Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why I Won't Make a Great Landscape Designer

In 2004 I studied Landscape Design. I loved learning about plants and picked up a huge amount of information from having a University Library at my disposal. My favourites times though were sitting down in the edible gardens at Unitec, next to the Food Forest in the peace and quiet while eating my lunch.

But the Diploma itself didn't end up as a good fit and I've spent quite some time trying to work out why. Here's some recent thoughts...

Design isn’t what motivates me. Problem solving does though, and in a big way. So I approached a site looking at “these are the problems that need to be solved,” when a good Landscape Designer requires more creative flair than anything else, I think. It is not that I do not possess creative flair. Give me a bunch of flowers and a vase and I can show you plenty of creative flair! I just seemed to lose the visual impact, the theming and creative scope that many of my classmates showed by being bogged down in logistics. I found it so hard to ‘see’ the final picture without worrying so much about how I would make it ‘work.’ That’s why I don’t make a good designer.

But plants, and how they look and feel, and work together, that I do love. And sustainable design, permaculture, growing anything I can eat - these are all concepts I first really discovered my deep love of while at Unitec.

It has taken me 6 years since studying Landscape Design to work this out. I just couldn’t understand why I made such a great student, and yet would not make a good designer. I think that’s an important distinction to be able to make: a great student of something does not necessarily translate into a great employee or worker in that field. It requires something more, something different. A great student is just that – a great student.
The decision to withdraw from my diploma in Landscape Design after my first year was fuelled by a combination of financial difficulty, poor health and wondering whether the course would in fact take me where I wanted to go. But whatever the reasons, I’m glad I did not try to become a Landscape Designer. It would have been a path fraught with disappointment and confusion.

The funny thing is that I was so sure when I started studying that Landscape Design was what I wanted to do. I mean, I wasn’t fresh out of highschool. I’d had three years to think things through. I genuinely thought I loved design. I see now that I love problem solving. So design involving problem solving is all good, but design on its own really doesn’t mean anything to me. Looking back, I really, really, really did not know myself. I have only just started to discover who I am over the past two years. And the more I discover, the more I realise just how much on an enigma I am. There are layers upon layers of hidden motivators, talents, hold-backs and more. So the questions I now find myself asking are:
What would I be great at? What am I already great at? And what can I do with that, where can I take it?

1 comment:

MaxineD said...

Great ponderings - yes, it takes a lifetime to discover who we really are - only God truely knows, and He only reveals things bit by bit - sometimes only as we need to know!! and sometimes I am sure to simply surpise and delight us.