Wednesday, 13 May 2009

A time to reflect

When I submitted the A1 Sketchblog and A7 Rasterised projects in on Tuesday I must say I had a mixture of feelings, and emotions. Part of me was happy and relieved to have completed the last assignments, and to have made it to the the end of the first year (which around Christmas I doubted), the other part still apprehensive about whether I had made a silly mistake on the assignment, or that I might get referred. The thought of that still lingers a the back of my mind, and will only go to rest when I have found my results. Hopefully the outcome will be positive, then I can wind down slightly and enjoy the summer period, however I don’t intend to wind down too long, as I have have work lined up all ready to keep me ticking over that period, which will hopefully put me in good stead for the second year.

It seems like yesterday when we had to write our first journal entry, and in all honesty I never anticipated the first year would go by so quick. In a way, this year has kind of been a wake up call, it has made me appreciate and manage my time better, and has stopped me wishing my life away.

I remember quite clearly when we were issued with the first brief A2 (Journey of 1000 miles), my anxiety at the time, bonding with new people, the fear of failure, getting use to the education system again, and having so many other things to take on board. Now looking back I seem to wonder what all the fuss was about. Every brief issued gave me some form of anxiety at the beginning, but yet as always everything always seemed to work out, (with much hard work of course). This is something else I have learned during the year, not to take things too seriously, which I often did, to a level where sometimes it affected the enjoyment of my study.

The A2 brief was a nice way of breaking us in to the course. It introduced me to new terminology, it gave me time to get use to college life again, and improve my writing skills, which were rusty indeed. I must admit at the time I just wanted to jump in the deep end and crack on with the design, and I was a little bit peeved with been issued with the A2 assignment at first. However I soon realised the importance of the it, and how it prepared us for the A3 (Sounds Like a Plan), and the fact that you cant run before you walk.

For me A3 project along with the A5 (Builder) were the hardest briefs of the year. The A3 was hard in terms of the volume of work we had to cover, research, write up, and prepare. The A5
was hard technically, as we were introduced to the XHTML, and CSS, which was totally new to me. It was while working on the A5 I think I changed for the better on the course, as I had serious doubts at one stage whether I could deliver the goods. Like I mentioned above, everything worked out.

The hardest aspect of the course for me was balancing my job with the college work.
Apart from helping me fund the course the long stressful shifts in the kitchen did not help my studies, especially at Christmas time, the busiest period of the year. When enrolling on the course I thought I could work 40 plus hours a week and still have time to study, that was not the case.

Another spanner in the works was an operation I had on my foot. Because of this I was unable to work for ten weeks, and as result I ran out of funds towards the end of the the course. Fortunately the college helped me out a great deal, and I was able to overcome my financial difficulties. In a way the operation was a blessing in disguise (apart from the pain), as I had to have time off to recover. This meant I was able to spend more time on my course work.

From that experience, I aim to to do is save up enough money over the summer period to cover next years fees and costs, this will ease the pressure of having to so many hours, which will enable me to focus, and commit more time to the course.

My targets for next year are build on what I have learnt so far, in terms of design and code.
I aim to further develop my knowledge of XHTML, and CSS, and hopefully delve in to some ecommerce. I would also like to learn Action Script as I have always been interested in learning Flash, or to be able to incorporate Flash elements in to a website.

In terms of next years grades, I don’t want to sound over ambitious, but I would like to aim for merit and above. At first I thought it would be near impossible to achieve that (especially, when I got referred on the A2 brief), as there is so much criteria to meet, but taking on board the experience I have gained so far I am fairly optimistic I can achieve some good grades nest year.

Overall I am happy with the way the first year has gone, and my progress. Up to press it has been an enjoyable experience, however, there is so much more to learn. I am really looking forward to the second year, when I can build on the skills I have developed, and better my self as a designer. I am also looking forward to the live project, where we will have the opportunity to go out build a website for a client, then eventually it will be time to find a job in what I have trained to do. I am sure that time will come soon.

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