Time flies! I have finished most courses in UAL（University of the Arts London) and have started to think about my final major project. I feel excited at first because I will have a chance to pursue my passion . And then I also have a sense of loss because it will soon be the end of this wonderful journey.
Before starting the final major project, we were encouraged to do a self assessment and also provide feedback to at least 10 classmates . While doing this, I realized it is a good chance to know more about myself, help me find my project direction, learn how to overcome difficulties and make a solid choice about my job.
When I wrote weakness according to the past experience at university, I recognized that I have not been good at working with others. For example, I did not have enough empathy and patience to understand others’ opinions, especially after having a long meeting or during a tight schedule, so I could not explore solutions. I was not good at expressing my feelings and I did not like to explain my opinions or in different ways until others can fully understand. Sometimes, due to lack of experience working with teammates, it’s hard to control my emotion, causing poor team cooperation.
I was excited that this assessment can give me the opportunity to re-recognize my previous teammates. I paid attention to their advantages as well as giving affirmation, provided suggestions for their shortcomings, offered opinions on some questions, and resolved misunderstandings. When one teammate said that she was touched by my comments, I felt satisfied. Through this process, I was thinking about how to get along and cooperate with others better in the future. These teamwork experiences and reflections helped me realize my problems, and I will overcome them to become a better ‘Ming’.
Find a project area I love
When I wrote my strength and something makes me enjoyable, I was confident. But after looking at others’ feedbacks, I found that most people only recognized 1to 2 points of my strength?’After an in-depth thinking, I realized that my ability may not be as good as I thought, and most importantly, I did not pay much attention on past projects and grades. I treated these projects as tasks and finished them quickly. I didn’t care about the results and even didn’t want to explore too much. I was so lazy that in most cases I chose easy tasks instead of making more contributions according to what I am good at. I was like a designer who has lost the soul in the past several months. I’m not very clear about why this happened, but I know that in the last project, I have to find one area where my passion lies. Then I asked myself ‘what do I really love’ ‘ which area do I want to spend six months to explore’. My answer is ‘women’. This group has certain prejudice and unfair treatment in different countries and cultures. For example, some older generation think that women should be gentle as well as virtuous and they should not be ambitious in career; some women dare not express their sexual needs and enjoy sex with their partners, because it is an old opinion ‘if women show their sexual desire, they will be look obscene; some people suggest that women should learn in the area of Liberal arts and the arts because of an old opinion’ girls are not good at logical thinking’, Women have received serious questioning and provocation in science areas. As a woman, I always feel angry when I hear something like this. I want to use what I have learned to bring hope and encouragement to more women. This is a very meaningful thing for me. I want to help the group I am in and bring positive change.
Firmly determine my initial career choice
About my future plan, during the UAL interview with tutor, I said ‘ I want to work in a design consulting company after graduation’. However, after talking with some people, I realized that the if I work in a design consulting company, my income will not be high in the first several years, with a normal state of working overtime, I will encounter difficulties when transferring to other industries because some projects may not finish the implementation due to external reasons. I hesitated.
And then I asked one question ‘what I want to achieve during the first several working years? ‘ Money, no! Comfortable working state, no! The most important thing is to explore more and broaden my horizon by taking part in design projects in different areas. I want to use design thinking, skills and knowledge to make positive changes in different areas. I want to see a bigger world and find my favorite areas which I can spend the rest of my life exploring. Through this question, I reaffirmed my original career decision without any hesitation!
Make the most use of resources
When I was answering the questions about who can give me feedback and my network, I realized that although the final major project is an individual work, I need to learn how to maximize the use of my network and resources. For example, if I encounter some problems, I can ask my tutor to provide professional suggestions and ask my classmates or friends in diverse areas to gain different opinions. If I encounter something I am not good at, I can ask classmates who are knowledgeable at that area.
This has been a very useful start, now I am excited to take on my final master project in UAL! By the way, I will share my final project process on this platform in the next 8 months!