by Zoey

The Stereotypes of a Design Student

I’ve been part of the College of Design for about two years, and by now I’ve heard my fair share of design student stereotypes. While some of the stereotypes are fairly accurate, some of them just make me laugh. I’m here to explain the truth behind each stereotype, so get out your sketchbook and jot down some notes! (Stereotype #1: design students use sketchbooks for everything–not always true! But I do treasure mine.)

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Stereotype #2: Students only major in design to avoid math and science

When’s the last time you walked into a building and it collapsed in on you? Probably never. This is all thanks to the work of great architects! Though engineers are part of the building process, architects need to know some math and physics in order to create functional structures. But architects aren’t the only ones! Landscape architects need to be well-informed about plant life, community and regional planning students need to do statistical research, integrated studio art students may need to understand the chemical reactions taking place when firing pottery, and the list goes on. So just because we focus majorly on the visual aspects of our work doesn’t mean that there isn’t math or science involved!

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Stereotype #3: We live in the design building

Most of our projects involve work outside of class, and that work can range anywhere from 1-18 plus hours. Design is time consuming! But luckily, we have 24/7 access to the design building, making late nights at Design almost inevitable. But just because we spend a lot of time there doesn’t mean we actually live there! I once overheard a conversation where somebody mentioned that they heard of bunk room in Design where students can take naps because so many people stay there working all night. Not true! Though I’ve seen plenty of people napping and spending long hours in Design, we get out from time to time, I promise! 🙂

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Stereotype #4: We’re all hipsters

Sure, we may have unique, creative ideas flowing through our heads more often than other students, but that doesn’t make us all the  “we were cool before you were” type of people. Though I’ve seen some of the most unique outfits, most decked-out bikes, and heard some of the most obscure music playing in Design, we’re all just doing our thing and enjoying life! We aren’t trying to be a specific type of person, we’re here to be ourselves.

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Stereotype #5: Our bodies are composed of a blend of coffee/Peace Tea/Red Bull

Design takes a lot of work, which takes a lot of time, which requires a lot of energy. It’s an endless cycle. Many of us turn to caffeine to get the creative juices flowing, especially when we have such a nice design cafe to fill all of our energy-creating needs. Though I’m guilty of guzzling large quantities of coffee in order to stay awake while working late into the night on a project, we have natural energy too! Sometimes we get so excited about a project that five hours of work flies right by without a single yawn! Those days are miracles, but remind us that we love what we do.

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So the next time you meet someone from the design program, don’t jump to any automatic conclusions about what we’re like. We are all unique individuals with different goals in mind. But it’s the great variety of people I’ve met through my education that have made me proud to call the College of Design my home!

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