My first semester at PennDesign was a wild, sleep-deprived ride, but we all made it. Final reviews went smoothly and my own project was well received. Looking back, I can honestly say that I gave it 100 percent, and although I wish I could have brought my project into a state of greater development by the time of our final review, I am satisfied with my efforts. There are some points that I wish to improve upon in the coming semester regarding the following “lessons learned:”
- Early mornings > Late nights. While it is tempting to work until 4am, such late nights invariably lead to late mornings and no “extra work” is really accomplished. I noticed that some of the more successful students maintained more regular working hours, which I intend to emulate this coming semester.
- Stay ahead of the curve. At some point during the semester I fell behind in my work, and it was extremely difficult to catch back up. New work was constantly being assigned and hearing from studio professors that “this should have already been done” is frustrating and arrests creative thought. Realistic, daily personal working deadlines must be set and met to keep on top of things.
- Do the bare minimum. I don’t like it, but for a fledgling designer such as myself there is simply no time to “take things to the next level.” Pretty much everything I was exposed to during this first semester was new to me, and simply grasping concepts enough to complete assignments at their most basic level was a true challenge. While I dislike the idea of not realizing my vision for a project, I have seen that it is better to keep it simple and do it well than to make it grand and run out of time.
- Stay healthy. This semester absolutely consumed me, and by the end I was forced to forsake all relationships and healthy activities like going to the gym. (Hell, I had trouble finding time just to pay my bills.) It is one of my goals for this coming semester to maintain a schedule that allows for healthy cooking and exercise.