Today, I visited the Chelsea College of Art & Design, which is arguably the most prestigious design school in the UK. I was/am considering doing my Masters or a Diploma in Interior Design whilst in London on a part-time basis. Higher education is always an interesting topic for discussion. How much of attending school is just to put it on your resume? That was more or less my motivation for attending their “Open Day.” How do I make myself look more important in the design world? It sounds kind of shallow when I put it that way.
A group of other potential students and I met with the head of the Interior Design program. I was so curious to see what kind of amazing things I could learn and absorb from such a high standing academic institution. I can see all my fellow business alumni rolling their eyes at putting the words “design” and “academic” together, but believe me, doing my certificate in Interior Design was more work than my BComm and way more practical in a lot of ways. I couldn’t regurgitate the formula for finding the present value of some financial equation if forced at gun point, but I could perfectly hand draft a floor plan (okay, maybe not practical, but hands on). So I went into this introduction today excited to discover more about the programs Chelsea College offers.
I love to learn, so really any excuse to be in a classroom gives me tingly feelings in my stomach. Here’s the interesting thing I discovered. The cost and prestige of an educational institution doesn’t necessarily equate to the amount you learn. I was sadly disappointed at the level of learning. The program was two projects (that’s it!) over the course of three semesters and looked like something we could have pulled together in a couple of weeks at BCIT. All the learning was self-taught, with the exception of two mornings a week where you meet with your assigned instructor to review your progress and ask questions. Granted, there is apparently lots of support at the school – you just have to ask for it. And there is no technical training of any sort – again, unless you ask for it. The program is concept driven where basically you can create whatever you want and call it “art.” For me, going to BCIT was such a relief. They took me – a linear thinking business type – and taught me how to be creative in a very methodical way. At the end of the program, I felt confident in my ability to take on projects, because I had a skill set. If I wanted to be self-directed, I could just take a book out from the library and download a couple of software programs.
So the real controversy is that I am actually still considering doing the program. How important is the name on your resume? I get the feeling that in the UK and Europe, the name of the school you attended is very important. If I complete the program and can say I graduated from this place, it opens up doors. And if doors open here, they open everywhere. I insanely love Interior Design and truly want to be the best of the best, so is it worth it?
Back to what I initially meant to blog about. Yoo called (or rather emailed). The company I have been daydreaming about since I saw the CEO speak at a conference. I have a meeting with the Studio Director. He has not seen my portfolio yet or my resume. I simply asked for a meeting and now I have one. And now I’m freaking out! I am madly compiling my portfolio. My main concern is: What do I wear? I really didn’t even want to post this because if everyone knows, then everyone will ask. But in my commitment to being open and honest, I am sharing and being vulnerable. And I know you will all be supportive.