It’s spring break this week, which means I’m about half-way through the semester. This seemed like good time to reflect on how my classes are going and how I’m feeling about interior design in general.
For those who missed the first blog post about my return to academic life, I am taking a couple of courses through Cañada College’s interior design program. The program is accredited with a lot of professional organizations and is well know to people in the industry in the Bay Area.
My Introduction to Interior Design course combines design theory with practical application and includes a semester-long project where we put together a proposed design for a fake client. In my Architectural Drafting class, we are learning how to do hand drafting of site plans, floor plans, electrical plans and more. Hand drafting is no longer done in the industry but it serves as the foundations for the drafting computer programs.
Career exploration through classes
I have appreciated the structure of learning about a new career field through a teacher-led class. It has forced me to keep a regular schedule and pace with my exploration. I particularly like that the classes I’m taking are focused heavily on practical applications, not just theory.
These classes have been a good way to get a taste of the field. It has opened my eyes to many different career possibilities within this industry. And it’s comforting to know that if I decide to pursue this career path, this program comes with it a lot of connections to interior design professionals.
However, I’m starting to feel like I won’t get a real sense of what it is like to work in this field unless I supplement my courses with an internship or part-time work with an interior design firm (or related workplace). There’s a difference between work with your fake client who is a friend and working with a real client.
Thoughts on interior design
As I’ve mentioned before, one of the biggest learnings from my courses so far has been how many different career paths are available within the interior design field. I’m starting to learn more about which of these different avenues interest me more than others.
I’m very interesting in furniture and textiles. I find myself less interested in kitchens and baths. I’m still interesting in learning more about home staging, a niche that has a lot of growth opportunities in markets like the Bay Area, where real estate is booming.
I like the idea of being an independent designer because of the schedule flexibility it can offer, but the idea of working completely alone is a little overwhelming. Right now, I’m thinking that if I decided to pursue a career as an interior designer, I would want to start at a firm (even if it was a small one) to get hand-ons experience before deciding whether or not to branch out on my own.
Because my classes meet only once a week, I do feel like it is a prolonged learning period, where I may not get a sense of how I really feel about the courses and interior design as a career path until the end of the semester.
However, one thing I have noticed: a lot of the time, I’ve let other creative pursuits like theater and the podcast take precedence over my interior design classes. I mean, I have still gotten my course work done on time, but I haven’t been rushing to do certain assignments like I thought I would.
For example, for my Intro to Interior Design course, we’re at the stage of our final project where we get to “shop” for different furniture and furnishings for our client. I thought I’d be poring over Pinterest and furniture catalogs by now, but I haven’t even started. Instead, I’ve been focusing on auditions and podcast marketing.
I’m not sure how to read this. Is it that theater and podcasting are more energizing to me than interior design? Or maybe it’s that my theater pursuits and podcast work are things that I have created myself and dictate completely while the interior design projects have been assigned to me by a third party.
I feel like I’m still not convinced one way or the other if interior design is the career path for me. I will, of course, see my classes through to the end of the semester. And I may see if I can do an internship and temporary part-time work with a firm this summer before making my final decision.