Today was been okay, just about the same as yesterday. I’ve continued to do some thinking on the question, “what am I doing here?”
I always tell myself that I don’t know anything. I won’t believe that statement every time I say it, because the learning I do isn’t recalling facts or functions. I know how to create, organize, and present. Still, it doesn’t feel like I know anything, because I can barely teach a novice a formal lesson about what I study. The type of learning we do in Design is so atypical that sometimes I think that I’m not attending lessons; I’m just working on a portfolio.
I know the majors of the other interns in this program, but when we list them off, all in a row, I can’t really tell how much each person has learned their field. “An industrial design student entering her fourth year” isn’t really an accurate way to describe my current situation. I haven’t been doing industrial design for the past three years. I’ve only done industrial design for one year–or actually if you count it by studios—for one semester. It’s about as far as I got when I studied civil engineering for a year, which didn’t feel very far at all, either. These past two years, I’ve personally struggled with not feeling like I’m making any progress. I have a feeling that I will continue to struggle with this until a year from now, at the latest.
I have a few problems. (1) I feel completely behind the rest of the class in coding, and I feel as if I can’t confide in anyone who knows it on my level. (2) I’m starting to doubt my coming into this program as an ‘expert’ in my field. I’m not a expert. For instance, drawing is so basic to industrial designers, and I feel behind the rest of my class at UH at that basic skill. Re-entering design school last year, I was so confident that I would do extremely well in Industrial Design because (a) if fit my natural abilities perfectly and (b) I would work really hard to get better. I did work really hard, but still came out as average, without much support from my instructors. (3) Since I don’t feel like I am bringing any extra skills to my project, I feel like a layman. At our project meeting yesterday, I felt very inexperienced because I didn’t know if any of the ideas I suggested were actually possible. It’s as if a person, with little to no experience in interaction design, computing, and psychology, was brought onto the project. When I applied to this REU, I thought, “wow it’s really amazing that they’re offering us this experience,” but now I feel really useless. I’m perfectly willing and able to complete what is assigned of us for our projects, but I don’t think that I can use any of my skills to help the group.
Well, I think one skill that might be useful is writing. The University of Houston Honors College has challenged my writing so much, and I think my writing has improved tenfold with every Honors class that I take. From what I’ve gathered from research writing, it seems to be a lot easier than the other types of writing I’ve learned. My goal is that I want to contribute substantially to writing the paper, and not to be completely overwritten (I might not have much control over that, though).
I feel that there’s a whole lot more for me to learn. Maybe I’ll enjoy the HCI class? Solidworks (and 3D printing, if that’s chosen as my Deeper Dive) would be extremely helpful in my major. Again, I have to be patient, and I would have to stay optimistic to give me the best chance of learning the material.