The Nailed It! series focuses on moments of personal victory, both big and small, that encourage us to keep pushing forward towards our goals, continue to tackle fears, and to pleasantly surprise ourselves with our own awesomeness! Here we share triumphs over everyday struggles we encounter as SCAD students, as artists, and as photographers.

Conrad Maxwell-Girod, a B.F.A photography student, shares about his struggle to defy odds and overcome some of life’s toughest blows, all while approaching his senior year in high school.

“Applying for college is stressful. Teenagers are faced with this major decision that drastically affects their future. Unlike my peers, I limited the number of colleges I applied to because I was determined to attend one school in particular: Brooks Institute in Ventura, California, the same college my mentor attended. I was accepted to study photography at the school located15 minutes from the beachfront. It was beginning to look like a dream that would become a reality. But, as my parents prepared to make my arrangements we discovered that my father was terminally ill. He was diagnosed with stage four metastatic lung cancer and his health rapidly declined. As graduation was approaching, and I began to accept the fact that my father was going to pass away, it was evident that my plans would need to change. 

My family moved to Georgia and I began to explore college options there. I stumbled upon SCAD but quickly realized the high costs took this school out of my reach. Although it seemed intangible, I didn’t forget about SCAD completely.

Out of wishful thinking, in our new Georgia home, I began the application process for SCAD . At this point I feared I would not be able to go to Brooks Institute or to any university. Determined to better my chances, I worked diligently on my portfolio for the duration of my high school career.

My father passed away on Sunday, November 8th, 2015 in his sleep. After years of life-changing experiences and months of hard work I felt like I deserved something good to come my way.

I submitted all of my application documents to SCAD during the end of summer of 2016, and was overwhelmed with joy when I was accepted! However, not being able to attend my first choice was still gnawing at me. Soon after I began courses in Atlanta that disappointment was relieved when I found out that Brooks Institute completely shut down, taking their students tuition money with it. I came to realize that I was in a much better position at SCAD than I ever would have been. Finding a way to pay for my tuition was yet another hurdle to overcome, but everything worked out in the end. Sometimes good things do come out of terrible situations and sometimes fear of the unknown can damage your confidence. Things will not always go according to plan but I believe everything always happens for a reason.”

Conrad persevered, and so can you. He totally Nailed It!