What now? (part 2)

It’s been a while since the last entry, and apparently there are still people who find this blog and read old entries – welcome, people! :)

But I would like to announce that this blog goes on hiatus for now. Not that difficult to figure out given last entry was in March, and both that one and previous one were pretty personal about the hardships I experienced. And I do not want to have this blog as an outlet for my inner thoughts, since it’s more for useful information. So I didn’t want to leave it at that.

Currently I’m still in Umeå, recovering from that last half a year at UID, but it’s a very slow process.

About UID, and IDI vs. IxD

UID is a very competitive environment. Which at first I really appreciated, seeing all those passionate people, as opposed to all the lazy student I studied with in my previous education. The good thing is that it’s competitive externally rather than internally. People work hard and encourage each other to work hard so that they leave the school as competent designers who are ready to make a change in the world. Sounds great, right?

Here comes the butbut it’s still a very high-stress environment. If you find yourself short of that epic motivation to  change the world, you just like designing, but it’s not your only reason to breathe and you don’t sketch every free 5 minutes you have you might eventually end up feeling… unfitting. Everyone will encourage you to do your best, to make an epic portfolio (emphasizing that you shouldn’t stress too much that it has to be epic) to land the best internship you always dreamed of. But if you just casually enjoy designing and thing it would be cool to work with it this hard-working environment and amount of encouragement might be overwhelming.

An ex-IDI student once told us that “IDI is the kindergarten of UID“, and it really stuck to me, because eventually I noticed it too. IDI was supportive, but relaxing, there was A LOT of socializing going on. We would do our work, and do it well, but we invested so much time just chilling on the couch and talking to each other.

IxD involved a decent amount of couch chill time too, but the theme of competitions, awards, doing extra stuff for the projects just to learn thing was prevalent. The constant “we’re here to learn” was very visible.

IDI was the entrance to the design world with “oooooh, so this is how things work here!“, IxD was “I have to do X, Y, Z to change the world through design“.

When I was in IDI I experienced the support of others and the family feeling (lots of social time, like I said), but that feeling was barely visible when I was in IxD. And I’m not the only one noticing it. The place which grew to it’s current fame and reputation started with that honest support and togetherness that motivated people and made them excel, slowly turns into a factory for designers where everyone will blurt out generic words of encouragement passing you on the way to their 15-hours desk-shift. Maybe I’m over-dramatizing here, but that’s how it started feeling to me. We talked about family feeling and support, but it became more of a verbal concept, a principle rather than something that you feel truly exists. But it could be a lot worse. UID is still friendliest and most personal place of education I’ve been to.

Also, the bonus is that you spend your 6-times-a-week 15-hours shift by a desk with regulated height (each student gets one of those!). So you can’t really complain :)


 

With that I would like to part my ways with this blog for the time being. Maybe one day I’ll come back here with an occasional update on my studies when I resume them next year. But for now thank you to whoever read it and found it useful :) You can still contact me on my email or facebook if you have any urgent questions, but I can’t promise quick responses, as this blog and matters around it are no longer my priority.

See you!

Midsummer

Unlike in 2012 there wasn’t long drinking party, but we went to the lake. And apart from my classmates there was a bunch of people I didn’t know. However, I focused more on wandering about taking pictures rather than talking to people. The view was breathtaking.

It was raining entire day today and most of today, but it cleared up around 6 PM, so it was perfect! The pictures are taken around 9 PM. Temperature, though, 10 degrees Celsius. That’s northern summer for you! LOL

The exciting new beginngs

By that I mean the beginning of the new course actually. But there’s one more thing that took place today that was a good and inspiring event.

In any case, this is actually interesting, when we started the Cognitive Design course today – a course that I changed another one to, because this one is going to be much more beneficial for me – they told us to keep a diary or a blog or whatever to document the time spent on the course, and it was just one of the new things. I decided to resurrect this one. I have ideas for writing, many, but I have just as much time. School takes much more now than it used to. And when I’m home – I’m home, I wanna rest, and be lazy, and do home stuff. And yes, I play a lot of video games, and I see no wrong in that. For the most part, games show me it’s possible to overcome obstacles, like in Devil May Cry 3, when I failed over 30 tries to finally defeat Vergil. It just shows that putting enough time, patience, and dedication into things pay off, and the sense of achievement later is very rewarding. It’s overcoming all those “I can’t do it, it’s just not possible” digitally, and maybe at some point that will be an inspiration for real life.

Getting a bit off the topic I wanted to write about. We started with the course introduction, that was already quite unusual here, as our teachers are actually foreign, and until now I mostly had experience with Swedish teachers. Then they told us to write our names on a single A4 sheet, and took a picture of each one of us holding the paper. I’d say it was pretty new and pretty weird.

After all that, we were handed a sheet with project description. It could have been more interesting, but all in all it’s pretty practical task – design a navigation/wayfinding for a building. And later we got a lecture about what wayfinding is, pretty simple and straightforward one, just as it sounds.

In the middle of the lecture we were asked to draw a world map, from memory, given 2 minutes. There comes my geographical ignorance. I stared with North America (and adding Alaska to it, as I forgot to make it pointy enough. Then I drew Scandinavia, Russia, rest of Europe, rest of Asia, added Japan and Australia, and I had no idea to even start with South America or Africa. Later we heard that it’s easiest to draw what’s closest to home – funny that I started with North America, and I could add to it much more details than Europe. Central Europe on a border-less map it’s just a lump of countries. I could probably draw the shape of Poland, but that’s because I’ve been seeing it so many times over the years. I could never draw the neighbor countries though, except Germany maybe, because it’s big.

My awesome world map

My awesome 2-minutes world map from memory

The most interesting part of the picture was when in the end the teacher presented us her portfolio, turned out that she worked for Nike and had a really successful company – I thought “Wow, such an experienced person as a teacher!”. And all that was practical work, no research bulls**t.

Next interesting part was a student who moved from Cognitive Science to the IDI program I applied for in January. What he said sounded amazing. But then again, the amount of places is very limited, more than I thought. I’m got much more insecure about it. He also said it’s good to talk to the program co-ordinator, and that probably I should do it and “remind” myself and my interest. Feels a bit like bribing them with words into taking me to the course. But I’m gonna do that in a couple of days, whatever I can to get there.

After lunch there was a tour at the building we are supposed to design for, but there was also the Feelings First Games seminar  with Robin Hunicke organized by HUMlab and it has been an amazing experience. I felt bad for skipping what seemed an important part of the project, essential for the start of it, but my priorities have always been weird and “my way” so I want to the gaming seminar instead. It was excellent choice. Later on it also turned out that the tour was really poor and not that helpful or informative, so I didn’t miss much. Robin Hunicke worked on The Sims 2 and lately Journey which became a hit. Seeing live a “famous” people who’s part of the team that create games, who care about them and who care about the gamers was incredible! There were a couple more people speaking in the second part in the afternoon. All the speeches, however, were about reaching also to the non-gamer community. Which is fine, but personally I just don’t like casuals. Whatever hobby I have or more like obsession – I give it my all, and it just hurts seeing people not care about something as much as I do, and do it half-assed – being casual gaming with rushing through the game missing half of the objectives or doing crappy websites because “it’s easy any everyone can learn it in a week”.

But what Robin said also made me think that, well, of course, it’s US, and here is a different world. While not saying the the opportunities are not here, it’s all smaller here. It’s not like you will go somewhere and suddenly get recruited by EA. If US games get big in US they instantly get big worldwide. But if a game from another region wants to make it big it needs to get REALLY big, like Angry Birds or Minecraft. But what console game from outside of North America or Japan made it big? I might be wrong here, but I can’t really think of many.

Anyway, all in all it was an interesting, exciting and inspiring day.

PS. I spent 200 kr on basic art supplies for the course. Crazy expensive, as always here.

sketch supplies

I got accommodation!

Shortly after my last desperate entry here I managed to actually get accommodation, from December. One day at the beginning of November I applied for three rooms (like usually) and I was “qualified” until 1 AM, which is much longer than all times before, when I got kicked out of the top 8 around 11 PM. Anyway, the next day I woke up, checked my inbox, and I was shocked I’ve received three e-mails titled Offer from Bostaden. Apparently, I was qualified in top 8 for all the applications I did the day before, and I was 7th, 6th and 2nd in the queue.

For clarification, Bostaden offers a room to 8 people with oldest register date within those who applied. The queues are usually between 30 and 60 people long, and only first 8 of those have a chance. But once you enter the top 8, you still have to queue, as there are people with older dates in front of you. You are given the choice whether you accept the accommodation you were offered (it doesn’t mean that you were given). Whether you get the accommodation depends on the choice of people in front of you. If they reject the offer – you get the chance.

In the last day of making the decision I moved from 7th to 5th, from 6th to 4th and from 2nd to 1st – I got the room I applied for! I have been saying before that I would like to live in Tunnelbacken, because it offers cheapest rooms, and it’s really close to the university and rather close to the student area as well. And then I noticed there was a shared shower… which explained why the rent was so low. *horror*

I was really unsure about the shared shower. I do not really mind sharing shower, but it’s nicer to have it on my own and cleanliness issues bother me the most. I talked with a friend and she convinced me that it can’t be that bad. And after all, it’s the perfect location, and nice low rent, and I really want/need accommodation, where I’d rather move in December than January (sort of last moment + exams time). And obviously Internet issues here as well, that I really want the proper internet connection.

Long story short – I got the accommodation, and I’m really happy about it! And in the area that I wanted. I looked at the situation later and it seems like it was the only that that I could have gotten something, and something from December rather than January.

I went there today, to see the building. I learned that unlike in Linköping the entrance doors to buildings are never locked here, during daytime so I wanted to go in and see it. I had some troubles finding the building at first since I thought it’s in a different part of the area, but it’s location is even better than I though actually. I went in and it really looks cool. My corridor and room are on the ground/entrance floor (gonna be easy with moving my bags, but there’s also elevator)). And it also seems that all people  my corridor are Swedish, which is a nice surprise, I guess, hopefully? At least there’s a chance it’s gonna be clean in the common areas. Some pictures I took of it today follow.

If someone saw me today there they much have thought I’m some creep. Taking pictures of the building, coming in and then leaving shortly, taking pictures inside. But I was really surprised how good and nice it looked^^