When I was looking for a place to study Graphic Design I had a specific list of criteria:
1. Duration: Having studied Medicine for 5 years, I didn’t really want to endure another 3 years stuck in university sitting in a lecture. I wanted a course which was not too long but also used its time effectively. Also I had given myself a year off to see how chasing my dreams will go and I wanted to see what real life design was like, not just in a classroom.
2. Real life application: What made my Medical School really good was that it was very practical. Third year into the course we were moved into the hospital system and learnt while we worked, hence when I became an Intern I didn’t struggle as much as the kids who spent more time at uni. I wanted a design course to be like that. Set it up like life in a studio and also be up to date with the current design trends, not just focus on one thing and make you sign up for another course to do another component.
3. No prior experience: It was immensely frustrating to find courses which required previous experience. You needed a portfolio and to pass an interview to get in. I understand that’s necessary for some but it made it difficult for people who were looking for a change like me. People who dreamed of designing but never got a chance because of other commitments or life pressures.
Then I stumbled across Shillington College. I was at a Design market about a year and a half ago and stumbled across their stall. The old style portfolios with works in plastic sleeves laid out on wooden tables. I flipped through them, amazed by the work, received a cute typography tote and then walked away. Few months later I purchased a Computer Arts magazine and their ad was on one of the pages- I googled them. They were my perfect fit!
It then took me several months of thinking and over thinking and encouragement of friends before I applied. I applied about a month before the course started! I admit it is on the pricey side, however I do not regret this investment one bit. I still remember my first day, anxiously standing in the excruciatingly slow elevator to arrive on level 9. Walking through the white hallway and being greeted by two excited and colourful individuals- my extremely talented teachers and feeling less nervous. The classroom is like a studio, clean white walls, teacher’s computer and projector at the front and 4 lines of wooden desks with MAC computers for each student. At the back there’s a library and comfy couches and a mini kitchen. From there we could see the city as we were 9 levels up and smack bang in the hub of lane ways, design studios and boutiques.
Everyone learns differently and in this case Shillington was the perfect fit for me. I highly recommend researching and getting a hold of Computer Arts Student Handbook- The definitive guide to breaking into the industry. It lists the many ways you can learn design and the pros and cons of each avenue.