Reflection & 2014: second semester here I come!

Ok, while I’ve updated various parts of this site to hint that yes, the second semester has started, I haven’t officially closed off on the last semester or offered the review as promised. I was so exhausted and brain dead after the last two weeks of the semester that I was pretty much a useless puddle as a sloshed through airport security to head home for winter break.

And then winter break was as much as a break as I had hoped because I spent most of the time laboring over my new website. I’m happy I did, but when I found myself waiting in the cold for the the Pittsburgh buses again, I didn’t necessarily feel like my brain had been refreshed.

However, that just what been keeping me. As I was working on and describing all my projects from last semester and I really the amount of things I have learned and worked on and how much I have grown. Even just being the TA for Communication Design Fundamentals made me think more closely about the way I design and organize information. While in the thick of it, it was hard for me to look past the kind of aches of the every day process of going to class, doing homework, reading until your eyes fall out. But working on my portfolio was a good chance to step back.

Seminar I: I really enjoyed this class the whole year. It was reading & reflection class about design as a philosophy (not ‘design philosophy’). It really made me think about what  it means to design and what design can. It’s easy for most people to think of interaction design as designing for interfaces, but  Cameron made sure we knew that all design is interaction, that we should be thinking about design outside of the screen, and how it affects all the other parts of our life. That’s what we should be thinking about when we design for interactions. This course was packed as tightly as possible with readings meant to change the way we think about design in the future. It worked for me.

Studio I: This was an interesting course that felt a little uncomfortable at times as Stacy attempted break down and re-create our design processes. It was a particularly hard challenge since we all had dramatically different levels of experience. My favorite project ended up being the abstract to concrete project because it combined so many skills. We had to think about the best way to convey complex information and use the hard skills of After Effects, yo.

Prototyping: I think this was a very frustrating class for most people because of how much outside-of-class work there was. Until we got to coding, I thought it was a really fun class and was very helpful in teaching methods for coming up with new products and finding spaces for innovation. And even though coding part was valuable though not necessarily my cup of tea. I did sign up to take Processing this semester, after all, which I was introduced to in this class.

Narrative & Argument: This was a great class to get me thinking about how audience interacts with designed things. We talked about it in the context or designing writing for particular authors to serve different purposes, but of course I couldn’t help but think about the story I try to tell audiences with my work. My projects are designed for an audience and tell a story. You have to consider what the things you do communicate to viewers.

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So now I just finished week two of my second semester. My initial thoughts is that this is going to be an especially difficult semester. I got an override to take additional credit hours which I hope will be manageable once I get into the swing of things, but there already some very late nights in just these two weeks of school! But there’s nothing I either can or want to give up. I am only here for two years and I have to make the most of it.

In addition to my classes and my TA-ship, we also all have to prepare for finding an internship this summer and deciding on our thesis topics! This, deciding a thesis topic, has been a lot harder for me than I thought it would. I’m interested in many things but it’s difficult for me to think of it as a problem that a project can help resolve, and not just something that I can research.

But, a grad student’s gotta do what a grad student’s gotta do!

See you on the other side!

Thoughts? Discussion? I'd love to hear 'em!

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