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A Peak Inside Design School from a Student’s Perspective

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 . . . . 🙂

25 Comments on A Peak Inside Design School from a Student’s Perspective

  1. Tonia @Chic Modern Vintage
    August 9, 2010 at 7:19 am (9 years ago)

    Best Wishes to you. I know how you feel. I am a drafter by trade, but I use AutoCAD, and do not have to desire to learn to do blueprints by hand at all. You’re special when you can do them by hand, and for sure 1 in a million.

  2. Erika at BluLabel Bungalow
    August 9, 2010 at 7:31 am (9 years ago)

    This is going to be a great series with a very insightful and honest perspective! I only wish that clients understood how much work goes into a full design.

    Congrats on making the President’s List! It’s great to reap the rewards of such tedious work! Press on!!

  3. Jade @ Flip Flops + Pearls Design
    August 9, 2010 at 9:03 am (9 years ago)

    Awww…brings me back to my design school days! It is a very time consuming degree and I remember spending many a night in my living room cutting mat boards and tweaking floor plans! Enjoy the process and you’re right, no matter what, you’ll be ok!!

  4. Fran
    August 9, 2010 at 9:47 am (9 years ago)

    Wow, it sounds intense. Good Luck to you. I love hearing about your learning – it is so interesting. This was a great post!!

  5. Mrs. Chic
    August 9, 2010 at 11:29 am (9 years ago)

    Congrats Dayka – love hearing more insight from your what you’ve learned thus far in design school. Seeing your room layout takes me back to drafting classes (minus the furniture!) I’ve always loved seeing floor plans 🙂 Please share more when you have the time

  6. alissa
    August 9, 2010 at 12:23 pm (9 years ago)

    Congrats Dayka! I’m glad to hear that you are learning hand drafting. Even though I never get to use it anymore I loved it when I was in school. Your hand-writing will never be the same!

  7. niki.mac
    August 9, 2010 at 12:38 pm (9 years ago)

    OH! I need that book – do you have it?

    I know you’re working so hard in school and it will pay off in multiples later! Hang in there! 😉

  8. Flavia @ Estilo Home
    August 9, 2010 at 5:21 pm (9 years ago)

    Glad school is going so well, despite being so busy! You’re making me miss drafting. I really enjoyed it in school.

  9. LindsB
    August 9, 2010 at 9:34 pm (9 years ago)

    I 100% feel your pain as I am in the exact same spot! In fact those drawings look like ones I just finished 🙂

  10. AB HOME Interiors
    August 9, 2010 at 9:44 pm (9 years ago)

    I hear ya! Holy crap design school kicked my ass. No one saw me for two years. All our holidays I was in the attic drawing, coloring building, etc. Yikes, wait till you get your own business!! youll never have TIME!!!!! haha

    I swear to you I will call tomorrow….I think! hahahaha

  11. Stacey
    August 10, 2010 at 8:38 am (9 years ago)

    I just hopped over here from Tam’s blog. I am happy that you’re going to design school and it sounds like you’re doing great. I’m a teacher by profession, but i am obsessed with design:-). Good luck to you!

  12. Stephanie Sabbe
    August 10, 2010 at 8:43 am (9 years ago)

    yay! design school is so much fun and your drawings are awesome!

  13. theLENNOXX
    August 10, 2010 at 8:57 am (9 years ago)

    It does sound like a lot of work, project based work always is. But we all know you have a natural eye for design, so out of everyone, you can definitely do this =)

    xo Linda

  14. Tiffany
    August 10, 2010 at 12:22 pm (9 years ago)

    Fabulous information! “Time” is certainly the word of the day! But there is no such thing as a “lack of time” when you are doing something you love. Im so excited for you and you have definitely given me some things to think about. Good luck!

  15. alison (semi-fab lane)
    August 10, 2010 at 2:51 pm (9 years ago)

    good for you! although i don’t envy you…just thinking about all the time involved on those projects makes me feel a little sick. if you love it though it will definitely pay off in the end. good luck!

  16. AB HOME Interiors
    August 10, 2010 at 2:58 pm (9 years ago)

    Design school! oh the memories that brings back! Have fun and work hard it will DEFINITELY be worth it!



  17. Symone's Mommy
    August 10, 2010 at 3:35 pm (9 years ago)

    Hey, Day! Hope all is well. Just catching up in blog world.

  18. L.Duncan@Home23DuncanBoys
    August 10, 2010 at 5:03 pm (9 years ago)

    Oh Dayka! I’m so excited for you! And your drawings look great, girl:-)

    For the time being, I’ll live my design dreams through you!

  19. Design Esquire
    August 11, 2010 at 8:43 am (9 years ago)

    What a great attitude! How exciting that you’re enjoying everything so much. Your drawings look awesome by the way.

  20. Kelly Galvin Robson
    August 11, 2010 at 9:48 am (9 years ago)

    these look so awesome!! you should be proud of yourself! oh, and it will all be worth it in the end. you’re right, it’s an invaluable skill… and, you will ROCK at creating floorplans. 🙂


  21. Claire Watkins, ASID allied
    August 13, 2010 at 1:52 pm (9 years ago)

    I know you’re making wonderful connections and learning so much from the people around you. Hang in there, you’re a dynamo, Ms. Dayka!

  22. Diva Style
    August 13, 2010 at 4:05 pm (9 years ago)

    YOU CAN DOOOO IIIT!!! Sending my support your way! You’ll be graduating with honors in NO TIME.:-)

  23. Hello Lover...
    August 17, 2010 at 4:13 pm (9 years ago)

    Love seeing this two posts on design school – I so wish I could do this now as well but frankly (and sadly) we can’t afford it right now.

    You are doing an amazing job and I think your drawings look great!

  24. Symone's Mommy
    August 17, 2010 at 11:13 pm (9 years ago)

    Dayka! I’m so proud and happy for you for going to design school. How empowering and inspiring…WOW!


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