During my master studies, I focused on gaining knowledge and finding what drives me, what I want to contribute to the world, and how I want to shape my professional career. I learned that I am and aspire to be an empathic designer. I can relate to others well and look for a better personal connection to understand their needs, ideas, and difficulties. This is a useful skill as a designer because it allows me to create a personal relationship with the user and design with their needs in mind. Furthermore, it allows me to implement this personal approach in projects, courses, and everyday life. By exploring this quality, I learned that I take fulfillment in helping people to overcome their struggles and to gain a deeper understanding of Inclusive Design. I especially applied this during my M12 Project, where I researched the link between empathy and musicality with people with Williams syndrome. I quickly learned how interesting it is to me to focus on a specific target audience and come in contact with people within this target audience and their environment, such as their parents and caregivers. I learned the method of conducting in-depth interviews to collect data.
At the beginning of the master, I was not that skilled in this method because, in my opinion, it requires a lot of practice and good preparation. During the master, I gained more experience doing literature reviews, exploring better research methods, and structuring an interview. This helped me to gain more skills in interviewing than I had beforehand. For the preparation, I set up an interview guide, but I learned that an interview could go in a different direction than planned. When this happens, it takes skills to respond to this well, which I found very hard. By conducting several interviews, I experienced that I got a little better with each interview. This is because I took more time to prepare them, apply interview techniques, and think of the processing method I wanted to implement beforehand. In the future, I will continue practicing this skill by preparing for the interviews beforehand, trying out more interview techniques, and different ways of processing the results. Also, I learned that it is useful to be meticulous, which means paying attention to all details.  This allows you to anticipate the interview's direction better and formulate better follow-up questions. In the beginning, I mostly did this based on the verbal answers of the interviewee, but later on, I also developed skills to do this based on body language. This is very useful because body language can differ from verbal language, which helps uncover the interviewee's thoughts and feelings. Furthermore, verbal language can be ambiguous, and understanding body language can help to clarify the interviewees’ answers. However, I can still improve on this method by, for example, practicing unstructured interviews more often. The method proved to be useful since it helped me to gain an understanding of the behavior, attitude, and perception of the interviewees. By analyzing and coding the data, I discovered the similarities and differences between the answers, and I was able to present the results in various (sub)topics. 
Before, during, and after the interviews, I was in contact with Nederlandse Vereniging Williams Beuren Syndroom meaning the Dutch Association for Williams Syndrome. After informing the members of the results of my research in the newsletter, several people contacted me to express their gratitude for my research on this topic. Moreover, they wanted to share their experiences and weigh in on the research. This showed me the power of unifying people and the benefits of including others during the full process of your project. I personally found this very valuable, and it helped me discover what kind of designer I aspire to be. I explored the power of unification further during my exchange to Ulsan, South Korea. This was a lifelong dream of mine, and I am happy that I decided to prolong my studies to experience this. During this exchange, I met many people from various countries who, at first glance, had only one thing in common: being interested in South Asia culture, specifically South Korea. I quickly discovered with my curiosity-driven attitude that underneath this interest were various motivations such as job opportunities, wanting to be away from home, and meeting new interesting people. Even though these motivations might seem far apart, I invested my energy into unifying the exchange students’ group. I did so by organizing dinners, trips, and activities. I learned that I experience a sense of happiness and connectedness seeing the group form together. I enjoy finding similarities between and, at first glance, different groups of people. 
I believe designers can and should focus on this since using the knowledge from design processes, literature on human behavior, qualitative research methods, and explorative design can all contribute to facilitating this. Reflecting at the start of the master, I was not as skilled in this as I would usually adopt a wait-and-see attitude. It took me a while to get past this and take a more proactive approach. Moreover, I explored this curiosity-driven attitude further by considering it a positive characteristic instead of a negative one. In my opinion, I gained the most experience and knowledge in the corresponding expertise area, User & Society, because of my effort to establish myself as an inclusive and empathic designer.

I believe in sustainability and see it as a promise I made myself when I embarked on my creative journey by applying to Industrial Design. This entails that I wanted to focus on creating sustainable designs, gain more knowledge in this domain and become a more sustainable person overall. I quickly discovered during the pre-master that sustainability is not as incorporated in this study as in my previous education, Business Innovation. However, I still put effort into creating sustainable designs. For me, this means that I did material studies to choose sustainable options, look into recycling and repurposing materials, and keep a sustainable approach in mind when considering the concept's implementation. Furthermore, when sustainable materials were chosen, I ensured sustainable use and used them before purchasing new materials. During my M12 Research project, I envisioned prototyping a physical product, but due to the Covid-19 restrictions, I was not able to make use of the workplace at the university or freely buy materials. I experienced a creative block by trying to come up with prototyping alternatives and work on the expertise of Technology & Realization. I moved towards digital prototyping, which was suitable for the project but did not challenge me as much as physical prototyping. Reflecting on this, I should have persevered to create physical prototypes. This was still possible by creating cardboard prototypes, foamboard prototypes, or using leftover materials from other projects. During my Final Master Project I was extra determined to create a physical prototype to gain more knowledge and experience with this design method. To facilitate this, I worked on an idea suitable for physical prototyping. I wanted to gain experience in this skill since, in my opinion, a well-rounded designer can express their ideas and concepts not only virtually but also tangibly. Although I liked this different approach, it was more time-consuming and difficult than I had envisioned. For starters, I misjudged the amount of time that was needed to gather all the materials. This taught me that preparing the prototype materials should be scheduled within a significant time period. It also taught me the importance of utilizing this waiting period to explore other information- and research methods that do not yet require the physical prototype.
This was due to various reasons. One being the materials' variety, which in retrospect, could have been less. Although exploring various materials benefits the designers’ understanding of materials, it can also be excessive. Even more so as an inexperienced designer creating physical prototypes, which I was then. I also learned that it is not always necessary to acquire multiple backup parts, especially when it is not required to create multiple designs to be used at the same time. For the next prototype, I will manage my time and planning better and make a better estimate of how many materials I need. I will do so by putting more effort at the beginning of the prototype creation process to estimate the quantities better. This will also be more sustainable and help me structure my process better by not overspending and overthinking related to my materials.
On the other hand, I 
did work on sustainability apart from the materials by coming up with a sustainable concept called BeLeave. BeLeave is centered around a sustainable alternative to traveling by offering an immersive experience using sounds and scents. Recent scientific studies have demonstrated the crucial impact of the buildup of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on global warming [3]. To measure how much a company emits GHG, the methodology of carbon footprint is used [1]. This methodology can also be applied to products called the product carbon footprint.
“The product carbon footprint is a measure of the climate change
impact of the product where all the greenhouse gas emissions
emitted during the product life cycle are taken into account.” [2]

When comparing the BeLeave concept to traditional ways of traveling by car, plane, or public transport, the product's carbon footprint is noteworthy smaller.
Furthermore, it takes a creative approach to developing sustainable methods, processes, products, and services. It requires the motivation to take on this approach instead of the traditional route, and even though I cannot say I have made fully sustainable designs yet, I am trying to do so. I do so by better evaluating my design processes and identifying points where I could improve sustainability wise. Furthermore, I am expanding my knowledge of sustainable materials and methods by going to material exhibits like MaterialDistrict.  Using a creative approach was explored during my M11 project, where I designed a family of artifacts to battle work-life balance with a project group. It was the first time that I took on the approach of creating multiple products under one project. This challenged me to constantly check if the design I worked on aligned with the others. This is important because good design, in my opinion, is consistent. Also, the styling had to be on point to make it a cohesive family of artifacts. I explored this skill further during my BeLeave project, in which I put a lot of effort into creating a style guide. For this style guide, I researched which colors, brand identity, and logos matched the message I wanted to radiate. This is important since a big part of my Final Master Project was gaining experience and knowledge on how to set up a brand. For this, graphical skills and a business perspective are required. In the future, I am interested in creating a company on my own, and these skills will then be very valuable. Furthermore, meticulousness is necessary to guarantee consistency which benefits the brands’ trust. This approach falls under the expertise Creativity & Aesthetics, one of the two areas I focused on mostly during this master. 

Furthermore, I relate it to the expertise area of Business & Entrepreneurship since sustainability should be a vital part of business ethics. Moreover, I think it is important to keep a business focus while designing to make it market-ready and develop a viable implementation plan. When doing so, you can identify hurdles that otherwise would likely be overlooked. I do this by writing a concise business plan for each design and discussing it with professionals with more experience in bringing products to the market.  Before the master, I already had experience within this expertise area due to my previous education, but it was limited to making plans without executing them in practice. During my master, I experienced the limitations this brought since ideas can work on paper but not in reality. For example, the M11 project worked perfectly on paper, but if you want to bring it to the market, you will experience technicality, creativity, and financial barriers. It then takes perseverance, creativity, and a business perspective to follow through. Creativity is needed to look at a problem or idea from different angles before choosing the appropriate one. A business perspective to make better choices that will benefit the marketability of the design. Lastly, perseverance because in every design process, you will encounter hurdles; the only way to overcome them is by not giving up. This master showed and taught me to recognize these and methods to overcome them, but there is room to perfect this and practice this further. I plan to develop this skill further by working on it in future professional opportunities. By being able to go to a conference at Cumulus 2023 due to my contribution to the Research Methods project, I learned that I enjoy these kinds of opportunities and that I would like to experience them more often in the future. I want to attend similar conferences more frequently, as staying up-to-date with the creative research sector is essential. To apply the newest and best methods and share my development, experience, and knowledge. For this, my curiosity-driven attitude will be useful.

As I reflect on my journey in the expertise area of Math, Data & Computing, I cannot help but acknowledge that I have put in significantly less effort than in other expertise areas. It is important for me to recognize that this lack of effort originates from a combination of factors, mainly revolving around my personal interest, the perceived opportunities in the sector, and my level of knowledge. While I understand the importance of math, data analysis, and computing in various fields and industries, I have never been naturally drawn to these topics. I am more intrigued and engaged with other expertise areas that align better with my passions and strengths. As a result, I often struggle to muster the same enthusiasm and dedication when tackling math and computing-related challenges. However, I am interested in 3D modeling and printing, which resulted in investing in a 3D printer. This is mainly used for recreational purposes and not as much for educational purposes. While I acknowledge this weakness, I believe that with collaboration within the next steps of my career, I can use my strengths while receiving assistance in the weaker areas. I believe this will generate optimal results, as design is a complex engineering field, and bringing experts in different areas together can provide optimal results.
My perception of sector opportunities has also influenced my approach to these subjects. I have frequently questioned the relevance and applicability of complex mathematical concepts and advanced data analysis techniques in the career path I envision for myself. This skepticism has sometimes led me to prioritize other subjects that seem more directly related to my desired field, inadvertently leaving math and computing on the back burner. Furthermore, my knowledge gaps in these areas have acted as a barrier to my motivation. Math, Data & Computing can be quite challenging, especially when my foundational understanding of these topics is not as strong as I would like. Reflecting on these factors, I realize that I might have underestimated the importance of Math, Data & Computing in the broader context of my education and future career prospects. While they may not be my areas of expertise or passion, I acknowledge that developing a more solid foundation in these subjects could open up opportunities and provide valuable skills in various fields. Moving forward, I am committed to challenging myself to overcome these obstacles. I recognize the importance of gaining a basic proficiency in Math, Data & Computing, even if they are not my primary areas of interest. I will also be able to communicate better with experts in those domains and thereby gain better collaborative skills. My plan for doing so is first to develop better 3D-designing skills that I can use to create 3D models for my designs, which enables me to communicate them to others better. Next, I will expand my knowledge and experience in coding. As of now, I am a beginner in coding with Arduino, which I utilized in various projects, such as my Final Master Project BeLeave. This has enabled me to work with development hardware simultaneously with coding tools to achieve working prototypes. I find this challenging but rewarding, and during my free time, I have further deepened my skills and knowledge in this field. In my future professional opportunities, having a solid understanding of multiple coding languages would be good. I will first focus on Python since this is a useful coding language in the UX design domain. This is relevant since this is a domain I would like to pursue during my career. Furthermore, it is an internationally acknowledged, versatile coding language that will help me better understand front-end and back-end development. Lastly, Artificial Intelligence is an upcoming and rapidly developing domain. It is smart to acquire skills to use this technology's benefits, and I will do so by experimenting and learning more about it through online resources. 
Overall, it would be good to expand my skill set in the expertise area of Math, Data & Computing and become a more well-rounded designer with greater adaptability in the dynamic job market.

[1]        Gramc, J., Stropnik, R., Lotrič, A. and Mori, M. 2022. The impact of sustainable development approach on carbon footprint of the company. 2022 8th International Youth Conference on Energy (IYCE) (Jul. 2022), 1–6.
[2]        Hartikainen, H., Roininen, T., Katajajuuri, J.-M. and Pulkkinen, H. 2014. Finnish consumer perceptions of carbon footprints and carbon labelling of food products. Journal of Cleaner Production. 73, (Jun. 2014), 285–293. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.09.018.
[3]        Olanrewaju, O.A. and Mbohwa, C. 2018. The Need for Greenhouse Gas Analyses in Industrial Sectors. Environmental Carbon Footprints. Elsevier. 1–18.

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