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6 Tips to Survive Finals for Interior Design Students

How is it already December?! It feels like just yesterday that we started this fall semester, our last fall semester, and somehow now our final presentation for the Healthcare Studio is in 2 days!

Last blog post we told you how our time management skills have slowly increased with every semester. This time around we finished our final with 2 days to spare, which is typically unheard of. As mentioned, Canva plays a big role in our new time-saving techniques but there are more tips where that came from and we want to share the wealth in light of the holiday spirit.

Lets get to it!

Tip 01

Time Management

First things first - fill in your calendar as much as you can!

We know you hear us talking about our google calendar all the time, but it really IS the KEY to surviving finals and keeping your professional, personal, and student career life in order. So here you have the code we’ve cracked:

  1. Start by adding all your fixed daily activities such as class time, work, meetings, etc. Don’t forget to add any due dates for assignments, projects, or tasks for the month.

  2. Then make it a routine to spend 30 minutes to an hour at the beginning of each week to plan any extra commitments or activities that you will need to attend during that week.

  3. Once you have those major events locked in, notice what due dates you have and start to block off time in your calendar to work on them and STICK to it. When it’s time to work on them in the calendar- you must do as the calendar says!

  4. Lastly, make sure you have different categories to color-code your calendar and keep it organized.

Tip 02

Go the Extra Mile

Advance as much as you can during midterms so you have less work for finals.

We know it's easy to brush through midterms and just tell yourself “I’ll fix it for the final”, but that can add up really quickly. Typically, there are only a couple of weeks between midterms and finals in design programs and lots more deliverables to fulfill in that time before the final presentation. If you leave midterms deliverables incomplete, then those will be extra to-do’s on your list.

If you go above and beyond for your midterm presentation, not only will you really impress your professors and jurors but you will notice that most final deliverables are ticked off your list before you even receive them.

Tip 03

Develop a Strong Plan

Avoids having to go back and move around floors and ceilings.

A small trick that makes the semester feel a lot lighter is to develop your plan to the fullest during midterms and before rendering your views. This way, you have a good amount of work to present and receive feedback in the middle of the semester and most importantly, TIME to make the corrections! Trust us, this prevents that burn out feeling at the end of the semester because we all know that finals can slap you in the face with all the extra requirements LOL!

Tip 04

One Space at a Time

Pick one space in your plan and design it to its fullest extent before moving on to the next.

When under pressure it's easy to start mindlessly working on different spaces throughout the project as ideas come to mind; however, that will NOT be time-efficient. If you are not focused on one location at a time your mind cannot hone in on the design and effectively create a cohesive space. This will lead to designers block or having to come back and redo spaces when you notice that they are working - which means that you spent double the time on one location.

This method of jumping locations can also lead to forgetting details within views, resulting in multiple half-designed spaces. It's better to have one beautiful and fully designed rendering that will be a wow factor in your design rather than multiple half-assed views.

Tip 05

Pick Your Views First

Only detail areas that are going to be shown in renderings.

This might be the most time-effective tip yet and its only something we realized last semester. Before noticing this, we used to go room by room in our plan and design them each in 3D with full materiality. Then, we would get the final deliverables and realize that we only needed a certain amount of rooms rendered in 3D and so those other spaces were left half materialized as they never needed to be shown!

Here’s how to go about this. After all your furniture is in plan and it is ready to go, start picking the views that you want to show in the final presentation. Then, take our previous tip into mind and only design one view at a time in 3D with materiality. We promise, this will be a life saver!!!!!

Tip 06

When Working in a Team

If your working in a team, always work on multiple parts of the project simultaneously.

Team work makes the dream work! When you’re working in a team, it's best to split the work and have one person working on a different part of the project at a time. Splitting work on programs like Revit could be difficult because you can’t simultaneously work on the file at the same time but something we like to do is upload the file to our google drive and split the work by rooms and then you can copy them over on one file- this can get tricky because you can miss things in the ceiling or anywhere in between hahah! So, make sure to be extra careful when copying things over. Remember that in projects there are many different parts so you can split the work based on each team member’s skill sets or you can rotate tasks so that everyone has input on every section.

VOILA! There you have it, our recipe for a smooooth sail during finals. We hope this works for you and relieves some of the pressure and tension that we all feel during this time! After finals week, we would loooove to see all your projects so send them our way for a special shout out! BEST OF LUCK!!!

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