I have learned a lot these past few years as an interior design student. I still have SO much that I don't know and haven't experienced yet...but here are a few of the biggest lessons I have learned while being a design student so far. I hope these will either just be interesting, or be helpful for someone considering going to school for design. (PS: I tried to categorize them...but they might kind of all blend together in some way, ha)
1) Real design is not like HGTV
2) Patience, patience, patience
Every student in this major will be creative in some way. But that's not enough. To actually do well on our design projects, it takes a whole lot of patience and attention to detail. First of all, there is so much detail that has to go into each project that something can always go wrong. You might have measured incorrectly or made a mistake while drawing the room, causing the furniture to not fit. You might choose the most fabulous light fixture to hang over a dining table, and then realize that the fixture has an 8 inch diameter and would look ridiculously small with the large table you chose. Because of this...I've learned that even though I'd like for everything to go according to plan, it's not unusual for the plan to need to be altered as I go. I've learned to pay really close attention to details, as well as being flexible when things need to be adjusted.
3) Designer vs. decorator
Before college, I never realized how offended interior designers are when they are called interior decorators. I had always thought they were interchangeable. Now, I'm only a design student and I completely understand why they are not. Here's the thing. There are so many creative and talented people out there. You could be a great interior decorator because of pure talent alone. But being an interior designer is so much more than the talent of picking out cute pillows that match the curtains. The difference is in the technical knowledge learned while going to design school. I'm halfway through my junior year and I've yet to have a class that mentions 'how to decorate'. I have literally been told before, "You are so lucky that your major is just like...drawing rooms and shopping online. SO JEALOUS!" ....oh no. Nooononono. No. I don't think I need to expand much more on that or I would probably start to rant. But no. I would not pay to go to school if I was just learning things like 'how to choose a cute rug'!
4) There is always more to learn
No one will never fully master every aspect of design. There will always be more to learn...new trends to discover, fresh products, new ideas to be inspired by. This is both exciting and overwhelming. Mostly exciting.
5) I am so glad this is what I'm studying
I think at some point everyone in college has at least a small moment where they freak out and wonder if they're doing the right thing. I definitely have, but it was short-lived. I had the thought that maybe I'd rather just DECORATE my own home some day, and wondered if I even cared to learn the technical designy stuff. Now I know for sure, I do. I feel blessed to be able to study something that I'm so passionate about, and really learn the ins and outs of the industry. Even in the times where I'm annoyed that I'm staying up until 5:30 AM perfecting a color board for my 8 AM presentation...I'm thinking, "At least I'm staying up this late for something design related instead of examining bacteria in petri dishes". There's nothing I'd rather be doing.