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Final reflection

I would have never thought that after these last months of TORTURE (!!) I would have had to write a final statement for this blog, but well… here I am.

Taking 3 design studio classes all at once, is not fun, but it is doable if you are willing to renounce your social life and freedom. I am not able to tell exactly in which class I learned what, since I have been overwhelmed with a lot of new information all at once. Each one of my classes required a different level of preparedness, and at the beginning of the semester I had no idea how to use an Adobe software, or just any software created for digital graphics. Believe it or not I survived and, not sure how that happened, I also improved.

I remember, as I was working on the first assignments for this class, I questioned why in the world I got myself into this nonsense. Now with the “wisdom” of insight, I understand I should have enjoyed those moments of innocent procrastination, because the worst had just started.

The first few struggles came with illustrator and the tools use to create graphics in any adobe software, and every software works slightly differently from the others (in fact, I have only recently been able to work on photoshop using the same tools). No matter how hard I tried, none of my lines seemed to be straight and it would take me hours to finish a simple graphic. I guess now, thanks to practice I presume, I am able to work faster and to get decent-looking lines, but there are still times in which I have to delate everything I have worked on and start over.

The most stressful things I worked on, were definitely websites. We got assigned a book to read about web coding in this class. Well I had to read 17 chapters of that book within the first two weeks of school and that definitely took a lot of my free time and I reached  poor achievements in my assignments for my other classes. It did facilitate me when we had to make a website for DSP. That allowed me to work on it just during class time, so I had more time to dedicate to other assignments for other classes in my free time. I also ended up appreciating more web coding in general. It is challenging and extremely complicated to get the hang of it, but once you learn the basics and start practicing, it is an aspect of design that is very manageable and dynamic compared to what I previously thought.

For the other projects assigned in the class, I appreciated their openness and the liberty they gave in the use of creativity, especially in assignments like the Jack&Jill storyboard or the day map and the Dollar Bill. The problems that comes along with these assignments, more than others, is printing. Printing overall is a pain. It takes a long time to figure out how it works, you depend on other people as well and, despite all the accuracy and effort you put in the process, it might still turn out wrong. Also, if you are trying to be cheap, you should probably reconsider being a design major. Throughout the semester I learned that unfortunately the only possible way to learn things is by trial and error (mostly errors), and errors cost money.

The most energy and time consuming assignment for this class, and probably the most frustrating too, was the first animation. It is very hard to get any animation done on a laptop if it is longer than 20 seconds, because the software kept crashing, and, despite the fact that the software does a great job in recovering the material lost from the previous session, after the system crashes for the fifth time, it starts getting really frustrating and makes you want to throw the laptop, take a can of ice-cream and eat it in your bed instead.

Then there is newsletters… I know, I know. Not fun! At all! I acknowledged though, that if I did not have to work with newsletters, I would probably still be in that mindset of filling up all the space on the paper, and it is known that a good use of negative space it’s one of the most important things to learn in design.

Along with the negatives of this semester there has been positives too. I am starting to leave some space for creativity in the projects that were assigned to me. I was really excited to know I would have partially worked on digital illustrations for the last project (drawing and painting it is what I enjoy the most). Unfortunately, because of the time limitation and because I was assigned a multitude of projects all at once (and a day only has 24 hours), I did not spend as much time on it as I wished I did, although it turned out to be very time consuming anyway.

I am also learning to manage my time better than I used to, and I felt it was impossible to improve my time management skills since in my high school knowing how to do it was essential. With a better understanding of how I should organize my day and acknowledging some bad choices I made throughout the semester, I believe I will be prepared for the next semester.

I also understood that annoying professors with questions EVERY SINGLE DAY until they get sick of seeing your face, is very useful, and I WILL NEVER STOP asking questions! Besides solving the issues you had, you get your little personal vendetta too and you can only benefit from it.

With that being said, I am very grateful to everyone that has helped me survive throughout the semester, both professors and students. I learned so much from everyone I talked to and had a little bit of fun in the process.

Design is stressful, hard, expensive and time consuming, but, once you get the right mind set, it can also be fun and very satisfactory, especially when you have the confirmation that all that hard work was worth it at the end.

Your friendly neighborhood Anna.

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