You know what really grinds my gears? Vol. VIII


Matt Merlino

Maybe I’ve been lazy, or maybe I’ve just been busy; one thing’s for sure, a lot of things still grind my gears. The past few installments have been ‘special editions’ to my column, but this time I’m actually going to do something that I’ve never done before. I’ve always focused on little things that annoy me. That’s about to change.

Everyone has at least one thing that really just bugs the crap out of them. You aren’t human if you don’t. For me, that one thing is criticism, or should I say the lack thereof?

Being that I am a graphic design major, criticism is a vital point to every single project. I am always my own worst critic. I feel that I have to be because of the fear that people have when it comes to hurting someone’s feelings, if they don’t like something or a project isn’t up to par. If you hate my work, vocalize why you hate it; you’re only going to push me to get better.

This theory is especially true when there is a clear separation of talent among students. Let’s set up a little scenario to demonstrate my point:

Imagine a final critique for a second-level drawing course, meaning that all of the students have passed with at least a “C” in the entry-level course. The best project in the class looks as if it were professionally done, while the worst looks like it was made by a preschooler. And when I say preschooler, this is not an exaggeration. Both projects are praised.


How can that be possible?

It’s the absolute worst when a drawing or project is clearly atrocious and nothing is said about it. Worse yet, when that terrible project is praised and told that it is great.

I have done this on one occasion, and I still hate myself for it. I gave a kid hope that his work was acceptable when there should have been no hope for him to continue on as an artist. Granted, I said it through my teeth as I was caught Snapchatting a picture of the person’s project to my friends with a caption of “This… This is why I hate being an art major.”

I know that Robert Morris is not known as an art school, but come on now people! College is supposed to help you succeed in the future. How is that kid ever going to succeed if his literal crap looks better than what he is able to put onto a piece of paper?

It all boils down to the lack of criticism from the higher-ups.

The people who are good artists will pass with flying colors; as they should. Though, when somebody is nowhere near the level of the best student in the class, how can they possibly receive a similar grade?

I’m not complaining, I’m honestly just baffled. There is an obvious difference in the grade scale for those who are skilled and those who are not.

If I put my heart into something that turns out looking absolutely amazing and I receive a “B.” While “Mr. Color Outside of the Lines” turns in something that looks elementary and receives an “A,” something is clearly wrong.

Just because somebody has talent does not mean that they should be put on a different level than somebody who clearly doesn’t; ESPECIALLY when those two people are in the same major.

That’s total garbage.

If you are in any of my classes and I don’t like something that you do, I’m going to tell you what I don’t like about it. The professors won’t do it, and neither will a lot of the students. If I am able to, I’ll offer suggestions on how to make a project better, but most of the time that won’t be the case. It may not be my place, but I’ll tear into something if it looks bad, solely for the sake of the people who are good at what they do.

Nowadays, everyone needs some sort of boost to tell them they are good or successful.

Losers still get a trophy.

What does it mean for the people who aren’t actually good?

I’ll tell you exactly what it means: those people aren’t going to be successful in their field. It’s sad, but true.

And if you ask anyone at the school, they’ll all just laugh, pull out their wallets and tell you to read between the lines.

That really grinds my gears.