College of Design Student Blogs

January 12, 2015

Pre-departure Thoughts.

Hey Readers!

This is my LAST post from the United States! It is the craziest thing to be able to say I will be in Copenhagen in less than a week. This is something I have been waiting for since 2009. As a freshman, I had hoped to study abroad sophomore year. Then, after transferring, I was hoping I could do it my junior year. Now here I am, senior year and finally studying abroad. If it doesn't work out the first time, do not give up!

Since I've had the desire to study abroad for so many years, here are some of the reasons I haven't given up on it, along with some excuses I've heard from others and my rebuttal.

-"It is so expensive." Yes, college in general is expensive. But there will never be another time in your life where you will get the opportunity to drop everything and move to anther country for six months, and pay so little. If you take away the cost of tuition, living and travelling abroad during college can be so cheap. You get student deals and discounts, housing, and maybe even a food stipend.

-"It just doesn't fit into my schedule." There are loads of opportunities to 525079_10151996825162715_638774270_n.jpgstudy abroad: semesters, J-term, May term, and summer. Students typically aren't taking classes during three of those options anyway. Three weeks abroad is better than no time abroad. I went to France for a week one year during spring break, and even that short amount of time was enough to change me. Plus, as students at the U of M, we are all provided with advisers who are here to help us map out our four-year graduation plans. Mention your interest in studying abroad at the first meeting and they will help you plan courses accordingly. Advisers are great!

-"I don't know another language." You would be surprised how many study abroad opportunities are taught in English. My school in Copenhagen is taught in English, even though most of the professors are Danes. A number of my architecture friends are headed to Istanbul, where they will be taking classes in English. The U of M is a huge school with so many resources spread throughout the world. You will easily find a program that is the best fit for you. Check out all the programs here.

-Last but not least, a bit of my advice. I know I am a little different by saying that I love change, but I do, and I am so excited for all the changes that are going to be happening over the next few months. I'm not just talking about changing my where I live or who I hang out with, but more so how I am viewing the world and my education. Only a handful of my architecture peers take the opportunity to study abroad. But I believe those who do are only adding to their education. Architecture is a global study, and it is refreshing to one's work to be able to study elsewhere and with a variety of professors. The work you produce will be unique and will give you the opportunity to stand out. Studying abroad is meant to be a learning experience in all aspects of one's education and life. And as students who are eager to learn, why not study abroad!?

I am saying all of this pre-departure, so we will have to reference it again in May. But having this mind-set for six years has brought me to this point, and I could not be happier. Farewell to my friends, family, colleagues, and America! Denmark, here I come!

"Traveling is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer." -Unknown


Posted by Margo at 10:13 AM |

Here We Go Again

Hope everyone had a great New Year's celebration and are sticking to their New Year's resolutions. I didn't make any resolutions this year. Mainly because I usually don't start one until two weeks into the new year, and then it only lasts about two more weeks after that. Plus, I've just been busy concentrating on putting myself back into the working mode at all my jobs.

Student jobs at the U of M are definitely a lifesaver, because they will usually have your position waiting for you when you come back from a long period of leave. I'm definitely grateful for having them; so if you are in need of work during the school year, definitely look into jobs at the University. For the rest of the break, I'll continue to work and try to replenish the money that I spent in London. Then in little over a week, the new semester begins again!

It's exciting and scary at the same time. I'm excited to see all my fellow classmates and to catch up with everything they've been up to in the past semester while I've been gone. I'll be showing one last piece for the senior Fashion Show before it becomes my senior Fashion Show. I begin research for my senior line this semester (a scary and exciting topic of its own). Then on top of that, I've accepted a position to be a TA for this semester's Fashion Illustration class. I can't even begin to express how honored I feel that they think my illustration skills are strong to offer me this position. I guess I better enjoy as much of this break as I can, because it looks like next semester is going to be a busy one.

A great view of downtown Minneapolis from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

How to dress for Minnesota winters.

Go to to follow my blog and keep up with what's going on with me. Also, make sure to check out the UMNDesign Instagram to see more of my pics.

Apparel Design

Posted by tranx671 at 6:26 AM |

January 11, 2015

Textbook Shopping!

Winter break is coming to a close and spring semester is quickly approaching. As everyone is getting back to campus and ready for school, we all realize we have one very daunting task ahead of us--the search for textbooks. I sometimes have to buy about eight textbooks a semester, so I thought I'd share some of my tried-and-true resources to help you with your future textbook searches.

First of all, there's the U of M Bookstore, which sometimes can be the best deal for a book and, since it's right on campus, there are no shipping costs!

I also recommend looking online for textbooks, which can lead to some really good deals, saving you money and sometimes offering a quality book at a lower price. My first online go-to is always Amazon. Just type in the IBSN number of your book and then you can compare prices from difference people selling them. There are also a lot of online vendors such as Chegg, AbeBooks, etc. that can give you great deals on new or used books and rentals.

I've also recently found out about U-SWAP which is an online marketplace for students to post listings for textbooks and housing. This could be a great way to get textbooks from U of M students at a good deal. Some people probably are just trying to get rid of them and the incentive of a few dollars could really work in your favor.

I encourage you to check out these websites and see what kind of deals you can find. Sometimes it may seem the easiest to just pay full price for textbooks, but hunting for the best deal can really save you money. In my experience, it has been worth it!

Good luck on the textbook search,

Interior Design

Posted by mill6185 at 4:24 PM |

The Wonderful World of TED

Hello Everyone!

With the lack of homework during winter break combined with the recent colder temperatures, I've spent a lot of time watching Netflix. I have also been doing something slightly more academic - watching several TED talks.

Before I started college, I hadn't been introduced to the world of TED and had no idea what I was missing. TED talks are fantastic! New talks are posted weekly and TED's home page proudly boasts more than 1,900 talks available on any topic you could ever dream up. Plus, they're all completely FREE.

TED talks

So to get you started, here is a list of five of my favorite TED talks from a few of my favorite designers:

1. Paula Scher -- Great design is serious, not solemn
2. Chip Kidd -- Designing books is no laughing matter. Ok it is.
3. David Carson -- Design and discovery
4. Tim Brown -- Tales of creativity and play
5. Milton Glaser -- Using design to make ideas new

Finally, here is a link to my all-time favorite TED talk. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's The danger of a single story is fabulous! While it's not directly about design, its message is important to remember simply as human beings, and can (and should) be taken into account upon designing as well.

Graphic Design

Posted by Leah at 2:42 PM |

December 28, 2014

Out of the Classroom Experience

Happy break, readers!

I'm down to three weeks until I leave for my semester abroad in Copenhagen. It is still surreal, but I am incredibly excited. As things are winding down, I've had to part ways with my first studio desk, and have my last day at my architecture internship.

I started at mattson|schuster last December and have worked there as the Architect Intern the past two semesters as well as throughout this past summer. mattson|schuster is a small, residential remodelling company with an office in Excelsior. Being that the company is quite small, I was able to get very hands-on experience. The designs were done between my boss and I, and as I continued to get more experience, I got even more freedom with the designs. As with any job, I learned so much when I first started -- codes, sizing, foundations, pricing.

What was really great about this internship is that I continued to learn throughout my time there. In the remodelling field, every home you visit is different. Customers desire different changes to their home, and each house has a pre-existing challenge that we either need to fix, or work around. That is one of my favorite parts about being in the remodelling business rather than new build; each project has to be different, because the existing structures are never the same. Below is a picture with everyone at mattson|schuster enjoying lunch on my last day! Check out some of the work from mattson|schuster here.


I have a very strong belief that internships are absolutely necessary to pair with one's education. This opportunity provided me with skills and knowledge that some of my peers don't currently have. Everything is not taught through coursework, and therefore, first hand experience is exceptionally relevant. Sometimes I got overwhelmed with balancing my internship and my coursework, but that is also a skill we all need to learn. Balancing a number of things is a struggle in college, but it makes it all that much more rewarding. Internships look fabulous on a resume, too! Even if you only work once or twice a week, or maybe 20 hours, it all adds up and shows your experience and commitment to your education and career choice.

The U of M has an awesome Career & Internship Services office, where students can go for free. I went there a few times last fall and received advice on my resume and more information on how to use the internship search. By December I had landed myself an internship!

See you in 2015! Happiest New Year!


Posted by Margo at 10:40 PM |

Goodbye London, Hello Minneapolis

I hope everyone had a great holiday! I'm back home in Minneapolis. It's been a little bit of an adjustment coming back home, but it feels great to be here. I miss London and all the people that I've grown so close to there. My body is still adjusting to being back in this time zone and my pocket book is a lot emptier, but the experience I had there was worth it all, and then some.

I'm excited to be coming back with all these new skills I've learned, and bring them into the new semester and the new year! After this, I promise I won't go on and on about my study abroad trip and how wonderful it was. I just want to recommend one more time, that if anyone is considering going abroad to study, do it! You'll make lasting friendships from people around the world. It will push you outside of your comfort zone, and make you a stronger person. You'll learn things and have experiences that you may not learn or have otherwise. You'll also create memories and stories that will stick with you for a lifetime.

If I've convinced you to go abroad, and you want to go to London, let me give you some tips. The first couple of days may be hard, you may get homesick and you may be a little scared, but don't worry, that's normal and it will pass. Don't be afraid to ask for assistance with directions or interact with people. They say that the majority of Londoners aren't even from London, so most people should be willing to help. You may not get any help the first couple of times, but don't give up--persistence will usually lead you in the right direction. If you aren't from a big city, you're going to have to learn not to take things personally and to toughen up a little. Don't be afraid to be a little aggressive when walking through the crowd. A smile and being polite will also usually be returned with a smile as well. Definitely save money. London is an expensive city, so you want to make sure your experience isn't hindered with the worry of financial issues. While you're abroad, I would also recommend having someone help you take care of any issues that you might still have at home, because it's hard juggling a life abroad as well as your life back home. Make sure to make your time there the best experience it can be by making new friends and making memories.

I'll leave you with those tips for now. Until next time, have a happy New Year! Be safe and make good choices!

This is a picture of the illustration of my final line up for the collection I designed.

Here are some pictures of the final exhibition we did of our work in the semester.
DSC_0414.JPG DSC_0422.JPG

And now here is a picture of some of the best people in the world, my classmates and our tutor.

Go to to follow my blog and keep up with what's going on with me. Also, make sure to check out the UMNDesign Instagram to see more of my pics.

Apparel Design

Posted by tranx671 at 10:08 PM |

Minneapolis: A love affair

Hello Everyone!

Every year, the holidays remind me of why I love Minneapolis so much. In fact, one of the reasons I chose to transfer to the U of M was because of the city. I didn't always love Minneapolis, but it took leaving to make me realize how really great our city and state truly are!

Minneapolis has been ranked the Healthiest City in America by Forbes, the Best Place for Millenials, the 2nd Happiest State in America, and Friendliest City in America, just to name a few. If you want to read further about what else Minneapolis excels in, click here!

Minneapolis Market

Another reason I love Minneapolis is simply the amount of things there are to do here! A few of my favorites include going to farmer's markets, hanging out at Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet, ice skating at the Depot, and going to all the various festivals held throughout the year.

To find out more about what Minneapolis has to offer, Meet Minneapolis has compiled a list of 150+ things to do in Minneapolis.

If you're still not convinced, check out these videos Greater MSP and Meet Minneapolis have put together:

Welcome to Greater MSP

Minneapolis -- By the Seasons

And for those of you who are apprehensive of our winters, make sure you check out this one!

GMSP -- We Embrace Winter

I hope you all will fall in love with Minneapolis and Minnesota just as I have.

Until next time!

Graphic Design

Posted by Leah at 7:28 PM |

Internship Search

It's winter break and for many people that means the start of the search for a summer internship. I know for future students this may not be the first thing on your mind as you're considering colleges, but I think it's definitely something that you should take into account! A school that supports your search for an internship and eventually a job and career is a school you want to be a part of.
The internship search can be stressful for a lot of people, but I have discovered some great tips and resources that can be helpful to find something you will really enjoy doing.

  1. 1. Informational Interviews. The first thing I suggest is taking part in some informational interviews. This is such a great, informal way to learn more about an organization, its work environment, and if you would enjoy working there. A lot of places will be very willing to talk to you as a student and let you see what they do on a daily basis. I HIGHLY recommend taking part in one of these. It can be intimidating at first, but from personal experience, I promise it is nothing to worry about and will be a very rewarding experience. The link above provides some information about informational interviews and tips for conducting one.

  1. 2. GoldPASS. A great resource the U of M offers is GoldPASS. It's a job search platform for students and includes job and internship opportunities from employers who are interested in hiring University students.

  1. 3. Resume help. The U of M provides career services that offer a lot of help preparing your resume for potential jobs. They provide tools such as networking information and mock interviews. Taking advantage of these resources is a great way to make sure you're prepared before an interview or submitting an application.

The job hunt can seem daunting, but if you're organized, prepared, and take advantage of the great resources at hand, it can be an easy, stress free, and exciting process. I hope this helps you out either in your future search for an internship or job, or even just to get you thinking about what the future holds.

Hope you're all having a fantastic holiday season!

Interior Design

Posted by mill6185 at 4:10 PM |

Winter Break Life

Winter break, one of the most relieving times of the year for college students, has been pretty low-key so far. My fall internship is over and now I don't work unless it snows. Given the fact there hasn't been much snow, I've found myself just relaxing, where as normally I would be plowing if there were snow.

Currently, I am working on an application for the Accelerated Track for Landscape Architecture, a program that would allow me to start graduate school a year early and would offer a rather reduced price tag. I've also spent my time on break going to the lake to enjoy some ice fishing and outdoor recreation. The picture below is of my dog out on the lake over the holidays.

If you are interested in the Landscape Architecture program, and possibly graduate school someday, visit the Masters of Landscape Architecture web page. Just checking it out is helpful and will give you an idea of what you can expect in the coming years.


Landscape Design and Planning

Masters of Landscape Architecture

Posted by Allen at 2:58 PM |

December 27, 2014

Textbook Talk


Hello again!

I can officially say that I'm halfway through my junior year of college - how crazy is that? It feels like just yesterday I was walking into my AP European History class in high school. My favorite part of the end of the semester is returning my books to the bookstore.

I choose to rent my textbooks when applicable because it saves me a lot of money! If you have the option to buy or rent a textbook, I would suggest renting. You can write and highlight in the textbook as you would if you bought it, and then simply return it to the bookstore at the end of the semester. I also like renting my textbooks because I don't have to fuss with storing them or worry about selling them to another student on campus. However, if you prefer to buy your textbooks, Facebook is a great resource!

I hope you all have an amazing holiday and a safe break!

Style on,
Retail Merchandising

Posted by Bethanie at 9:47 PM |

December 17, 2014

There's No Place Like Home

This is the final week for the program at Central Saint Martins in London. This week, we are doing our finishing touches on our final projects, as well as setting up an exhibition of all the work we have done while we've been here. The exhibition is in collaboration with the studio art students and the graphic design students who are also studying abroad. The task is to be able to curate all of our work into a cohesive exhibition, which means that we have to look at the space available to us, and decide what works we want to display and how we are going to display them. Turns out, putting up and curating an exhibition is a lot harder than you might think, especially when you have to make a cohesive show with so many different styles and pieces from everyone.

I'm excited and sad at the same time that my time here is almost done. I've learned a lot of things, had some amazing experiences, and have made some amazing new friends while I've been here. I'm excited to bring back the new knowledge I've learned here into the work I'll be doing when I get home. There will definitely be things I'll miss about London, but I'm definitely ready to go home.

Big Ben.jpg Church.jpg London Eye.jpg London Tower Bridge.jpg

Go to to follow my blog and keep up with what's going on with me. Also, make sure to check out the UMNDesign Instagram to see more of my pics.

Apparel Design

Posted by tranx671 at 9:53 AM |

December 14, 2014

Finals, and projects, and papers - Oh my!

Finals week officially kicked off on Saturday. Lucky for me, I did have a final on Saturday. During my (almost) three years at the U of M, I've never had a Saturday final. However, it really wasn't as bad as it sounds. I only have one final left in my Human Resources class and then I'll be working, reading books (for fun), and blogging over my winter break.

Finals week is a pretty big deal in college, but don't let it scare you! My biggest piece of advice is to keep up with your readings and fully understand all material as the semester progresses. This way, when finals week creeps up, you'll already feel semi-prepared and you can focus your time on reviewing materials rather than trying to read and learn new material in addition to studying everything from the previous months. I made the mistake of getting behind on my HR readings and I now have to read eight chapters AND study before my exam on Thursday -- don't do this! Save yourself the stress. You'll thank me later.


This photo was taken before my Textile Analysis lab final. We were all pretty nervous and we studied right up until the last minute!

P.S. The U of M libraries are awesome recourses to use during finals week. They are even open 24/7!!

Style On,
Retail Merchandising

Posted by Bethanie at 11:07 PM |

Fall Semester Is Over!

Hi everyone,

Well, it's already that time of the year--winter break! I was lucky enough to have all my finals done by Saturday and don't have any taking place over finals week. It feels great to have it all done, as these last few weeks have been jam-packed with things to-do and stuff to worry about.

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 7.18.34 PM.pngThe other week my codes class (IDES 2613) went on a field trip to the new Microbiology Research Facility being built on campus and looked at how they are using codes in the construction of the building. To the left you can see a photo of me and some classmates outside of the site. We received a hardhat tour of the site and it was really interesting!

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 7.18.20 PM.png
After that it was time for me to get down to studying and finishing up projects. My big final project, for Interior Design Studio 3, was to design a chair showroom (seen on the right). It was a lot of work, but I was able to get it done on time and created something I am really proud of! After turning it in and finishing my final exams, it has been a great relief to be to-do free. It actually feels a little weird, but I think I can get used to it!

I hope everyone is finishing their semesters strong and best of luck on final tests and projects! Have a great winter break!

Interior Design

Posted by mill6185 at 7:11 PM |

A Little Inspiration for Finals Week

Hello Everyone!

As finals are upon us, it can sometimes be challenging to stay focused and motivated all the way through to the end. Therefore, today I want to talk about inspiration and where I (and you!) can find it.

Oftentimes, before I start a project, if I get stuck, or just need a study break, I like to search through the graphic design tags on Tumblr and Pinterest. I keep both a design inspiration blog on Tumblr and a Design board on Pinterest so I can go back and look at the pieces I have re-posted or pinned whenever I need to.


If you don't do so already, I highly recommend it! If you don't know where to start, Creative Bloq put together this list of The 90 Best Tumblr Blogs for Designers.

A few other great websites to check in with, include:

-- The Dieline
-- Creative Bloq
-- Packaging of the World
-- Lovely Package
-- The Design Blog

What's great about these sites is that they all have Twitter profiles and Facebook pages, as well. If you follow them on those platforms, reviewing their content can fit into your regular social media check (I know you all do it already) and you won't have to always be checking in with their site.

Until next time,

Graphic Design

Posted by Leah at 5:24 PM |

December 13, 2014

Nearing the End

Finals are here and the Fall 2014 Semester is almost to a close. For the most part, my finals have not been too bad. In the Landscape Architecture program, most of our work is project-based, which means not a whole lot of tests to study for. However, it does mean you are working hard to get that final project complete. Luckily, for me, my finals end pretty early this year. Four of my five classes are already wrapped up, and all I have left is a drawing project to present on Monday.

If you enjoy working on projects rather than memorizing things, Landscape Architecture might be a good fit for you. If you like gluing things together or drawing, it might be a good fit as well, and finals may be a little less stressful. Nonetheless, I am excited to finish up my fall semester on Monday and have a nice winter break. It will be nice to relax and enjoy some free time.

Pictured is a plan from one of my final projects.


Landscape Design and Planning

Posted by Allen at 8:32 PM |