What Design School Taught Me

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching. Graduation sits on the growing horizon for me along with a sense of urgency to figure out what the next step is going to be. I feel as though my uncertain future is like a sun hurtling towards me with terrifying speed. It may seem like a bit of an exaggeration but, to me, it’s a very real reality. I contemplate my past four years studying Interior Design and, although I’ve loved every minute of it, I have to ask myself ‘where will this take me? What is my next step?’ The possibilities are endless, I know, but I wish the answer were a little clearer – which brings me to my first lesson…

The best things in life don’t come easy.

Interior Design did not just come to me. I am not a naturally gifted artist. My rendering skills could always use improving. But I’ve always embraced a good challenge.  The end results felt more satisfying when I knew that I had to overcome something to get there. I had to learn how to draw and design with a computer and develop a sense of how objects, color and lighting work together. I’ve improved all of these design and communication skills over the past four years of my study, and continue to improve more everyday. As a designer there is always something new to learn, to improve on and to explore, which leads me to…


When I first began the program as a wide-eyed freshman I thought that this was it. I’m studying Interior Design; I will design interiors at an architectural firm for the rest of my career because that’s all I can do. Boy was I wrong. Interior Design is not sitting at a desk and picking out lighting and materials. It’s everything. It’s the feeling you get when you walk through a space. It’s an experience – uplifting, somber and everything in between. I don’t have to be stuck doing the same thing. There are other ways that Interior Design can connect me to other disciplines. I can work on branded environments, event planning and even blog about design and styling – to just name a few. That’s the great thing about being a designer – the connection you have with space, materials and, most significantly, to other people. I can connect through those spaces, feelings and experiences. The wide interpretation of what defines Interior Design means so many more opportunities to explore and to promote that I must…

Create. Always.

As a designer, the word ‘bored’ is omitted from my vocabulary. How can I ever have nothing to do when the possibility to create something exists every day? It doesn’t even have to be interiors related. It can be a painting, a sketch, a poem, a photograph – it’s truly limitless. I’ve learned to appreciate this possibility more throughout my studies. I know that in order to be a better designer it takes practice. Yes, some people are more naturally gifted than others but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t also practice everyday. I’ve found my skills improve exponentially because of it. Practicing encourages a more open mind and with that I’ve learned to…

Never say ‘no.’

To anything. Life is way too short and it’s too easy to settle into a routine and lose that spark. I like to think of myself as a pretty open-minded and adventurous person. My past four internships have all been in different states, in cities I have never been before and usually I was all on my own. I’ve missed my friends and family terribly but these opportunities have forced me to accept change, and to, ultimately, embrace it. Change is good; it’s a natural part of life. Change makes you stronger and forces you to grow up and figure out how to handle it. By never saying ‘no’ to an opportunity I’ve learned so much about myself (my strengths and my weaknesses, what I like and what I don’t) and have opened so many more doors to new adventures I didn’t know I could have.

So as I watch my future hurtle towards me I must confidently stand on my own two feet and face it. My future is uncertain and scary, yes, but it’s also filled with exciting new challenges, chances to explore, opportunities to create and many moments of change. I’m not sure what the next step is or where that is going to take me but with a steady base of lessons from my education, support from my friends and family and my own self-ambition to keep me going I know it’s going to be good.

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