With the fall semester coming to a close, finals completed and studio cleanup underway, taking time to reflect on successes and failures over the past year seems to be in order. I would first like to offer up my thanks and gratitude to Claire and Patrick for a really difficult BUT exciting semester. Completing many of the projects required really tested my skill, design ability and sanity but I can honestly say I am a better person, a better designer and a much better listener than when we began. Thank you.
Learning the skill to write well is not an easy task and certainly not one that can be mastered in one semester, however the tips and assistance I have received from both my instructors and peers has been an invaluable lesson. Building upon my renderings with the appropriate amount of text descriptions was not something I saw the true value in prior to now. I learned how to build a prospectus, programming and various other writing requirements to complete the design package for presentations. Initially writing in a more free-form format, it’s now understood that it is not always the best way to get your ideas across in design. With that being said, I will move forward with this last assignment utilizing free-form and non.
During the onset of the semester, I learned how my design thinking effected my work and how I worked with others. It really was an eye opening experience to learn of the things I needed to work on and realize how true they really were. Relaxing on some of the details and how I communicate were things I executed outside of design, but I didn’t realize it translated over to this realm. Knowing the areas that needed help was the first step in growing as a designer and I was mindful of that as I moved forward into the semester. Setting goals and learning time management were two additional things we discussed and in reflecting back, it has been certainly an additional area of growth for me. One of my main goals was to learn which design focus to pursue and it was a struggle for me until the end of the semester. During our teams of 6 and 12, I began to discover how passionate I am about community outreach and social justice. Giving back to a community is so important and moving forward, I am excited about doing more design-to-build work in whatever community I settle in. I have done much volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity and would not only like to continue that on the side, but also immerse myself into a non-profit design/build company that focuses on local issues. Coming to this conclusion had me also reflect on the final project of my 2nd year fall semester. We designed for a woman who wanted to open up a wellness center for children recovering from cancer on her own property. Putting a face on design and presenting the project to her on our final critique day, as well as knowing that our design could quite possibly be selected for construction was so rewarding. My only wish is that more community projects like this continue to happen during the years spent here at UNCG and I would like to challenge my professors to make it happen.
|Pinnacle & Synergy Models|
The group work was pretty dynamic this semester. It was the first time many of us worked in as large of a group as we did. 12 people working on one project means that not everyone will have a say in what goes on and that is one of the challenges for someone who cares about creating meaningful design and being involved. Learning how to give up some control was very difficult and struggled with it until the end. It was one of the reasons I chose to be involved in so many projects on Jenga 7.0. Prospectus, programming of private and public spaces, lighting plans, circulation boards and time sheets were my focus and as much input I had, in the end there were things I did not know about our building, such as room placement and reasons for where they were placed.
|Building Circulation Board|
It was quite uncomfortable but understanding when to let things go and trust your teammates was the end result of my experience. I really learned different strengths (and weaknesses) of my peers and believe that we worked extremely well together. We understood the need to be organized, communicate frequently and effectively, in addition to relying each other to do our tasks in order for other people to complete theirs. The “whole > sum of its parts” has been our motto this semester and although it is true, it is important for those parts to effectively work together to make the whole successful. It was achieved with our team, I believe. My largest growth came from technical work and learning new photo manipulation programs. Photoshop, illustrator and in-design were programs that I had no experience in. During Jenga 1.0, it became clear the need for me to step up my game when I was one of very few that presented a hand drawn presentation board. In the end, I felt comfortable with my ability to produce a digitally manufactured presentation board on my own. Thank you to my peers for their assistance on that.
|Personal Beehive Space|
Moving forward to third year has me knowing I made it over the dreaded second year hump and I feel pretty proud of myself for doing so. Going back to school later in life was a big leap for me and a bit intimidating at times, however as each semester goes on, my life experience gains an additional chapter that I can reflect on with pride and the confidence knowing that I am a good designer.