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"To School or Not to School...That is the Question"

Wow!  It's been a while.  Apparently time flies when you're having fun....or when you're tied up doing tons of homework trying to finish your last design school course.

I'm happy to be back this week with some fabulous news.  I am officially finished with design school!
Residential Design I
Six years!  It took me six years to complete a program designed to be a year and a half.  I thought I'd pop in to share my experience with you guys.  I'm often asked if I think going to school is necessary or even worth it, so I figured a blog post on the topic was in order. 

When I began taking courses in January of 2011, I did so as a way to just..."start".  I wanted to start doing something fun, something for me.  I didn't really set out targeting a completion date or even complete the program.  I just started.  It was a way for me to invest in myself and invest in this gifting that I knew I had, but that was completely untapped.  The first course was tough.  It was Basic Drafting.  I essentially learned to draw the architectural plans (by hand) for an entire home, including the foundation and electrical plans. Yikes! 

Basic Drafting
It was like learning to ride a bike.  It was completely foreign to me.  I even cried a few nights because some concepts were really difficult for me.  I loathe orthographic drawings.  Nevertheless, I learned more in that first semester than I ever dreamed I would.  So I moved on to the next, and the next, and the next, and the next...

Graphic Presentation

Color Theory
 I've even blogged about it a few times over the years:


It wasn't long before I started to realize that I was learning the lingo, the history, the principles.  I was learning why things work (not just that they work) and things like why certain color choices are better than others for particular spaces.  It was totally enlightening.  It became my therapy.  It was completely different from how I was using my brain during the day and....I liked it!

Second Level Residential Drafting Class Final
Intro to Interior Design
Residential Design I
It was a lot of hard work, (A LOT!) but it began to become a place where I felt at home.  It was nice to be around people with similar interest.  In fact, I've met some of my closest friends and even a mentor there. 

I mean when you get into this kind of mess together, you can't help but become friends.

Celebrating with Marisa after completing Res I
After a while, I think I just got used to the work.  I just accepted that my evenings and weekends weren't really my own.  I typically spent Sunday nights doing homework and honestly, because I'm a bit of an overachiever, I poured more into it that I probably need to. 

Art History
The decision to go back to school is a personal one.  I'm not sure if it's the fact that my parents are educators or that my first career required so much schooling, but it was essential for me.  I just don't think I would've been comfortable fully operating in a realm where I didn't have substantial training. 

The bottom line is I'm SO VERY happy to finally be done, but I'm also glad that I decided to go for it.  The hardest part was starting and staying the course. The six years would've passed whether I started or not, so I'm glad I didn't let the longevity of the process deter me.

And just in case you're asking yourself if I think it was worth it, the answer is "YES!"  I'd do it all over again without hesitation. It was hands down, totally worth it. 

It's actually been a bit strange these past few days not having to think about homework.  It's odd to think that after 6 years, I will no longer have to spend my evenings in this building.  Honestly, I just might miss it. 

Here's to another goal completed and being a step closer to making dreams come true.

For those of you wondering, after scoping out the options locally and chatting with a few designers, I decided to attend Central Piedmont Community College.  They have an old school program with a lot of street cred in our area.  The curriculum is pretty intense but I appreciated the live classroom setting and knowledgeable faculty and staff.

7 Comments - Click here to join the conversation!:

Niki McNeill Brown said... Reply To This Comment

Congrats Cheryl!!! I can so relate to the persistence and hard work it took you to finish this while working full time. It does feel odd when you no longer have homework right? I cannot wait to see what God has next for you 😊 Xo -Niki

Yolanda said... Reply To This Comment

CONGRATULATIONS!!! This is a huge accomplishment and by the grace of GOD you didn't miss a beat. The best is yet to come!!!

Unknown said... Reply To This Comment

Congratulations! That is a wonderful success story and thanks for inspiration. This will open doors you never dreamed or imagined.

Dondra P. said... Reply To This Comment

We are sooooo proud of you. Hooray!

Unknown said... Reply To This Comment

Congratulations Cheryl! You rock!!

Anonymous said... Reply To This Comment

Thanks for sharing your very interesting and inspiring journey.

Sarah Strohm

Dwell by Cheryl said... Reply To This Comment

Thanks so much to you al!!!

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