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Our teachers were awesome and very responsive. I felt I got a lot of individual feedback during the day, ideas and links with inspiration, that I could use to push my work further.

Freelance UX, Visual & Web Designer

Sophie Bo Schmidt

What were you up to before Shillington?

I took leave from my job as a UX consultant to study at Shillington. I was doing lots of user research, testing websites and providing insights about users to inform product designs or re-designs. I often felt I had all these juicy insights and I dreamt about also having the visual design skills to execute the designs, which was my initial motivation to study at Shillington. A few months and a pandemic later, I’ve discovered not only my love for UI but also for branding, typography and digital collages.

Why did you decide to study design at Shillington and what made our design course stand out from the rest?

I researched quite a few options and when I came across Shillington, I was quite sure, that this was exactly what I needed. After having a few chats to people in the design and UX industry, I was certain I had to make it happen. It was short and intense, set up like a studio environment and the work I saw coming out of Shillington was just rad. I felt so inspired. I took leave and paused my work commitments for 3 months to immerse myself in design and not having to juggle work alongside.

How does the online course compare to the in-person experience?

We had our morning meetings at 8am and kept checking in during the day on Zoom and slack, so it still felt quite social and collaborative. I still vividly remember when one of our classmates brought us to tears by playing an intimate little zoom guitar session on Zoom. It was beautiful.

What were the most positive aspects of the remote course?

We kept such a good vibe going and our Slack channel was a pandora’s box of tunes, memes, questions and support. We shared our work in progress, cheered on each other and just Zoomed each other if we needed either feedback or just a chat. Our teachers were awesome and very responsive.

I felt I got a lot of individual feedback during the day, ideas and links with inspiration, that I could use to push my work further. We also had lectures from teachers from the other campuses, which was quite cool. The fact that we met each other’s pets, kids, roomies meant we got to know each other in different ways than we would have in class.

How were you able to structure your time learning from home?

We started each morning with an 8am Zoom call (and coffee) and then we had a pretty detailed agenda for the day until our 4:30pm Zoom call to check out each other’s work. The structure was pretty much given in terms of what you had to do, which video lectures to watch, when to check in on Zoom, when to take a break, which process to follow and when to submit your work. You were definitely not left alone.

What would be your main piece of advice?

To me getting a good office setup where I could close the door and be (relatively) undisturbed was crucial. Having a partner who was doing most of the homeschooling helped for sure (it was payback time after Shillo). It is definitely not less intense studying from home, so you really need to get yourself organised to get the most out of it.

More importantly, as a student, I feel you need to make an effort to create a good atmosphere, especially in a remote course where this may not come as natural. Be willing to share good vibes, tunes, discuss each other’s work and generally support and cheer on your fellow students.

What would you say to someone who is sceptical about studying at Shillington?

Do your own research, ask people in the design industry, go to the info sessions and maybe chase up some recent graduates in the city you want to study in to get some insights. I’ll recommend it any time.

Check out Sophie’s website and stay up to date with her work on Instagram.

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