As someone who runs a design studio, it is not uncommon to hold a design degree. However, I do have a neuroscience degree as well, and when people find this out, they always ask, “why?”
The answer is simple: I planned to be a psychiatrist.
So what happened? It was a really tough decision that weighed on me a lot, but finally I decided to apply to art school instead of med school. Then at least I'd never wonder "what if..." And if I really wasn't happy, I could always go back and apply to med school later.
I never looked back. And I learned an approach to tough decisions: go for it and if it doesn’t work out, you can usually go back to where you were before. It was this thinking that helped make moving to NYC, Montreal, San Francisco and finally London, for work after graduation, a bit easier.
I often give this advice to students, who may answer: is it not a big waste of time and money? It seems that so many want to know exactly where they are going, and then simply get there in a nice, efficient straight line. I'm not sure this is always possible, or even desirable. It is however, understandable. Uni is so costly these days. A tuition freeze and some scholarships meant my student debt was manageable, so I was lucky—the cost was well worth it.
If for whatever reason, your path leads in many directions, in this new world of disruption and convergence, it does not mean a big waste of time or money. A diverse background always feeds into what you do later on. In my case, my design studio MOTHandRUST
works with a lot of science clients, which means my background is an advantage. I lead science-related projects that I am genuinely interested and passionate about. It makes it easier for me to convey scientific ideas and findings in compelling ways. I can quickly understand and grasp the needs and vision of my science clients. I understand a range of audiences both inside and out of the organisation. Finally, I see the similarities between the Art and Science, not just the differences.