I feel as though my time at university is going by far too quickly.
It is again that time of year.
Prior to beginning the second year I had it in my mind that it would be the worst of the three years, this due to comments from those who had experienced the second year and that of me not knowing quite what was going to happen. I presumed a lot of narrow-minded projects that essentially turned us all into robots designing the same old garbage that is currently being designed.
In some ways I was correct, in some ways not so much.
Beginning the year off we were tasked with a live project, that being the BBC Project, this was extremely challenging for me as during the design process we presented our initial designs to a member of the design team, unfortunately the table that I loved the design of was not to the liking of the member and apparently did not meet the initial briefing of the project, I was told to change it.
Following on from that feedback I completely lost motivation with my design, I obviously continued with the design process but I was never truly happy with what I thought turned into an over complicated table by the end of it.
Whilst this project was in full swing we began our field projects, I found this time period to be extremely stressful and I honestly struggled for a while with continuing with the work. I believe that with such a big project as the BBC live brief and Field running side-by-side, it was made near impossible to handle the work load and the level of quality expected of us. This became a problem for the lecturers within a few weeks of the two running together as we were told that the level of work was not good enough, to put it plainly. That is when the workshop was set-up and we were all told to scrap everything.
Reflecting back over the first term field and it is difficult for me to find a handful of positives, I had picked up some experience working within a collective, the business plan was interesting to co-write along with a member of the group…previously not writing a business plan, this means that in the future if I am in the position where one would need writing I would know the basics of what needed to be done and to what level of detail.
Unfortunately due to there being little to no time in between the two projects I was forced to let my constellation essay suffer as a result. I submitted the work reluctantly, I found myself embarrassed by what I had written, little detailing into the subject at hand, essentially you could tell that it was half-arsed. I knew that I wanted to carry this subject over to the thesis so I set a goal for myself, I had to put many hours into the dissertation proposal.
Overall the first term was an extremely stressful period, perhaps the most stressful to date. I would not change it though, this period really hit home to me how I only wanted those types of projects to be a one time ordeal. I was thoroughly looking forward to the second term where subject and field projects WERE SEPARATED. I believe it is how it is meant to operate. Unless the projects are extremely simple there is no way on earth you’ll be able to complete three sets of work with little time, high stress levels to a quality in which you are proud of. No. Way.
Beginning the second term was difficult for me, especially when it begins with a field project. I was not sure what to expect, could it be just like the first term? Oh No. I found my time within the project to be the most interesting and fun I had experienced to date. The levels of freedom given to us was insane, we were given an initial brief and told to explore. Within the project I worked with extremely hard-working individuals, those who share my values as a student! I was introduced to creative thinking, using literature and theory to form the basis and grounding of an idea once thought to be too ‘out there’.
This project reaffirmed my feelings towards the type of designer I would like to be. I want to think creatively, design not for manufacture but for informing those, bringing problems to the eyes of those once blinded. During the project I began to think about the thesis I wanted to write as both Field and Constellation still ran side-by-side. I thought about the idea of rewriting history and discussing the changes that would occur due to that change in the context of design. This sparked from a video where the idea of David Attenborough becoming a designer rather than broadcaster, designing based on his immense love for animals still being present.
Following the poor essay written in the first term I set up a schedule ahead of time, this made sure I had a set number of hours for reading, critical analysis of the reading and time to begin writing the proposal. 4000 words seemed quite a lot at the beginning of the term but as I found out, due to the levels of reading and analysis I had quite a lot to say. I was able to complete the first draft of the proposal before the beginning of the Easter holidays where it was expected to be written. Stress Free.
I feel like the hard work I put into the project payed off as I was given 77% for my efforts.
The subject project for the term was essentially a training exercise for the third term project, a taster just to ensure students would indeed meet the criteria and create a product for mass manufacturing. A theme that is consistent across Product Design and a real problem I have with the field. This project was around two or three weeks long, I found that it could have been easily condensed into a one week intense project, this extra two weeks could have been useful in the future I believe…
The final project of the year, the drill project.
I found that the idea of designing a new drill was hilarious, the idea that there needs to be ANOTHER drill on the market that was somehow better that the previous whilst still using existing components. I wanted this project to show my design thinking, I wanted to be very different from a lot of the other products that would be on show. I believe I did this with the GEAR drill. In terms of improving skills within the project I feel as though I could have done a lot of what was done within the second term. Software improvements did not really occur, just a few new tools found to make the job easier and fast.
Overall I am happy with how this year turned out, I am hoping to have high marks for all of the project I was involved in but I am sure I will be marked down due to the first terms field project nightmare. I have found myself becoming more confortable with reading literacture and critically analysing said text for the thesis or project in which I am a part of. I would really enjoy it if I could continue on with the drill project within the third year, I believe there is some potential in making the product fully functioning, plus, I think it would be quite cool.