An angle in studying in Helsinki Design School

helsinki design school logo

I’m gonna tell you a little about how it is to study in Helsinki Design School. First a bit about it. It’s a private school and it’s situated in the centre of Helsinki. In school, you can study e.g. fashion design, interior design, photography and graphic design (the one I study right now) I’ve also studied photography there so my angle of the educations is from experience. We meet twice a month (Friday and Saturday) and we get two assignment that needs to be finished until the next meeting. The teachers give professional feedback. The grades are from 1 to 5. The education language is Finnish.

There are different angles to look at it. I’ve read online about how someone thinks the school doesn’t give you a real diploma. Another one is, people shouldn’t waste time and money studying there. Go to a real school, they say. Well, Helsinki Design School is real. Just because it’s a private school, it doesn’t mean it’s fake. Private schools in Finland is not that common so people think only local schools have real educations. But that’s where they are wrong. So it’s isn’t cheap to study there but there are much more expensive schools in the world. Besides, here the teachers are professionals in their own field. They know how it is in the design business. You get to go to places you wouldn’t usually go. The school is under a year but you get to learn a lot. It really depends on how you look at things. If you look for instant success, you’re in the wrong school. If you’re not looking for a long education or you’re not really sure what you want to be, then this school is good for you.

So far the graphic design education has been interesting. Even if some of the subjects are familiar (like the Adobe programs) I still have learned new things. I always got the assignment ready in time. I’ve expected the grades would be the lowest which is 1 but I haven’t. It just proves I’m not that bad after all. My goal is not getting a 5 because grades are only numbers. It’s the feedback that counts. It’s a big plus that I know how to use the tools so I’m not totally novice. If I was a beginner the assignments would probably be more difficult to do. We are about 40 students so the class is quite full. But you can always ask your classmates if you need help. It’s always nice to go to school when the subjects are interesting and the atmosphere in the classroom is great. I didn’t regret the photography course and I don’t regret this one either. If your hopes are too high, it can disappoint. During the course, we’re making a portfolio of our best work and we’re gonna present it in front of the class the second last day. This Friday and Saturday it’s time to wake up early again but it’s worth it. I’m actually really excited to go back and learn new things.

Every school has its downsides and Helsinki Design School is no exception. I know a few who didn’t get what they wanted from the photography course. Some even quit because it disappointed them so much. In some things, it did disappoint me but that’s not really the school’s fault. The course was quite new then and it had its downside. It didn’t help me get a job or contacts. Some employers don’t really appreciate people who studied at this school which is a shame since you really do learn how the industry works. What I did get from this school was working in a photo studio, old school photography and visiting an advertising agency. It also ensured me that photography is not something I want to do for a living after all. I don’t remember much about what I learned there though. Some have found success after they went to this school so maybe the school isn’t as useless as someone might think.

I don’t look for success. I applied because I wanted to add another skill to my resume. I’m not satisfied with only one skill. I’m the happiest when I can do different things. Versatility is the key and that’s the reason why I want to learn different things. Helsinki Design School is perfect for me. I don’t have time to study for years. The length of the education is long enough and I can do other things too. That’s why I applied for the internship I wrote about in an earlier post. (FYI, I did get an interview) It would be a great addition to this education. In school, you learn the basics but you learn the best in a real life situation. Every person needs the motivation to continue with things they like the best and this is mine.

A quest for answers

quest in scrabble letters
Make in Canva

My life has always been a quest for answers when it comes to what I want to do for a living. That’s probably one of the reasons why I haven’t find anything else that most people have. When others are getting married and having kids, I’m thinking about what I want to do with my life. Even people much younger than me have a goal. But I’m not jealous. I’m selfish in a way that I live for myself and I don’t have to financially support anyone else. I like the freedom I have and I hope it won’t change. Past experiences have taught me not to get attached to other people. It might sound sad to some people but I don’t see it that way. Besides, I hate trying to impress people. I’m too old for that. If people can’t accept for the person I am, then it’s really their problem. I change for no one.

Having different educations won’t get you a job. A great looking resume is worthless if there is no content. In this case, job experiences. You would think employers would appreciate that you at least did something but no only a real job with real pay is acceptable. I’ve had this thought in my head some days ago, ‘I’m not good enough for working life and too lazy for entrepreneurship’. The last one is probably true because I would have started it already. Some say you should apply for a job outside your own field but why study something for years and apply for something else anyway. I see no point in that. I will rather be without a job than be in a job I don’t like. I’ve been in those internship places and it wasn’t a nice feeling at all. I can’t even do all jobs and you probably have to have experience for them too. It’s so easy to tell another person to find a job or study to an occupation you’re not interested in. Life is too short to be doing things you hate doing. Job search is a business these days and you can’t just walk right in. Besides, some companies are cheapskates (or they don’t have enough money to hire) and they have no idea what the rejected feels like.

I studied a lot so it feels like I’m collecting diplomas. I studied because that was the only way I could feel I was doing something. I also like learning new things. I was confused about what interested me the most because I changed my mind a lot. Nothing felt like me. Once I wanted to be a screenplay writer and the next a journalist. None of them felt right. Even now when I’ve focused on design, it still feels like I’m not for that either. I should really feel more confident because if you don’t believe in yourself, who will? When I studied photography in this same school as I am now, Helsinki Design School, I wanted more than that. So I studied web design. Then I thought, I wanted something more so it became graphic design. I wanted to combine those three because they’re so close together. Even though I haven’t found a job, I don’t think I studied in vain. I studied because I wanted to. I experienced something I wouldn’t have otherwise. In photography, I’ve never been in a photo studio. Except when I was a child and we had a photo taken by a pro. But as a photographer, it was a new experience. You should always find something positive even if the education you have/had hasn’t been what you expected.

A last note about the post I wrote the day before yesterday. I sent the application to the internship position yesterday. This is what I wrote in the, why I’m good for the position.

I’m studying graphic design at the moment and an internship would be a great opportunity for me to learn new things. I have the skills that the position requires and I’m always keen to get better at it. I want to join an international team with the same passion for design as myself. I get along very well with people from different walks of life. I’m trustworthy and I finish tasks I’m given on time.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter if I get it or not. They probably gonna choose someone younger anyway. Since there is no pay, it isn’t really a big deal. But we’ll see. I don’t really even know if it was a job application or a registration. It might take a while before I get a reply from them or if there won’t be any in the first place. If it isn’t meant to be, then it isn’t.

No school and no assigments

red christmas balls from ceiling
©Mia Salminen, Kamppi, Helsinki 2015

An overture that tells it all. Yesterday, it was the last day of Helsinki Design School this year. The best thing is, no assignments to do over Christmas. Next school meeting is January 25. Next time there is assignments to be done is in February. It’s good because doing the assignments are not that easy. If you don’t get assignments done until the next meeting, you won’t get any feedback from the teachers. Luckily, I have got all the assignments done on time even if I had a break a few days. The results have been OK. The rating system is from 1 to 5. I’ve got two’s and threes. One four which was kind of a surprise. Most of the feedback I’ve got I agree with. The feedback we get is just one opinion.

Subjects we had so far is about typography, colours, InDesign, illustrations and last about logos. It continues next year so we didn’t get any assignments. We use Adobe programs that I’m familiar with. But I don’t know if it shows in my work I’ve used them before. I never saw myself as inventive but so far I haven’t had problems finding ideas to the assignments. As soon as I know it, I get an idea. If not straight away, then a bit later. In graphic design, you need that kind of skill. I don’t if they’re good ideas though. It’s easier to find bad ideas than good. That’s what this education is about, to find out things you didn’t think of.

Now when half of the education is done, I haven’t regretted it for a moment. That’s better than doing nothing. You get to learn new things and get updated on the old ones. You also meet new people. Or in other words, you get out of the house once in a while. The conclusion is you get to know what you should improve and keep you motivated to practice. Cliché but true, the more you do, the better you get. Hopefully.