School/Work Life

Question for you all:

As I contemplate getting a second degree in industrial design, I have been talking to various ID students to get an idea of what their experience has been like. I am short on cash and was wondering if anyone was able to hold a job while immersed in an ID program, undergraduate or graduate?

I would be paying for education myself but would be unable to support myself (school supplies, paying for a car, R&B, eating etc) if enrolled full time. Having spent the last semester preparing a portfolio by taking 6 credits, I see the amount of time that goes into a ID program and struggled to keep up and work two jobs. One full time student said she didn’t work or intern while at Pratt due its intensity and I believe it based on my experience just taking 2 classes! So I am more than a little worried.

I really enjoyed getting a taste of ID, but am considering moving into a different facet of design, perhaps interaction or graphic, as the life of an ID student seems like a lot like the life of architecture students I know, in terms of project demands and time constraints.

Been looking at cheaper schools but some like VA Tech don’t grant 2nd bachelors. I’m sure it could be done but working as much I would need to and studying ID doesn’t really seems feasible. :frowning: Any insights?? thx

It’s definitely possible. I mostly freelanced while in school which was good and bad. It was flexible from a time perspective, but often times crunches meant I would be slacking on a school project because I just spent 28 hours trying to meet a deadline.

It’s really just going to come down to being mature enough to manage your time responsibly. Study/work/party is kind of a balance that college will teach you, it’s up to you to decide where you want to split your time.

I also did a little bit freelance work but mostly worked for the school as a shop tech and teachers assistant.
What was important for me though was that I would have time to work on school or personal design related projects during my work hours. This is why being a shop tech for example is perfect.

I chose specifically the ceramic shop, which was a quiet, calm oasis compared to the model- and woodshop which was loud and where people just constantly were in danger of sawing of their limbs.
I definitely did some of my best student work while working as a tech.

Maybe you can ask the school what the options are.

I worked in an on-campus grocery store, making sandwiches, for maybe 8 hours a week. When that got old, I washed dishes at the breakfast/lunch/pizza/late night dive. On Sunday nights, from 4 til close. Walking home in Syracuse winters at 1am, soaked in dishwater.

I worked at the on campus burger joint (called “the pit”) for about 8 hours per week. Free food! Then I worked as a “building monitor” which meant I had to sit in the lobby of a building after hours two nights per week. Sweet. Basically got paid to site there and do my liberal arts classes homework. Honestly, the demands of studio courses were so high, I don’t think I could have have dealt with anything more. That was me personally of course.

While may not be an ID student, I have taken a few classes in our ID program here at Drexel. From what I can tell, it is pretty intensive studio wise, and of the kids who have jobs most just have 1-2 days/nights per week. A couple of the kids DJ, which seems like a good way to get in your party/work fix.

My suggestion, if you have to work, make it something that relates to design or lets you get school work done while working.

Never worked while in school, aside from a few small freelance projects. My program was very intensive I’d be lucky to not do an all nightet almost once a week with the combined studio and other courses over the 4 years of school.


My last 2 years in school I managed to work out my schedule to allow me to not have any classes on Fridays. That meant I could work from 8 to 5 in addition to the few hours here and there during the week. I had an understanding boss that allowed me to work flexible hours or weekends too if needed. Most businesses employing college students in a college town are pretty understanding that work is secondary to school for their employees. Now, if you’re going to Pratt, that might be tougher because you’re competing with the populous of NYC for jobs. But I’m sure there’s something you can do to get cash.

Besides, student loans can help pay for more than tuition…

I personally couldn’t see myself working and going to school for this career. I know people that do it, but I feel like being able to dedicate 100% to only school work will help me gain a better skill set than if I had to work and that skill-set will sort of “bloom” better results down the line which would nullify the lack of income available for these five years… Just my philosophy

Summers I had a well-paying job, covered most of my nut for the year. Tuition was cheap in my day, certainly not like today. But I also lived in a dump and was king at knowing where the free food was at.

During the school year, weekends were available and I could manage a few hours during the week.

I fully recommend working while schooling. Like bepster already mentioned, those jobs that are sort of tangentially related to the field are the absolute best. I was a lab assistant in the computer lab and this gave me experience working with large format printers, scanners, etc. Plus the hours of down time were nice for getting other stuff done.

Also I’m personally of the belief that working a variety of hourly jobs gives a person a bit more “flavor” anyway…honestly if I’m out having beers with designers, I don’t want to just “talk shop” all night.

I did all kinds of jobs during my educational years, despite having a nice
monthly donation from my elders.

Looking in the backview mirror I could have done better, if I had been able
to concentrate more on my study projects. But ID is not only time consuming,
it also needs some money to get things built, so it wouldn’t have worked without
a night job.

I did some Taxi driving (most schooling interpersonal experiences in a row) and
later worked for the local theater and art house, which was somehow study related,
but I’d advise to stay even closer to your real interests and goals, despite free burgers
elswhere… :wink:


I think Cyberdemon hit the nail on the head. It is all about time management and finding a job that is flexible. I did a lot of freelance while going to school and being your own boss makes things alot easier, but the flexability is a trade off from getting a regular paycheck.

Also, trying to make the most use of your summers is important. If you can work full time in the summer it’s a good way of bankrolling most of your ramen and beer for the next semester.

All the above is good advice and working can not just help finance your studies and day-to-day but even be beneficial to your career.

However, I would also like to add that putting in free time to get away from responsibilities and design work for a while is essential. At least it was for me.
From time to time it is important to clear your mind, relax and enjoy the fact that you are young and in college.

It is all about the right balance.

I truly agree with bepster, Working not only supports you financially also your day-to-day needs. But remember to enjoy your days with friends, dont miss those times which are green memories that will never die in your heart and mind.

Even when you look back, you will find those sweetest memory of your life.

All the best…