The Question You Should Be Asking.

By Alaina Creager

As a senior in the UX Design program at Purdue I answer a lot of questions about what our program is like. Most of the questions I’m asked are about the courses, professors, and projects, but I don’t think those are necessarily the key factors in what makes this program so unique. You should be asking about the community.

It isn’t often that you find a group of people that are just as driven and passionate about the same things, understand your quirks, and still love you anyways, but this is them. This is my big, happy UX family!

UX students at our holiday party

My first semester in UX I had no idea what I was signing up for (other than a program that I knew would lead me to the career path that I wanted), but now I can’t imagine my life without the experiences that I’ve had. As a group of students there’s so much we’ve done together.

Our projects have taken us to museums, local organizations, and startups. We’ve had field trips to design consultancies and conferences. We even celebrate most holidays together including friends-giving, secret Santa, and the occasional Halloween.

Halloween party

As a design major so much of what we do is focused on group work, critiquing each other and empathizing with others and I can’t imagine what the last 4 years of my life would have been like had I not had such close relationships with the other students in this major. Our program isn’t set up with a competitive nature where we try to outdo each other, not to say that some of us don’t like a good challenge from time to time, but instead we are each other’s support system in a lot of ways.

Abby, Alaina, and Kaela are project owners together in our Experience Studio

We know what to expect from one another. We know when one of us is off. We’re always there when someone needs advice or a good vent session. These are the qualities you need in a friend when you decide to uproot yourself and go to college.

The work that we do has great payoff and the only way to get that is by devoting a great deal of your time to it. We spend a lot of nights together working on projects and stressing about deadlines that turn into amazing deliverables. It is in those forgotten moments that these friendships are fostered.

Presenting a project prototype from one of our Learning Studios

If there’s nothing else I’ve learned from my experiences in this program it’s that the numbers don’t always matter. It’s not always about your grades, income, or success. Make sure that when you go looking for a major, job, or hobby you find one that has more than the just a good image, find one that makes you a part of the family.

Alaina Creager will be a graduating senior from the Purdue Polytechnic Institute in May of 2018. She has spent her time at Purdue studying UX Design, Web Development and Organizational Leadership. Upon graduation Alaina will begin her career as a UX practitioner in Austin, Texas. To view her work visit her portfolio.

Originally published by Alaina Creager.

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