Time to Reflect…

Going into this past week I anticipated feeling very anxious. Normally I might make myself sick with nerves, somewhat pointlessly, about almost every aspect of starting something very intense and new like the ac4d program. A few of these aspects might be… 1) meeting my classmates who I know I will spend so much time with in the next number of months , 2) meeting my Q1 teachers who will be the ones guiding my future journey into the design sphere and 3) trying new things at a very condensed pace. All of the potential anxiety being amplified by adjusting to a new city, new roommates, the Texas HEAT…..and being rather alone.

I found, however, that I was more confident than I expected once I was actually in the room, and re-contextualized my mindset to consider that I am not the only one who probably is feeling these things. And while my experiences might not be the same as others, hopefully they have prepared me for the journey ahead in my own way.

Through the mini lectures and activities, I found myself invigorated by all of the topics and processes we touched on that we will learn over the course of this year. I also found myself at peaceful terms with the idea that I am jumping with both feet into this process knowing that there will be times that my head will dip under the water for a few moments.

The experience of the bootcamp challenged me in ways that I did not expect, and that I don’t think I could have envisioned or articulated before trying it.

I felt the strain of trying to flow freely with the wide-open process of thinking divergently to harness creativity. It’s simultaneously a process of thinking really hard and also loosening up your mind up and trying to push out of your regular safe patterns. I could feel the rustiness of those muscle that haven’t been flexed in a while. It sometimes felt like trying to crush a can with your mind by staring at it a hundred different ways….and then slowing remembering that you can just pick up the can and crush it. Or maybe crush it with a shoe. Or crush it with a car. Or just throw it out the window entirely.

I learned that idea generation is both easy and difficult. It takes a lot twisting around and rethinking bad ideas in order to find that one good one you wouldn’t have been able to come up with right away.

I learned that listening both with your heart and your ears is essential to getting to the core of an issue, and that the designer’s personal instincts and intuition (rather than metrics and quantifiable justifications) play more into the process than I necessarily realized or considered. I think that I built on what my idea of  empathy-in-action means.

Finally, I learned that while design strategizing feels new and difficult, it is not as completely inaccessible as I could have imagined, and I can now more clearly see the future me that hopefully will come out of the program empowered to create new and awesome things.