When i was still studying at PSID in Makati, there were a lot design projects to do. I remember hurrying to the classroom, carrying a T-square on one hand and on the other, a bag full of triangles, pencils, watercolors, oil pastels, brushes and a rigid envelop containing all of the design plates that our instructors so love to assign us. Weeknights were spent making perspective drawings from floor plans complete with color renderings. It took a lot of effort to make just one plate. Imagine making three in one week! It's ironic though that I still think it was the best episode of my life.I enjoyed the challenge of making the plates, especially on subjects like Color Rendering, Freehand and Perspective Drawings. Architectural and Art History was quite boring but there was one subject that really made me anxious: Interior Design I. Our instructor was very critical. His verbal assaults can be discouraging. My first plate was, according to him, capricious. I didn't know exactly what he meant, but by the way he said it, I knew it was not a compliment. When he returned our plates, I stared at the red marking he mercilessly scribbled on my plate: 2.5 - barely passing the prelim. It was the only subject that marred my report card. I hated him that moment.
During the finals, he made us design our own ideal private spaces. A place of well-being, he called it. Most of my classmates had such grandiose ideas but I opted to be honest about it. So I designed my ideal bedroom. We were required to explain in writing why we think it is our place of well-being. Then came the time to submit our plates. My anxiety grew as our instructor mounted our plates on the wall. There were so many drawings, good and bad, of log cabins, mountain resorts and beach houses. Mine looked pathetic compared to the others. A bedroom! To make matters worse, he called each one to read what he wrote while our instructor holds the student's plate for us to see. We had a few laughs but most of the time we were silent. When it was my time to stand in front and read, the bell rang, My friend Ellie whispered to me: You're saved by the bell. I smiled at her and said: So are you. And we both laughed. Her plate was mounted next to mine.
The following week, we had our grades. Most of my final grades from other subjects were either one point less or more than midterm, but to my surprise and relief, my Interior Design I grade of 2.5 became 1.4 - quite a big leap, if I might add. My only regret though is that of not knowing why. If I wasn't saved by the bell, would I have listened to a compliment instead?