Introduction + Disclaimer

Hi, I’m new here. Starting in August, I will be taking my very first steps in learning about User Experience and more by starting the HCI/d MS program at Indiana University.

I’m using my first post as a disclaimer that I mean it when I say I’m new here. As a beginner, I’m still struggling to understand the full difference between UX and UI, still learning what my design process is, and what tools I’m even going to learn and use. So I think I still have a ways to go before I’m posting worthy and interesting content. Instead, I’m here to be a sponge. So please, if anyone happens to stumble upon this post and knows anything in the HCI realm, leave a note — any tools, book recommendations, or general words of wisdom are welcome.

So, to beef up my intro and let you know what I’m particularly in need of help with, I need to admit that I’m nervous. Everyone in the HCI world just seems lightyears ahead of me — I’ve “Facebook stalked” a couple of my peers in my cohort and those before mine, and they all so just seem to have so much more experience and knowledge. So, being my typical detail-obsessed self, I’ve made a short list of things for which I’m just a little apprehensive:

  1. I currently lack real industry experience. Going from undergrad straight to grad school means joining a bunch of people who have been professionals and have real experience harnessing their skills and knowledge. While I’m psyched to just be on teams working with these people, I need to identify exactly what I can bring to the table that’s different.
  2. I currently lack the skills and tools for the job. Yeah sure, I know a bit on Adobe tools, some Python coding, and have taken a class in HCI to learn about the design process. But there’s just so much I don’t know! From Javascript to the ins and outs of user research, there’s so much to be teaching myself in my limited free time (I’m a working girl, after all).
  3. I have to actually justify my designs. With a lot of public speaking, no less. No longer can I make a website or resume how I want simply because I think it looks good.
  4. Grad school is hard. From interviewing current students in the program, I know the program will be lots of work. While I’m no stranger to hard work, I still feel like grad school will be a whole new level. As a believer in work-life balance and a sometimes introvert, is there any time to have to myself?

So, to reiterate, any advice is welcome in a note below.

All that said though, I am really excited to have the opportunity to be learning among my cohort at the HCI/d program. I know over the next two years the program will teach me all the skills and give me the experience I need. I just have the “First Day” nerves I suppose — as I’m sure a few peers of mine have had. So with this post, I am simply reaching out to connect.

As I mentioned above, I also know that the next two years will be lots of work, so I’m taking the summer to relax as much as I can. Lately, I’ve been reading (at a leisurely pace) the Design of Everyday Things, Netflixing Friends, and taking small adventures around Indiana while working at my local City Hall.