What attracted you to becoming a mentor?
During my final year at university, I had an awesome teacher who helped me work through my challenging final project. He asked me lots of questions (which I came to understand later as Socratic questioning) to help me flesh out my ideas, which was really helpful and a new experience for me.
In some ways, my project was a critique of the existing university system, but he welcomed my new ideas while other teachers seemed to take it a bit personally. He was very open to new ideas, and his questioning style really helped me overcome challenges and bring the project further. I wanted to be an awesome teacher as well and help people overcome challenges in design.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a mentor?
There have been a few instances when students didn't believe in themselves, and after trying a lot they gave up their dream of becoming a designer. The reasons are internal and external, but it's challenging for me to see them stop. I always tell people they can reach out to me, and I always hope that people return to design in the future.
What do you find most exciting or rewarding in mentoring?
Seeing students get jobs! Especially when people in short courses get a job after only learning for a few months. Combinations of talent, timing, and opportunity help students achieve their dreams, and that is awesome.
Patrick <3 Framer
What has surprised you most about the students you've worked with?
I am always surprised and delighted when students pinpoint pain they have when using a product and then come up with novel solutions as if it's as easy and routine as brushing their teeth :D
What has been your ultimate "student win" throughout your mentor experience?
A UI Design student got a job as junior UX/UI designer after just a few months of learning design!
Have there been any surprising gains through mentoring for you as a design professional?
I think looking at, talking about, and experiencing a lot of designs from students has been really beneficial in building up my design fluency.
No remote work setup is complete without coffee
What do you think makes a good mentor?
I think a good mentor is not only a fantastic designer, but someone with a good understanding of the curriculum. They should also be patient, a good listener, willing to provide challenges, share experiences, and pass on wisdom. A growth mindset is key, as is being ethical, motivating, and inspiring.
What do you think makes a good student?
I think a good student is punctual and prepared for mentor calls, and willing to ask questions and seek advice. Students should be eager to work, patient and believe in their own design abilities.
What are your tips for people who are just starting out in design?
Understand where ideas come from—I like the books The Adventures of Johnny Bunko and How To Make Sense Of Any Mess. Also, surround yourself with fellow designers, be patient with yourself, embrace challenges, and collaborate with others on real projects!
Want to shape the next generation of product designers? Apply to be a Designlab mentor today!