So You Want To Go To Design School

School time us upon us. I start my sophomore year in Design School in a few weeks and wanted to write down things that made my first year a lot easier. I’ll probably do a quick series on college stuff I have learned about as a not 18 year old student. I think that would offer a fresh perspective on things. 

There are so many schools that offer degree paths in design. And when I say design I’m including a huge umbrella of professions. Most people think of graphic design but there are also: industrial design, package design and interior designers (like me) that go through similar processes. I’m going to chat about the things I needed the first year going through school (and some of what I didn’t).


1. Space

I think that my first year was unique in that our program requires us to have a heavy background in art before we get to touch a computer. This first year is all working on projects by hand and I am sure I took over every horizontal space I could. While it was great to have all the tables…dinner has to be served in something, you know?

2. A multi function bag

I don’t feel like being a pack mule and I certainly don’t want to look like one. I was on a small campus so walking to and from my car was about a 15 min hike, but that doesn’t mean that I wanted to make multiple trips to my car. For me the easiest thing was to have a backpack for my books and then a large totes for my ‘purse’. The wonders that it can hold will amaze you. For me, any back pack worked and I was most well known around campus as the donut bag girl. #donutqueen

3. Snacks

I know, it seems silly to even have this one on here. But the nearest food court? 15 mins round trip not including the time to wait for the food. My breaks in between classes? 10 mins. Snacks were a necessity.

4. Supply Box

You can get a fancy one with levels (think like a fishing tackle box) or a shoe box and repurpose those 8,000 Ipsy bags you have. I had a mix of both.  I took my main bag to school but I had a tackle box at home  and would switch out what I needed. 

5. Sketch pad

The first year this was my life. I had classes Monday through Thursday and they all needed a sketch book. Unless otherwise stated, the cheapest worked just fine as all this work was preliminary.

6. Friendship

Straight up. I was going to a new school in a new state. Making friends with the people in my class was crucial because when it was 4 am the night before a project was due it was nice to have a network of people still awake and stressing about the same things as you. It has saved my sanity, and my grades, because of it.

Bonus item: phone charger!

That probably seems like another duh moment for most but honestly my teachers allowed music to be listened to and it helps those 3 hour classes go by a bit quicker. And when your on campus from 9-5 a little extra juice might be the make or break.

As a side tangent, I also took common core on top of these classes. Unfortunately, art/design classes doesn’t transfer well between colleges so a lot of my classes I had to retake again. Bummer.

And if your friends or family asks what you want for Christmas, Hobby Lobby and Michaels gift cards save many projects….

Now to the didn’t needs

Let me preface this that after Halloween, back to school supplies are my favorite time of year. A lot of this I bought because it was to freaking cute (Lisa Frank folders…anyone?)

1. The general BTS items

Pencil, pens, note books…I just didn’t need a whole lot. I got 2 notebooks and I used them for both fall and spring. You’ll need certain pencils for drafting so just wait until you get you supply list before getting those. I kept a few on hand obviously for my non design classes.

2. Buying the whole supply list

Kinda defeats my previous note. After the year was over I am looking at a bunch of things I didn’t need for projects. I bought it because it was on the list. Don’t trust the list. The list can change. The list is not all powerful. Make your own list.
I have a few other thoughts about the things I’ve learned about myself this past year but I think I’ll save that for another post. I really hope this helps out a future art/designer. 
Love ya,


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