Life as a [1st] year IARc student

February 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

When I joined the IARc department last fall, I had great expectations about what I was going to learn.  I was convinced that I was going to learn all the tricks of the trade and start designing right from the beginning, but I soon realized what I expected to learn and what I was actually learning about were two different things…

Coming into the program, I thought I would be diving head first into building codes, floor plans, drafting, CAD, color theory, etc.  All the skills and know-how one would need to be a true designer!  Although we do learn all these skills before we graduate, what I was taught my first semester was a foundation for what is to come. It was a more abstract way of thinking  about design along with the basics of conveying ideas through design. Both will prove to be vital tools and perspectives we need to know in the field during our careers.  These foundation skills were taught through numerous assignments.

One of the larger projects, which spanned half the semester, revolved around looking deeper into a single song (which we each had selected one for some reason or another) to gain perspective. With this song in hand, we were instructed to observe the piece from various perspectives.  For instance, we were asked how the song might look if it took physical form as either a drawing, wood sculpture or even as a print on fabric.  In completing these tasks, I gained experience in abstract thought and how to look more intently at the subject matter studied; both skills are essential for understanding the design process and, in turn, building a career in design.


This image is the abstract drawing for the song I chose.


This is the pattern I created to be printed on fabric for the same song.

wood piece

And this was the wood sculpture created for the song.

Although my initial expectations were different from the reality of what was actually taught, I now understand the need for a strong foundation in the basics.  I’m really excited to continue to learn, grow and prepare myself for an exciting career in design with the skills I will obtain throughout my tenure in the IARc program at UNCG!

Contributed by Jolene Holbrook [1st] year.



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