A Peak Inside Design School from a Student's Perspective

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Back a few months ago I talked about my excitement for beginning design school, and I've posted a bit about some of my projects here and here.  Since I've successfully completed my first quarter (and made the President's List, no less!), I figured I'd take a few days to do a first quarter re-cap on some of the lessons I've learned.

Lesson #1? It's harder than you think.
Really, it is.  And it's not because the work itself is hard, but because it requires a lot of what most of us have little of, and that's time.  Design school sounds fun and fluffy, like you'd be drawing and matching fabrics all day, but it's much more. I've met so many people who have gone to design school, and they all remember sleeping in their buildings to get work done.  Now I'm not quite to that point, but it has definitely been an adjustment, especially trying to balance the other obligations I have in my life.

 I have a BA in Sociology, and I've always considered myself to be a good writer, so I used to be able to spend a short amount of time writing a paper, embellish for a few pages, and be done--not so with design school.  The majority of the projects are time consuming, and what they really require for a job well done is time. Having a photographic memory won't be of too much help here.  Instead, you'll spend hours preparing presentations, cutting & re-cutting matting, sketching, toiling over computer programs, drawing blueprints by hand, building & creating, and there's no way to bluff your way through it--it has to be given the time it requires if you want to put forth your best effort.   If you decide to got to school because you have a passion for interior design, putting the time in won't be a burden (more of the opposite), but just remember that it's a true commitment. On the flip side, another piece of advice would be to remember to make sure you don't get so bogged down by the work that you forget about your love for the discipline.  There have been a few nights where I've had to take a step back and remember that no matter what happens or what grade I receive, I will still be okay. Over the last few months, I haven't been able to devote as much time as I'd like to refinishing furniture, blogging, and finishing spaces in my own home, but I know it will all pay off in the end. Not to mention the fact that I love what I'm learning!

   (can you believe this is only the beginning???)

This quarter I'm taking Intro to Drawing, and right now we're drawing the blueprints for a 2 story garage conversion by hand.  We were given a plan for a garage and allowed to change the floorplan to suit our desired design plan as long as it conforms to NKBA & generally accepted construction guidelines (i.e., height clearance requirements, countertop depths). While I love the class, we have to move at a NASCAR pace (to finish everything in 10 weeks), and I find that my meticulous attention to detail (and wanting everything to look perfect--totally unrealistic) finds me playing catch-up a lot.  On the flip side, it's invaluable skill that I would've never learned on my own--drafting by hand is no easy feat!  Still, I love it and wouldn't give it up for anything . . . . :)
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