Student Survival Guide

Tips for Surviving & Thriving

First and foremost, should you be taking 12 credits (four classes), with at least two studio classes?

The answer is not that simple. If you are truly motivated to move through the program quickly, have no spouse, no children, and no job, then go for it. The studio classes are quite intense and the lecture courses are no slouch either. There are no “easy As” in this program. Three classes is certainly doable, if you have only one studio in the mix. By the time you get to Kitchen and Bath (ID50), you really should consider slowing down to two classes per semester. The design classes are huge in every possible way. You need the time to really learn the material. The first several classes in the program are brick-laying classes. The design classes really help put everything together in a real-world sense. Also take advantage of the Winter and Summer semesters. Currently, there are no classes offered from the ID department during those times. However, if you are in the program to get a certificate or the A.S. degree, many of the other classes required are available.

Which classes should I start with and which are easier?

You should understand how your brain works. Are you more creative, or more linear and logical? There’s no wrong answer to that question, but it should guide you in the best possible way to start and keep moving through the program. If you are creative, you will love the ID10 (Elements and Principle of Design) and ID20 (Color Theory) classes and they will be easier for you. If you are more logical, then ID15 (Drafting) and ID28 (Building Systems) will be easier for you. But which should you take first? Because of the layout of the prerequisites, you might want to hold off on ID15 until two semesters before ID50 (Kitchen and Bath). ID65 (AutoCAD) will be the semester in between. You should be fresh from ID15 and ID65 before ID50. ID10 could be done prior to ID20 and some students have found it to be easier. Some say the reverse is easier. If you are more creative, wait to take ID10 until a semester or two before ID50. If you are older and have any hand issues, like arthritis or carpal tunnel, whatever you do, do NOT take ID10 and ID15 in the same semester. In fact, try to separate ID10, ID15, and ID20 from each other. They require a significant use of your hands. ID30 and ID70 (both Graphic Techniques) also use your hands quite a bit.

With so many class cancellations or only being offered once a year, how do I navigate through the program in a timely fashion?

So you noticed that a class you’d really like to take isn’t offered when you want to take it? That can be frustrating, especially if you’ve given yourself a time table to get out of the program and move on with your career. The PDF in this link “IntDesClasses-gen” is a list of classes as they have been historically offered since about 2009. Your mileage may vary, as classes might come up one semester when it doesn’t typically. Watch the schedules closely. Plan your attack on the classes. The lower level classes will always be offered. Don’t sweat it. Moving into intermediate classes, you run into some that are only offered once a year, and even with that, there may be less interest, and a class gets canceled. While it’s incredibly difficult to get through the “two year program” in two actual years, if you plan it right, you just might get through it relatively unscathed.

Do I really need everything on the materials list I got in class? It depends on the class.

  • Absolutely get the Drafting kit and Elements kit; buy it at the WVC Bookstore – you’ll use everything.
  • Get a drafting board. They say it’s optional but a good drafting board will improve the quality and accuracy of your work. The only other question is portable or stationary? Get the portable only if you really have nowhere to put a drafting table at home. Get the kind that are adjustable and can be positioned for sitting or standing use. They also fold for easy storage. It’s easier to draft at home than in the classroom. I used my drafting table for all my projects as I could raise or lower it to work sitting or standing depending on how I felt and what I was working on.

Miscellaneous tips

  • Colored pencil tip: Verithin colored pencils draw a thinner line and are chalky. Prismacolor pencils are oily
  • Always keep a good quality, small, portable pencil sharpener with you (and your sketching pencils), the wall sharpeners in class tear them up and some specialty pencils don’t fit in them.
  • Get an eye exam before drafting class so you don’t strain…you may need glasses.
  • Halogen light is great for upclose work.
  • Many manufactures or US distributors of imported fabric, wallpaper, etc. have an email address. Send a nice note about being a student, etc., doing a research project, and they will send samples. It never hurts to ask!
  • Learn as many computer programs as you can. Excel or the table program in Office for legends on drafting plans, when manual is not required. Adobe Photoshop or any digital photo manipulation program.
  • Be very nice to the employees at your neighborhood Kinko’s…become their friend…you will need them!
  • Get student memberships at the Mart, Design Center and ASID
  • Join the WVC Interior Design Club. The key to this business is networking and it’s never too early to start!

Some supplies to always keep on hand through the program:

  • Glue sticks – for adhering paper to presentation boards
  • White glue
  • Black Zig pen
  • Matte boards of various colors
  • Canson paper of various colors
  • Black foam core
  • Pack of post-its
  • Roll of sketching paper
  • Collect plastic condiment containers, frozen dinner trays, or any small plastic containers with lids, for mixing and storing paint.
  • StudioTac double sided tape about 5/8” (19mm) wide and StudioTac dry adhesive sheets, to cut any size. Use to secure fabric, wallpaper, more porous materials, to presentation boards. White glue can bleed through and look sloppy.
  • Thick, padded double sided tape. It’s good for securing tile and wood trim pieces to presentation boards and layering mat boards on top of each other for presentation interest and depth. White glue works for this too.
  • Aaron Brothers sometimes has supplies University Art doesn’t and vice versa. University Art will have good sales…stock up then…sketch books, vellums, papers, boards, and paint brushes, and always is at a discount.