Quite a few years ago I began my academic studies at HIT-Holon Institute of Technology. When I try to recall the experience known as “a student’s life”, a lot of sensations, emotions, and longing rise to the surface.
So, what are the implications of being a design student?
The workshop – a building containing large numbers of machines, tools, and materials – is every product design student’s heart and home. It is where I spent most of the hours of every day, most of time enveloped in a cloud of sawdust, among other things.
I remember we would order pizza at 20:00, and all the students would take a break and sit to eat together, then continue working until midnight, till “lights out”. On more than one occasion I stayed in the workshop a little longer, even though everything was already dark, because I was in the middle of a process.
For me the workshop was like a toy store for a child, this really cool place where products are born, my fellow students’ and mine. Nothing compares to moments of collaboration and mutual assistance, when you join forces and help a fellow student in their product development process.
A lot of emotions and feelings rise to the surface in the workshop – success, anxiety, frustration, helplessness, breakthroughs, and especially creativity. In the workshop I experienced tears of success and tears of frustration.
Before every submission, your head automatically shifts into a different mode. Sleep deprivation, heavy workload, and a desire to create an all-inclusive experience in time, a product that has everything it needs.
Standing in front of the whole class and being able to accurately convey the essence of the product, knowing how to accept constructive criticism, and at times contain negative criticism that makes you want to disappear, when this situation catches us after long, sleepless hours and considerable pressure. In design, failure and success are experienced in front of the whole class, you can’t fake it!
After our submission presentations, we’d all feel deflated, but soon after I’d have to pick myself up, find the strength to focus, because there’s another project or product I had to work on.
Discussions, sketches, models, dialogue, collaboration, mutual enrichment, listening to all the students… In a conventional situation I’d call these classes “learning en route”, the journey towards a product that will be born from an idea, a topic, and a problem. Hours of research, deep and lateral observation, loads of learning and listening, tools, and modes of action. For me, the classes were a place of sharing and mutual enrichment, and the instructors and lecturers were a source of inspiration and growth.