Happiness is

This is really long, because apparently I still have a lot of internal scars and I decided to just go with the flow. If there’s one thing I can write at length about it’s how happy my time in product design made me. It is also horrifically dramatic, but so am I, and mental health being the hot topic that it is these days, I’ve just found this the most amazing realisation over the past few weeks.

What a difference 12 months makes. Thanks to Facebooks insistence on living in the past, as well as getting to question whether my friend Nicola and I were high all through secondary school, I’m getting to relive my FYP instagram countdown from last year day by day. It’s highlighting to me just how unhappy I was in my work last year, and how much happier I am this year. My FYP drained me. For about four months, it was all consuming and I wasn’t enjoying any of it. It twisted so far away from anything I saw it being and became an exercise in box ticking. The environment I was in was toxic, creatively (That’s right, I really just said that without irony).  And I captured every gloriously miserable day of it. It’s mostly the captions that put across how thoroughly destroyed I felt, but some of the photos are equally as depressing. Here’s the reason for the post, a really cute one from this week.


My hair was admittedly phenomenal though.

This was after a particularly unpleasant meeting with my supervisor, and is the point I gave up on creative integrity (again, no irony). I was tired of being angry all the time, so for the last two months I was just sad. I finished out all the parts of my FYP to the best of my technical abilities, but my heart wasn’t in it. I stopped fighting because I realised there wasn’t any point. It wasn’t just the FYP either, there were four years of something a kin to emotional torture that left me feeling consistently beaten.

The day solidworks won #fypcountdown #day78 #productdesign #selfie

A photo posted by Clodagh O Mahony (@yodaomahony) on

I find it hysterical that I still tagged it selfie. Never let despair stand between you and IG likes.

I’m not sure how to make this in anyway advisory beyond “don’t study product design, it will ruin your life”, but I do have a happy ending. Since September, I haven’t done anything I’ve hated (except report writing, but we don’t talk about the report writing). While it’s sad the bar is so low, it’s a massive leap forward. I’ve liked my module even though some of it overlaps with things I have covered and remember disliking. Guys, I’m talking critical and speculative design and all that other conceptual nonsense, like Dunne and Raby levels of nonsense. AND I AM LOVING IT. I’ve been proud of my submissions and enjoyed the time I spent working on them. Above all, I have been  working with tutors who are entirely reasonable humans, who don’t suffer from delusions of infallibility or anything (Yes CENSORED, that’s a dig).  My work is better for it, and I’m better for it. It turns out, I’m actually not that angry a person. I am still and always will be sarcastic, but I’m much a bit less mean about it now. I’m much less irritable in general. I am a lighter, brighter person. Although I’m still pretty mean. People are just too ridiculous not to pass comment.

Waking up dreading the day no longer feels normal. Because last year was not normal. It’s not normal to get up in the morning nauseous at the thought of going to college. It’s not normal to come home in tears. It’s not normal to hate how you spend 80% of your time in between. Fuck Product Design for ever making me feel like it was.

PD studio scores two points for not being air conditioned to minus twenty degrees and having its workshop located in the same building.

Disclaimer: I’m taking my fellow students in both cases out of the equation. So if anyone wants to get uppity about it, don’t. This isn’t about you. Not everything is about you. It’s about me. Because everything is about me.

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