oh... i want to be that lucky winner for CS3 Premium Pack!! To be honest, CS3 is a quantum leap forward. At least AI won't shut down again when working together with Photoshop, but all those fantastic features seemed to facilitate works on multi-disciplinary design, which was used to be delivered by several design firms at the same time. Now, design firms that mainly specialized in editorial design may well be entertaining clients with all sorts of design deliverables ranging from web design to video promos.
Guided by such phenomenon, fresh design graduates are mostly equipped with various kinds of design software so as to maintain fair competence among peers, which is in some ways more and more difficult for students who entered the field not until F.7 to catch up with peers that had already gone through basic design thinking and technical training in their earlier years in IVE or other design institutes. Then does it mean that you had better quit your normal education and focus on design training if you find your interest in an early age?
For me, the answer would be fifty-fifty. As learnt from my past experience or even based on my recent research project, students who receive design education after completing high school are usually found to possess strong conceptual thinking ability and develop a more sophisticated project that produces fruitful research on a wide range of social and cultural issues. In return, they may lacked the ability or skills to actualize their design concepts. Sometimes they even struggle a lot on how to translate those rich research materials into visible design ideas. But this is seldom a big obstacle for students coming from IVE or high dip. They used to move on to execution stage earlier and spent most of their time working on a presentable outcome. Their concepts may be comparatively shallower but audiences were often satisfied by what was presented in front of them. After all, they had skills.