My Journey to Thesis-ing
It's not very typical to find design thesis stories on Recipe/Lifestyle Blogs, but I did't start a blog to write just another template blog. Instead, I started Summerfield Delight to record my own journey and share it with you. For the most part I am inspired by and interested in cooking and lifestyle that invokes the creative spark. Before I share my thesis topic and final showcase of my thesis -- something I am very proud of -- I would like to tell you a bit about the process, or my Journey in the process.
When I used to imagine my life, I knew I was going to be creative. I knew I loved problem solving but I wasn't sure how it all fit together. I knew that a liberal arts education would not only be the foundation of a good education but show me the path I was meant to take. Architecture was my chosen path at 18 as a way of chosing a 'creative career', but soon realized I loved the theory behind design, the evolution of architecture, the relation of people and space to their surroundings and that 3D design is not my forte. I sometimes wonder how I am crafty since I can't cut a straight line with a paper cutter. No seriously, my coworkers will vouch for this - if want a detailed cut out of some crazy design-- sure, I got it. A true square, ask someone else.
It was clear going back to 2D design was where I wanted to go and design was a real interest but how could I make that work at a school with no design classes other than Architecture and no intention of ever leaving "the hedges" of Rice University. Rice was my home, and I would find a way to figure out what I loved while staying there. This was NOT easy let me tell you - there was some 'soul searching' in the form of Buddhism classes and finding my passion for sociology and the interaction of people and their surroundings. (seeing a pattern here?) With getting involved with a few on-campus organizations I realized it was creative marketing and into graphic design that I wanted to learn. I did "Publicity Chair" for multiple groups on campus from silly weekly signs to posters hand painted hung on campus. The interaction of design and person and understanding what made people 'tick' in order to interact with the design fascinated me and brought me to my love... Graphic Design.
I realized before my senior year I probably needed grad school in order to compete for real graphic design jobs since I didn't have a portfolio. I took a chance and headed off abroad for the fall of my senior year (missing a few key senior events) to get the art exposure that I had learned to love in high school and put together a portfolio for my grad school applications. A few things scared me in this process. Masters in Fine Arts work isn't normal for a right out of college designer, and man oh man I was afraid of writing a thesis. When I found SCAD, the option to do eLearning (and save money by living at home - doing it part time by working and still being a fabulous and well recognized design school) I was thrilled. There was a MA an an MFA program... I could apply for the MFA and switch to MA if I wanted to. After looking back on the program, I was so happy I decided not to stop at my MA - I really truly learned to push myself academically in the design process once I really hit those harder upper level MFA courses.
[ side note: an MFA in Graphic Design is like your PhD in other non-design courses. It is the terminal degree in the course, meaning you have the highest level possible. This is why with an MFA you can teach at the college level - similar to PhD.]
Picking my thesis was probably the hardest decision I have ever made - and developing it to a point that it could become a viable entity was a whole other level that took months of planning, reading and working harder than I ever thought possible. And that was just the development for thesis topic approval! When it came time to sit down and write this winter I will not lie; I dreaded it. What I was dreading however wasn't so bad after all! I was totally and completely prepared to write my thesis even if I didn't think I had the design scope or the final development of my thoughts. I just sat down and wrote - stream of conciousness until ideas formed that turned a infographic project into a full MFA thesis that was not only well-received, but something I could be proud of and share with my community.
[this last section was done in fast forward mode: so that you have something to learn about in the next part of my journey-- and some super supportive friends and family are the only reason I made it through unscathed.]
I am looking forward to sharing with you my final written paper - although you probably won't read it - I will summarzie for you :) I am in the midst of putting together an archival book of the final product including photos of the final show -- and when I get that in I will share that as well.