Sophomore Review/Semester Reflection

Since a couple days have gone by, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my experience and personal growth this year. The other day I came across my semester reflection from Visual Communication 1 last year. It was interesting for me to read the objectives I had placed for myself and consider whether I successfully accomplished them or not. I thought now would be a good time to assess whether I met those objectives then set new ones for myself for next semester. After taking time to step back and look at my work holistically for Sophomore review I believe I was successful in meeting them although I will always say that I could have pushed further.

I also wanted to reassure everyone that I don't plan on leaving this department. I know I had a bit of a scare last semester, but I'm definitely here for the long haul. Looking back, I think I just had too tight of a grip on what I wanted to do rather than trusting those that were put in place to guide me and keeping an open mind to all of the experiences I could gain. It was the moment I metaphorically loosened my grip that allowed me to take larger steps in and outside of studio this semester.

I guess you could say that their were major highlights or learning points this half that helped propel me. Firstly, get involved. It is important to be engaged in studio culture, but also in the local design community. We all have the ability to influence each other. I can assume that we all want to get the most of our experience here, I know I do. We all come from different places, have different backgrounds and we all can contribute to studio in one way or another. After my meeting with the professors and after the Keetra Dean Dixon lecture I made more of a conscious effort during the second half of the semester to push myself and my work to see if it would propel someone else to push. While, I think and hope it worked, especially near the end of the semester, I can't be entirely certain. I guess the point I'm trying to make is be a leader, always try to raise the bar or set the standard because you can. Also, be physically in studio, while at times we distract each other, it makes those rough nights easier to overcome when we go through them together.

As students we should always thirst for knowledge. Our involvement outside of studio does, in fact, influence us inside so when we a active in engaging ourselves in the community and other sources we can further enrich our studio experience. The seniors weren't kidding when they said it's easy to interact with design professionals especially in Kansas City through AIGA. I'm really glad Josh was also wanting to get more involved in the design community because it really encouraged me to continue attending these events and made it less intimidating when there's someone else to take that step with you. There were also many great speakers this semester from Design Week, Intro-Active, the Vanderslice Lecture Series, to Design 360. Being involved opens you up to what's out there and can inspire you. Sharing that knowledge can also inspire someone else and encourage them to do the same.

Secondly, this semester has really allowed me to see the different possibilities I could take with my design in the future, but for now they are new mediums to explore and just play. I know Jamie has told me before that I don't have to choose one, but sometimes I wonder what I'll do with myself. I know Josh is aiming to be a design badass, but I want to be a Keetra status designer. It's my secret passion I guess you could say, but I would love to be able to establish myself enough to travel and inspire other people the way she inspired me. This semester has really reinforced my love of teaching and helping others. It has also moved me in the realm of interactive and experiential design, where people are required in order for it to exist.

Thirdly, know your limits. Near the end of the semester I may have bitten off more than I could chew and while this shouldn't discourage me from pushing I just need to be more realistic at times. I honestly thought I could do it, but I guess the only way to know your limits is through experience.

Lastly, but most importantly, this semester has taught me confidence. This is probably the one area of growth that is immediately evident to me. I need to be confident in myself, my decisions, my work and allow my enthusiasm for design to resonate through me especially the dorky side. So, for next semester here are the objectives I feel like I need to push more:

1. Speaking up more in class
2. Finding and utilizing opportunities to present my work formally
3. Thinking about typography as language and meaning
4. Push community involvement
5. Find new ways to explore form


  1. A great reflection Sam. I appreciate the thought that went into it and it is reflective of commitment to your education and the discipline.

    Per #4, can I count on you and Josh to be AIGA officers next semester too?

  2. Thanks, Jamie.

    Also, both Josh and I would be willing to be officers next semester.

  3. yay, sam! great thoughts. i look forward to seeing where you will go next semester and in the future.