I should point out that when you do a PaperLady class you have options. I prepare projects in a way that showcases a technique or a particular product. However, I encourage creativity at whatever level people are comfortable with. That means that you can shake up the project to customise it for your own needs, likes and preferences. I do however make no apology for stretching your skills and in fact I hope that happens regularly so you can explore the many possibilities that our paper crafts have to offer.
That said, my own preference when attending a class is to copy the original project - why? Well, I really like to make sure I get it. That way, I can take it home and will remember what I learned more easily. I also struggle to develop my own ideas when I'm in a group. That could be because I'm a bit of a chatty crafter so it's harder to multi-task!
Bottom line? Come to a class, learn a bit, do a bit, chat a bit and have tons of fun! But take home the project you want - the copied version or your version.
Happy distressing....kit, that is!