FINAL VERDICT: Passed!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I unconditionally passed, whatever that means! But I passed! I was pretty excited (not nervous) to present and it went MUCH smoother than I anticipated. The panel didn't have any question but took a long time to deliberate their response. I lost connection at one point and started panicking but used a hotspot to reconnect. It was such a relief to get a VIRTUAL HIGH FIVE!
My thesis journey gave me confidence and appreciation for my talent and skills. It challenged me to strive for perfection but never obtaining it, acknowledging that an artist's work is never done. The most important thing I learned is how rewarding it is to build a whole identity from scratch, building your own visuals and deliverables. Using stock photos or illustrations seems to cheapen the process so creating your own art results in a rich project full of YOUR work. You never have to explain why something is out of your hands (when it comes to clients' preferences) but have a firm explanation as to why a design is the way it is.
What shocked me the most about the design process is the amount of times you change paths, from visual systems to materials matrix to audiences (in my case). I wondered why we even made timelines because everything seemed to get out of sequence but it the end they were helpful to keep on us track. The easiest thing to do in my experience was user testing. I thought it was going to be daunting and I would have to defend my thesis but most of my users were excited to use my products and services. In contrast, the most difficult design challenge was learning new programs, such as InVision, Wix, and iMovie, in order to create my deliverables. I had to accept that I was a slow learner and that even the most seasoned designers have learning curves. It's something difficult to admit, especially to a potential employer, but I understood that I was a thorough learner. Once I learned a program, I knew it inside out and could even train someone else on it. The outcome of that experience produced a wiser more patient designer, sympathetic to other designers' challenges, even if for me they might seem simple. One could assume that my creative journey was an easy task, but my process work explains otherwise. Viewers can learn that I tried various different solutions and focused on making the most authentic products available.
Through my audience interaction, I began to see the bigger picture of my project, not just a degree or grade fulfillment. My potential users saw this project being implemented nationwide, way past my initial goals. They helped me dream bigger and truly believe in my thesis project. If my thesis project is given a grant or adopted by the government, it can accomplish so much more than just storing memories. It can build a community that focuses on psychological welfare of the child, not just basic needs. By recording their memories, foster children can begin to experience forgiveness, gratitude, self-acceptance, and confidence. I can only imagine the type of record breaking impact we can have on negative statistics of foster children. One thing I strive on is being passionate and just like I dedicated my whole heart into this thesis, I plan to see it through all the way.