Thanks for the kind words!
It took some unlearning in my youth to realize that white/white passing should not be the default, but rather your experiences and journeys should inform your characters. For some that means characters that conveniently fall into the oppressive standards of white beauty, for others it’s droopy neon alien creatures, and for me it’s Afro-diasporic queer magical transformative cuties/deities.
Regarding majors: I had a very specific experience— I studied illustration at RISD, which was broader/very different than concept design or 3d animation. The 3rd and 4th year were all electives. So you had some students focused primarily on the editorial world, some on picture books/publishing, some on gaming and animation, some on fine arts/gallery work, etc. It was a pretty diverse department so you kind of had to build your own curriculum and figure out how you wanted to navigate “illustration”. And while there were opportunities for 3d animation and character design, that certainly wasn’t the meat and bones. In addition the animation department at RISD was coupled in with film and video, so things over there tended to be a lot more experimental (and not the most welcoming place for someone who just wanted to do 3d characters for games or animation).
If you want to work in the animation industry, or the only aspect of illustration you are interested in is character design; then I would advise majoring in (3d) animation or visual development & concept art. But I’m really not sure what your options are, so I would just look extra hard at the courses and teachers available.
But there are also many different pathways to designing characters and rendering them in 3d. (Heck you might not even need school for that depending on what your goal/aspiration is)