and failure academically from my college days way back when. And many of the other teachers did this too. This is *attrition*, which just means weeding out the students who couldn't make it. At a school that favors attrition, and some still do, just finishing a class, and just graduating, means a lot. When I attended ASU, there were regular portfolio reviews, and if the school decided that you weren't good enough to go on with your education, they cut you. For those of us who were good enough to go on, we really didn't give much thought to those who were forced out. My graduating class in Graphic Design at ASU was a small elite.

The concept of *persistence* was new to me. It's the opposite of attrition. Instead of weeding out students, schools create ways to encourage them. At the Art Institute I saw a lot of grumbling among the teachers about this. It was seen as just a way for the school to continue to collect tuition money from people who, the teachers felt, had no ability to learn the curriculum. And while I have often wondered if schools that do this are cheating students out of their money, I have to admit that my naturally-positive personality understood persistence right away. I got into the habit of writing at the end of every syllabus that I wrote *you can do this!*

There was a song that was popular at the time that said, *I get knocked down, but I get up again!* That's persistence. It's all too easy to give up. It's too easy for the students and too easy for the teachers. Persistence is hard. And that's why it's rare.