Projects at the Academy are completed in eight weeks bursts and done mostly at night, so they require immense drive and conentration; at the end of the project period all students post their work in the halls of the school and groups of professors walk around judging the work. You are given about ten minutes in the beginning to present your project, you usually haven’t slept in a day or two so it’s best to let your work speak for itself. The couple of hours that everyone’s work is up is also your only chance to see the work of other students, and it’s really wonderful to see what has been made. It’s completely individual and the projects never resemble each other. It’s fantastic to see so many different visions and directions for the same problem, and definitely part of the learning process.

So I passed; not everyone did, unfortunately. You feel the wins and losses of your colleagues as intensely as your own – never have I experienced so much solidarity before. I think because it’s so much work and effort to go the Academy, because we are all working during the day in stressful offices, because you regularly run through your reserves of energy and enthusiasm and you have to keep going anyway. We help each other out as much as possible, we are really there for one another, and it’s a small school, there’s about 250 of us total. People are incredibly motivated and incredibly present in what they are doing – well, most of the time. We do drink a lot of beer after class to blow of steam.

So what have I learned so far? To trust my intuition, to follow my own path, to do it for myself, to make a story, to argue each decision that I make as solidly as possible. What I should have done better with this project: take more risks, experimented with my weaknesses more, get out of the comfort zone, en bref to boldly go…