I think I was validated about my choice to become designer because I made the effort to do the work and heard feedback that gave me the confidence that the choices I made were realistic and likely.
I also think that I learned as much from the students as I did the teachers. RISD really did provide the forum, the arena to be able to have the conversation but also brought together the kind of people who I could have that dialogue with in a meaningful and inspiring way. I think this has to do with the rigorous way in which RISD accepts it's students and thus the environment for learning and interacting that happens there. After I left, in the course of being in my career, it became clearer to me that the shared environment, the conversations, experiences and hard work that happened was a huge influence on my overall thinking and perception.
In many ways, it's a like a complex, 3D, geometric puzzle, but the recipe that makes RISD work, the factors that contribute to the environment there is a unique one.