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OUGD402 - Study Task 5 - Where Am I Now?

Ten things I have learned about myself as an individual and a learner since the start of our first semester:

1. The first thing I learned about myself when I moved away for uni was my cooking. I'd never cooked in my life and I was pretty determined to learn how to cook and to make sure I wasn't surviving on ready meals and takeaways. I had my first ever ready meal the other week which I found revolting, not going back down that route again. But I have taught myself how to cook Spaghetti Bolognese, Fajitas, Lemon Chicken, different curries, Chinese dishes and the list goes on!

2. Some more domestic things I have learned are the casual housekeeping skills which I weren't too experienced in, such as using a washing machine, a dryer, bathroom cleaning, keeping organised, kitchen cleaning and everything else in between. I have developed a good weekly routine to keep everything clean and usable.

3. With busy flatmates, life can become very lonely. I live with two second year print and textile design students and a third year product design student who is on a work placement. Because they are so busy and never free, the only time I ever see them is the off chance they are making a pot noodle at the same time I am cooking. This attached to having a weekend job which takes up all my hours, life can get pretty lonely.

4. Time management was never my favourite aspect of studies. I have always been quite a lazy student in a sense of leaving it till the last minute and getting myself all worked up. This has had to change doing such a demanding degree and I have been teaching myself how to work around this. When I say that I mean get it done sooner rather than later instead of screwing around till the day before. I'm still in the process of sorting this out, bare with me.

5. I have learned that money is difficult to find and too easily lost. I didn't get a very big loan because my Dad had a decent earning for when the student finance wanted details however my family are no longer well off at all, which means as they can not afford to support me in any way I am 100% self sufficient. Money is only achieved through my part time job which is bare minimum so living is tough.

6. Clubbing isn't my scene whatsoever, I kind of already have an experience in it from when I lived in Spain but I was rather looking forward to the nightlife at university. Sadly I struggle to enjoy the dreadful music at ridiculous volumes, sweaty people rubbing up against me, as well as overpriced entrance and drinks in a room full of perverts and sluts.

7. All work and no play makes Alex grumpy, distressed and a dick to everyone. I tend to work myself too hard sometimes, I can go a good few days of solid work and end up laying in a puddle of pressure and lack of effort. I tire myself out pretty easily and then end up getting stressed out and just a twat to everyone I come into contact with.

8. If I have the right amount of company and a good relationship with a circle of people, I tend to be happier and I cope with work a lot better. Making my work load and social life easier and happier. I have noticed an increased amount of motivation towards my work since being in a relationship because as well as academic and practice rewards, I also enjoy rewarding myself with time away from everything to spend time with my friends and other half.

9. Work hard, work harder and then sleep like a baby. In recent discoveries of waking up early, going to university, working all day, getting back around six, working till eight, having dinner, then working till 1-2 in the morning... working this hard tires me out. I used to have a lot of trouble sleeping sometimes, but now I find myself falling asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. So as long as I make a good balance of exhaustion through productivity, I will continue with a good and flowing sleeping pattern.

10. No matter how much I care about eating healthily and cooking everything from scratch, nothing can beat a really good take-away sometimes to treat myself or if I am desperate for something unhealthy to cheer me up!

Ten things I have learned about myself as a designer:

1. Why I love Helvetica. I always had a thing for this font, it was always subconscious, I'd always choose it over anything else when writing essays or body copy for anything but I was never really sure why and was never really taught about it, it was just another font I liked the look of. It was only over this semester when learning about all the different elements of type and learning the history of this swiss modern font I discovered what made me like it so much. Now, I just like it even more!

2. Simple can be as effective as complex. I was always under the impression that the best pieces of design were the ones with obvious hours and hours of work gone into them with insane amounts of detail and craftsmanship. On this course I have learned that because Graphic Design is all about the communication of the message, a simple piece can be just as effective as a complicated one.

3. Letters, words, and communication fascinates me. I have found a massive interest in written words and typography. The actual thought of a sound or meaning transcribed as something visual, either a word, collection of words, a sign or a symbol. I have learned the ins and outs of all of these semiotics.

4. I am determined. I have grown an understanding of my determination to get things right, to try harder, to try different things and to succeed. The drive to succeed has never been bigger in my eyes in comparison to the last few months.

5. I am passionate. It's something I have grown to love is Graphic Design, but not in the sense I used to. Before I was passionate about it, I'd talk about and and have an interest in it. But now I actively look for it and observe/analyse it. If I walk through town I am in search for inspiration and always taking in my surroundings and taking a mental note of what I am seeing. It's just becoming a way of living now.

6. Business. At the end of the day you need money to live, you spend your life working to live. But in my case I am living to work. I love what I do an insane amount, and no matter how much I get stressed out or angry at what I am doing, I am continuously passionate about everything I do and I strive to get better the more I do. I currently run my own business aside from my degree and part time job which involves designing for a fashion label which I created myself a year ago. Audiences have shot up to about 3000 likes on my Facebook page, 1000 hits on my website a day and £1200 a month income.

7. What you like is not what your work is about. In graphic design, most of the time, you aren't designing for yourself, you aren't designing something that you are going to like or enjoy, you are designing to communicate, to sole a problem for a person less creative than yourself. That is our job and that is what I will have to get used to.

8. With the right skills and knowledge, you can do anything. I have built up a very good portfolio of skills in this degree, far more expansive than I had in the first place before arriving. All these tools are coming together to form my every day utilities to creating my work. My skills are increasing the more I use everything and my practices are becoming more professional the more I do.

9. Graphic Design is an ongoing exploration to find the meaning of the words 'Graphic Design'. Graphic design is different to everyone, but to me, I have found that graphic design is what you make of it. Of course it is the communication of a message formed in a visually engaging way but everyone have their own styles and methods to creating and I think the longer you work, the more experience and practice you have to develop your next brief.

10. If you enjoy something and are passionate about something, don't ever stop. The most important thing I have learned through my course is to not give up. I love what I do, and I am very passionate about what I am doing but I get frustrated and have the will to give up, but I don't let myself. If I keep going with things, I know I will learn from it and develop my understanding of my practices.

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