Life as a design student can be super stressful, heck, any course is stressful. Deadlines and tests, reports and presentations, retakes, computers crashing, family and friends calling when you don't really have time to chat, and then the endless having no money, so why do we do it??
Well, because (in my opinion) it's an investment in our future; career, skills, personal development / discovery, confidence, character building, and usually it's fun too. Whatever degree you do, in whatever University, city, country, you will probably have a similar experience to another student on a similar course. You might even do the same projects / assignments, softwares, hear the same anecdotes in a lecture, but your personal journey as a student will vary and it's often when you look back at your years of study that you realise this.
I studied Architecture, the whole 7 years. I, as many others did, moved away from home to study in a different city, meet new friends and push my own boundaries, and I'm glad I did. I spent my degree between socialising and studying, building good friendships - who are now great networks within the industry - and graduated very happy and proud of my 2:1. I went on to gain a years work experience within a large office, using my years salary to purchase a flight and had an amazing three months in Asia and Australia before returning home to do my masters.
I did my Degree at a technical University and then my Post Graduate studies at a much more creative school of art. I was lucky enough to be awarded a scholarship and completed my masters in Japan, where I learnt a whole lot more about myself and my abilities than I believe I would have if I had stayed in the UK. I think travel does this to you, it makes you push yourself and find yourself, especially in a country where you can't speak or even read a sign at first...
Upon arriving home, I was once again faced with that big question - what's next, and somehow walked into a good job within an Architecture office. I told myself it'll do for now and a few years later, having now qualified as an Architect, I was packing up my desk and moving on, and off to India!!
My point is that life is odd and interesting, it's a journey in itself - but you really can't plan it. When I was a student I worked hard, worried about my degree result and thought that once I had a degree then I'd be sorted and I'd work as an Architect for the next 20-30years, but it's just not that straight forward.
I thought I'd eventually work at a University, teaching architecture and design, but I imagined I'd be retired. Never did I dream I'd be doing it now, in my 30s, having achieved what I have, been where I have, done what I have and still loving it as much as I do.
A lot of my students are either out on their first work placement or in the last few weeks of their final years major project, and worrying about their next step. Their path might be straight forward and for others maybe not but you just have to go with it, make the most of it.
top 10 tips
- (try) don't worry, enjoy your time at University because it will probably only happen once
- Take it all in, the little things; the laughs, the lectures, the hangovers, the study trips, the good grade...
- Make your work you, be proud of it and show yourself throw it, don't do what you think your lecturer wants
- If in doubt, "fake it 'til you make it" - a phrase we said a lot but often it's while you're faking it that you learn to be it
- Be open minded and stay open minded, don't let what it might look like on your CV hold you back
- Think outside the box and live outside the box - travel - get a map, a passport, some vaccinations and go on an adventure, or five!!
- Get a good camera and really record your journey(s)
- Stay as inspired as you can, read lots, speak to others and listen, inspire others by sharing
- Trust in your path, whichever one you chose, it will just work out and you will be fine.
- It's all an experience, be unique and be proud of your achievements - if you want better than 'fine' then you gotta make it happen.
I hope this helps you, whether you are a student, graduate or alumni. Be proud of what you have done and given, do more and inspire others - and if you know someone studying right now then why not send them a note or parcel or just some positive thoughts.