IMG_6849I am never particularly clean these days. If I’m not leaving charcoal smudges on everything I touch, I’ve got clay under my nails and in my hair instead. Even graphite pencils leave me grimy.

Navigating a busy campus is hard when I’m carrying a backpack and laptop bag, have two enormous pads of paper tucked under one arm, and am trying to gently carry a sculpture or product prototype with the other. Add winter gear, and I’m a walking disaster.

Most of my classes are studio classes, which means they each run three hours. Translation: I never have time for lunch.

I find myself mentally correcting bad design. It’s hard to have a conversation if you’re busy daydreaming that you’re somehow able to tweak the kerning and leading on the other person’s t-shirt.

I’ve become a picky shopper. Okay, I always was, but design classes have just further honed my pickiness. I don’t want to spend my money on something that isn’t aesthetically pleasing. Yes, I did buy wooden thumbtacks that were two dollars more than clear plastic. THEY’RE LOVELY.

Homework takes forever, and is never done. A math major can solve an equation and get a right answer. But design homework is never done. You can always do more sketches, try more variations, and brainstorm more ideas. It’s rare that the design I arrive at feels complete or good enough, either to me or my professors.

Everyone has an opinion about design, but few realize how much work it is.

Oh, and everyone fancies themselves a designer. Which is true to some extent, and merits an entirely different post. But sometimes it’s hard to suppress righteous anger when someone asks me to base my design on something they “designed in Word”.

Fine art electives can be fun, but there’s always that one teacher who treats everyone like an upper level drawing major, when half us are just focused on finding good fonts or designing ergonomic soup ladles.

I spend most of my money on paper, and it’s sad.

You have to be passionate about your work, but also detached enough that it doesn’t send you into a spiral of despair when someone rips into that poster or 3D rendering you spent four hours on.

Sleep is considered optional by most of my professors and classmates. I DISAGREE, but still don’t get much.