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Posted by  Kelly Ballentine on August 10, 2003 at 15:27:05:

Hello Forum!

I am currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I gruaduated from UC Davis in 2001 with a BS in Design. I graduated with honors and the distinction of recieving the award as the top student in my Design class. I FELL IN LOVE with design as a student there. I enjoyed every discipline that my department offered classes on: Visual communication, Interior Architecture, and Textiles. I really felt like I had found my "calling."

However, after graduation I found myself lost in the abyss of the career search. I discovered that my University Experience, while enriching me personally, philosophically, and giving me some real solid and hands-on design skills -- left me without even the vaguest idea of what design careers exist in this world -- and more importantly, where I might fit in.

In the last couple of years, I've tried a few jobs, and in the process have been able to carve what might resemble the beginnings of a career path. I worked for a high-end home and garden store as a Sales Associate at their flagship store. While doing primarily sales, I was the unofficial "visual girl" while the official Design Team was not around. I also had the privelege of working with the Visual Merchandising team to create corporate floorsets on a regular basis. From that experience, I found that the large-scale corporate atmosphere is not for me, nor is visual Merchandising, though I enjoyed working with the store space and the merchandise. I substitue taught at the same time and greatly enjoyed working with students, parents and teachers (what fantastic people) but still longed for the thrill of designing and creating.

I am ready to start a new job and am feeling like interior design or interior architecture is the field in which I can enjoy my work and excell in the field -- I love working in 3-D spaces and creative problem solving. I am interested in but still hesitant to persue architecture because I do also enjoy the "softer" or more aesthetic side of designing in addition to the structure and mechanics. I love detail work, creating color pallettes, and helping customers to put together a vision of their personal space.

I am in need of advice (I am counting on the goodwill and expertise of this community to offer up some brilliance!) regarding how to begin feeling out this career path. I would like to begin informational interviewing in my area and would like any suggestions or insight regarding any other careers that are related to these fields. I would like to put together a clearer idea of what exists in the career world and how I might find a niche for myself.

I am also throwing around the idea of continuing my education, but would like to hold off on that until I am certain of what I would like to persue.

I appreciate any responses or ideas anyone has to offer!

Kelly Ballentine


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