Cross-Course Learning Portfolio Reflection Post

My name is Xian Yu Li, I went into Parsons as an illustration major but I’ve switched over to Communication Design since that is what I found myself more interested in with my first semester classes. Illustration had always been a passion of mine and I love it but I wanted to do something new while pursuing illustration on the side.

Throughout my first year, I’ve always enjoyed the works that I was able to experiment different medias with such as in my Time: Embodied class, it was my first time making videos and I put in a lot of time learning Adobe Premiere and editing videos which I liked. Also in my Digital Tools class, I was encouraged to utilize school resources such as the risograph printers or other things in the design lab, which led me to put more work into my pieces and gave me a sense of accomplishment. Compared to my least favorite works which were done in classes that I didn’t learn new things in, I felt unfulfilled in them and it took a lot of mental effort to get myself to finish it.

Skills that I’ve learned in my Digital Tools class such as book binding, and resources in the Design Lab is something that I’d take on with me in future projects. My instructor assigned projects that were interesting and made me actually eager to do the project. I like working on things that I know I can be proud of because of the amount of work I put in.

My academic skills aren’t the best because of my work ethics and seminar/studio classes are something that I actually dread. I’m never confident in my writing skills and to translate my muddled mess of thoughts into something physical in studio classes was difficult. I was surprised that I was able to get my research paper done in the second semester when in the first semester I wasn’t able to finish mine. I did not like research papers or writing really straight forward papers but after I started writing my research paper for my Visual Culture class, I felt that I overthink too much before I write which makes me dread writing it. I’ve never really been excited to write a paper but after visiting the University Learning Center, my appointment with a tutor actually was the first time I felt eager to get on writing and get what I wanted out. So the ULC has helped me.


One highlight this year was my book project in Digital Tools
The pictures and processes can be seen there in that page. As for my planning process, I feel like most of the time when I start planning, I stray a lot from the original process and I work better as I add things spontaneously to the projects. At first I wasn’t thinking of adding the cutouts to the pages but when I was photoshopping and layering images, I had the idea to do that. Of course the downside to that was that it didn’t really work out when it was printed so the next time could be actually planning out other alternatives in case the original idea does not work. This project was chosen as a highlight because it gave me an opportunity to explore the resources Parsons had to offer and I felt excited to use these new resources. It opened up a lot of inspiration on what my future projects can be.

Another highlight was the first Integrative Seminar research table that I had to do in Visual Culture. Trying to read the text and understanding it was extremely difficult. It took many tries and it frustrated me that I couldn’t understand the text. I wasn’t sure what it was but for some reason, I just couldn’t understand it and to be honest, I never really anticipated doing readings in art school to be this difficult. I grew really frustrated with myself and the class as I was trying to read it and I was ready to not give in any work but I managed to squeeze out what I had in my head and the few braincells that were working and made my research table. Looking back, I wasn’t sure what I could’ve done there besides googling more information on the text. The outcome of that was that I ended up getting a check on the research table anyways and apparently research tables weren’t really that complicated and I was just overthinking a lot. The assignment helped me put things into perspective which taught me to stress less about the small stuff.

Both these highlights were important because they were both a high point and a low point in my first year. One assignment I was eager to work on because I enjoyed what I was doing and the other was really difficult because I didn’t understand the text and I did not like writing either. But in the end I got through both assignments and that was the important part.

I think in the future I definitely want to improve and get over my fear of writing so seminar or writing classes would not be as dreadful. I do want to take more courses that allows me to learn new things and utilize more cool resources that Parsons has.

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