Help and advice for a UK student, please?

Hi there,

I’m currently a first year student on a ‘3D Design’ course, however I’m currently finding my course rather dissatisfying. For the first part of the course we were taught something of the materials we would be working with (although, I did find this rather patronising as it wasn’t far beyond the things which I had learned at GCSE level) and since then we have been given very little guidance and I feel I’ve gained very little new knowledge. I know this kind of thing works well for some people, but I was really hoping for something more along the lines of problem solving and working to a brief. I just wanted something I could really sink my teeth into!

The other thing is that the course is more ‘crafty’ than I expected… I don’t want to seem belittling to crafts people, I know there are many very skilled people who work in crafts, but it doesn’t seem right for me.

It’s been suggested I go for something more engineering based, which I think I’d enjoy as I have a keen interest in maths and mechanics. So I was thinking something along the lines of industrial or product design, but am having trouble finding a course that really seems to excite me!

I don’t know whether to stay put on this course and hope it gets better, or move on to something completely different! I don’t want to end up as a ‘drop out’ or a ‘perpetual student’, and was wondering if any had any advice about a good product design course in the UK? Or ever found themselves in a similar dilemma?

Thank you to anyone who’s taken to the time to read this incredibly long first post! :smiley:

Not sure where you’re studying but most Universities do a ‘crafty’ course (designer maker) and a more technical course (design for industry, product design etc) it’s worth checking if your Uni supports these so you could simply transfer.

Secondly check out what the 2nd and 3rd years on your course are doing, to see the type of projects coming up (I’m sure you have already). If it’s still very arts based and you don’t like the look of it, it’s probably not for you, but generally the first term of any course is fairly tame (work shop inductions etc) to get everyone to the same level.

Discuss your concerns with your tutors - they should be there to help! Ask them what they’d recommend.

Does your course teach CAD modeling etc - fairly important to get into and will push your boundaries.

As I said, not sure what course you’re on, but as a comparison, check out the courses offered by Loughborough, DeMontford, Coventry, Plymouth etc. If none of these float your boat, then something more engineering based might be better. In which case check out Brunel university.

Most courses let you set the briefs ie, this module design a piece of furniture - which allows you to be as technical or as crafty as you like, so you can tailor it to suit your needs.

The important thing is you’re only starting your second term, so it might get better and if not, it’s not too late to change. Don’t loose heart, you won’t be a perpetual student, but there’s no point in staying somewhere you don’t feel you’ll benefit from.

I’m a Loughborough finalist, and from what you describe i would think that our industrial design course is suited to you.

You can take any route you want here (or atleast the one i am doing, i think they have changed it slightly so you either do a bsc or ba) but anyway you specialise in what you want. i.e you get the grounding modules in the first year which is lets be honest pretty easy, then second year you start to focus on your chosen area, mechanics, electroncis etc…

That is what i would say is good about it up here, you can specialise in anything you want to, the facilities are all there, esepcially the mechanics and electronics side.

I would add though, that uni will not teach you everything. Infact i have probably learn’t more from my peers and out in industry. It is up to you to push yourself into the area you want, no matter what uni you are at. Uni will only give you the basics.

Thank you for your input and advice.

I’ve been asking various people (graduates from my course, as well as courses I’ve been looking at) and think I probably will try to switch over. I just need to get some advice off careers/course counsellors and start visiting the unis and finding out more.

Thanks again, guys. :slight_smile: