First week of placement at Hillside

I enjoy the fact that the degree I have been studying has transferred into a real life situation.


by Quy Te

Settling down
I am currently a third year product design student at Bournemouth University. Thursday 28th July, was the first day of work for my placement year at Hillside Product Design.

Two days before that I had moved from my home town to Devon. This was quite a busy and tiring time for me since I had picked an attic room to spend the rest of my year in, lugging two large suitcases, a rice cooker, duvets and around a dozen boxes was definitely an experience. Settling down this week has come at a blur, purely because I was new to everything that surrounded me. New house, new job and new people.

Initial feelings
My initial feelings for my first few days were definitely nerves. Despite knowing I was in very safe hands, I could not help but feel like a fish out of water. So many questions in terms of what to do, where to start and how to behave. I had no real expectation of what full time work would be like, although I knew that my sleep patterns would differ greatly to that of a student.

Differences of being a student
I would say that a lot has changed over my week at Hillside. I see how being in a working environment differs to being a product design student. The main thing that stood out to me was the degrees of accuracy you must have whilst designing a product. This is of key importance for the client you are serving and key to any design consultancy’s reputation. I quickly realised that being inaccurate with measurements or numbers can cost our business and other business’ time and money. Therefore simple actions in CAD such as smart dimensioning and mating to origins help the 3D model to avoid error and to maintain accuracy in 3D models.

Another surprise was the vast variety of projects that Hillside undertakes. Every project is in a niche of its own, and so the meetings we have always involve something new and up and coming.  I enjoy the fact that the degree I have been studying has transferred into a real life situation. A lot of the ideas we students think we can run with, are not as easy to progress due to constraints on materials, manufacturing processes and cost.

Everything is new
Settling in has been gradual and I am appreciative of that as everything is new to me. I try my best to take notes of where things are and ask questions whenever I do not know the answer. I do try my best to figure things out for myself and I guess one of the main challenges for me is the slight frustration you feel when you don’t know how things work. However I am very fortunate to have a team around me who have the patience and willingness to guide me through things.

Lifestyle change
Slowly but surely my sleep patterns have changed from the student sleep times of around 2am to round about 11pm. The majority of the time, I come home to cook dinner, shower and then crash to sleep. This week, I feel like my body has never hated to wake up as much as it has done. It has been challenging to set a routine, but at the same I have been ok with waking up earlier. I have felt more productive in my day to get things done, rather than waking up mid-afternoon if I were to be in my summer holidays.

Excited for the future
The things I am looking forward to for my following placement year will be exploring more of Devon and Cornwall, hopefully making new friends and learning how product design is tackled in reality rather than basing experience off of a textbook. I am excited to help real life clients with some of their design needs and to further my understanding in design for manufacture. I am excited for the current products we are working on too. Next I am looking forward to visiting an injection moulding business and also for Hillside's latest sports session.


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