Studying at the CIA: Making a Commitment to Yourself and Your Future
So, what does commitment actually mean? To me, it means putting all I can give into something. The more you put in, the more you get out. Commitment at the CIA is so important and takes many forms—preparing for kitchen classes, practicing skills like piping and knife cuts, studying often, asking the chefs questions, and fully immersing yourself in what it means to be a student at the CIA. It means working to make connections, going to chef demos and presentations, taking a leadership role, and studying so you get to the top of your game.
During the Baking and Pastry Techniques class, more commonly known as Fundies, we were initially assigned piping homework…dundUNDUN! I was so nervous at first, but I went to the Learning Strategies Center to practice how to fold and hold a parchment paper cone, work with piping gel, create a “cursive style,” as well as learn about the different types of filigree. After much practice—it’s by no means easy—the final product looked much better than when I started. There were many frustrated grunts, Clorox wipes used, hours spent in friends’ rooms complaining, and parchment paper triangles used up before I got to the point of being proud of my piping.
We continued to be assigned piping homework in the Basic and Classical Cakes class, but instead of filigree and writing, we were asked to do writing and a border. Our hardest assignment was to write “Congratulations on your Graduation” along with a border. Piping is a skill that is at the core of baking and pastry arts and the homework really helped to refine that skill and cultivate my creativity. Everything takes practice and patience because no one is perfect when they first start off. But everything and everyone at the CIA are there to help you to reach your potential. So, dive in nose first and do all you can to improve yourself because I can guarantee that it will be worth it. It is through commitment that I’ve developed my skills and been able to soak in the information that is available all around me.
Angelina Violante is a CIA student pursuing her associate degree in baking and pastry arts at the CIA’s New York campus in Hyde Park, NY. She is from Wallkill, NY.