We are back to school this summer. Cait and I are both serious about design and are so incredibly eager to get some of the foundations that we need. So this summer you’ll be getting a whole bunch of posts on just what we’re learning and how we’re using these new brains of ours.
So Cait’s pounding the books (and sewing machine) in my beloved London at the very esteemed Central Saint Martins. And me? Well, I’ve chosen to go the online route and just started classes in graphic and digital design at Parsons at the New School.
And holy crap did I underestimate online learning and this whole “going back to school” thing. So I thought I’d share some lessons learned!
It is all about wanting the best. Being outside of a school environment, with no instructor’s eyes burning at the back of your head, direct looks of disapproval, or even a guiding hand, I need to be the one translating my instructor’s critiques into my real physical work. I need to be wanting the best.
And it’s about making time. I like to think of myself as fairly organized, with an attention to detail, and a serious focus on school, but it’s time to get cracking. Without having a group of friends in a similarly mired position, it’s hard to generate that critical mass of peer pressure to get cracking. Alone, with a competing blog, work and social schedule…this can be tough. It’s basically time to start saying ‘no’ to happy hour.
But living in the future is pretty nifty. Trying to find certain art supplies has been a bit tricky over here and I might have to head to three different parts of town to track down the right supplies. Having a home scanner and printer aren’t exactly the status quo here. Also, a monsoon might come and flood your workspace. But I still am 11 hours ahead of EST. So this means an extra 11 hours of time to get these things done before deadlines!
And I love what I’m learning. I’m currently attempting to get a non-degree certificate in Graphic and Digital Design. Parsons happens to let you do this all online over two years and I couldn’t be more pleased with the opportunity. This summer I’m taking classes in Colour Theory, Typography and Graphic Design History, and this is exactly the kind of knowledge and background I have been craving. And even though everything is online, I’m getting to work with paint (check out that value chart I made!), I’m learning all about how typefaces like Helvetica came to be, and what the heck modernism and post-modernism are. Things are basically starting to make sense and I’m so happy to be able to have an institution to guide me through it all.
And the cool thing about online learning are the sheer number of opportunities for it now. You don’t need to invest so much money or time into it. I’m loving the incredibly cool and interesting courses that the community over at Skillshare are offering. So if you’re looking to start taking a leap from the usual, and do it all from your couch or coffee shop, take a look at the plethora that is available online. Favourites that I’ve taken so far include DSLR Basics over at A Beautiful Mess, and of course, Blogshop from the lady who started it all: Bri Emery.
So basically – if you’re looking to test new waters, deepen your skill set or even get another acronym behind your name, I highly recommend giving online learning a try. It might take a lot of self-determination and time, but it is so worth it in the end.
All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.
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