Saturday, February 18, 2012

Surviving 1142: A Students' Perspective

I sent a survey to solicit the advice of previous 1142 students. I asked them to give the incoming students some advice and tips for surviving 1142 (and just the program in general). They were asked "What advice do you have for incoming students? Based off of your own experiences in the course, what do they need to do to be successful?" Below are the responses that I got.

"Make sure you're on time. Getting to class even a few minutes after it's started will throw you off. Make sure you pay attention to your professor; they have valuable advice, and they want you to succeed. They're also available to answer any questions you have, so don't be afraid to ask. This first class/semester is all about learning new things or expounding on what you've already taught yourself or learned prior to college. Take the time to continue learning outside the classroom, on your own. It will enhance your time in class, and give you an upper hand on your peers. Take these graphics courses seriously. Valencia's program is very well-respected in the Central Florida community, so treat your time in the program with equal respect."

"First of all, time wise, you have to be aware that EVERYTHING takes longer than you expect. Never underestimate your assignments, and don't think that you can do the tutorial or whatever project in an hour or so. If you do you are not going to finish. Be consistent, turn in every project, every tutorial — if you miss one assignment you jeopardize your chances of passing the class. Try to be resourceful, learn about famous designers, artists, etc. You have to educate your eye into graphics! You have to look at GOOD quality work, amazing astonishing blow-your-mind-off pieces that inspire you to accomplish your vision for your projects. Even if it sounds over rated: Don't miss class!!! Every class, you learn so much, so many tools within each program. Remember this is all new, and graphics is not something everyone can help you with. Also, If you have the opportunity, ALWAYS ALWAYS do extra credit; it is ALWAYS worth it! "

"Don't wait until the last minute! No matter how much you don't want to do homework, you can't ever do your best under an extreme time constraint, and you really, REALLY need to try to do your best in these classes."

"Keep an open mind to critiques and find inspiration for projects your working on."

"The thing that got me through this course was trying to utilize all of my resources. Looking at examples of good design helped really helped me understand what my final projects should look like. The internet is a fabulous place. I got into a habit of looking at design blogs on a daily basis. I even came across this wondrous place - Barnes & Noble became a regular hang out for me.... I would sit there for hours looking through design magazine and books. Also, this class introduced me to Illustrator. I guess the best thing for Illustrator is just practice! Trying to achieve simple shapes and figures with the pen tool was daunting at first.... but I eventually got the hang of it :)"

"Never wait until the last minute to print and put together your project. Be prepared before the due date. This brings your confidence level up!"

"In order to be successful I would say you have to keep pushing yourself. If you think it is good, keep going a little longer and make it better. Tips: Watch a lot of tutorials. Always look for inspiration. before you start a project, or just make a folder of things you like and you can browse through later."

"Don't get overwhelmed with "pen tool" or "gradient mesh". Slow down, ask a question before you get too far behind to finish your project in a way that will make you happy."

"Keep a folder for all ur papers and stay organized ... And submit everything in the [process folder] envelope. It really helps ur grade more."

"From a designer point of view, consistently push yourself to make your next design better than your last. If you think you have done something good, save that file and try to make what you did better. Always reach out for inspiration by looking at other designers work... there is nothing wrong with looking but stealing is definitely bad and most important, SAVE OFTEN. From a business stand point, be motivated, friendly, and personable. Be ready to not only hear a lot of BS, but deal with a lot of it too. You can make the most beautiful designs and have a lot of great ideas but your clients will always have a different point of view. You will have people that will say things like "trust me, i know design and what you did looks like crap" and "i designed our last menu, place a box around that" when you KNOW that what you are doing looks WAAAAAYYYYYY better than anything they have done and SAVE OFTEN. Make yourself stand out above the crowd... make your business card something that people like, not a representation of things you like that look like crap. And SAVE OFTEN! Can't figure out how to do something? Don't be afraid to ask around. We are all in this together and should be willing to help each other out always listen to constructive criticism. Even if one of your fellow designers bashes your work, let that be a stepping stone to what direction your design takes... always make sure to make that design better and always keep in contact with your teachers. It isn't to brown nose, it is to ask them for any advice that you might need. They are here to help with everything design and possibly work related."

"I kept my workbook from essentials class and found myself referencing it in later classes for things I wanted to accomplish on other projects. I also HATED the pen tool and [Illustrator] at first. It took me about a month to get used to the pen tool and using a Wacom tablet helped me grasp it a lot. With only 2 semesters away from the print degree [Ilustrator] is now my absolute favorite and I feel the most confident in it. Best advice: Don't be afraid to ask questions, use the help box to find what drop down menu your looking for, and don't give up. Also, get your stuff printed and done at least 2 days before class. It's not worth the stress trying to finish things last minute. "

"Don't miss any classes! Every class is integral to doing well and getting a good grade. Remember, these are the basics you'll use for most other design classes. Also, don't put design and printing off until the last minute. You never know what problems can arise. You may need to print several times. Don't get stuck having done all of this work and nothing to show for it."

"1. Nothing prints the way it looks on the screen 2. TIME is your priority 3. The lab doesn't have computers for all the students, only for the #__ who got it first and wont leave for a long long time!"

"Don't try to do the best design the world has ever seen before, because you can't. Just worry about learning the programs. Don't worry about being on Flickr or competing with classmates, just worry about learning about the [material]."

"Students have to listen. To their professor, to their fellow students, to the feedback at the critique, to the project guidelines. Most of the students in my class that did not succeed... did not listen. When they graduate how will they be successful with clients if they don't listen to their client's needs? The real world is a lot more demanding when you are getting paid... if you can't handle 1142, you are in the wrong college track."

"Seriously, read your text book. Actively read the material and follow along as you work. There is no shortcut/quickie way to becoming proficient in these programs. You learn by doing, but you won't know what to do unless you learn it properly. Try to learn as many keyboard shortcuts as possible. It will increase productivity, and software layouts may change with new versions, but keyboard shortcuts won't. ( Don't forget to use Google. When you can't find something or don't understand, use Google to search for a tutorial or even a video tutorial. You certainly aren't the first person to have questions about the programs. Your instructors want you to learn and become great designers, but they won't spoon feed you the answers. You have to go out and learn it independently."

"Don't get mad at the instructors if you receive a low grade. In school the instructors are your clients. You have to please them. If you can't please the instructors how can you please your clients? I saw a ton of other students who would bitch about the instructors, how demanding they were, the grades that they received, the critique, the projects are too hard... etc. If you think the instructors are hard try demanding clients in the real world. They'll be in for a rude awakening."


Christopher Reath said...

I'm realizing that design is going to be pretty much a lifestyle since its such a dynamic field and one has to have to stay sharp on their mediums or they'll fall behind. Luckily, I feel that I can try to make a career for this so this advice is exceedingly special. Discipline trumps talent in all forms I realized, and this blog made me realize that it's gonna take ALOT of work. I'm okay with that though. I currently am at odds with the pen tool but I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. We shall see...

Marie Shallies said...

All I can say is that I wish that I would have read this blog post sooner! I would give almost the same exact advice that each of these students did. The advice that particularly stood out to me though, was that you need to stay organized and keep all of your files in correctly labeled folders. I have a folder called 'organize' on my computer; bad idea! I can't even count the number of times that I've had a mini heart attack because I thought that I lost a file just to find it in the organize file. Also, don't miss any classes if you can help it! You're bound to get sick at some point in the semester and you don't want that absence to be the difference between a letter grade!

Erika Salas said...

I agree with the last post made. I had the opportunity to do it in a better time but, forgot and that was a BIG mistake. All of advice that has been posted are true. You REALLY have to put everything you got basically if this is what you really want to do. Also, make sure you have plenty of time to get everything done and expect the unexpected. There are so many things that could happen that can cause you to turn in something late or turn it in without your full potential because you didn't have enough time. I have DEFINITELY learned from that. As a current student, all I can say is to have as much time as possible, be prepared, and good luck! :)

Jennifer Pelham said...

Most of these responses describe my experience in this class pretty well. The advice about practicing in the programs outside of class was especially true for me. I learned a few features in Illustrator and InDesign by experimenting on my own and repeating the tutorials. The textbook was also a huge help. It may not be the most interesting read, but, for me, it was essential to learning shortcuts and understanding functions. If I were to add advice of my own, it would be to print several proofs of a project. I had a few pieces that I thought looked spiffy when I first printed, but when looking at them an hour later, I’d see mistakes that I could easily fix.

Trevor Gaye said...

Before I started this semester I told myself I was going to attend all my classes, since in the past I was one to go when I felt it was needed. One thing about this degree is I'm mad if I was to miss a class, which I haven't. Also use to be a big procrastinator but learned early that I felt a lot more confident in what I was presenting to the teacher when I was done well before the day it was due. All the advice was great and all is a little of what I've learn and gone through this semester. The biggest thing I think I've learned is to ask questions and don't be afraid to. Just by asking certain questions my project has turn from a C+ maybe B to an A+. Also make sure all your files are in the folder even if you are certain, it's happened to me and mad me pretty mad knowing something went wrong. But other than that I'm having a blast and looking toward the future.

Trevor Gaye said...

P.S. Dont leave class early unless specified!!!

Kourtney Wade said...

What I understand from past students is that we are going to be working hard from day one. Time management if very important if you don’t have it you can and will fall behind. This is not going to be like high school where you can miss days and come in and pass the test.

Also this class is going to introduce us to a lot of new programs that some of us used and some did not but we are in this class to learn and to be able to see what other people see through their eyes and bring it all together to make one big picture.

What I took from the past students is that I am going to be challenged on what my best is something I think I did so good on you might see something I can change and make it even better. This is not my first college but this would be my first graphic class where I know that I am not wasting time or money and know I can take what I learn from just one day and explain to my parents or friends what I will be doing or how to do something and I think that is very nice to
Know. My goal for this class is to stand out and not just blend in with others.

I also learn that Time management is going to very important and to follow through outside of the class room also will help me get ahead.

Ready to learn

Everyone drive safe!!

Michaelle Petion said...

I'm seeing some really good advice on here; time management is my biggest worry. I work full time and have a family, YIKES! I also see comments about needed more time then expected to complete assignments as well as printing not working out as expect. I'ma scared and excited all at the same time. I'm gonna give 110% because I'm not interested in waste mine or anyone else's time (or my money either).

Anonymous said...

This article suggests that being proactive, organized, and timely are essential aspects to this class. All of that makes sense and is reasonable for any college class. What stood out the most to me was reading about references from others' work for inspiration. It makes sense but I never would have thought to google other artist's works for ideas on my own. I fully intend to take advantage of that advice before trying to tackle a large project so I can have an idea what my work should look like prior to fumbling around without a clue.

-Mistie Murphy

Anonymous said...

I learned a lot from this blog, graphic design is a process and not just something to be thrown together. I can see how covering design software can take a long time, not to mention going through exercises from A to B, so I'm going to make sure to be there for all the class I can get! I will be looking for highly recommended graphic design sites or blogs to educate my eyes to design more. I also intend to meet up with the designers at my company and pick their brain for more insight. I defiantly wont be putting homework on a tight schedule. -Shaun Roberts

Samantha Lynch said...

I am very happy that you gave us the opportunity to read these advice comments! It looks like time is the biggest key point here. We need to not rush through our assignments and rather take the time to really go through it and do it right and good. I have always had a hard time managing my time since I work a full time job and also have an internship in the design industry. This is something I really want to do well in and it is the first step to my Graphic Design Certificate! I will definitely need to make sure I arrive to class early everyday and utilize my class time to it's full potential! Can't wait for it to begin!

Mirysa Robillard said...

I like how there is a blog out for future and current students to read about a class. It helps give advice and lets you know what to expect. I think that no matter what class a person takes, they should care about it. Being on time, doing the work, and being prepared for no matter what happens. I believe that if you follow the simple rules and guidelines given out by the teacher and past students, then you should be fine. I need to do my work and ask for questions whenever I am in need so that I can learn to the best of my abilities.

Shayla Hogan Cannady said...

Prior to receiving the email from Professor Cerniglia, I reviewed her website and this same blog. At first glance, I can admit I was a bit nervous about taking this course after reading the comments from previous students. However, after reminding myself that this was something I've wanted to pursue since obtaining my 1st undergraduate degree, I understood that this class is an absolute necessity.

It is clear that time management and organization are of the utmost importance in this class. As full time student and employee, I have and am continuously adjusting my schedule to ensure that I have allocated time to properly complete assignments at the highest level of excellence.

ChelseyHijabLove said...

Great advice. Obvious, but informational. It is always good to work hard and make sure to always strive to make your best product possibal. Procrastinating will be my struggle. Will this class, that will not be an option.

Mercedes Lozano said...

After reading this blog I can say that I never thought of our instructors as being our "clients" as someone said. Of course if they don't think our work is sufficient enough then they are not going to give us a high grade. Just like if we were presenting something to a client and they didn't like it then they wouldn't use it.
I've always been one to be organized but I feel like with this class I'm going to go the extra mile to achieve quality work and use every spare minute of the day to work on projects.
Hope everyone has a great semester!

Mackenzie MacNealy said...

I am certainly pleased that I had the opportunity to read all the advice from prior students before diving into my class. Although, I knew that hard work and dedication to be successful in this class is a must,I also learned that acquiring skills beyond what is required in this course is a very valuable quality to attain. I have to admit that time management is not my strong suit, however; I do know that I need to step it up to 150% in order to be successful; not only in this class but as a career value as well. I am definitely knew to the Graphics/Illustrator world so I am looking forward to learning the various types of programs and learning how to correctly label folders to keep me organized; as advised by previous students. I will also take into consideration that never settling for the first result is a wise choice and that critiques either inspirational or downright mean will only make me better and more motivated to do it great. Most importantly, attending every class (on time)and Save Often seems to be two very elemental pieces of advice, that I will definitely put to use.