I hope you all had a relaxing Labor Day! The Admission Blog returns with a student interview very special to me. Last year, Kean worked in the Admission Office as a Student Ambassador, and he helped me set up this blog! Kean was a transfer student and switched majors while at Parsons, so I thought his experiences would be helpful to those of you in the same boat.
Name: Kean Ferin
Major & Year: Design and Technology BFA ’14
Hometown: Huntington, NY
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to Parsons. What were your experiences as a transfer student?
I was studying liberal arts at Nassau Community College, doing a lot of graphic design courses, when I realized I really had an interest in designing objects to be more efficient and user friendly. I wanted to make a positive difference in people’s lives, but have it seem like that object or service I made should have always existed and worked that way.
Originally my plan for transferring was not to go to a design school. I intended on getting all my core courses out of the way at NCC (a great community college), and then work to attain a masters in another field at another school within three years or so. But my interests always floated around in the realm of graphic design and industrial design. There was a teacher there who used to work at Parsons in the Communication Design department, and she encouraged me to look into Parsons and several other art and design schools.
To transfer into sophomore and junior years, you have to be sure you hit the credit requirements. Unfortunately, I did not have enough studio credits, and I came in at the freshman level. My family and I were stressed because I’d have to put extra time and money into essentially starting over, but I don’t regret it because it was an experience that would have left me absolutely clueless about basic art skills if I didn’t go through it. The first year is also a good time to get accustomed to the school, the faculty, the labs, and your peers, while figuring out how to ride the already existing flow.
And how did you decide on switching majors, from Product Design to Design and Technology?
I did one semester of Product Design and then switched to Design and Technology. The switch has been a bit arduous and bittersweet. I had a great experience in the Product Design’s first year core class, Research, Design, and Development, where I learned a great deal about what goes into the design process – from the conception of an idea to solve a problem, to the various kinds of research a designer needs to do on the existing market, material sourcing, sustainability, target audiences, and then on to prototyping, testing, feedback, and production. The Product Design major is really great at bringing all of the studio classes together for lectures and covering the basis for what each project entails for us, and how it relates to the world around us.
I switched to Design and Technology with the hopes of being able to develop skills in basic coding, digital interface design, and user interaction. These things are also necessary for good product design, as many of the products we use and will use more as time goes on are digital. You could say I’m trying to approach Design and Technology with a Product Design point of view. This semester seems to hold a lot of promise. My professors are exciting, engaging, and brilliant. I’m really hoping to pull the most out of this semester.
What are some classes that you’re excited about for this semester?
My current semester of Design and Technology involves taking two studio courses: Interaction and Information Design. These are two very rigorous courses of which I’m not super familiar with, but want to be. I’m also taking Creative Computing, and History of Design and Technology. These topics are all interrelated and in my opinion, often times, need each other in order to produce a successful and efficient product, service, and experience. This is the most exciting and challenging semester I’ve had yet. Commuting and working part-time may throw a huge wrench in the works but we’ll see how it goes.
Do you have any advice for new students?
As far as advice goes for new, incoming, or even just plain interested students; don’t let the idea of Parsons sweep you off your feet. Parsons and its students have decades of industry shaping experience, and with the immense influx of talented individuals coming in from all over the world, you will have to work your rear off. Keeping up with the work and standing out is often times harder than getting in. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t settle for the status quo. Don’t try to do something because you think your classmates or your teacher will like it. Yes there may be a few teachers who assign grades on their preferences, but that should never stop a student from yearning to improve themselves and expand their skill set. At the same time, balancing everything without burning yourself out is a skill you have to develop, especially when finals roll around. During my finals in Product Design, I stayed in school for 4 nights and 5 days straight without going home. It was rough, but absolutely necessary. Finals are a great time for bonding with your classmates in some twisted way.
-by Victoria O’Neill-