With the new year coming, I thought it time to reflect on the past semester.
In no particular order:
1. Blunt feedback is rough but freeing.
Seeing “boring”, “really?”, and “sloppy” on your assignments can hurt. You feel like a failure and with no positive feedback to latch onto you feel like giving up. Hopefully, after calming down and remembering you’ve paid money to learn, you don’t give up, because accepting that harsh criticism is a step to improving. Harsh critiques have made me realize two things: sometimes that voice in the back of your head is right, and sometimes it’s all just subjective. If I look at a harsh comment and think “yeah seems about right,” it means deep down I knew it and was hoping to sneak by. If I think “I guess…” it means I see the marker’s point but may not agree. Whichever it is, think about it, accept it, and move on. Best thing.
2. Being consistently creative is hard.
I went to CreComm after finishing my business degree and was looking forward to less numbers and more C R E A T I V I T Y. Then I got tired of being creative everyday at 8 AM and couldn’t remember why I ever thought that. What makes a creative person? This is the question you’ll ask yourself as you try to think of an ad that’s “seemingly outrageous” but get coffee instead. Not all your ideas will be your best. And sometimes, the ideas you think are best are worst, and the worst are best. Being a creative person (to me anyway) means accepting this and creating stuff anyway cause you like doing it.
3. Get out of the #CreComm headspace every once in a
All the rules and fear of accidentally breaking those rules can
be stifling. Sometimes you need to watch/read/make/hear something that’s not related to CreComm at all.
4. Smaller classes are so nice.
I haven’t had classes this small since high school. My business classes were usually about 60 people and participation was rare or done begrudgingly. CreComm classes are 25 people and participation is vital, so you quickly learn everyone’s names and personality. It’s straight up lovely to get to know your classmates, and comes in handy when you need help.
5. Rules be rules. It sucks.
CreComm has some strict rules. It’s impossible not to break a rule at some point. So, you learn to take the extra early bus and triple check your papers. It’s annoying, but gives you peace of mind that makes it worth it.
6. There’s no such thing as a dumb question, but there is such thing as an esoteric question. So ask later if you’re not sure.
My section was known as the rambunctious section. We talked a lot and asked a lot of questions. Sometimes that this helped us, and sometimes this hindered us. After several instructors commented on it, we made a system of making a “T” for time-out from questions to continue the class. It’s perhaps a bit childish, but effective. To be honest, I didn’t know what esoteric meant until one instructor said many of our questions were esoteric. Basically, it means it only applies to some people, so in this case the entire class doesn’t need to hear it. You can always ask the instructor one-on-one later if you’re unsure.
7. You’ll never know if you don’t ask, but asking doesn’t mean you’ll know.
With so many rules, a certain paranoia sets in and you want to ask a lot of questions. This is usually ok with at-home assignments, but with in-class assignments you’re less likely to get an answer. You’re more likely to get a response with the subtext, “I want you to figure this out on your own.” It’s practice for going with your instincts. At this stage, your instincts probably suck (or maybe mine just do), but they’ll improve (I think).
8. A little paranoia is valid, but know your limits.
Again, so many rules equals so much paranoia. Proof-reading and asking instructors/classmates for feedback can save you mega marks, but there’s a point where you’re bugging yourself and/or them. It’s different for everyone, but over time learn where you like to draw the line and just hand it in. It also varies from assignment to assignment and course to course.
9. Be happy for your peeps.
Not everyone has this problem, but I know I’m inclined to professional jealousy. I see someone’s awesome work and want to be happy for them,
but a little green voice in my head nags “you’ll never be that good”. It takes a healthy dose of mind over matter, but surpassing that thought and genuinely letting them know how awesome you think their work is makes them and you feel a lot better.
10. Embrace the uncertainty and treat it like excitement. It’s more fun.
Creative work is subjective. This is Creative Communications. Obviously there’s best
practices (that’s what you’re there to learn) but ultimately one person’s trash can be another’s treasure. It takes some getting used to, but once you get passed the fear it’s actually exciting. Your marks are like a box of chocolates, you never now what you’re going to get. I haven’t even seen Forest Gump (though I should) so I don’t know why I used that metaphor…
Anyway, I learned a lot in my first semester, and look forward to the next one! Hope you enjoyed reading this and thanks 🙂
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