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An Open Letter to Graduating Interior Design Majors

Dear Future Interior Designer, YOU MADE IT! It seemed after countless hours in the CAD lab that this day would never come. After graduating with my interior design degree from High Point University as well as spending time in the working world and taking the leap to start my own design business, I hope that I can share a little bit of what I have learned.

Don't doubt your talents and creativity. There will come a point when you have your first big project, hit a bump in the road, or have to correct a big time mistake, when you think, "Am I really cut out for this?" You are. You were born to do this. Design is in your blood and don't let the voices around you or in your head deter you otherwise.

Always be prepared. Carry a sketchbook and business cards with you wherever you go. You never know when design inspiration will hit or when you will have to meet with a co-worker or client and have to sketch out your concept to them. Those business cards will come in handy as you run into people that could potentially be an asset to your company, potential client or future vendor.

Enjoy your coffee... but not too much. Your sleep is valuable. Remember to take care of yourself, even when juggling post grad life, and project deadlines. Life can get stressful, but always remember the importance of getting plenty of rest and setting healthy boundaries.

Take the higher road. There will be times that you will run into people that will doubt your abilities and want to engage in conflict. Don't stoop to their level. Remember who you are. Hold yourself to a higher standard. I promise that the people that matter will affirm and defend you and your work.

Be firm. Some people will see you as a recent college graduate, but you're more than that. Prove it! As young designers, we have been blessed with the knowledge of new technology and design programs that have revolutionized the design world. Use that knowledge to your advantage when speaking to potential or present employers. If you have a solution to a design problem or want more responsibility, speak up! Let yourself be heard and known. People will take notice.

Prepare to educate others. In this day and age, there are so many decorators that are labeling themselves as designers. This discredits all of the hard work that educated and trained interior designers have put into their education and work. Be prepared to politely inform people that although we make "rooms look pretty" our abilities goes way beyond aesthetics. We create functional, structural living or work spaces to satisfy our clients’ demands. As an interior designer, we hold knowledge of ADA compliances, fire and building codes, and have been trained to understand the concepts of improving spaces. Interior designers may decorate, but decorators are not permitted to design.

HPU Interior Design Class of 2015 after taking our last final! I still keep in touch with a lot of these girls today.

Keep in contact with your fellow classmates. They may be the connection you need to land your dream job, recommend vendors when you start your own business, or who could potentially be a study aid when you take the NCIDQ. Let the friendships you've made over your college years be a launching pad to your career. Continue to build each other up, even when you have all moved and gone down different paths in life.

Lastly, be honest. I say this to cover two issues. Be honest about who YOU are and what you want to do. Do you want to own your own design business? Take the steps to get there NOW. Want to be a high respected commercial designer? Study for the NCIDQ and rock that test! Follow your passion, but also, be honest when mistakes happen. It happens to everyone. No one becomes knowledgeable from always succeeding. Learn from it and move on. And don't beat yourself up over it.

You have worked so hard to get where you are today, but the journey truly starts now! Best of luck. You're going to be awesome. Xoxo,


#college #design #school

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