Another Saturday night stuck inside watching old ‘The OC’ episodes and snacking on chocolate freckles and M&M’s. My alarm interrupts my thoughts, but this time the repetitive beep isn’t to wake me up. It’s 3am and this is an indication it’s time for me to go to sleep. I reluctantly put down my copic marker, shut down my laptop and follow the maze of yellow trace scattered on my floor to find my bed. I wonder if next weekend I’ll actually see my friends, but who am I kidding, my parents have a better social life than I do
My biggest design assignment of the semester is due in four days. Yesterday it took me five hours to finish a 3D visualisation of my site – and now I don’t even like it anymore, so I’ll have to do it all again. With my tight deadline approaching (and my reliance on hand-drawing rather than a computer) this is a little crazy. It is within these moments of intense pressure however, that I have to really decide if this is for me. There is no way I’d be able to survive assessment time if I didn’t have the stupidity passion to push me through a string of all-nighters and turn a mountain of yellow trace into an actual presentation.
Let me take a moment to enlighten you about this mysterious “yellow trace”. If you study any design subject it is almost a requirement to buy some and at first I had complete disgust for it. It is about $30 for a roll (which they say will last you a lifetime) and it is literally the worst shade of yellow you can imagine. I never understood everyone’s fascination with it – I mean who really cares if you can layer it up to six times and still see all the way through?
This week I discovered that it is me who cares. See, there’s recently been a significant rise in my personal expenses, so my university supplies have been slightly neglected. In true Claire style, I didn’t realise this until I was right into an assignment (very late at night) and I ran out of paper! I still had so much to do – and quickly running out of hours – and the only thing in my entire house to use was that roll of yellow trace. Rolling around in the back of my drawer still in its plastic like the day I bought it three years ago. Now I can’t get enough of the stuff. Looks are deceiving, as it the most durable thing I’ve come across – I accidently got it wet this morning (ink side down) and nothing happened (although I’m not game to try this theory out again). It photocopies beautifully also, which if you ever study design you will really appreciate and I have the peace of mind that I’ll never ever run out of paper again. Amazing.
OK so, moving on from my beloved yellow trace… I should mention that as much as I may seem to complain about what I’m missing out on by staying in on a Friday night to sketch or write up my logbook – deep down I know that there is nothing else I’d rather do. For some people going for a run helps relieve their stress, or perhaps they chill out by playing guitar. For me, there is nothing that clears my mind more than some fresh paper, a T-square and my drawing board.
Deciding what to study and what is your ‘thing’ is understandably a difficult decision. There are so very few people who know exactly what they want to do when they grow up. If there is something I’ve learnt however, is that people should keep in mind that your circumstances are going to change significantly over the next 5 years. When I was in high school I had no intention whatsoever to study Architecture – simply because I thought who wants to spend 6 years in university after 12 years of study at school?
As cheesy as it sounds, Architecture found me. After spending my first year at university in Industrial Design, I immediately knew I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my life designing products. My favourite part of a design project was relating products to the context and how it reacted in different environments so I thought – what if I could design these environments? Suddenly everything fell into place and the rest is history.
The trick is to find that unique balance between what you love and what you study. Ultimately this should be the same thing, like perhaps you enjoy watching movies and subtly analysing different filmmaking techniques, so why not study creative industries? Or maybe you love those delicious burgers from Grill’d, so maybe there is a future in cooking for you?
So, coming from someone who is right in the midst of it all, I know that the only thing that is motivating me through all the late nights, tough assignments and not-so-good times is the fact I know I really love this. And I’m going to be doing this for a long time to come.
Until then… End of Semester party, anyone?